What's with us girls! Let's #OwnTheMoney
Our progress has been outstanding! We go up the corporate ladder, we build companies, and become CEOs and leaders. We demand pay-equality and take a seat in the boardrooms. We raise our hands. We shout #MeToo. We own it. We lean-in. We form support communities to shatter the glass ceiling, and eliminate the biases! And, we will continue to do all that for many years to come.
But, men are still the investors, not only the venture capitalist kind, but they are also the angel investors, the 401k investors, the retirement planners, and the stock market investors. Whose fault is that?
Men are trying to create equal opportunities. Take this for example:
In January of 2018, AngelList created Spearhead. A new angel-investing model, giving startup founders $200K to scout and invest in promising startups.
I thought to myself, girls will eat this up! What's not to like here? Be a founder, and fund your network! Find those promising startups that won't get a chance to shine, and now you can make a difference. I thought there would be women applications by millions. But, no... as of the time of writing this post, only 10% of applicants are female... I'm furious!
Let me be honest with you, among us girls, unlike many other frontiers for women, becoming an investor starts in-house. Becoming an investor is a decision we can make. It is a skill we can acquire, and it is time to do so. You want more female founders to get funded, step up become an investor! We want to men not abuse their power, become the power.
In my interview with DOER I said and I want to repeat it here: We want to be on an equal footing with men? It starts with our mindset. It's about us believing that getting crumbs is not enough, asking for the cake, the icing, and the cherries on top (borrowing words from Billie Jean King). And, then it's about not feeling sorry for yourself. Not allowing to feel you are a victim of these gender biases. For example, dream and work hard to be the best investor in the world. Why there is no female equivalent to Warren Buffet? Why are the wealthiest people on earth all men? How come, the wealthiest women on earth are the widows of wealthy men and heirs to the wealth of Dads? Don't believe me? Check those lists. I have been reading them for years...
I have a feeling that most of you girls will hate me for this. Just this past weekend the organizers of Women's International Day rejected my talk proposal to discuss #InvestLikeAWoman! I got sad but not surprised! How could we have an international woman day conference, celebrate women in tech, and not talk about the money! I hope they just rejected me, not my talk!
Love me or hate me! I have to say this again, as I have said time and time ( for example, here, here, and here), it is time for girls to 'Own the money'! Step up, and apply for AngelList's Spearhead program now:
Seriously, what can a non-technical founder achieve in one year? How about:
When you make a transition from being a corporate employee to become a founder, the biggest challenge the sudden endless possibilities. You are so used to having your own "swim lane" and the borders of your responsibilities are pretty defined. But, when you become a founder, you are responsible for everything, and I mean everything. Good entrepreneurs are those who find a way to cut through the noise in their heads, figure out what to focus on and stay resilient throughout the course of days, weeks, and months. Bad ones are those who start with excitement and then the excitement fizzles out as they jump between trying this thing, and going to that meetup and talking to that other guy.
Imagine when you start your entrepreneurship journey with a lot of focus. You don't get pulled into several directions. You plan, build, deliver, test and refine the product without any distraction. And you are able to maintain your momentum over weeks, months and years. Founder Institute does exactly that. It gives you a process to stick by and hold you accountable to it. Not only during the course of the first few months, but even after your graduation. When you feel you are losing your energy or direction, there is always someone to back you up and nudge you toward the right direction. I started StockCard.io as a solo founder about a year ago. We are now a team of four (three and half to be exact). We have a working product with hundreds of users who are actively using it. One year ago, I had no idea we could accomplish all that. Joining the Founder Institute and working with its Silicon Valley chapter- specifically Mike and Ryan who are the program's local directors here in Silicon Valley, have set us on the right path.
Thank you Founder Institute!
Also known as the company's strategic story and purpose...
Everything in life is a sales campaign. If you are a startup founder and you are not coming from a sales background, you most likely hate that. But, that doesn't make it less of a truth. Everything in life is a sales campaign and when you pitch your startup you are actually selling your idea, yourself, your team and your product. The worst thing you can do as a founder is to pitch as if you are pitching. By that I mean, you present your company based on what people tell you what they'd like to hear. Start with a problem, and give a solution, show the market size and brag about your team. Finally, make an ask. These are the questions the audience have, but they answer to them is not what grabs their attention, unless you have a thousands and thousands of users or you have Elon Musk on your team. When you pitch to answer people's questions, without having million users or Elon, it feels like you are cold calling them in the middle of dinner trying to sell them a time share.
Imagine you pitch and after your pitch everyone wants to have a second meeting with you. That's what you want. You don't want to follow a script that most people just zone out. Specially, if you are in your early days. You probably don't have an amazing traction figure or an all-star team. So, you can't just pitch the bare bone. You need to sell it like the greatest salesmen(women). And, that's where Andy Raskin comes in. You've got to read Andy's 'The Greatest Sales Deck I've Ever Seen' post. Read it 100 times and internalize it. When you pitch as if you are are selling a story that's when people put their iPhones down and listen. At StockCard.io we used to pitch and people's reaction was "why are you doing this?". We picked up Andy's methodology, telling the story of what we do, why it matters and is the only thing they need to pay attention to, there is always a follow-up conversation waiting for us at the end of the pitch.
So, thank you Andy Raskin for your brilliance.
For every early founder, it is going to be really difficult to explain to others or even to yourself what's the idea you are working on. Everybody wants to have it in their hands and see how it works. And, to get from an idea to a product - especially for a non-technical founder is literally a nightmare. The sooner you have something for people to see and react to it the faster you start the cycle of feedback and iteration. Otherwise, the idea keeps getting refreshed and revamped without ever getting the light of the day. You miss the chance to get to build a product that actually works.
Imagine when you start, even if you have no technical background, but you have a product that you can show to others. You can build it yourself and actually have a starting point to gather feedback. And, it costs you less than hundred bucks to get there. That's where Weebly comes into place. Weebly makes it possible for a non-technical founder to have a home for her ideas and a starting point to get feedback. It promotes itself as an easy platform to build a website. But, these days, unless you are creating a new technology, everything else is basically a website. The early generation of StockCard.io was built on Weebly. We used it as a landing page to test the idea and build our sign-up list. We also connected it to Google Docs and Sheets and some FB messenger and essentially we delivered our product as some sort of a high-end manual concierge. It helped us get all the feedback needed to build the new generation of Stock Cards which are not live, connected to a well-structured database and data APIs.
