Dealing with budget depression (and personal)

For about 5 years I've had a business idea and have done market research, crunched the numbers, did a feasibility study, and looked at market trends. Looking at a convergence of technologies coming up along with a depression from the 'old guard' and it's time to execute, however, I have a bare cupboard to look at (not literally).

It's a hardware play, and an overall MVP is looking around $ 30k…right at the time that I need a new vehicle (repairs cost more than worth), and a house that I purchased needs a new roof. I can come up with all the paperwork in the world for a business loan, however, after buying a new vehicle and spending the remainder of a budget for a roof that leaves close to $ 0 for any needed fees.

As planned all the budget I have had over the years has been spent on equipment to get up and running, so now I just need to purchase materials, but they're expensive materials.

So daily I plan, and get further into a depression on the fact that I might be late to market, beat by a competitor, or just not be able to do this. Has anyone encountered this? How do I pick my head up? I actually talked to my wife about it and said "maybe I should give up". It sucks. I don't suffer from depression, but this almost seems insurmountable.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Human AI nabs $3.2M seed to build personal intelligence platform

The last we heard from, the startup was participating in the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield in September. The company got a lot of attention from that appearance, which culminated in a $ 3.2 million seed round it announced today. While they were at it, the founders decided to change the company name to Human AI, which they believe better reflects their mission.

Differential VC led the round, joined by Village Global VC, Good Friends VC, Beni VC and Keshif Ventures. David Magerman from Differential will join the startup’s board.

The investors were attracted to Human AI’s personalized kind of artificial intelligence, and co-founder and CEO Suman Kanuganti says the Battlefield appearance led directly to investor interest, which quickly resulted in a deal four weeks later.

“I think overall the messaging of what we delivered at TechCrunch Disrupt regarding an individual personal AI that is secured by blockchain to retain and recall [information] really set the stage for what the company is all about, both from a user standpoint as well as from an investor standpoint,” Kanuganti told me.

As for the name change, he reported that there was some confusion in the market that Luther was an AI assistant like Alexa or a chatbot, and the founders wanted the name to better reflect the personalized nature of the product.

“We are creating AI for the individual and there is so much emphasis on the authenticity and the voice and the thoughts of an individual, and how we also use blockchain to secure ownership of the data. So most of the principle lies in creating this AI for an individual human. So we thought, let’s call it Human AI,” he explained.

As Kanuganti described it in September, the tool allows individuals to search for nuggets of information from past events using a variety of AI technologies:

It’s made possible through a convergence of neuroscience, NLP and blockchain to deliver seamless in-the-moment recall. GPT-3 is built on the memories of the public internet, while Luther is built on the memories of your private self.

The company is still in the process of refining the product and finding its audience, but reports that so far they have found interest from creative people such as writers, professionals such as therapists, high-tech workers interested in AI, students looking to track school work and seniors looking for a way to track their memories for memoir purposes. All of these groups have the common theme of having to find nuggets of information from a ton of signals, and that’s where Human AI’s strength lies.

The company’s diverse founding team includes two women, CTO Sharon Zhang and designer Kristie Kaiser, along with Kanuganti, who is himself an immigrant. The founders want to continue building a diverse organization as they add employees. “I think in general we just want to attract a diverse kind of talent, especially because we are also Human AI and we believe that everyone should have the same opportunity,” Zhang told me.

The company currently has seven full-time employees and a dozen consultants, but with the new funding is looking to hire engineers and AI talent and a head of marketing to push the notion of consumer AI. While the company is remote today and has employees around the world, it will look to build a headquarters at some point post-COVID where some percentage of the employees can work in the same space together.

Startups – TechCrunch

7 Personal Productivity Tactics To Get More Work Done

productivity-get-work-doneIn business, the only thing that counts is results, not how hard people work or how many hours they put in. Have you noticed in your startup or around your office that some people are always at work and busy, but others seems to consistently get more done? Studies of software teams, for example, show differences as great as ten to one in productivity between working team members.

Much has been written about the external influences of office environments, motivation, and personal health impacts, but I see evidence that there are personal productivity tactics that contribute just as much. Along these lines, I was impressed with the classic book, “The Productivity Project,” by Chris Bailey, who conducted dozens of interesting personal productivity projects on himself.

