Apple’s leverage—5 reasons Meta is done and Google is next

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, can no longer make money off people using Apple devices.

play time’s over—time to go home, son

You can touch, feel and even smell—the scent of a smartphone

You can not touch, feel or even smell—the scent of intangible software like Facebook. Whereas you can touch, feel and even smell—a smartphone, an AirPod and a wrist computer watch—physical things—no amount of advertising will change this. This is the reason Apple wins at technology—by making real things.

Apple owned the real estate while Facebook was a mere tenant and apple threw them out

Meta’s earning report shows people did not switch to android in order to see more relevant ads on Facebook—instead the advertisers switched to Google ads so they could reach the iPhone users with their ads. The markets have corrected because of this 1 reason.

Google pays Apple a tribute

Google will be next because Google is already paying Apple a tribute to the tune of about $9 Billion. Advertising is doing a full circle and smart marketers—are moving away from ‘vanishing’ ads and moving towards persistent channels like SMS, email and physical mail. This transition will not happen in 5 years—it will take about 20 years to complete—it seems like Alphabet is oblivious to this.

What happens to the brilliant advertising experts at Meta

I will put 20% of all my wealth in a company which wants to become the Meta of the physical world. A social network which understands the fact pheromones play the decisive role in connecting the world—it’s called Starbucks. If you want to start, invest in and operate the next big advertising company, it will be this company and you will need the expertise of these people. In an outrageous move, Meta could choose to admit this and make the biggest pivot in the history of online business by announcing, they will now connect the world physically. If Mark Zuckerberg does this, he will go out in history as one of the most even-headed entrepreneurs in history.

The only way for Google to remain relevant will be to buy these 5 keys businesses

  1. a Klayvio for postcards
  2. an autonomous vehicle direct mail delivery company
  3. Spotify or whoever wins the audio wars
  4. clubhouse and @getcallin by @DavidSacks
  5. and a company nobody is building yet ->

this is 2070—and Amazon is a real estate company

Disclaimer: if you have stake steak in amazon, do not read this article, this is not financial advice—I firmly believe in consuming only the media which reinforces your worldview—consuming all other media creates decision fatigue and creates a loss of focus.

tldr; you will see amazon become the McDonals-Superstore as their margins continue to decline, they will have no choice but to vertically integrate and get into price wars with McDonalds for real estate and supermarkets for inventory.

Good will creates multi generational customers

Shopify has good-will, people like Shopify because it seems like they genuinely want the dtc-entrepreneur to succeed. Shopify is also severely limiting, it is sluggishly slow, does not allow you to customise the checkout process from the get go and does not offer for free everything that Klayvio does—and still I would want my kids to use it to sell stuff, never on Amazon.

Good will creates higher margins because people like to give more money to people they like

I will not hesitate to pay $1000 in Facebook ad spend for my kid’s shopify store—because I know—by spending a grand on Facebook ads, I will have a pixel which knows who wants to buy the product on top of which email addresses of every customer and possibly cell numbers I can text to all I want if my kid ran a FREE+Shipping offer to discover a new star business. I can even get their permission to send them direct mail. I will never pay $1000 to amazon ads because I will get 0 email addresses.

Good will attracts talented actors to the system

As you can see, if you know a thing or three about DTC e-com, you will never start off on amazon because you know better, you want to own your customers, your 1,000 true fans, you consider adspend as an investment, not a sunk cost.

bad will creates single-generation-companies

There is a growing number of sellers on amazon who have been suspended for no apparent reason, amazon is holding their money, they are having to call lawyers to restore their accounts. Do you think these people will want their kids to start their first e-com store on amazon?

bad will creates low margins and price wars—if you subsidise price you become a charity—charities are not marketplaces

People who still choose to sell on amazon will inevitably have to fight price wars with others because people who are inclined to making fat margins want to have actual LTVs, they want their cac to be lower than their LTV and the only viable way to do this is off amazon. On top of having to compete on price with amazon. Laughable.

bad will attracts bad actors to the system

Amazon is on an irreversible path of gathering a critical mass of bad will, especially among the most important people in the eco-systems, third party sellers. Wanting to eat everybody’s lunch, including your own third party sellers will attract similar actors to your platform—in the end—the consumer will bear the price and the consumer does not easily forget bad experiences.