We never forget what David Rusenko and his team at Weebly did for us.
Update: After writing this blogpost, we actually went back to Weebly to build a subdomain for our website using Weebly. You never know how and when a good tool such as Weebly would come to the rescue.
Creating a brand identity (logo, social media banners and all that) are very time-consuming and frustrating. Every non-designer knows how much time it takes to google things out and figure out what logo, which font, in what ratios you build your logo and visuals. Do you use an icon or image.. How do you keep it consistent and professional and not spend hours and hundreds or thousands of dollars on it? Time is of an essence when you start. There are several things you need to take care of and spending hours building your logo, resizing it for all your social media and creating a banner for your emails, etc. is not the best use of your time. Successful entrepreneurs don't spend much time on these stuff. At the same time having a beautiful and consistent look is a requirement if you would want to stand out.
Imagine you have a tool that helps you build your brand identity in 1 hour. It gives you just the right amount of flexibility so that you can play with the colour and theme but all the other things such as the aspects and ratios, the color palette, and keeping things consistent across all channels are figured out by that tool. That's what Tailor Brand does. You don't have to be a designer, and you don't need a lot of time. All you need is less than 100 bucks to develop a professional, beautiful and consistent brand identity for your company. We used Tailor brands to create our logo. We use the brand identity package they sent us to guide our colour theme and designs on Stock Card.io. We also use their design studio tool to build all of our social media content, banner and updates.
For us, Tailor brands is like an in-house design team and we are grateful to Yali Sar and his team and product at Taylor Brands.
Also known as user acquisition or traction... (I know, I know, I'm pushing my word choice to fit it in the 'Five Ps' of a non-technical cofounder! But, admit it! It's more memorable this way!
There is one question that as a founder you need to have an answer and almost all founders have no good answer for it. That question is 'What's your traction strategy?' How would you get 1 Million users for your product in a cost effective way. And, oh boy, its damn difficult. The worst thing you could do as a founder is to think that you will find one magical way to acquire users in millions and that will be your holy grail. I've listened to 100s of podcasts about very successful startups on and almost none of them knew how they will acquire their million users from the get go. Successful founders will know that finding the best traction channel is an iterative process.
Imagine you have a very easy to follow roadmap that can guide you through that iterative process to figure out your traction channel. And, it stretches your thinking beyond the usual acquisition channels (social media posts) to think of new ways you would have ever considered. That roadmap is called Bullseye Framework by Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg who co-authored Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers. It's a easy to follow and it gives you ideas you can implement today. Most importantly, it works. At StockCard.io we have been using their framework since we started our open beta. We are acquiring users at a consistent rate of 4% per week, without single dollar spent on paid acquisition.
So, thank you to Justin and Gabriel for the Bullseye Framework that teaches you how to acquire users for your startup.
Last night, I pitched our company at ElevatorPitch event by PeopleConnect. It went well, nothing surprising - ranging score of 2 or 4 (no 3s are allowed), not a damn 5, neither a damn 1. Before I get to the main question of today's blog post, I have to get something off of my chest. We are stucked in the mediocre land - a 5 would tell me that we definitely have something, and a 1 would say that we are on the wrong track. But we consistently get either 2 or 4. Mediocre land is demoralizing, however it has a pattern to it. I get a score of 2 from older panelists, and a score of 4 from the younger ones. We are in a situation where people agree there is a problem, but do not want to accept or believe that our product will solve it. I have concluded that we need to show traction. Had my pitch had an extra line saying "and we launched a simplified version of our product in January and our sign-up rate has been increasing by 10% every week", then the scores would have been much more different. I think the time has come that as the CEO I need to make a decision to get us out of mediocrity and into the fantastic land. More to come on this topic in a later post (stay tuned!). Now let's go back to today's question!
In today's post I will talk about one particular question from a panelist who has me thinking since last night. He asked with puzzled eyes "what would Warren Buffet think?". This particular question is what I have been asking myself ever since we started, and it has guided my thinking. I did not get a chance to answer the panelist during the event, however I'd like to pay the question the attention it deserves, and answer it here.
Assim, if you are reading this, thank you for your question! This one post is for you!
What would Warren Buffett think about our product?
Warren Buffet will be so proud! Uncle Warren has a certain style of investing. Based on what I've learned, he believes in and act based on three logics : 1) Invest in great businesses that can create value, 2) Buy them at a great price, and 3) Control your emotions and do not panic-react to the short-term market fluctuations. His decision-making is slow, his taking-action is swift. He reads, learns, and gets to know the companies. He waits for a good price patiently, and when it happens he strikes swiftly. In most cases he believes you need not to do anything as an investor. You need to sit on the sidelines, observe and wait for the right price. Buy only and if only a great business - you've learned so much about that you feel competent of your knowledge - is available at a fair price. In case of uncle Warren, he goes through the process on his own, through his readings, and potentially discussing it with his close circle of competent team. This is a slow process that takes patience and it is the hardest thing for a young and new investor to replicate. Read, and do nothing! Learn, and stay put! Observe, and don't act! It it the hardest thing to do for a new generation of investors that are used to act fast, be busy, try, fail, try again. It is getting harder to become a Warren Buffet. Now, if there was a company that could help young investor do the work that Warren Buffett does, wouldn't that be something Warren Buffett be proud? If there was a company that would tell you whether the companies you are looking at are great businesses or not, wouldn't that be interesting? If there was a company that would read the news, annual reports, and articles, and summarize them into a format you could read quickly and understand effortlessly during your morning train commute, wouldn't that worth paying for? If there was a company that monitored the prices for the moment it is in the vicinity of a fair price value so that you get notified at the right time, wouldn't Warren Buffett be proud? I'd believe so! I'd bet if Warren Buffett was born in 80s or 90s, or he was not rich enough to be compliant with the status quo of his decision making process, he would have built such company himself. But he is old, and rich enough not to care! But we are not, neither old, nor rich enough!
What is it that we are building?