His conclusions validated much of the conventional productivity data, but also highlighted several additional factors to increase productivity that may not be intuitive to most business professionals:

  1. Slow down and work more deliberately. For most people, trying to work faster means trying to do multiple things concurrently. Research shows the result of multitasking is a focus on what’s in front of us only 50 percent of the time. Constant task switching kills efficiency, and usually more than offsets the value of multitasking. Slow down and focus.
  1. Schedule less time for important tasks. When you limit how much time you spend on an important task, you create urgency around the task, overcome your urge to procrastinate, and dive in with more energy and focus. The result should also be fewer total hours at work, improved health, as well as improved productivity and attitude.
  1. Define more activities as unimportant. All business tasks are not created equal. Yet many business people continue to be distracted by the crisis of the moment or a peer request for help, rather than focus on work more critical to their success or the business. This classification of activities requires an overt effort, but pays back in productivity.
  1. Prioritize daily only the top three results required. Thinking in threes allows you to keep important activities on top of mind, and better manage your time, energy, and attention. Trying to create and manage a long list of priorities, in concert with daily distractions, leads to mental thrashing, fatigue, and lower productivity on all items.
  1. Strive for imperfection on key activities. Perfection is not an affordable target on most business tasks. Yet many people continue to work well beyond the point where they are “good enough.” The most productive follow the Pareto Principle, which asserts that 80 percent of the results comes from 20 percent of the effort. Don’t be a perfectionist.
  1. Keep potential distractions at least 20 seconds away. This 20 second rule, studied by psychologist Shawn Achor, asserts that if we move more than 20 seconds away from snacks, cell phones, or peer questions, our focus will remain on critical tasks and efficiency will increase. Distractions are the enemy of productivity. Move away from them.
  1. Eliminate unproductive procrastination. Productive procrastination is doing some lower priority activity to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing. Unproductive procrastination is wasting time and effort, pretending to be busy, organizing your desk, checking email, surfing the internet, or taking another break. Reduce procrastination.

The value of increased productivity in business is self-evident. It reduces your costs, increases competitiveness, and generally improves the morale and payback to employees. For businesses that depend on people, high productivity can mean the difference between success and failure.

As a result, every entrepreneur and professional I’ve met in business wants and needs to be more productive, but finding the approach that works for them can be elusive. I think you will find the techniques presented here well worth adding to your work ethic.

Marty Zwilling

Startup Professionals Musings

How to Prevent Burnout and Always be Productive (My Opinion) based on ideas from a few books and personal experience.

Link to video:

I've made over 80 summaries of the best self improvement books, here’s a full playlist of them:

I release a new video every other day, if you’re interested in subscribing here’s a link:

If you’d prefer to read the script instead of watching the video, here it is:

How to Avoid Burnout and Always Be Productive.

Like many, you might think grinding out your work is the best way to get things done. But in this video, I’m going to show you a much easier way to achieve peak productivity. You don’t have to constantly force yourself to do things you don’t want to do to get there.

So today, I’ll show you the techniques to stay consistent and get work done, while enjoying the journey towards your goals.

Many of these ideas come from the book ‘Peak Performance’, which I highly recommend.

The first lesson is stress + rest = growth. This is the key to long-term productivity. It’s about finding the perfect balance between stress and rest. You can’t have one without the other. Think about building muscle at the gym. If you place too much stress on your muscles, you’ll injure them, but on the flip side, if you spend too much time resting, you won’t see results. To achieve the outcome you’re looking for, you need to find the right balance.

So remember, stress + rest = growth. The key is to find the right balance for you.

Lesson two Realize the importance of rest. The most difficult part of achieving the ideal stress + rest balance is to make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to rest. In today’s world, we tend to glorify people who work all hours of the day and live on 4 hours of sleep. We’re told that if you sleep too much, you’re lazy and you won’t get anything done, but this just isn’t true. When you look at high performing athletes, they know rest is vital after a tough workout. Without it, they wouldn’t recover the energy they need for the next session.

People often celebrate ‘the grind’, but if your car started grinding mid-journey, you wouldn’t think: “Great. I’m making awesome progress”. Your car might survive the rest of that journey but you know it’s likely to breakdown in the future. So you’d stop to try and figure out what’s causing the problem.

You should look at your productivity in the same way. If whatever you’re working on starts to feel like it’s grinding, then stop and try to figure out why. This is where Gary Vaynerchuk and I disagree. He promotes the idea of sacrificing everything when you’re young to achieve more later on in life. He didn’t socialize much when he was younger because he was working all the time and he paints this lifestyle as something you ‘have to do’ to succeed.

But why? Why on earth would you want to work in that way? You can achieve the same results while enjoying the process, rather than grinding it out.

It’s important to realize that peak performance doesn’t require 100% of your capacity. 60-80% is enough, so don’t feel guilty about getting the rest you need. It’s the key to your productivity and it will make you happier and more energised.

