Popular Podcasts and Audiobooks

Popular Podcasts and Audiobooks

Entrepreneurs simply do not have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything they want to. With all the immediate demands that come with maintaining and growing a business, there is usually precious little time left for longer term personal pursuits. A great example of this is continued learning and self-education.

Some of us are able to carve out the time to read on a regular basis, but it requires an incredible amount of willpower to set aside more immediate, but not necessarily more important, tasks. A more palatable option is to passively listen to audiobooks or podcasts while completing routine tasks. Those minutes add up at the end of the day, week, and year. If you commute anywhere in Los Angeles or another metropolitan city, that’s a substantial amount of your time.

Next time you drive to work, exercise, walk your dog, eat lunch at your desk, etc., try listening to a great book or an educational podcast. To get you started, here’s a list of some of the most popular services I use and content that I make an effort to listen to:

  1. TED Talks FeedBurner Page or any page on their site for video.
    – In case you’re not familiar with TED Talks, they’re popular speeches given by industry renowned experts on a wide gamut of fields.
  2. This Week in Startups via Stitcher
    – The popular serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Jason Calacanis has operated this show since 2009. He interviews other popular tech moguls and covers trending news in Silicon Valley.
  3. Ask Gary Vaynerchuk
    – As the title implies, it’s a show where expert marketer and angel investor, Gary Vaynerchuk, answers people’s questions on entrepreneurship, social media, and more.
  4. Any informative book on Audible.com
  5. NPR’s Planet Money
    – A bi-weekly podcasts on the global economy discussed in a casual manner.
  6. Smart Passive Income
    – Marketer and entrepreneur, Pat Flynn gives tips for running an online business.
  7. Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast
    – Podcasts covering popular topics from HBR’s management magazine. If you have the time, I recommend reading this one as their articles are usually heavily researched.
  8. The Investors Podcast
    – Hosts, Preston and Stig, study, discuss and interview billionaires.
  9. Mixergy Startup Stories
    – Andrew Warner explores popular startup stories and interviews their founders to provide great business tips.
  10. Foundr Magazine Podcast
    – Interviews with startup founders and entrepreneurs.

If these don’t interest you or they’re not in your field, don’t let that stop you. There’s a wide variety of content out there on Stitcher and iTunes. For instance, in the domain name industry I listen to podcasts from Domain Name Wire and DomainSherpa. Remember that one of the keys to growth is constantly pushing yourself to learn!

Have a favorite podcast or audiobook? Let us know about it in the comment section!

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As the co-founder of a SaaS startup I am incredibly busy just about every minute of every day. It’s easy to get in “do mode” where you are highly tactical, focused on getting things done that need to be done. While this is a great mode to be in, as founders we have to keep a careful balance between tactical and strategic.

One of the best ways to be more strategic is to study and understand as much data as possible about your business. All those KPI’s and metrics that tell you how your business is doing, where you’re kicking ass, and where you’re falling behind are critical to making sure that when you do get tactical, you’re focusing on doing things that move things in the right direction. Gone are the days of tracking these manually, now tools exist to help make your life easier by aggregating all of this data together, saving you the time of gathering the data yourself and instead aggregating it together, and showing the metrics you care about.

Below are three tools that can help you get more organized and data-driven so you can look at your business from 30,000 feet above to better understand where you can make the most impact.

SalesLoft_Logo

SalesLoft – where has this been all my life? Salesloft is a tool that plugs directly into Salesforce that makes it much easier for sales development teams to streamline their email and phone activity. SalesLoft plugs directly into Salesforce and allows for the creation of something they call a “cadence”. These Cadences are regular contact flows, i.e. first send an email to a prospect, then call them, then email them two days later, etc. Normally companies would keep this kind of information in a document or a spreadsheet, now this can be managed and tracked directly through a platform. As a founder or sales manager, it’s then easy to get a snapshot of how many phone calls and emails your team is sending, and more importantly, how well your team is performing over time.

InsightSquared_logo

InsightSquared – first I’ll be completely honest in saying this is a new tool for me, but one that came highly recommended to me by a successful SaaS CEO here in Austin. Think of InsightSquared as one of the most powerful tools for unlocking the data you are already keeping track of in Salesforce. Rather than building complex reports correlating different key data points, InsightSquared has an entire platform that pulls out the data and helps make meaning of it. This isn’t just valuable for SaaS founders to use in order to make better decisions, it’s also a great way for SaaS investors to stay plugged-into the number and more carefully understand what how their investments are performing outside of the regular monthly or quarterly updates they get.

freshbooks

FreshBooks – when it comes to billing I’ve found that Freshbooks is the easiest way to send invoices, keep them organized, and provide flexible payment options for your clients (i.e. credit card, monthly payments, etc.) I know there are other tools out there so do your homework before jumping right into FreshBooks but this has been my go-to for years now, it’s simple, works well, and seems to be the easiest for clients to login to and make payments.