We are building a company that uses the efficiency of technology, and accessibility and abundance of data in order to make it possible for anyone to become a Warren Buffett - or broadly said - to become a better investor. If you still remember, I'm writing this blog post in response to Assim - a panelist in an elevator pitch event I participated last night. One of the other panelists brought up an interesting topic that deserves some attention too. He said and I'm paraphrasing "I used to go to the library to get the data I needed, and I worked hard to find a way to make the data relevant to me and use it to make investment decisions. But my kids do not want to take the time to learn, and make the data work for them." The question is, why can't we use technology and data abundance we are fortunate to have these days into a tool that makes everyone a little bit more like Warren Buffett. The new generation who is used to reliable and free data, prescriptive reviews and online content, and is distracted by rapid noise, news, and drama of online lives, do not have Warren Buffett's patience and discipline. We can help them to be a little bit more like him. We are building a company that uses the efficiency of technology, and abundance of data to enable everyday people and especially younger ones make stock market investment decisions quicker and more effortless.
What's so unique about what we do compared to everything else that exists already?
I realize this question is a bit distanced from the the original question of the post, but it naturally comes to mind when someone (and by that someone, I mean myself) is crazy enough to claim Warren Buffett would be proud of what we do. It is natural to ask what is so special here and how come no one else has been doing it? I wholeheartedly agree with anyone who says all trade platforms and many other tools have a slew of research and analytics tools. I also wholeheartedly agree they are part of the problem. Having access to abundant data does not mean you can make good decisions. Let's experiment! Close your eyes and imagine a 30-year old sitting at the Blue Bottle coffee shop, trying to make an investment decision:
He logs in to a brokerage platform, thinking to himself, where do I start? From a screener tool? From an industry data table? Or would I search for the company I've heard about in the news or during the lunch conversation with my friends! Where to start? And then he gets a Twitters notification. He leaves the screen to check the messages, scrolls down the page, and reads a couple of more things, and then he remembers he was investing. Back to the brokerage platform and he is thinking to himself again, Ok, somehow I landed on one company. Ok, let's make a decision using the data and tools available on this page! I need to make a decision in 5 min or less! Cause that's how I usually find everything else I need online. I've heard it is a good thing to be fundamentalist in investing. Look for fundamentals. What's that P/E ratio? It's green. If it is green why not everybody else buying it? Oh, let's check the social sentiment, or go see what the financial analysts say. Even if it is the best company in the world, isn't it too expensive to buy? But Amazon is too expensive and everybody keep buying it. Will I not be in a better place if I just buy an S&P500 index fund? I've heard no one can pick stocks. What do I do now? Oooo, wait what is this new tool they've added... Why do I need this? Damn it, it's been 45 minutes. Why can't I just make a decision in 5 min!
This is a typical experience of a user in a world with an abundant data. Maybe the previous generation of investors had to deal with lack of data and the companies solved it by keep adding new tools and new data. But the new generation of investors need to deal with extracting insights from the ocean of data, and no one has solved that yet. This phenomenon is not limited to the investors. Internet has made data accessible to everyone, and the process of solving the problem of not enough data, has created the new problem of having too much data. Check Finimize.com, They just raised about $560K in series A funding. They read the news for you, and tell you what's the most important news of the day, and why you should care. Aren't there many other companies that just give you the news? Every website of every news channel does that. Their secret is they tell younger people what's worth their attention and why.
Our product does the same! We tell young investors which data is worth their time and why! We also do that openly, logically, and efficiently. It saves them from getting overwhelmed by the large volume of data, and brings them the insights that matter. Our simple, visual, and interactive one-pagers translate abundant data into insights. We do not give the users yet another set of data, we give them the ability to make sense of the data quickly and effortlessly. Ultimately we'll help our users to become more logical and less emotional investors.
This is a product Warren Buffett will be proud of!
How to acquire users without a lot of money?
First update (12/27/2017)
Not fundable, because you need a ton of money to acquire users, and no one will fund that!
That's the first sentence that comes out of a typical VC or an angel investor mouth when you pitch them a consumer facing product (B2C). And, it annoys me to my core! Why is that the first thing they think about? Because of all the minor problem-solvers. All the apps and startups that just solve minor first world problems, just improve the lives of people incrementally, just deliver a little something people may or may not crave. Of course, when you are in the business of incremental improvement, cost of user acquisition is high. You have to convince people to give you their time and then some money to fix a very minor and perfectly avoidable pain in their little comfortable first world lives. Why would they do that, unless you find them at the best moment, at the most convenient location, and when they are in the mood for some levity or comfort. That is going to be expensive. But not every startup that is B2C falls into that category. Some of us are solving real pains. Some of us are trying to help people make less costly mistakes. Some of us will save people from their emotionally charged financial disaster, and bring order and logic to their investments. We do not belong in the crowd of "high cost of acquisition" apps. We do not belong in that club! I will prove it!
My side mission to prove VCs and Angels wrong! Here and now, I declare a side mission. A side mission to prove to those VCs and Angels that we are not in the same category as every other B2C product. We are not even in the same universe. Don't treat us that way. We are solving a real problem here! In its simplest form, cost of acquiring customers (CAC) = (Sales + Marketings Costs) / Number of New Customers. So you really have two levers to play with. Reduce your cost of sales and marketing per 1 new customers. Or increase number of new customers per 1 dollar spent on a new customer. So I will split the research into two parts: 1) How to reduce cost of sales and marketing. Or 2) How to increase number of new customers per dollar. I will update this post several times in the weeks and months to come. All I know at this point is that we are not the same. My hunch tells me that if you solve a real problem (as opposed to improving people's lives marginally) there must be a better way, a low cost way to acquire users. I do not know how, but I will find out. I'm just fed up of these presumptions, and I will prove them wrong. Stay tuned!
Second update - Become a Trust Broker (2/11/2017)
My second update on the topic of customer/user acquisition cost is a peek into a startup who has been able to acquire users in millions - NerdWallet. It came to my attention by Ryan, one of the Founder Institute's program directors. NerdWallet has truly mastered the path of content market in the personal finance category. My guess is that their cost of marketing with a focus on SEO is not too low, but they have been able to able to convince visitors to click through and land on their website, and ultimately convert. I want to understand they did it, and what was their secret sauce or unique insights. Let's begin!
NerdWallet - A personal finance website that "demystifies" big financial problems, and get paid a lead generation fee from financial institutions. On their Wikipedia page (ohoom, pun intended!) it says "founded in 2009, the company by 2016 had a valuation of $550 million and projected revenue of about $100 million". They attract about 3 million visitors per months to their website. For a website that its primary value is in its free content, this is one impressive profile. It is even more impressive when you think, there are 1000s of other companies, bloggers, websites, Podcasts, TV shows, radio shows, prints, books, and personal advisors that compete with them. So, what is their secret sauce? What is the unique insight they know and use to be who they are.
