Fun with AI – Jerky Steve Jobs


I’ve been having a lot of fun with AI. One thing that I think is great is that you can ‘get advice’ from real people, at least you can get the AI to give you advice pretending to be those people… if they were famous enough to have enough stuff on the internet for the LLM to train on.

Here is some advice from a jerky Steve Jobs:

Well, well, well, it seems like we’ve hit a bump in the road, haven’t we? Let’s put a dent in this universe, shall we? Sit down, grab your favorite drink, and listen. If you thought this was going to be easy, you should have stuck to Sudoku.

First, let’s get this straight, products don’t fail, visions do. What’s your vision? What? Don’t have one? Then, there’s your first problem. Without vision, you’re just another no-name trying to hustle in the Silicon Valley rat race. No wonder the product isn’t shining. Remember, a product isn’t an item, it’s a solution to a problem. Is your product solving any problem? Or did you just push out something because your coding fingers were itchy?

Let’s talk about the product now. What’s wrong with it? What’s right with it? Can’t tell me? How do you expect your customers to figure it out? A product’s quality isn’t measured in lines of code or the time it took to design its logo. It’s about how it makes life easier, better, more enjoyable. In short, it’s about adding value. Is your product doing that?

And, oh boy, don’t get me started on your team. Are they A-players or just some people who know how to use a computer? If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. If your team doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t push the boundaries, doesn’t make you lose your temper once in a while, then they’re not the ones who’ll build the next big thing. Fire them. Hire the ones who can make your product a star.

Now, before I finish my rant, let me tell you something. It’s okay to fail. Heck, I got kicked out of my own company. But, I came back and made it the first trillion-dollar one. It’s not about the fall, it’s about the comeback. So, stop whining about your failure and start plotting your comeback.

You don’t need to be the next Steve Jobs. Be the first you. But for crying out loud, make sure you’re a damn good one. Get back to work now.

Some fun new marketing for telemedicine


I’m continuing to mess around with telemedicine marketing and SEO. In particular, I have been writing about some of the market leaders serving men – namely, Hims, Roman and Keeps. One of the places I’m trying to get the word out is on the AP News site – you can read my recent review of Hims vs. Roman vs. Keeps there. I tear down these three hair loss providers, and get a bit into the differences and similarities in their treatment options.

It’s still a really fascinating space. I’m looking forward to what these brands try to do in 2021; no idea if they’ll stick with their core, men’s health issues or if they’ll get into new topics.

Update in 2023 – so this was a great project, and I exited successfully in mid-2022.

Still into telemedicine startups


I’ve written a few pieces over on Medium about how I’m getting into telemedicine. For example, this one is about how I hoped telemedicine would adapt to help out during the COVID crisis. I wrote about how I liked the fact that the new telemedicine startup players have the infrastructure for diagnosis and care delivery, could provide access to anyone with a data plan (even in rural areas), were driving adoption of telemedicine, would make it safer to see a doctor (since you didn’t have to go to a crowded doctor’s office), could help with triage and treat other conditions during the crisis.

So far, I’d say that this is panning out, with players like Hims offering a large number of doctor visits for a huge number of conditions that go beyond their hair loss treatments and get into primary care, skin care and more. Pretty exciting stuff for the future of telemedicine and treatment delivery! I hope Hims and Roman and the like continue to innovate.

Creating a private Twitter list


Private Twitter lists are a great way to keep up to date on a group of companies, competitors, thought leaders, journalists, etc. – without anyone knowing who you are following.

Why create a private Twitter list?

Twitter lists are like a modern RSS feed – you can passively watch a lot of different companies/people and know about interesting news, trends, etc – without having to actively do any real work.

Keeping the Twitter list private means that the people you follow, and competitors, won’t know who you are following. This helps if you are following a list of customers and you don’t want your competitors to know. Or if you put a lot of time into creating a Twitter list that give you some kind of a competitive advantage and you don’t want someone else to benefit from you work.

I found that it’s not easy to find information on how to create a private Twitter list – not really sure why, as it’s very easy.

How do you create a private Twitter list?

  1. Click on your face in the top right 
  2. Click “lists”
  3. Click “create a new” list to the right
  4. Name the Twitter list it
  5. Make sure you select the “private” option
  6. Add people to the list, and there you go!

How do you make an existing Twitter list private?

If you already have a Twitter list and want to convert it from public, where anyone can see it, to Private, where only you can access the list, all you have to do is:

  1. Click on your face in the top right (see the image above)
  2. Click “Lists”
  3. Choose the list, from you lists in the middle
  4. On the left, click “edit”
  5. Choose “Private”, then save list




I’m excited to announce that I recently joined ForUsAll! ForUsAll is focused on making 401(k) retirement plans available to small and mid-sized businesses. This is a market ripe for innovation. If a SMB does offer their employees a 401(k) plan, they end up paying high fees, dealing with administration headaches and often get less than ideal employee participation rates.