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morgans-flippa-five

Hello, happy Monday, and welcome to Morgan’s Flippa Five. This week some very nice one-word .COMs (my favorites) hit Flippa however a couple of these, like Boomerang.com and Heritage.com, while being incredible domains, are priced a bit above what I’d call “investor pricing” but they are actually very reasonable when it comes to end-user pricing, just not a lot of room to flip IMO. Other domains like Rematch.com haven’t hit their reserve but time will tell where it’s priced.

Enjoy, there are some real gems on this list!

Boomerang.com – nice one-word .COM, a little long for my taste, but it makes up for it with some real charm. With an $100k starting price it is going to be interesting to see if this gets much bidding activity. Still, I love the domain!

ECQ.com – only 16 hours left, at $18,000 and the reserve has not yet been met. This could creep up above the reserve price closer to the finish. I like 3L .COMs but the “E” and “Q” are definitely going to hurt the value.

Rematch.com – 18 year-old domain, plenty of nice broad uses but certainly lends itself well to sports or video games. Currently at $5k but lots of time left.

Heritage.com – like Boomerang.com, this is another monster domain, but it has a $100,000 starting price so it’s likely a better fit for an end-user or a domain investor with deep pockets and a long time horizon.

Icky.com – currently at $10,000, reserve not met. I’m a sucker for one-word .COMs but I’m not usually a fan of negative words like this. The challenge here is that while it’s a solid domain, it literally means “gross” so that limits it’s use quite a bit. At the same time, it’s perfect for some things, just not as broad as a domain like Boomerang.com.

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We’ve been using Slack for over a year now, compared to things like Skype or Google Chat like we’ve used in the past there’s no comparison. It’s designed for businesses that need to communicate and keep things organized beyond simple direct messaging.

Altspace-vr-and-slack

And now you can pull everyone into a VR meeting thanks to Altspace VR.

The integration installs a little bot within your Slack organization which gives you access to the /vrcall command. Type the command into any Slack channel, follow it with the name of the room you’d like to create, and the bot will automatically make the specified room and post the link into the chat instantly. (Source – RoadToVR.com)

Right now it’s still very early for VR Slack meetings to really catch on considering that everyone on the team would need their own VR goggles. Still, it’s the beginning of something that’s going to be completely normal a few years from now.

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Startup Words Wednesday: Analysis Paralysis

startup

In this week’s Startup Words Wednesday I’m going to address a phenomenon I frequently see demolishing brick-and-mortar businesses and startups: analysis paralysis.

Entrepreneurs, data scientists, domain investors and other key decision makers often want 100% of the information before making a decision. It’s a very rare occasion when this happens and procuring this data is often a waste of time and resources. Jack Welch put it best in his book Winning when he said “Effective people know when to stop assessing and make a tough call, even without total information. Little is worse than a manager who can’t cut bait.” What’s worse is when they work to accumulate all the information, they become even more confused than when they began, all the meanwhile exhausting their available time to act.

Analysis Paralysis

This occurs when an individual becomes so lost in the process of examining and evaluating various points of data that he or she is unable to make a decision with it.

-Investopedia.com

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t come across a manager that wants endless information on potential hires, a CMO that wants more research before moving ahead on a marketing outlay, or a CEO that doesn’t want to release a new product without all the features ready. While we may be able to come up with general guidelines for the specific problems I outlined, there’s no clear cut method to best combat indecisiveness or to efficiently comb through endless information to determine which of it is most important across all fields and problems. Furthermore, we live in an era where we’re constantly tempted to endlessly research problems on Google and mine for more information until we’re absolutely satisfied with our decision.

The ToDoist.com blog has a great piece on the science behind why this overthinking utterly eliminates our productivity. They write that “Psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the phrase ‘Paradox of Choice’ to describe his consistent findings that, while increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction.”

paradox-of-choice

ToDoist.com article by Becky Kane

The best we can do is realize that a decision must be made and inaction often yields the worst outcome. Set a deadline for yourself for the absolute final time you need to make a decision by and propel yourself towards it with assistance from your team. If you have several options you need to weigh, quickly put together an estimate for when each of these options will inevitably be off the table. It’s a wise move to start your decision making process by dividing your information into two groups: what’s necessary now and what’s necessary later. People are often sidetracked by “what ifs” and grandiose game theory scenarios that are unlikely tangents to your choices.