Amazon is not showing any signs of course correction—this means they either do not understand this, or do not want to understand this and are already planning an exit with the real estate assets in 2070

This is in violation of the ‘law of category’—doing ads was a part of this—Bezos said he will never do this—he was probably persuaded by ‘data’—when data goes against first principles—data is wrong—not first principles

If you are a third party seller amazon wants to compete with you should slowly move away from amazon—surely move away from amazon

If you are an online retailer planning to move to amazon—first cultivate leverage over amazon so they worry about you leaving the platform—not you having to worry about them suspending you for a Byzantine reason—you can always de-risk this and assign wholesalers to sell on amazon

If you are an aspiring e-commerce seller you should learn from this and not start by selling on amazon from the get go—go the organic route—get your 1,000 true fans—this is worth it

If this continues only price sensitive customers will use amazon—amazon will have to compete directly with supermarkets for sales and McDonalds for real estate—I think amazon has already figured this out and is already buying real estate in tier 2 towns and cities, they expect these urban centres to grow and become the only viable choice for buying food and home and living items.

The growth of amazon is directly tied with fertility rates, infrastructure spending and them vertically integrating the entire business.

Uber is the new Craigslist—How QVC, Google maps and Barry Diller are keys to the next big thing on the consumer internet—sans geography.

What made Facebook a success—will make Uber, a 1-sided marketplacea success

Most Uber drivers have no choice but to drive an Uber

1-sided marketplaces are not marketplaces. How Uber is draining more energy than it is giving back to the world and why there is no fix for this

1 historical precedence in favour of Uber—Cotton farmers

The super app is a step towards media sellingif there’s 1 person who can pull this off and combine Uber with QVC and Google Maps, it is Barry Diller—he’s up there with Steve Jobs

the only way I see Uber saving itself is doing these 9 things—in the order

—plus there’s no harm in coming up with a city based digital currency anyway

Disclaimer: If you are easily swayed by opinions of others, do not read this—especially If you have a stake steak in Uber.

What made Facebook a success—will make Uber, a 1-sided marketplacea success

Let us begin with what makes Facebook a success—the gold standard of dopamine monetisation—we’ll use it to measure Uber. The reason people are addicted to facebook is the dope—facebook has been cultivating in your brain since 2004, a little over 18 years by showing you only the things which will make you want to come back for more, again and again and again.

Facebook is the best at this—though YouTube is surely coming close. For facebook this is a matter of life, If your product must survive, every bit of your product must exist to give more energy to the consumer, creating a net positive energy. Facebook has spent billions of dollars to perfect this—they’ve got machines which can predict with an astounding level of accuracy if a user will buy a product off facebook ads within the next few days—which is a good thing, people should buy more things—it is good for the economy.

Most Uber drivers have no choice but to drive an Uber

Most Uber drivers have no choice but to drive an Uber. Uber has done a good job of making this cohort of human beings into ‘dopamine zombies’ by monetising the promise of finding interesting members of opposite sex under the pretext of making a living—this is not a way to make a living because this takes more energy than it gives back. Facebook does in a cleaner way—takes less energy of both sides of the marketplace. If your product does not give back more energy to the consumer than it takes from them—you do not have a product.

Moreover, Uber drivers are at a point in life where they are probably the unhappiest. How can you expect Uber riders to feel good riding with them? How can unhappy drivers create a net positive outcome for the consumer—a rich experience which will make the consumer keep coming back for more—like facebook makes you keep coming back for more, again and again and again.

While Uber has successfully created a dopamine response for drivers, it is simply not enough—I know this first hand—I’ve driven Uber, the ring tone of incoming ride is thrilling, exciting and it feels amazing to hear it—I’m sure if I heard it right now, I’d want to reinstall the app under the pretext of finding an interesting member of the opposite sex on my way back home—BUT—I’ve learnt not do it, I know the odds of this happening is 1 in a 100—Uber will rob me of my energy, create decision fatigue and ruin my next day—not a good thing. As you can see, Uber is abusing the dopamine response on the supply side and is incapable, be design, of replicating the same for the consumer. This, ladies and gentleman is the definition of a 1-sided marketplace. 1-sided marketplaces do not exist, for long.

1-sided marketplaces are not marketplaces. How Uber is draining more energy than it is giving back to the world and why there is no fix for this

Uber can not subsidise supply & demand forever giving the impression of being a marketplace, it will remain only that, a mere impression.

The ROI on riding with people who have their own problems is truly pedestrian—this takes a toll on your emotional and physical well being. Giving away the most precious thing you have—your energy to an unprofitable enterprise is a bad business. Uber is betting on people who have no other choice but to pursue this enterprise—a strategy nonetheless—a good one, nein.

The idea people with surplus supply of cars, energy and time will to do this forever is flawed— like the idea of doing an unpaid internship all your life is flawed—people who have a surplus supply of cars have choice, and driving an Uber because someone on the other side of the block wants a ride to God-knows-where puts these happy drivers squarely out of the supply pool—because these people value their energy.

