In the US we Have:

In the USA, we have:

7000 taxi medallions.
8 Major Film Studio Companies. (‘The Majors’)
15 Large Banks.
3 Major Radio Stations.
3 Major Labels.
2 Major Ticketing companies.
2 Major broadband providers.
2 Major telcos.
~150 MVNOs. (Mobile Virtual Network Operators)
10 Major Movie Theater Chains.
4 Big Accounting Companies. (“The Big 4.”)
10 Major Grocery Companies
7 Major Financial Analytics Companies – Terminal
5 Credit Card Companies(Visa, MC, Mastercard, Amex, Discover)

Watching Silicon Valley reconfigure a lot of it is very exciting.

Black and Brown Non-Technical ‘VP of Sales’ are Unicorns

I analyzed over 2000 VP of Sales Profiles on LinkedIn. I was trying to edit my lackluster LinkedIn Profile to look more like a VP of Sales profile. I always try to make data driven decisions.

Heuristics for Becoming a VP of Sales for Brown/Black People.

  1. Use the NamSor API to optimize for northern European names. I think I could change my name to Sven or David. Seems fitting right? North Indians in my community growing up had always westernized their names. In fact, I know a Punjabi speaking Balbir who goes by “Bob” in the phone book. Turns out, in Texas people would rather give you a loan as a Bob than a Balbir. Go figure…
  2. Photoshop your melanin out of the picture or opt-out of having a picture. Fiverr should do the trick, but my outsourcer is delayed at the moment.
  3. Get a stylist/personal shopper. Risk-mitigation. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of startup unicorns dreaming of matching you with a stylist. 
  4. Be Intensely Uniquely Valuable: Get an advanced degree in something obscurely technical and be one of the only 50 to 100 people in your field in the world. Go into a massively under-researched area of exploration and be an expert. For example, superconducting astrophotonics. 
  5. Found companies. If you found the company then everything will work out. You can just be the VP of Sales.
  6. Become Western. Get accent elocution lessons.
  7. Do well in school. Get an Ivy league degree.

Observations from Monitoring 300,000 Mobile & Web Apps – This is What I Learned.

web

Obsession 
In the past 2 years, I’ve monitored 300,000+ Web & Mobile Apps that launch on over 60+ launch sites, the iOS App Store, and through friends’ recommendations. In this post, I hope to share some of the lessons I’ve had from talking to almost 1000 developers/founders of apps and using 20,000 of them as well.

This is still a small fraction of the 15,000 web and mobile apps that launch each day. I’ve surely missed out on most of the market. 

In my exploration, I was looking to understand was what differentiates good apps from the bad ones far before it becomes obvious that the app is good.

The Way An App is Designed is the symptom of how the founder thinks about User-Behavior. 
I often submit enterprise demo requests for products I don’t need. The demoes allow me to see things about data and test other designers’ theories about user behavior that I could never have dreamed on my own. “Why is there a fintech-o-auth service?” etc…

5 Lessons And Principles For Doing Anything In Web

  1. Web Speed – the number of developers and/or technologies/APIs and/or costs and/or education required to build an app will decrease by 2x every 2 years. Want to dethrone the Goliath? No biggie, just wait 2 years, and blitzkrieg them. GasBuddy.com is a great example. A 2 to 3 person team could beat them today.
  2. Scrape & Crawl First – If you’re starting a web business. You’ve already made a huge blunder if you haven’t figured out a programmatic way to find new customers or if you haven’t used scraping to validate the customers. Customers exhibit themselves digitally through blog posts, comments, APIs, etc… Stack your top of the funnel. Figure out how you will blitzkrieg the market. Make no mistake, if you’re building something in web, you must have an explicit top of the funnel lead list. 
  3. Advanced Behavior Understanding is now a Must. – App Founders in the new ecosystem must answer these questions before walking into the Colosseum that is the web and mobile app marketplace. They must answer questions about these things. Without answering at least 2 to 3 of these key things, you’re walking into a gun fight with a knife. “You ain’t no Roy P. Benavidez.”
    1. Motivation – Why do users want to do a behavior? Incentive?
    2. Ability/Capability – How easily can they do it today?
    3. Trigger Event- What event in the user’s life/daily experience drives the behavior and how does it express itself digitally?
    4. Trigger Event Frequency- How often does the user exhibit this behavior?
  4. Hawthorne Effect is an app founder’s worst enemy.  A natural distrust of people’s answers to your questions is probably a good thing to have. Be vicious about pissing off your potential customers to the point where they tell you their true pain. Troll them if you must. You want them spill their guts.
  5. Your First Version Should Break. There’s so many new apps each day that the paradigm has shifted. If the first version of your product is functional, you’ve already launched too late. Make buttons that don’t work.
  6. Got an app idea? That’s good, but what you need is a problem obsession. Great. Approximately 15,000 others are launching theirs tomorrow. One of the only things that matters is the extent to which you’ve defined the problem and user behavior. To differentiate yourself, you must dive deep into the problem definition. Some of the best app founders I’ve met have a ridiculous level of understanding of user behavior.

There’s No Room For Elephants in Startups- Working Cultures

I was sitting in a small room with a group of Israelis, Americans, and Russians for our weekly meetings. As people continued talking passive aggressively, an elephant appeared in the corner.

It started growing larger and almost as if by magic,
people started moving around to accommodate the
elephant even to the point of discomfort.

I stood up, pulled out a gun, and shot it straight in the head.

The Americans scoffed in disgust.
The Israelis cheered me on.
The Russians helped me carry the dead elephant away.

My Theory About The Rate At Which Software is Eating the World

Kumar’s Law: 
Over the history of software programming and app development, I’ve observed that the the number of developers and/or technologies/APIs and/or costs and/or education required to build an app will decrease by 2x every 2 years.

Graveyard Code. 
No-one can be sure just how many apps exist in the marketplace. One of the primary issues is that there’s graveyard code that exists not-in-the cloud that is not open source. There exists commercializable code that sits on dead or private repos.

The Notion: 
Websites that once took years to build can be cloned with fewer more robust technologies with less experienced developers who have been educated in less time.

Examples:

HIPAA Compliant App
5 years ago: Building a HIPAA compliant websites used to take several thousand dollars a year and take a few months to put together.

Today: It takes less than 20 minutes to build a HIPAA compliant web app with TypeForm with zero coding skills.
Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 01.38.28

Scraping:
To scrape a website, one was required to have a full on technical team.
Today, scraping can be done visually with a non-technical person at the helm with technologies like import.io and kimonolabs.

Software is Eating the World

All these things contribute to a world in which the coding bootcamp industry grew from 0 to 150M in 3 years flat. (2015 being the end year)

A world in which there are over 100 healthcare APIs.

A world in which there are entire SAAs companies that have close to zero humans but get hundreds of millions of impressions/user interactions.

A world in which you don’t even have to know how to do environment setup and can begin coding. Vida & Nitrous.