Their unique insight (Not so unique for us though! This is one of the pillars of our customers insights at Invest Groove) is the fact that when it comes to financial advice, customers do not trust the insiders. NerdWallet banks on the the idea that "most consumers want to know that they can trust somebody who is not beholden to one of financial institution - Dan Yoo, NerdWallet COO". NerdWallet produces that independent content, and through SEO engines put it in front of the customers. The second unique insight is finding those who are willing to pay for those customers handsomely. The old saying "follow the money" is exactly what they did. NerdWallet creates valuable, free content for the customers and then sell them to the same people who the customers were escaping from at the first place. Basically, NerdWallet plays the role of "trust broker". Trust is broken between financial institutions and customers, and they bridge the two sides together by keeping their independence.
What does this mean for us? Can we be the Trust Broker in the stock investing process for the regular people? The first thing that came to my mind is how a startup called TipRanks is doing just that. They test the financial analysts recommendations for accuracy, and sell the accuracy ranking to the customers. In other words, they assumed the reason the trust is broken between financial analysts and stock investors is in lack of reliability of the recommendations, and they are fixing the trust. They are charging a subscription fee for validating and being a proxy for the trust. The question I need to answer is, how can I position Invest Groove as a Trust Broker, and who are the parties that are interacting with each other? One thing for sure that we want to maintain the independence of being the platform that is built by regular investors for regular investors. Thinking about it, it is really about being the trust broker between regular people. We are the trust broker between peers.
Third update - Podcasting and new, yet proven media channel (2/24/2017)
My third update on this topic is based on my believe that there is still a possibility to acquire users with low cost through channels that the target customers are hanging out. The idea came to me one night when as usual I was googling, going back and forth between my laptop screen, conversation with my hobby, and whatever was on Netflix - chosen by hobby as the entertainment of the night. And I came across a Quora question and answers by Sangeet Paul Choudary. He is a well recognized author of a book called Platform Scale. In his book and on Quora he talks about and I'm quoting "Be the first to get onto a new user acquisition platform: There is a window when a new channel launches when users are still gullible enough to be harvested. Yelp did it with SEO, Zynga did it with Facebook. The same tactics don't work when both the users and the channel get more sophisticated later on." At that moment it striked me that is exactly what we should do. In our case, I don't believe our target customers need to identify themselves as stock market investors, but rather explorers. I then started thinking and exploring what are the new channels that we should be on. Everybody have been on Facebook, Twitter, Google SEO, Radio, and TV. What are and where are our channels? The channels where our target customers are hanging, exploring, and waiting to be discovered. These are two examples of companies who have found or are in the exploration phase of figuring out a new channel.
Podcasts - My fascination with podcasting is coming from my never ending quest to become a better storyteller. Podcasting is a fantastic channel to tell stories that surprises, delights, and emotionally engages the audience in a way that no other media does. Intuutitively, you would think because podcasting is limited to sounds and tunes, other media, TV for instance, have a much higher chance to engage their audience. But for me personally Podcast has an exact opposite effect. While TV is distracting, podcast is engaging. When I watch TV my mind wonders. It happens as well when I'm listening to a podcast except that it is a different mind wondering experience. With Podcast my mind wonders around the story the podcast is telling. I can also listen to Podcast almost everywhere with minimal interruption to other activities. When I'm driving, showering, brushing, cooking, sleeping, eating, you name it. And I think that's the unique power of podcasting. The only question remains is whether podcasting is as new as I think it is and the audience are as explorer as I want them to be?
What does this mean for us? All we need to do is give podcasting a chance. Produce a content that fits the channel, and measure how this new and emerging channel will be our path to acquire users with low cost. I did a bit of research and found that about 91M people in the U.S. have listened to a podcast, close to 60M have listened to one podcast in the last month (let's call them active listeners). If the 90M population of podcast listeners is a good representative of the U.S. adults population, then 25% of them should have money in the stock market and half of them should be self-directed investors. That gives me 11M podcast listeners who also invest in the stock market on their own. Can I have all of them listen to our podcasts, and then acquire them to use our platform at Invest Groove almost at no advertising cost? My plan is to give podcasting a chance. As it stand today, I've reached out to freelance podcast producers, I begged Ginlet media to let me pitch a podcast idea, and I pitched a good friend of mine to be my cohorts. None of these has yet come to fruitation. But, I'm determined to record and publish at least 4 podcasts. I owe it to my little inner storyteller to run wild.
One last note note before I wrap up this update. Are there other even newer channels with more explorers out there that I'm ignoring? As I wrote these sentences, I can't help but wonder whether something like Amazon Alexa or Google Home are the channels that are even better than podcasts and I just need to look into them deeper? I guess, this update might have a second part to it that I did not expect. Stay tuned for my next update.
Fourth update - The power of simplicity and storytelling (2/XX/2017)
Finimize - abc
Yep! I'm a non-funded, non-technical, single founder! I spun a couple of weeks thinking about the founder-shaming dialogues I have had with people of all backgrounds. Living in the Bay Area, and being a non-funded, single, and non-technical founder is either seen as a high probability of failure or as an indication of lack seriousness on behalf of the founder. Just read the application of any well-known or for that matter, any not so well-known incubators and venture capitalists, and in the first 2 to 3 questions you'll come across favoritism toward teams and technical backgrounds. As if the investing community have nailed the anatomy of a successful startup and their selection criteria is a colon of the so-called startup stereotype of a technical team worthy of getting funded. Some go to the extent of declaring their lack of interest in the project itself and focusing on the team only. Majority of even idea-stage venture capitalists and investors reject projects on the basis of being a single and non-technical founder. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of some sort! By the virtue of not being technical and being single you lose the monetary backing and mentorship of the very same people who can help you find a team and close the skill gaps - including but not exclusive to technical skills. So what should you do if you fall in the the non-fundable quadrant of the startup world?
"Find a technical cofounder as soon as possible, or forget about getting funded and consequently succeeding", said or implied most of the people and mentors I have been talking to in the past couple of weeks. At first, it gave me chills! Am I doomed to fail? If my project doesn't have the anatomy of a successful startup, will it fail? Is finding a technical cofounder and team is my utmost priority? If a technical cofounder is the key to become fundable and consequently successful, then what is the value of a business founder like me? These were questions keep dancing in front of my eyes for every second in the past couple of weeks. The answer might have been "giving it up", or "going back to work and making progress with the startup idea as a side project", or it could have even been "finding a cofounder". I was open to all those possible answers, but I was not willing to accept the advice I was given per the anatomy of a successful startup without giving myself a chance to think through it. Here is the summary of three dialogues I have had with me, myself and I to answer those questions:
Problem # 1: Can the project succeed without a technical cofounder?