Lesson three Appreciate the value of sleep. Like I said, sleep is often associated with ‘laziness’. Notions that CEOs should live on 4 hours of sleep and quotes like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” are celebrated. I used to think this too when I lived on 6 hours of sleep each night. But after researching more about sleep, I realized I’d be much more productive if I slept for longer, and it’s true. I now aim for 9-10 hours each night and I’ve never been so productive.

When you miss out on sleep, neurotoxins build up in your brain which can cause memory loss, problems thinking, and can weaken your immune system. According to the book the chimp paradox, when you lose sleep, the blood flow in your brain moves away from your prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain used for planning, complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making, and social behavior.

There’s a really interesting idea in the book “Why We Sleep” by Matt Walker. Millions of years ago, when we first evolved, sleeping was actually a pretty dangerous thing to do. You left yourself vulnerable to attack from predators. But even so, we didn’t evolve around this, because sleeping is so important for our brains, particularly in clearing the build-up of neurotoxins. Also, it’s during sleep that your brain processes your memories so you can retain all of the information you learned that day.

When you have more sleep, the blood flow is focused in your prefrontal cortex, so you’re much better at solving problems. If you spend an extra hour in bed, you’ll save time throughout the day by working more efficiently through the tasks on your list.

Lesson four Find the way that works for you. Everyone’s different, so there’s no ‘one size fits all’. Recently, I spent a whole week testing different ways to rest: playing video games, having a bath, exercising, playing the guitar, spending time with my friends and reading. I wanted to find out what worked best for me when I needed to recharge. Overall, 9-10 hours of sleep each night and nutritious food each day gave me the best results.

Spend some time testing out different things to see what helps you recharge the fastest. The faster you recharge, the sooner you’ll feel ready to tackle your next task. Different things work for different people. When I’m alone, playing video games doesn’t work for me, but when I play with friends, I really enjoy it and it helps me refocus. It sounds like an unusual thing to do when you’re trying to be more productive, but it makes a real difference.

When you find something you love doing, it’s a really useful tool to help you unwind and recharge. Improvement Pill did a video called “The Truth About Video Games”, which talks more about this.

So test different things to find what helps you recharge the fastest.

Lesson five Focus on the 20% that matters

When you’re working, you don’t want to waste your energy on pointless stuff. Being busy and being productive are very different things. There’s a rule called the 80/20 rule, which states that 20% of your work will give you 80% of the results, while the other 80% of the work will only give you the remaining 20%. So, focus on the most important 20% to get the best results. The ‘4 hour work week’ by Tim Ferris explains the 80/20 rule in more detail and I’d highly recommend you read it.

Lesson 6 Keep testing.

Keep testing and improving your processes. Keep tweaking and changing your approach until you find the ideal balance between stress and rest. Try out different ways of working. I’ve found that batching my videos really helps with my productivity, so I plan them all in one day, do writing sprints on a different day and then my edits on another. I’ve found that switching between tasks slows me down and batching means I can get into the flow of a particular task without distractions.

I’ve also found that only working Monday to Friday and ending my workday at 3pm has really helped. But maybe a different schedule will work for you. If you have a full-time job, you need to figure out how best to fit in projects around your work and home life.

Keep testing, reviewing and improving your processes until you find the right balance for you. Work hard, rest harder.

So, to recap:

Stress + Rest = Growth

Realize the importance of rest

Appreciate the value of sleep

Find the way that works for you

Focus on 20% that matters.

Keep testing and iterating your process

Please like this video if you found it useful and consider subscribing for more.

If you have any questions on what I spoke about please ask them in the comments. I’m most active for the first few hours after a new upload so turn on the notification bell so you don’t miss that.

Also for many different benefits and extras please check out my patreon page using the link in the description.

Thanks for watching, have a great day!

Link to video:

I've made over 80 summaries of the best self improvement books, here’s a full playlist of them:

I release a new video every other day, if you’re interested in subscribing here’s a link:"

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Personal support worker among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Canada – Yahoo News Canada

Personal support worker among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Canada  Yahoo News Canada
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Can founding a startup or working at one help you figure out your personal strengths ?

Dear Community,

I would love find out where my personal strengths and passions are, so I can do some investments in myself with high time-opportunity cost (e.g. a Master's Degree).

It has been suggested to me that working in a startup can help with this, because before a startup has many employees, one is likely to take on a variety of tasks. (Entrepreneurship is also one of the options I am strongly considering).

Taken aside the fact that every startup is different and it will depend on the ones I approach, would you say this can generally work, or is there a flaw in this plan ? Flaws could be that it's very rare to find such an opportunity, or that this method would not help me figure out what I am good at or passionate about.