Stay focused on your main objective and happy decision making!

Please leave a comment about any decision-making strategies you use and recommend!

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From $2 to $6,800 with 尼康.世界

If you can’t read the domain name above, you’re not alone. That’s because in Chinese it means Nikon.world, it’s an IDN and the owner made over 300,000% with this deal. The buyer is Nikon according to the WHOIS record:

nikon-world-domain

Now I’m not saying to rush out and buy every 世界 domain you can find. Instead I think this is an interesting data point and a sign that we are really still in the early days of domain names. These are very early sales, and in many cases a domain like this would end-up in a UDRP. I don’t recommend registering Trademark infringements so this is not the kind of purchase I would endorse.

Still, it’s an interesting data point, a new IDN with real interest from big brands. This is also a TLD that likely very few of you have heard of. I am currently not investing in this space as I don’t speak Chinese or know the market well enough, but investors in China are testing the markets and in this case, there was a nice reward.

Have you ever sold an IDN? What did you do to research and determine if it might be a good investment?

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morgans-flippa-five

Hello, happy Sunday and welcome to Morgan’s Flippa Five. After reviewing more concepts than I can count I have decided on the image above for my Flippa Five Series. While the top graphic might not seem to make a big difference I found the last one was too large, especially for mobile visitors.

As usual, I have gone through Flippa’s domain listings by hand and picked these five domains that caught my eye, and might catch yours. Enjoy!

Entertain.com – 22 year-old one-word .COM, solid name, a bit longer than I usually like but still a nice name.

Shelly.com – if your significant other is named Shelly, this would be a present that would get you bonus points for years to come. Also a great brand name and a nice one-word .COM.

ECQ.com – I’ll start by saying – this isn’t my favorite three character .COM. It has an “E” and a “Q” in it which definitely hurts the value. Still it’s a three character .COM so there is some meaningful value there, just not in the same range that you’d see with better letters.

BackupService.com – I know, I know, it’s a bit long, but still a solid 18 year old two-word .COM in a very hot competitive market.

Nort.com – interesting 4L .COM, while it has a vowel in it, it also happens to be pronounceable which is a good thing. If that “O” was going to be somewhere, it ended up in the right place. Perfect for anyone with a significant other named Nort…but my guess is that’s relatively unlikely.

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apple-watch

I was an early-adopter of the Apple Watch and have had it pretty much since launch. While I initially bought it thinking it would be nothing more than a novelty, I’ve actually found it to be an amazing watch. Still, since the day I bought it there was one big drawback, the apps were mostly useless without a phone.

While it’s not common that I don’t have my phone with me, it would also be nice to have a watch that can run without another device. This has been a common issue and Apple is making major moves to address it requiring that all Apple Watch apps work independent from a phone starting June 1st.

apple-watch-phone-free

This is going to make a lot of Apple Watch users very happy and it’s likely to bring new users to the device as well who previously felt too restricted. It’s a good move and one that I think is largely based on user feedback given what a major issue this has been for Apple since launching the watch.

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Native Apps vs Mobile Web Debate Rages On

photo-1423784346385-c1d4dac9893aThere has been a long standing battle for dominance between the mobile web and mobile applications. Domain investors heatedly debate the issue because we believe it’s a key performance indicator in domain name usage. Two years ago Morgan wrote a post about smartphone users spending only 20% of their phone usage on the mobile web. In the article, he poses the question “will this 20% go up as more mobile users get online over the next 3-5 years?”

ComScore’s survey later that year found that native apps were used roughly seven times as much as mobile browsers. However a majority of that traffic was funneled into a small number of apps and large brands, which holds true to this day. What’s more, a predominant amount of that usage is dedicated to entertainment, social media, chat and retail apps owned by Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay. Facebook leads the pack by a large margin and others like Pandora Radio and Youtube follow depending on the age range. Only a minor amount of app time is spent on what seems like productivity. Unless they were surveying social media managers and videographers, the rest would imply it’s largely recreational use. Forrester Research revealed this year that 88% of in-app time is spent on just 5 apps: Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Gmail, and FB Messenger.

12_sma_q2_2015_final

Image Credit: Opera MediaWorks

A survey conducted by Opera Media Works in mid 2015 revealed that the number of US app impressions is closer to 90% now. However in the rest of the world, with the exception of the Oceania region, mobile web still dominates. Venturebeat has cheekily intimated that it remains unclear whether this means the US is ahead of or behind the curve.