Getting to that "no" answer was not easy. It took me several days, thinking and chatting with advisors and potential customers to refine the original idea and mold it into something that customers and users would still use and get value from while it can be delivered using an off-the-shelf software out there. Not every startup project needs a technical cofounder assuming that 1) it is not building a new technology but rather using it to deliver its products, and 2) the business founder is open to refine the delivery model to lend itself to an off-the-shelf solution without sacrificing the core value. These two criteria might disqualify your project as a startup but would that matter? You could be just a company enabled by technology.
Problem # 2: Can the project succeed without a team?
There is no doubt that having a team is valuable from two perspective: 1) sounding board and discussion partner, 2) faster or better execution. Former is only applicable when you have at least couple of key activities and they are on hold because you have too many things to do. Unless you are not overwhelmed by the volume of key activities, you do not need a team just yet. The former value of a team as a sounding board and discussion partner can be replaced by your advisory panel. Your advisors do not need to be experienced older mentors. They could be anyone with the skillset different from you who can bring a new perspective. Set up an advisory panel and engage with them regularly in the form of monthly/weekly updates and regular check-ins. Talk with them through the questions you want to answer and discuss the problem you want to solve as if they were your team.
Not every project needs to be funded. Specially if you are a rather experienced business founder with a supportive life partner and some savings that can be allocated to the project. Focusing on getting funded too early or when you do not need it is rather a distraction. Only explore raising funds if you have 2-3 key activities that you cannot afford to do and they are critical to the success for your project.
Problem # 3: Can the project succeed without funding?
At last, I decided to keep going as a single founder, non-technical, non-funded project. They may not call me a startup, but I rather succeed than being a startup. I may never get funded, but I rather find those paying customers than getting funded. Getting funded is not a goal, it is just a means to an end. They may not put my name in the list of hot startups to watch in 20XX, but I rather build a company that creates value for its customers than getting street credit in the Bay Area meetups and xyzCons. I'm not ashamed of being a single founder, non-technical and non-funded. But rather I'm curious to see how far these titles would take me!
Call me startup or not, at the end of the day, I do not need to have the anatomy of a successful startup to be one!
People and posts that inspired:
[A word of caution! This is a long post. I posted it on the day I quite my job to remember why! It is a story full of heartfelt moments. Do me a favor and stop reading if you hate long blog posts!]
And now, the tale of three interviews that led me to quit my job ...
Until September 30th, 2016 I spent all of my professional life in the corporate world. To be a bit more exact, I lived and breathed corporate life for 13 years; net of the 2 years of my MBA program when I counted every minute until I went back to my corporate life. For the majority of those years, I was a member of an employee segment that I'd like to call "Brilliant Miserable". This particular segment of the employee population, as their name suggests, are extremely talented. That sharp, fast-growing analyst who everybody wants to have on their team. That mid-level manager that 1 out of 2 strategic meetings happening in the company, either she is in the meeting, or is the one who built the deck for it. These creatures are naturally talented, readily assume leadership, work long hours, and most of the time are the ones who get things done no matter what! They are of course brilliant, but they also have a dark side. They are miserable in their corporate lives. They listen to Steve Job's famous graduation speech three times a week. They wake up every morning knowing if that day was their last day on earth, they would not have done what they were about to do. Login to their outlook, and get cracking at solving the corporate problems they have become numb to and build the deck, do the analysis, and go to the meetings they do not care for. And yet still, they show up brilliantly and perform magnificently. Year after year, they get just enough recognition, just enough promotion, and just enough retention packages that they still stay with their brilliant miserable lives of corporate. For the past 13 years, I was a miserable yet brilliant corporate soul! Why miserable, is a story for another post. The cause varies by the context but the root cause is always the same. The brilliant miserable employees want to be just brilliant and not miserable.
Like all my comrades, my brilliance didn't stop at my work. I did an outstanding job at staying current with the job market. Built a network of well-connected people across two countries (or three), stayed connected with my school's alumni network, maintained a masterpiece of a resume, supported other people's careers (karma), went to conferences, presented as a speaker, connected people for their own good, checked my worth in the job market frequently (a.k.a interviewing for the right opportunities when they presented themselves), and never stopped believing that any minute now the white-knight of a company will emerge at the horizon of the next interview and finally I could retire the "miserable" portion of my self-proclaimed title, and just "keep" the brilliant part. Albeit, the knight never arrived. In search of that ultimate company, while keeping my job, I interviewed with many companies, of which three made a long-lasting impression on me, and ultimately forced me to let go of the fairy tale of finding the company where brilliant people can just go to work and not be miserable. I quite my job and started on my own.
The three interviews that made me do the deed and quit, were particularly heartbreaking, nail-biting, and inspiring. Each one nudged me a bit more toward quitting my job. Each one thought me one core principal about happiness in corporate life and maybe even in life.
Amazon - Story of Amazon is the heartbreaking part. It taught me not everything in life can be achieved through hard-work and passion.