Would you say your personal startup-time has had such an effect ?

Thank you in advance for any stories, input, two-cents and arguments.

If i can give back in any way, I'm a psychology student with some mental health and activism experience. Stay healthy and have a nice Christmas period/holidays.

Add. explanations: I would not need the startup to succeed, for me it would be "simulating startup" / playing startup.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

London-based fintech startup Ziglu successfully raises €6.6 million on Seedrs to grow its personal money app

Ziglu, the personal money app, has successfully closed its crowdfunding campaign, having raised over €6.6 million from over 1250 investors.  Ziglu aimed to raise around €1.1 million but hit this target within 3 hours of the campaign opening, and with this very high investor demand Ziglu went on to raise 500% more than their initial…

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The post London-based fintech startup Ziglu successfully raises €6.6 million on Seedrs to grow its personal money app first appeared on EU-Startups.


[Signals Analytics in PR Newswire] Signals Analytics Announces New Category Offering for Beauty and Personal Care

Extends Capability of its Advanced Analytics Platform to Support the Needs of the $ 78 Billion Beauty and Personal Care Market, Upended By Multiple Market Dynamics Including COVID-19, eCommerce and Direct to Consumer Trends

Read more here.

The post [Signals Analytics in PR Newswire] Signals Analytics Announces New Category Offering for Beauty and Personal Care appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

LA-based A-Frame, a developer of celebrity-led personal care brands, raises cash for its brand incubator

A-Frame, a Los Angeles-based developer of personal care brands supported by celebrities, has raised $ 2 million in a new round of funding led by Initialized Capital.

Joining Initialized in the round is the serial entrepreneur Moise Emquies, whose previous clothing lines, Ella Moss and Splendid, were acquired by the fashion holding company VFC in 2017.

A-Frame previously raised a seed round backed by cannabis dispensary Columbia Care. The company’s first product is a hand soap, Keeper. Other brands in suncare and skincare, children and babycare, and bath and body, will follow, the company said.

“We partner with the investment groups at the agencies,” said company founder and chief executive, Ari Bloom. “We start interviewing different talent, speaking with their agents and their managers. We create an entity that we spin out. I wouldn’t say that we compete with the agencies.”

So far, the company has worked with CAA, UTA and WME on all of the brands in development, Bloom said. Two new brands should launch in the next couple of weeks.

As part of the round, actor, activist and author Hill Harper has joined the company as a co-founder and as the company’s chief strategy officer. Emquies is also joining the company as its chief brand officer.

“Hill is my co-founder. He and I have worked together for a number of years. He’s with me at the holding company level. Identifying the opportunities,” said Bloom. “He’s bridging the gap between business and talent. He’s a part of the conversations when we talk to the agencies, managers and the talent. He’s a great guy that I think has a lot of respect in the agency and talent world.”

Initialized General Partner Alda Leu Dennis took point on the investment for Initialized and will take a seat on the company’s board of directors alongside Emquies. Other directors include Columbia Care chief executive Nicholas Vita, and John D. Howard, the chief executive of Irving Place Capital.

“For us the calculus was to look at personal care and see what categories need to be reinvented because of sustainability,” said Bloom. “It was important to us once we get to a category what is the demographic opportunity. Even if categories were somewhat evolved they’re not all the way there… everything is in non-ingestible personal care. When you have a celebrity focused brand you want to focus on franchise items.”

The Keeper product is a subscription-based model for soap concentrates and cleansing hand sprays.

A serial entrepreneur, Bloom’s last business was the AR imaging company Avametric, which was backed by Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator and wound up getting acquired by Gerber Technology in 2018. Bloom is also a founder of the Wise Sons Delicatessen in San Francisco.

“We first invested in Avametric at Initialized in 2013 and he had experience prior to that as well. From a venture perspective I think of the all-around real defensibility of brand building,” said Dennis.

The investors believe that between Bloom’s software for determining market preferences, A-Frame’s roster of celebrities and the company’s structure as a brand incubator, all of the ingredients are in place for a successful direct to consumer business.

However, venture capitalists have been down this road before. The Honest Co. was an early attempt to build a sustainable brand around sustainable personal care products. Bloom said Honest provided several lessons for his young startup, one of them being a knowledge of when a company has reached the peak of its growth trajectory and created an opportunity for other, larger companies to take a business to the next level.

“Our goal is a three-to-seven year horizon that is big enough at a national scale that a global player can come in and internationally scale it,” said Bloom.

Startups – TechCrunch