ForUsAll is trying to change all of that using design and technology innovation. The founders come from a deep 401(k) lineage, having helped build Financial Engines – a major player in the Fortune 500 retirement benefit space. My role is to lead our nascent marketing team and I get to partner closely with our rapidly growing sales team. One of the things that most excited me about joining ForUsAll was getting to work with another fast paced sales team – I really enjoyed working with sales at Sunrun, and this is a tremendous opportunity to help shape an awesome sales and marketing organization. I’m also proud to say that we have recently announced our Series A venture capital raise, which you can read about here.

I hope that I’ll have time to blog more about the strategies and tactics that I’m using at ForUsAll. One of my initial goals has been to generate content for the company, so I’ve been writing and editing a ton. This means that I’m back in the groove of writing – awesome! But it also means that I’m busy writing like crazy for my day job, which may make it harder to produce content for this blog.

Now that I’ve left ForUsAll, I’ve put together some “industry insider” reviews of fintech 401(k) companies. You can read a Guideline 401(k) review here, and a ForUsAll 401(k) review here, and a Human Interest 401(k) review here.

Later stage private co’s valuations coming down


Fidelity, the mutual fund giant, is marking down a number of later stage, venture funded companies’ valuations again.

Fidelity got into the later state investing game a while ago, and from what I’ve heard, there is a private company investment group that negotiates investments in these late stage (i.e. unicorn type) companies, and the individual mutual fund managers can decide if they wish to invest in any of the particular companies.

Fortune is reporting that about half of the major unicorns that Fidelity invested in have come down in valuation since the end of 2015. I’m not entirely sure of the exact dates, but the trend is clear – late stage company valuations are continuing to decrease.

This isn’t surprising, given that last year was not only a horrible year for tech IPOs (the traditional ‘exit’ of unicorns) but also that about half of 2015 IPOs are trading below their IPO price. Techcrunch has a depressing piece on 2015 tech IPO performance.

Evolution of MVP


I came across this cute, but powerful, image on the evolution of an MVP. Not every great product happens like this, even if it’s done via a minimum viable product, but still, this is a powerful image. mvp evolutionI tried to figure out where this image came from to link back to it, but couldn’t.

Recent LTV post by David Skok


I had the pleasure of being a board observer to a company that had David Skok on the board. He is a pretty amazing operator turned VC, and his most recent post on LTV is just great.

For some reason, a lot of entrepreneurs forget to use gross margin when calculating long term value of a customer. David’s formula is pretty clear on how to use churn rate, gross margin and of course revenue to calculate LTV. Check it out!

Google, Facebook and Mobile


Facebook is allowing Google to index some user profiles for mobile searches. Check out the piece on MediaPost.

Other interesting tidbit from the article:

“Facebook accounted for a 17.5% share of worldwide mobile ad spend in 2014, sliding to 17.4% in 2015, per eMarketer. Google’s worldwide mobile ad market share in 2014 was 38.4%, falling to 33.7%, a higher percentage than Facebook.”

Reusing old blog posts with traction


I came across an interesting question on Growth Hackers and decided to respond – What’s the best way to clean out old blog posts?

This particular poster has a large number of blog posts that no longer apply to the company’s current business model. They get web traffic, and interest from potential customers, but the company doesn’t actually offer that product anymore.

I haven’t been in this extreme of a situation, but I have made hay from older posts and web pages in numerous web make-overs and relaunches.

The truth is that older web pages and blog posts do build up a lot of good Google juice. Both traffic and authority can develop out of older content that’s had a good run.

But things change, and so can your site’s content.

Here is how I’d approach this particular problem.

1st, I’d rank monthly traffic to the old posts in question. Below some cutoff, I’d characterize the posts into two or three segments and permanently redirect each segment to the best page from a related content perspective. As in, find the closest similar content on the site and point all of the low-traffic posts in that segment to that page.

The reason I’d do this is to preserve what you can of the link juice, while eliminating the content on the site that causes confusion for the visitors by offering a product that you just don’t sell anymore.

For the higher traffic posts, I’d find a way to rewrite the post to apply to the current business model. Unless the business had DRAMATICALLY changed, as in you used to be an uber for dog sitters and now offer marketing automation software, I think you can come up with content that is related enough to keep Google sending the traffic.

I’d approach the rewrite from a customer experience perspective. The goal is to provide something of value to the visitor. Google appreciates new content on well ranking pages, so ‘refreshing’ the content in a way that it overlaps with the visitor intent and your company’s new direction should be successful from retaining your ranking and providing a visitor experience that keeps the person engaged with the page.

A few SEO notes on the refreshed content:

  • I’d keep the URL the same.
  • If you can use the main keyword of the page (the former title probably) in the first or second paragraph to try to preserve some of the juice.
  • The goal should be engaging content that scoots the visitor toward your current business model