You can write a case study for MBA students about how to get your dream job based on my Amazon interview story. That's how perfect it was, except that I did not get the job (Anti-climax soundtrack). For those who know me, they know how I feel about Amazon. It is a company I adore and admire. From its CEO (helloooo Jeff Bezos!) to its Prime customer experience, everything about Amazon makes me smile. At the time of the interview, I had no other desire in my life rather than working for Amazon. I was in corporate-love! The interview had started more than a year before there was even a job posting. I reached out to the head of a division of Amazon where I had a good level of experience in the field. This division was in a field where you wouldn't normally find many people with industry expertise and as such, I was particularly sure that my experience would give me a head-start. We exchanged emails on Linkedin, and I stayed in touch. Sent frequent but not too frequent email check-ins with interesting articles and reports. One year passed and my phone finally rang. It was him with a job posting. To say I was happy does not do justice to how I felt. I was like an athlete who practiced for the Olympics for four years, and now was standing at the entrance to the Olympic opening ceremony. I was happy, nervous, joyful, and anxious at the same time. We spoke on the phone, I also talked to another team member. The recruiter called and told me they were flying me to Seattle. The Olympic ceremony night went well, the matches were about to start! Days before the interview I read everything there was to read about Amazon's notorious interview days. I answered any and every question there was on Glassdoor. I spoke with two people I knew working at Amazon about their interview experiences. I made note cards, practiced my pitch, looked-up the interviewers background, imagined working at Amazon, tried out several outfits and chose the one that made me look powerful and confident, Packed my bags and flew to Seattle. More interview question practice during the flight. Landed and walked around Amazon campus, fantasized about living in Seattle. The day of the interview got my hair done professionally (not too fancy, just brushing, didn't want to scare them off as the girl who looked like a bride at the interview). Walked in with confidence, smiled, spoke friendly, drew charts on the board, showed off my knowledge, asked questions, socialized and not just interviewed, ate launch, and left exhausted but feeling accomplished. What was left was the judges score on my gold-worthy performance. I returned back home with a promise for a 3-day turnaround time by the nice recruiter. And the heart-breaking wait started! Three days turned to seven before I lost my patience and reached out to the recruiter. All days at work, I read more about Seattle and Amazon. I prepared my plan of action for the first 30 days working at Amazon while checking my email every 5 minutes for another seven days. On the seventh day the recruited finally got back to me saying that the interviewers haven't had a chance to meet and discuss my interview yet. I was so confused! How could the best company on earth fail on the promise of 3-day turnaround time! But I stayed hopeful. Seven days became 2 weeks and a weekend phone call with the recruiter brought me the doom! The team loved me but felt I was not data-driven enough. Although when asked about KPIs, I had the answers, but I did not start my sentences with data. My first reaction was "do not cry! you will live!". My second thought was how could I be not data-driven. I have a sign on my desk given to me by my current manager reading "I dig data". I measure everything in my life, from calories I eat, to minutes I sleep, to dollars I spend. The heart was broken, not only my professional heart but also I was hurt at a perosnal level. Looking back at that experience, I learned that hard-work and passion is not enough to achieve what you desire.
Okta - Story of Okta is the nail-biting part. It taught me that I might never find a perfect company. It may not be in my cards!
Awe, Okta! The unicorn of security industry. The beautiful offices in the SoMa. The hip CEO who does Crossfit. The rapid growth beyond control, the long hours, the need for mission-focused team, the sense of community, the passion for success, the desire to go place. The one step left to an IPO... I wanted it and I wanted it all. Okta was my Silicon Valley corporate-crush. Yet again, my brilliance came into effect. I knew what they needed, and I was qualified to help them out. Over the course of 3-4 weeks, I met with them 12 times. From an analyst to the SVP of Sales I had a chat with them all. I say chat, because by the time I was interviewing with Okta, I didn't believe in interviewing anymore. Interview is one sided, questions flowing from the recruiter toward the candidate. The balance of power does not exist and that is usually a bad sign. A chat on the other hand, is a two-sided flow of information. Confident and knowledgeable about what they needed, I made an excellent impression. You know when the interviewer starts selling the company to you at the end of the interview, that's what you want. That's how you want to close any interview and that only comes from a two-way chat. Ten out of twelve chats with the Okta team ended where I wanted. One interviewer asked me at the end of the meeting when are you starting! With that, I was pretty much sure I nailed it. This white-knight of a company will be mine! And so the nail-biting started. Unlike what you would expect they didn't go dark. They kept sending emails and notes saying how they are interested and still working on getting me in for more interviews. Three weeks past, and there was no 13th to the interviews. The nice recruiter delivered the message. They never told me what went wrong, however I have an educated speculation. I concluded that everything in life is a sales campaign. You won't close a deal until all decision makers sign off. And in the case of Okta, someone from the ring of power didn't sign me off. The lesson was, there is a possibility that I might never close the deal with a company where I could just be brilliant and retire the miserable portion of my title.
ThoughtSpot - Story of ThoughtSpot is the inspiring one. It taught me being miserable is not a function of working for a company, it is the result of not believing in what you do.
ThoughtSpot came to me at the time I was living at the center of camp miserable brilliants. I was getting ready to start my own company. I believed it was the time for me to leave the corporate life, take my brilliance with me and leave the miserable part to the corporate life. I was 100% convinced no company will ever excite me and I was only a fool to hang around for as much as I did. And then there it was, another company, with a product that will revolutionize its industry. Just like that, the hope to build something amazing washed away all sadness. I was willing to give up my dream of starting something great on my own, to join a team and an idea that was brilliant. Why I didn't join ThoughtSpot is not as much important as what I learned. In search of happiness, I waited for a perfect company to arrive for a long time, and when it didn't, I gave up hope to find one. I concluded that I could never be just brilliant while I am working for someone else and I was ready to go on with my life and start on my own in order to drop the miserable part of of my self proclaimed title. But then a chance to join ThoughtSpot proved it all wrong. Being miserable is not a function of working for a not-so-perfect company, it is the state of mind that you fall into when what you do itself does not justify staying. Sure people at ThoughtSpot or companies like that, have miserable moments but I think what they do justifies staying.
At the end, I decided to quit and start Invest Groove, but for the right reason. For many years I wanted to quit because I was a miserable brilliant in search of a perfect company and a perfect team. The interviews at Amazon, Okta, and ThoughtSpot proved that belief wrong. Starting a company or working for one doesn't matter as long as you believe and are excited about what you do. Only start a company if you have something you believe in, otherwise no matter where you are and how brilliant you are, you will still feel miserable.
May all miserable brilliants become just brilliant. Here I come Invest Groove, with you I will be just brilliant!
Designing a product to scale is hard! That's what I have in mind when I wake up, drive, drink coffee, read news, eat dinner, ... and ultimately go to bed. Why is it hard? Because, there is a lot to be done, and there are millions of ways to get them done! I think the most difficult part of building a product is scoping out what to do first! Not knowing what to do first, leads to doing many things at the same time, and doing things that are nice-to-have. You talk to people about your product rather than building it, you read your favorite blogs, you learn new things, and add more items to your to-do list. Ultimately, when things get hard, you start playing startup rather than being one! These past few weeks I had a feeling that we are just playing start-up! Somethings needed to change!
As is usually the case, when we spin around for a couple of days (this time it has been weeks), we know that it is time to go back to the drawing board again. What are we making? Why are we making it? And, how do we measure our success? Let's remind us of our first six months goal:
In our first six months, we will build a product that at least one person is willing to pay for it.