Uber can always choose to bet on consistently high unemployment rates in order to steady the supply of willing volunteers drivers, this is not a good bet, in ways more than 1.

Self driving cars have been coming tomorrow for the last 5 years now, even if they come—the idea of riding without a human connection is an affront to me—it has no historical precedence—it will never happen.

1 historical precedence in favour of Uber—Cotton farmers

Cotton farmer life expectancy is on decline—whereas every other node of the cotton value chain has increased their profits. This proves that there will always be a cohort of people to drive Uber because they think they have no other choice.

However, there is 1 problem with this argument. Cotton farmers live in rural areas and have little choice of finding a better enterprise—Uber drivers live in cities and have more opportunity. As millennials gain awareness, flexible work & disposable income—Uber will have a growing quantitative supply problem—adding to the unfixable qualitative woes.

The super app is a step towards media sellingif there’s 1 person who can pull this off and combine Uber with QVC with Google Maps, it is Barry Diller—he’s up there with Steve Jobs

Imagine for a moment—Uber is a super app for each city—an app which is Google Maps, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and many other things—this app sells ads like Google Maps.

Media selling for Uber is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy—Dara Khosrowshahi is a protege of Barry Diller’s.

Barry Diller is man of rare disposition. He understands what the customers want without having to ask them and if there is 1 person who can pull off combining Uber with QVC and Google Maps, it will be him—and he’s up for it as well—he only has to start his career all over again.

the only way I see Uber saving itself is doing these 9 things—in the order

—Cut all costs by 80%—sans remorse.
—Pivot to classifieds for on demand, local service providers, go hyperlocal yesterday.
—The usp is quick payment for the suppliers and for buyers getting service on the push of a button—with a percentage of commission which service providers will consider insignificant—they can run paid ads on the platform.
—Internalise the fact this business model does not exist, first to themselves, then to the employees and then to the investors.
—Spend $100 million dollars and create an educational content machine in the next 5 years shamelessly copy Shopify compass(see what I did there?) and let the local entrepreneurs create value at the neighbourhood level—something they would actually like to pass on to their children
—Become the nextdoor of service hailing
—And finally the most liberating thing yet, leave ride hailing as an afterthought—leave it—it doesn’t work—it’s not a business—imagine what a relief this will be for so many people.

If this hyperlocal, service-hailing-super-app manages to become a way for people to express neighbourhood pride—it will become the app the world really needs—an app which governments will inevitably want to white label and own.

—plus there’s no harm in coming up with a city based digital currency anyway

Spare a thought for these people, the senior execs at Uber and similar enterprises who have their identities tied to the ride hailing business. Even if these people wanted to move on and do something worthwhile, they will need all the support they can get. If you know someone like this, share this with them.

It seems like Barry Diller is up for it

the next big thing on the consumer internet is map based app like snapchat, live commerce, it is simply the moving of QVC to Google Maps—this QVC on Google Maps will be the next big thing on the internet

How Google maps ‘out-authoring’ facebook, instagram and WhatsApp—is an inevitability—of mimetic proportions

what’s the first question you ask someone when you meet them? What do you do for a living. You are always curious about what other people does because what you do is who you are and it is a part of your identity.

Now, what’s the second question you ask someone after the first one? Where do you live or if you’re smarter, where do you come from. So you can have more context on this person because in all marketing, context is everything.

In all marketing, context is everything because it helps you to put the other person in a box, they either go into the not-my-type-box, acquaintance-box or I-want-to-know-more-about-this-person-box. It’s the same with products, if you put a product in I-want-to-know-more-about-this-product-box, you will probably end up buying it.

Now imagine, if a person did not tell you where they live, and they did not tell you where they come from, how much of an inclination you will have of putting them into I-want-to-know-more-about-this. If you are like me, you will end up forgetting this person because this person has in a way offended you by not sharing context with you.

If on the other hand, this person tells you what they do, where they live, and where they come from, and if you vibe with them, you will put them in a nice box, the famous, the amazing I-want-to-know-more-about-this-person box. (by the way here’s the link you are looking for)

Now Imagine for a moment, if a product offer page told you absolutely nothing about who makes it, why they make it and where they make it, you will hardly buy it.

Now, ask yourself, do you immediately associate a physical address with an instagram page? No. Do you immediately associate a physical address with a Facebook page or a WhatsApp business account? No. Do you immediately associate a physical address with a Google Maps listing, Yes.

