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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #198

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👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7
 
January 10 · Issue #198 · View online
P.S. You Should Know...
👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7am CST, and definitely the best one published by me. Now in its fifth year!

my story 🚀
Reenactment of our first trip to Austin 5 years ago. This is January?!
Reenactment of our first trip to Austin 5 years ago. This is January?!
🌼 George has been a mentor since early in my career. During a call long ago, I outlined my ongoing initiatives. He said, “You know, Pavel, one of these days remind me to teach you about focus.”
We had a neat opportunity for a marketing initiative this week. It’s the type of initiative that’s worked well for many companies and could easily work for ours. We had an easy point of entry to run a pilot. At first glance it seemed like a no-brainer to at least try it. After all, the pilot is inexpensive and there are plenty of ways to scale if the results look great. In about 5 minutes it had gone from a neat idea to a commitment to a next step because it seemed so easy.
I promptly killed it. No regrets. There are a ton of great tactics to market our business. I really do want to take each and every one on a test drive. And in time, with the right resources, I hope we can. But I know that they come with big, often hidden, costs.
First, there are the tactical costs. Somebody has to do the thing (and all the sub-things necessary to do the thing), coordinate with the people, and measure, analyze and report the results. These costs exist regardless of how small the pilot is. Then, there are the opportunity costs. I know the cost of executing a pilot comes at the expense of executing a core strategy. We have plenty of reasons to believe in our core strategy so every bit of energy we spend elsewhere costs our small team dearly.
I love the idea of letting a thousand flowers bloom. I believe very strongly in testing new ideas and making bets with asymmetric payoffs. I think they are best done, though, within the context of a strategy. Before the flowers bloom, I want to make sure the seeds are planted in the right garden. If the bet is appropriate, it should fit neatly into the strategy. If it doesn’t fit, and it’s worth doing anyway, maybe it’s time to evolve the strategy.
I still lose focus too often, but I know why the fight for focus is worthwhile. Message received, George!
💼 I wrote two job posts this week. Please pass along to anyone who would make an exceptional hire for content marketing or influencer marketing.
someone else's words 💬
fun facts 🙌
My year in data. Thank you so much to this author! “What do I actually do with my time? How productive am I? I logged everything I did in 2020 and got some pretty cool data out of this.” | learn more
Japan developing wooden satellites to cut space junk. Aluminum particles stay in the atmosphere when the satellites burn up on reentry. “Wooden satellites would burn up without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when they plunge back to Earth.” | learn more
Someone is stealing unpublished book manuscripts. “A phishing scam with unclear motive or payoff is targeting authors, agents and editors big and small, baffling the publishing industry.” | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
Expunging cannabis arrest records happening 4 years ahead of schedule. It’s nice to see some positive news from the state! “Illinois officials announced Thursday that nearly half a million cannabis arrest records have been expunged by state police.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Lessons learn from 4 top VC funds that his 3x+ returns. “Our first 4 funds are mature enough to know where they’ll end up and all of them will handily beat this benchmark. I reviewed our portfolio this morning and jotted down 12 notes.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health care partnership disbanding. I first shared news of this partnership’s formation in 2018. We now come full circle to its end. I’m reminded of an old Jeff Bezos comment about the Fire phone: “If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now — and I am not kidding.“ | learn more
retail therapy 💸
An oral history of the world’s biggest coupon. This was fun to read! “Bed Bath & Beyond’s plus-size mailer, known as Big Blue, has made it to TV, eBay, even a mobster’s kitchen drawer. “The poor mailmen,” the company’s former marketing V.P. said, “what we did to them.”” | learn more
The original home shopping frenzy. All about Sears! “As they branched out into other product lines, including sewing machines, bicycles and even cars, their catalogue steadily increased in size. By 1908 it offered more than 100,000 items over 1,400 pages, weighed four pounds and was delivered to a fifth of American households.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Single cell learning. “The question of whether single cells can learn led to much debate in the early 20th century. The view prevailed that they were capable of non-associative learning but not of associative learning, such as Pavlovian conditioning. Experiments indicating the contrary were considered either non-reproducible or subject to more acceptable interpretations. Recent developments suggest that the time is right to reconsider this consensus.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
The restaurant apocalypse and DropKitchens. “Drop Restaurant - A Dropshipping model / and or Operating System (Similar to Shopify) for virtual restaurants where entrepreneurs create virtual restaurants from existing kitchens and generate revenue without ever touching a stove.” | learn more
Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop. “Archaeologists in Pompeii, the city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD, have made the extraordinary find of a frescoed hot food and drinks shop.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
To fund people or projects? Here’s a deep discussion of the merits of two different scientific funding paradigms. Are we better off funding scientists and giving them a lot of freedom, or funding specific research projects with a tight leash? | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Tether price manipulation. “Tether has been manipulating #Bitcoin’s price upwards for years now by printing unlimited, and unbacked $USDT. This thread will cover the controversial aspects surrounding Tether, and how it will eventually meet its demise.…” | learn more
Grayscale BTC buying squeezes supply. In December the crypto fund bought nearly 3x the amount that was mined in total. | learn more
calls to action 👇
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