How to design something to scale is the question that had us spinning! I got the idea from Elon Musk. In Q1 2016 quarterly analyst call, one of the analysts asked the question "what does make Tesla confident that it can deliver against its aggressive production plan per the promised volume?" Tesla's CFO responded and Elon elaborated that Model 3 is designed to scale from the get-go. It made me think if there are similarities between the production of a Tesla car and a De.Re. card (this the core product we produce at Invest Groove.)
Both are technologically complex. A Tesla car is a complex hardware, while a De.Re. card is a complex analysis. Both need specialized know-how, multiple components that are sourced disparately, and are expensive to produce and iterate relative to the price customers are willing and can afford to pay. Iteration cost is especially an important factor for us. Because from one hand we are working with a version zero and we still expect to refine the product as we talk to our customers. On the other hand, we do not have a free-flow investment source running through our veins (remember, we do not plan to raise capital in our first six months). Elon and his lieutenant did not provide more details, but they certainly triggered the thought in our minds to explore the drivers of a scalable design. Here is what we learned from our research following Tesla's quarterly call:
You can produce a product that is designed to scale through a process that has three components:
Although we knew the De.Re. card is our core product but after our research we were not 100% sure whether a De.Re. card is what we would want to sell as our product. Our plan for our product is evolving as we learn about how to design it to scale. Our long-term vision at Invest Groove is to give the investors the confidence to buy/sell/hold stocks. This vision does not mean we need to sell our core methodology to give our customers the confidence to invest in stocks. There are many ways we can develop a product to do just that. We can provide stock-picking services. We can create a fund that people invest in. We can create a newsletter that recommends a stock(s) on a regular basis. We can develop a rating system that scores and ranks stocks. We can teach people how to invest in stocks. We can offer creative new ways (like what ibillionaire has done) to give people a way to invest in stocks confidently. There are probably many other ways to go about it. Which one is our product?
To be honest, we do not have a clear answer to this question. What we know is because we are designing a scalable product, we must sync our product development activities with the three characteristics of a scalable product development process that we talked about in this post. What does that mean? It means that as our first step we will break up the task of investing in stocks with confidence into the smallest components possible, and we will document every step and action into a roadmap. We expect the outcome to be a modularized construct that anyone could use to invest in stocks with confidence. The delivery model will be what I'd like to call a "teachable course." Primarily because the only way you truly break up a process into its smallest components is when you are ready to teach the process to someone else. I'm not sure whether this "course" is something we will ultimately monetize, but without it we certainly won't be able to achieve our design-for-scale outcome. We will be focusing our effort on developing a "teachable course" that allows us to break apart, document, and ultimately automate the process to buy/sell/hold a stock with confidence.
Before I wrap up, a confession I have to make is that writing this post took me a week. When I started, I had no idea how and when I will finish the post. It reminded me of why I started this blog. This blog more than anything else is a diary of our journey to build our company and act as our formal drawing board where we can officially and in a structured manner think, evolve, and build our company. The only thing left is a shoutout to the one and only Alex Turnbull who inspired this blog (without knowing). I hope I could meet him in person one day (although I know he operates in a true remote / work-from-wherever fashion). Thank you Alex!
Bonus content: the first ever public sneak peak into our company's website and Twitter account! Drum roll ....
In our last post, we talked about our 6-month plan to acquire one paying customer with a product that is designed to scale. In this post, we will go into the details of how we plan to acquire our first paying customer in the first six months. I see this post like a go-to-market plan for our first six months. It is of course a very crude go-to-market plan and stripped to its bare minimum. But I wanted to share with you the thought process we went through to decide how we will be acquiring our first paying customer.
Usually, startups go through a resource-heavy product development phase (resource could be time, money, process, or a combination of all). In this phase, most product-developing startups are not clear about how they will make money with their product. They rarely spend any time on defining how to make money and rather focus on how to raise capital to fund their product development phase. We want to turn this model on its head. Our plan is to leverage the willingness of someone to pay us for our product (albeit version zero) as a signal that we are on the right track. The more paying customers we acquire, the more input we gather to understand how and to what extend our product is delivering value and how to enhance our product so that those paying customers spend more with us or convince their friends to become our customers.
Question 1: Why would someone pay us for version zero of our product?
This was really easy to answer. Because our version zero product solves a problem and delivers a specific value. As a matter of fact, our "value" is pretty simple and has been from the beginning. I realized that first time when I created our Twitter account. It was very easy for me to define who we are on our Twitter profile. " We are giving investors the confidence to buy/sell/hold Tech stocks". The real value is the confidence we give them to buy, sell, or hold a stock when they are investing their hard-earned cash in stocks market. I only edited it twice. Once I wrote it and the day after I went back and I added a small qualifier at the end "... with on demand analysis" and that was it. I think the "Twitter profile test" is actually a good way of gauging whether we know what problem we are solving. If only customers also engage with it and see it similarly (fingers are crossed!). I guess that's going to be one of the questions we need to get it answered when we start talking to our customers.
Question 2: Do any such people exist?
Our plan for the first six months doesn't stop here. In our last post and as I started this post, I talked about the 2 aspects of our goal. In this post I only got the chance to talk about the "first paying customer" aspect. However, we do not want to just acquire a paying customer. Rather, we would want to acquire that customer with a product that is designed to scale. In our upcoming post I will explore the 2nd aspect further and describe how we are designing our product to scale. Do not mistake it with scaling our product but rather designing it from the get-go to scale. This is a concept I learned from Elon Musk at Tesla's Q1 2016 investor call. It wasn't actually him who talked about it first. One of his executives touched upon the concept of "designing to scale" their Model 3 Teslas. Elon took the concept and explained how Model 3 will be different form their other models by design. I then took the concept of "designing for scale" and made it relevant to our product. Stay tuned for the upcoming post!
It is easy to be busy, go through days and weeks, feel exhausted, and yet get absolutely nothing of substance done. It happens day in day out across many large companies and organizations. You can also do the same when you are on your own, starting a company. You can still be busy (doing things), even be efficient (doing things well), and yet not be productive (doing the right things). The efficient busy-bee syndrome is shared between large, established companies and startups alike. However, there is a big difference between the two: When you are busy but not productive and working for a large company, you can blame it on leadership and lack of strategy. But when you are on your own, you have no one to blame for! The problem is that a large company can afford having an army of efficient busy-bee - at least in the short term it can. But a start-up, not only it cannot afford to be efficient busy-bee, being efficient and busy and not productive will cause an early failure before the startup can even get a chance to get started. How can you avoid that as a founder? Have a plan, act on your plan, measure progress and learn from it. Today's post is about our plan for the first six months and how to measure our progress?