11_sma_q2_2015_final_0

Image Credit: Opera MediaWorks

Globally, app impressions dominate with about 56% of the total, and it gets the lion’s share of revenue at nearly 71%. However, at the end of the third fiscal quarter of 2015, a report from Morgan Stanley (pdf download) showed that mobile browser’s unique visitor traffic is two times larger than mobile apps’.

Further investigation reveals another layer of complexity to the analysis of this struggle for dominance. At the conclusion of last year, a survey from Quixey was released showing the following:

  • Only 12% of respondents said that they would still prefer to download an app, even if they could get all the features and functionality of an app without having to download it

  • Nearly half of the respondents (49.7%) dislike using mobile apps for two primary reasons: they chew up device storage (26.1%) or they are slow and have inconsistent performance (23.6%).

  • More than 2 out of 3 people (66.4%) prefer to use the mobile web because: they have access to all content in a single place (32.5%), they don’t need to install anything new (23.3%) or they don’t need to flip between multiple apps (10.6%)

  • 69.5% of people ages 18-34 cite user experience as what they like most about using mobile apps

  • The majority of people (34.4%) cite ‘features and functionalities’ as the primary reason they prefer mobile apps over mobile web, with ‘user experience’ not far behind at 28.4%

Emarketer expanded on this survey and stated that “push notifications and alerts” was another key feature for apps. The famous information architect Peter Morville put it best when he said “We’re in an era of service ecosystems.”

So what does this all mean? It seems that apps, and only a handful of them, are currently winning. They have deep engagement in entertainment-like categories and yield the majority of revenue, while the mobile web is still being used in a more exploratory, researching, and for a lack of a better word, browsing manner. The last survey seems to indicate that people view apps as a necessary evil. Users would rather use the mobile web, but it lacks design and functionality. However, as long as deep engagement and advertising revenue are driving native app development faster than mobile browser and web advances, we probably won’t see a turnaround anytime soon.

I’m sure the debate will rage on into the next decade as we see technologists foster the Internet of Things (as they primarily live in mobile apps), and search engine giants like Google constantly overhaul their browsers and OS. One commenter on Morgan’s past article brought up the great point that as desktop software has evolved, they’ve largely moved to the cloud and web apps, and away from local applications with constant resource hogging updates. This is something that also came to light through the Quixey survey. I believe as the mobile web evolves in functionality, form and monetization method, as Google Now’s predictive search capabilities advance and blend with Chrome, and as Chrome’s mobile push notification technology grows, it will slowly decimate the app landscape. If mobile browser technology eventually allows its users to easily subscribe to push notifications from specific Internet capable devices, that would be a major blow to the future of the app industry.

By and large, I think the retooling of mobile browsers and large advancements in predictive search will knockout apps as we know them today. As a result, I’m sure the next debate that will gain traction is “domains vs predictive search.” Until that time however, I rest easy knowing that websites, email, and brands will need a domain name for the foreseeable future.

Have a different opinion or more to add? Let your voice be heard in the comment section!

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I recently discovered a feature in HubSpot which many of you might already know, but it’s new to me so I’m assuming it will be new to some of my readers as well. First I’ll back-up and tell you what HubSpot is for those that are completely new to it.

HubSpot is a suite of tools to improve inbound marketing and sales through software and automation. They have more tools and widgets than I can count or keep track of, but one of the core things they do is help generate inbound leads with data already available to you, that you just didn’t know existed.

The specific data that I think is interesting to domain owners is the email address of your website visitors. Yes, it’s something you might not have thought of but whether someone submits their email address on your site or not, there’s still a way to get their email address.

HubSpot allows you to put a little tracking code on your site and then you can instantly begin to access email addresses of website visitors, and for sites/domains with some traffic this means new leads every day. The call the feature, “Prospects” and you can read a bit more about it here.

hubspot-prospects

Since this is a new discovery for me, I have absolutely no data on how well these leads convert, but I do think it’s worth experimenting with for a few domains that I see get a higher amount of traffic and offers. While my guess is the vast majority of the leads will end-up being people who visited the domain expecting a live site (i.e. not to buy a domain) there could be some diamonds in the rough which as domain investors, we’re always looking for.

It’s a pretty easy experiment to run, and like most experiments, it has a high chance of failure. Still I think this is interesting enough to look-into so I wanted to share the idea with all of you. Also I’d like to ask if any of my readers have tried this themselves as HubSpot has been around for quite some time and I’m definitely late to the party when it comes to leveraging features like this.

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