Google Maps listing is superior to all other social media listings because people immediately associate a physical address with a Google Maps listing, with time you will see Google Maps listings will continue to do better—this will become a clear precedence. And remember, all experiences are exponential.

This mimetic pattern is immutable, this mimetic pattern has worked the same way throughout history, this mimetic pattern is a part of how humans interact—physical addresses give vitality to the context of you, to your product and to your business. So, if you want to have first principles on your side, spend 80% of your resources cultivating a physical address on Google Maps.

—at near a place frequented by your 1,000 true fans.

Do you think it will be a good idea if Google took a leaf out of Meta’s book and used subtle redirects to send more people to Google Maps? Let me know in the comment section below.

How meta could be using subliminal messaging to grow their top line—and 3 things you as an operator can learn from them.

Do you see the white dot on the top right corner of your instagram icon?

Do you also see the blue dot on the top right corner of your WhatsApp status icon?

They look very similar

This Friday, I felt an out-of-place-urge to use instagram right after archiving all my WhatsApp conversations

there had to be an explanation for this out-of-place-urge—this was an epiphany.

perhaps it’s because the similarity shared by these 2 icons

Meta could be sending from WhatsApp to instagram using subliminal messaging

the instagram icon could have been deliberately designed to remind users of unread notifications

or this is a complete coincidence

whichever the case, this coincidence seems to be working as a subliminal redirect

subtly suggesting users open instagram every time they use WhatsApp

Here are 3 insights, you as an operator should take from this

  1. Meta is going all in on instagram and abandoning facebook—you can expect meta to never do anything without data insights—this is an indication of instagram decisively outgrowing facebook—ad revenue.
  2. Meta is going all in on tiktok style content—It seems like I’m spending a decisive amount of time on instagram feed which appears under the search icon—it’s a mashup of what makes you keep coming back to instagram—Meta’s expertise of monetising dopamine is second to none on the consumer internet.
  3. Subtle cues work amazingly well in products—if Meta is using this technique intentionally, you can be sure, very sure it works because it stands on billions of dollars of spending by Meta in understanding human behaviour. Subtle cues work best, subtle cues are the 80/20 of consumer internet, subtle cues drive not so subtle outcomes.

Here are 3 things, you as an operator should take action on—straight away

  1. Your current product needs a successor—your ‘facebook’ needs an ‘instagram’—your current product, no matter how amazingly its performing right now or how much revenue its generating, it will eventually be replaced by something else—because this is a centuries old, naturally recurring historic precedence, everything which goes up in a logarithmic fashion, will go down in the same way—to be overtaken with something new. You must look for potential products, concentric or otherwise and trends your users will eventually move on to, you must preempt this with your own instagram, if you do this, your users will stay with you. What a nice thing to say this is!
  2. If your product does leave the user with a better dopamine level than they opened it with—you do not have a product—restaurants do this, bookshops do this, all successful businesses do this. Every bit of your ‘instagram’ must exist to make the user leave more energised, happier and inspired than they arrived. This really is the only secret to all successful businesses.
  3. Use subtle cues, they work wonders—spend 80% of your efforts on subtle cues in design, copy and all communication and on every customer touch points.

and you will have done 1 of the most important things for your business—and saved a few billion dollars—not bad for pocket change.

the twitter we all need & secretly yearn for plus this is how things will be in the future anyway

your attention is precious

not because it brings revenue to social media companies

because your attention brings you revenue

where you focus your attentionyour results will compound

if you focus your attention on your personal brand the prize is lifetime employability

if you focus your attention on your DTC brand the prize is priceless

if you focus your attention on a social cause the prize is generational

and social media apps are robbing you of focus

you must not let this happen

your future depends on it

you, I and many others like have turned off notifications from most apps

you, I and many others like us focus on the vital few and choose to let go of the trivial many

you, I and many others like us are time boxing our attention on these apps so we can get the most out of them

as opposed to these platforms getting the most out of us

this has become win-win situation for them

and a lose-lose situation for people like you and I

15 years from now, you and I will have taught everything you and I know to our children

and they will absolutely, utterly and completely detest notifications

they will most probably create a social network which optimises for both the user and the platform

without getting into the pointless discussion of creating decentralised social networks which people control—for which there is no historic precedence—which can never happen

you, I and many others like us will build a social network which works for us

I present unto you, the most insurmountable way for consuming content which optimises for positive outcomes only


it shall be a new twitter-full of intent

you will not see a feed of tweets

you will see faces of people you have chosen to follow

you will intentionally click on a person’s display picture if you want to see their tweets

total control

it shall be devoid of all algorithmae

the social networks let you remove posts and people from your feed

even then, the algorithm decides what you see

there will be no algorithms on this twitter

no more monetisation of your dopamine response

you will see only things you choose to see

this will be a natural system driven only by your intent

this method of letting people choose who they follow based on appearance

is not a new thing 

people have done this for thousands of years

this is same as love at first sight

this is same as going with your gut feeling

the is same as finding how well you vibe with someone

The is the most natural way to connect 

Since there are no pheromones on the internet to tell us how the other person vibes with you