We are calling our first six months "phase zero". It is the period we will build our product to get from zero to one paying customer. At its core, this is similar to commonly know phase of building a market-ready product. But, there are two differences between what we are building and a market-ready product. We want to build a market-ready product that meets two criteria:
Let's dig a bit deeper...
Our goal for the first six months of our startup:
Now, whatever decision we will be making or activities we will be spending time on must be measured against the above goal. For example, earlier this months, I needed to decide whether I participate in a monthly "FinTech" meetup in San Francisco. I decided to volunteer for one session and help out the organizers and in return I can go to their meetups for one year without cost. It seemed like a great idea! $15 USD per meetup X 12 months of meetups adds ups to $180 USD savings in my pocket. To put it in context, that saving pays for the cost of my domain address for 3 years on Weebly.com, not to mention the learning from key notes and networking value the meetups could bring. So I decided to volunteer. After formalizing our plans for the first six months, I'm reconsidering the priority of going to the meetups as it relates to our goal. These are the questions I would want to answer before going to those meetups:
I'm tempted to answer "NO" to both questions posed above. And with that, my meetup time allocation is rapidly shrinking to zero. We expect this approach is going to cut through noise and help us stay focused and productive, and not just a meetup going busy-bee. During our first six months, being productive means an activity that meets the two criteria outlined in our goal statement. Contrary, being a busy-bee is a state where we are going through days and weeks but none of our activities will pass the test of the above two questions.
There you have it! Our plan for the first six months and how to measure our progress? I am hesitating to wrap-up this post without talking about the longer term plans. The corporate strategist in me is screaming to talk about them ...What about after 6 months? What about long term aspirations and objectives? I recognize they are critical questions to answer and as a matter of fact, we do have answers to them. Having said that, at this point, I'm asking myself "does writing a blog post about our longer-term plans help us get from zero to one paying customer or reduce cost of production and modification by half?" and my answer to both is "No"! While I assure you, those plans exist but you have to wait until writing a blog post about them is in sync with our priorities! I will though tell you about the next blog post. I will be writing about "how we are acquiring our first paying customer and how we are using it to build a scalable product?" Until then, may you stay away being a busy-bee, whatever you do! Ciao!
One of the early tasks that we took care of it, during the first couple of weeks we started, was the registration of our company as a C-Corporation. To my surprise I ended up putting a lot of hours into research and making the choices that comes with the legal process of registering a company. At first glance, it seemed to be an extremely simple task but then as we went through it there were number of questions that we needed to answer and it took much longer than what I expected to come to a conclusion that made sense. In this post I will summarize what we learned, decisions we made and our logic to make those decisions. I summarized them in the form of Question and Answer so that it is easier to glance through and find the specific questions you are interested in. Intuitively you would think registering a business is all about choosing the name. It is of course required and is a hugely sentimental step. However there are three other more serious questions that you need to answer when you are registering your business legally. Here they are in the order we did research and answered:
1. Do we need to register our start-up legally?
When it comes to registering the company, the first question that we needed to answer was whether we actually need to register it as a legal entity. Many start-ups go through the product development phase without any legal status. As a matter of fact, many early/idea stage investors, VCs, and incubators prefer the start-ups not to be registered. Mostly because when it comes to bringing on an early investor they would rather to have control over the type of shares being issued and so on. In their application Q&A section they ask the applicants not to register the company prior to applying for their program. You can read about their reasoning on the Q&A section of their website under the "sustainability" section. Despite the investor community and incubators' reasoning there are benefits to thinking about this question. Fore one, it forces you and your co-founders to discuss roles and responsibilities. Also, as you will see later in this post, to register your business you need to identify number of shares to authorize and issue and to whom they are assigned and that is a great conversation to have with your co-founders.
What we did: After reading the descriptions of the options available and comparing them based on the business structure comparison table provided by San Francisco Business Portal we disregard Single Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, and Limited Liability Partnership (LLC). Then we had to choose between S-Corporation and C-Corporation and we chose to register the company as a C-Corporation for the following reasons:
2. Do we register the company on our own or use an expert help and/or advice?
You can certainly register your business yourself. You need to choose a name, check whether it is available, fill the forms required, get the permits you need (depending on your industry, city, country, ...), and file all the required documents. You can also hire a lawyer to take care of the process for you. Third alternative is to use companies like https://www.legalzoom.com or https://www.priorilegal.com. These are legal services on-demand platforms supported by lawyers and accountants if needed.
What we did: We chose to use Legal Zoom for two reasons:
3. How many shares, at what value and which class of shares to authorize and issue?
In my point of view, this is the best and most valuable section of this post if you are about to go through the registration process of your company (yeah, your welcome!). As you go through the Legal Zoom process (I'd expect it is the same if you choose to go through the process in any other ways), you ,must answer four questions:
What we did:
Before I wrap-up, I have to say that registering your legal structure will cost you. We paid around ~$350 to Legal Zoom for the initial services (including checking the availability of our name, filing with state and federal governments, obtaining our EIN number that is needed for hiring employees). We also paid an additional ~$150 for an add-on service to make Legal Zoom our authorized agent. This means they give us a calendar and an alert system to remind us of the frequent actions we need to take to stay compliant with the legal requirements of being a Corporation (e.g., annual reports, taxes, etc.). One last expense we incurred was an additional ~$350 for Legal Zoom partners to file our company's annual taxes. You can choose not to do the last two options and either work with another company or take care of it on your own. We chose to pay for it to make sure we do not need to worry about any legal and compliance issues and focus on what matters the most which is developing our product. Also be aware that you will receive bunch of letters form the government and some commercial calls form accounting firms and Dun and Bradstreet to sell you more stuff. We chose to rejects them all and stay focused on our product development priority and minimize noise.
Hope this post saves you some time as you go through the registration process of your start-up. If you are at that stage, let me just congratulate you. When the registration was done and we received our official documents in a nice package from Legal Zoom, it actually made us really happy and felt great. We knew that we are serious now and to me that was the most important reason we registered our company.
Photos used under Creative Commons from insider_monkey, jeffdjevdet