And boost your ROI at the same time.

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Photo adapted by STIL on Unsplash

In every one of his adventures, Indiana Jones travels to a foreign land to uncover an ancient artifact. Without fail, he runs into opposing forces along the way who are also searching for that same thing but with a far more nefarious use in mind.

During one of his adventures, Indy (what his friends call him) seeks the Holy Grail — like the actual Holy Grail, the one that is traditionally thought to be the cup that Jesus drank from at the last supper. The climactic scene takes place in an ancient room that’s filled with untold riches. …


And cash-in on emerging, existing, and pivoting businesses

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Photo adapted from Elijah O’Donnell

Finding Opportunities In A Crisis

We are in the middle of a historic crisis. It’s undeniable. With the outbreak of a global pandemic, all-time-high unemployment numbers, and our economy essentially going into a medically-induced coma, the period of crisis has officially arrived.

But I’m not here to preach doom and gloom. There’s plenty of that already in circulation, and I’m not particularly interested in adding to the hysteria.

Instead, I hope to shed some light on how opportunities present themselves in the middle of crises like these. How, in every period of fear, if you know where to look and what to focus on, there are opportunities (those that don’t rely on exploiting already-vulnerable people). …


Using the power of the individual

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Photo adapted from Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Hollywood has developed a technique for effectively telling stories that hold our attention. The way movies suck you in isn’t a fluke or an accident — they’re engineered that way.

And more importantly, this technique can be transferred to marketing and make your message more engaging and powerful.

That’s what we’ll be covering today.

How Big Issues Get Ignored

We’ve seen examples of large groups of people getting up in arms about small, singular incidents like the Domino Sparrow. But when those same people are told about the unfathomable atrocities happening to millions of people in other countries around the world, they are able to simply go on as if millions of lives aren’t being threatened, taken, and destroyed. …


The billion-dollar story of WhatsApp

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Photo adapted from Rachit Tank on Unsplash

Jan Koum and Brian Acton co-founded the insanely popular texting app, WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for a whopping $21.8 billion.

The funny thing is, they were both rejected when applying to work at Facebook only a year before building WhatsApp. But as life would have it, only 5 years later, the company that had turned them away bought their app and made them both billionaires.

Even with such a high price tag, and the fact that Facebook has yet to monetize WhatsApp, this acquisition is still considered to be one of the best that Facebook ever made. We’ll get into “why” that is at the end. …


Finally, some fiscal responsibility

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Photo adapted from Morning Brew on Unsplash

The Rise and Fall of a Star

By now we’re all pretty familiar with WeWork’s infamous fall from near-IPO stardom. But for context, let’s recap real quick:

  • WeWork raises money. A LOT of money.
  • Then more.
  • Then SoftBank comes in with even more.
  • And more (SoftBank’s investments in WeWork total $10 billion).
  • WeWork eventually reaches a potential IPO valuation upwards of $96 billion, though most estimates put it at $47 billion.
  • WeWork files for IPO; public scrutiny ensues. Their S-1 raises questions. Big questions. Questions like, “How can a company that loses $219,000 every hour be worth so much, or anything at all?” …


And they hadn’t even launched yet

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Fate brought them together. Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll met while working for the travel site, Jetsetter (which was later acquired by TripAdvisor). During their time at Jetsetter, the trio conceived of the idea for an app. They were sure it would go viral.

Their idea became Vine, which they founded in June of 2012. Fast-forward just four months to October and they accepted a $30 million acquisition offer from Twitter. They hadn’t even launched their app yet.

By the end of 2015, Vine had surpassed 200 million monthly active users. But despite its unprecedented growth and virality, the app was discontinued by parent company, Twitter, in October 2016. …


Record sales and Peloton just cut marketing to zero — relying on a strong brand to drive word-of-mouth sales

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Photo by Erlend Ekseth on Unsplash

Record Sales During a Crisis

The battle for profitability is nothing new for Peloton; the company has been engaging in this uphill exercise since long before its IPO last September. With pivot after pivot, they’ve tried countless angles to achieve the coveted milestone. But the one thing that no one could have predicted — a global pandemic — might have been exactly what the company needed to put them in the right direction.

Starting in mid-March, Peloton paused all advertising in most of its major markets. Meanwhile, revenue skyrocketed 66% year-on-year to $524 million during the period. …


Secrets revealed from Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start 2.0”

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Photo adapted from Teemu Paananen

What is the Purpose of a Pitch?

To generate interest in your startup. It’s not to explain every aspect of your product. It’s not to beat your audience over the head with information until they submit and write you a check. Your objective is simply to stimulate enough interest in your company to land a second meeting.

In other words: a pitch is the first step in marketing your company.

While focusing on the true purpose of a pitch, we can also follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10–20–30 rule and limit the number of slides in your pitch deck to ten. …


Why convenience is the ultimate marketing strategy

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Photo adapted from Mike Yukhtenko

Steve Jobs: Icon, Legend, Disruptor

Steve Jobs was the backbone of Apple. Without him, Apple would never have even existed, much less reached the heights it has. And in October 2011, we lost not only an iconic, visionary founder but an inspirational human being who changed the way billions of people do things every day.

But our purpose today is not to mourn the loss of a legend; we are here to celebrate his achievements and learn from the revolutionary lessons he shared.

The Three Words That Changed Marketing

In June 2011, Steve Jobs walked out onto the stage of Apple’s WWDC and gave his last keynote speech ever. In this speech, he repeated a single phrase that has always been a defining characteristic of Apple’s products under his…


How to get more done and stay sane while WFH

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Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

The Harsh Reality of Working From Home

In recent weeks, many of us have been turned away from our offices, told to “self-isolate” and “social distance.” Companies have quickly whipped up broad policies for working from home to allow employees to still get their jobs done.

Relegated to our dining tables, couches, and other makeshift home offices, we’ve been jolted out of our comfortable routine and some of us are really struggling with the shift.

If that sounds like you, you're not alone. Welcome to the club (possibly the world’s lamest “club”) of those struggling with the reality of working from home.

For those of us who’ve worked in an office, sharing the same physical space as our co-workers, the change is weird. But, as humans and as members of the modern workforce, we must learn to adapt to this change. …

About

Joshua VanDeBrake

Passionate about Marketing, Startups, & VC. Full-Stack Marketer. Ambivert. Millennial.

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