The face is a reflection of a persons accumulated pheromone profile 

the only way to connect for you is to show the face 

this is 1 of the immutable aspects of the social condition

this is history

This will rank order people across twitter who are getting more clicks on their faces—just like in real life—who would’ve guessed?

you will have a final tab—it will say—news 

This will you show people’s faces who are tweeting content classified as news

When you click to expand one of these, you will be able to see the news they’re tweeting about

it will be amazing if you can add something to this concept by commenting below

—using first principles

how to make product strategy—the first principles framework

first principles is the only way to create product strategy

every other way will miss the point of origination of desire for your customers

which means if you miss first principles you will be looking at mimetic clusters of users which are not your early adopters

and these mimetic clusters will not make the boat go faster

because if you spend effort on these mimetic clusters, they will incur unreasonable cac and have little to no retention

using first principles will help you discover the right mimetic clusters

these mimetic will make your boat go faster

you can only discover these mimetic clusters using first principles

these mimetic clusters will have high retention

these customers will forgive all your ui/ux mistakes simply because the value they get from your product is worth it for them to

these people are your 1,000 true fans

they are your most potent salesforce

here’s how first principles will let you discover this group of people for your product

let us take 3 examples

Facebook—why do you think people were checking Facebook multiple times a day in the early days?

because people are curious

just like you are curious about your high school crush even today

I am too, let us practice some vulnerability

it feels so good

by saying this, I think I am inadvertently setting in motion, a lot of profile views on Facebook

so just like you are curious about people who are a part of your tribe

your tribe of grade school

your tribe of grad school

your tribe of the company you first worked at

as you can see

this is the heart of the matter

first principles have guided you and me to this insight

curiosity about people who are similar to us is the core product value of Facebook

which puts core product value at the heart of the equation

valueprop == core product value

yes what you see is a double equals

it is an assertion operator used to check if both variables on either side of the equation are exactly the same, bit by bit

imagine you are making product strategy for Facebook

if you are following first principles, you will want to find the #1 most important cohort of people your customers will get most value out of if they joined Facebook

this will be different for each cohort of existing users

for instance, for people 16-21, this is people their age in the same neighbourhood in the same school and so forth

for people 21-27 , this will again be people of their own went to the same grad school and work in a similar industry and so forth

for people 27-40, this will be a similar situation

as you can see, using first principles, we have discovered a pattern

people are curious about people who are similar to them

if your users find more people like them on Facebook, NPS will be high

let us now take the example of Linkedin and let us keep it very short

imagine you are working at Linkedin in the early days

you will ask yourself, what makes people join LinkedIn?

-> so they can network with likeminded professionals

you will then ask yourself, why do people want to network with likeminded professionals

-> so they can know how what the industry is optimizing for

okay, you will then ask yourself, why do they want to know what is the industry is optimizing for?

-> so they can see which skills are growing in demand

okay, you will then ask, why do they want to find out which skills are growing in demand?

the answer will be, so they can gain those skills

well, why do you think they want to gain these skills?

the answer, simply, is so they can do more fulfilling work at the same company or find a new place to work

this directly translates to economic opportunity

this will lead you to conclude, if you can make it so that people who join Linkedin end up with better economic prospects

your product will have a high NPS

hence, all your efforts, ui/ux, engagement, retention must be aligned with this goal

you can figure this out for other products as well

for twitter do you think the core value prop is expressing one’s opinions?

you should do this for your product too

this will move your focus away from the trivial many

this will move your focus towards the vital few

this is only the first part of the first principles framework I will share with you as we go

How to improve poll quality—optimise for slow thinking brain of poll-ees

Hey LinkedIn, today you asked me 

whether the posts I see are a productive use of my time

on a scale which let me choose the neutral option

I think there’s a better way to get value orders of magnitude with 1 simple mod 

Make it a binary yes or no question, here’s why 

You want to engage the slow thinking part of the brain 

If you let people choose neutral option, only the fast thinking section of the brain is engaged

people will choose neutral to skip your survey 

All the resources you spent on having this entire feature push all the way to production 

And use those compute resources 

Should be giving you a higher ROI