Landon Howell | A blog about startup marketing

Jun 3 2020  •  0 comments

TikTok reached 1 billion users faster than any other social network.

I continue to be fascinated by TikTok due to its incredible consistency in delivering entertainment customized to each individual user in a manner that requires very little from each user.

TikTok’s artificial intelligence enables it to rapidly learn what you like without explicit input.

Zhang, ByteDance’s founder and CEO, has stated his primary strategy is to eliminate the need for search – how Google and Amazon serve their very profitable advertising products – and immediately serve users exactly what they want.

Josh Constine has some thoughts and an interesting story here on ‘Why influencers are replacing fans with cults’.

The fast feedback loops of micro-entertainment apps like TikTok let leaders quickly turn community input into fresh content that makes their cults feel seen. And by fostering a sense of fellowship through peer-to-peer communities, influencers can keep their cults satiated even when they’re not churning out videos.

I also recommend this wonderful, long piece by Turner Novak: The Rise of TikTok and Understanding Its Parent Company, ByteDance

•    •    •

Amazon fulfillment
Jun 2 2020  •  0 comments

Amazon is now the 4th-largest delivery network in the United States.

  • Amazon now operates nearly 500 logistics facilities in the U.S. covering 173 million square feet and another 1,100 globally that cover 262 million square feet
  • Amazon delivered 2.3 billion of the 4.5 billion parcels (58%) it shipped to U.S. consumers in 2019
  • Amazon’s 2.3 billion parcels delivered to U.S. customers represents 22% of the 10.6 million U.S. online retailer parcel deliveries in 2019
  • Free next-day delivery cost Amazon $1.5 billion in 2019
  • Internationally, Amazon handled 48% of its own deliveries—1.2 billion of the 2.5 billion packages it shipped outside of the U.S. in 2019
  • Amazon has invested $60 billion since 2014 in building out fulfillment warehouses, leasing airplanes and buying delivery vans
  • 97% of Amazon’s fulfillment and data center space in 2019 was leased
  • 42% of Prime members said Amazon orders have arrived more quickly over the past year compared with only 19% of Amazon customers who are not members of Prime

  • •    •    •

    Feature requests
    May 29 2020  •  0 comments

    Love this product advice from Ryan Singer at Basecamp

    Next time somebody comes to you with a feature request, try this: ‘Can you tell me a story about a time that you wanted to do that and what you had to do instead?’ The first part of the question gives you proper context. The second lets you evaluate the loss.

    •    •    •

    The original Zoom call
    May 24 2020  •  0 comments


    •    •    •

    Remote working is the new normal
    May 22 2020  •  0 comments

    I love (love) working in an office, but I’ve also had the luxury of working remotely for two years with the option to go into an office whenever, however I please.

    Offices are necessary for some, preferred for many, required for most.

    From Matt Mullenweg:

    •    •    •

    Sales during a pandemic
    May 21 2020  •  0 comments

    The salespeople who will win during lockdown/quarantine are those with the most empathy.

    Your prospective customers are stuck at home, working from home (most for the first time), many with children (who need quality time and attention), and all concerned with simply trying to stay caught-up in their responsibilities.

    They are attempting to balance personal and professional responsibilities and stress during a pandemic and record unemployment.

    “Circling back” to “see if you received my last email” isn’t empathy. Take an other-centered approach and throw out most of your old playbook and process.

    •    •    •

    SMBs and Covid-19 Impact
    May 19 2020  •  0 comments

    Facebook surveyed 86,000 people who own or work at SMBs on the effect of Covid-19 on their operations.

    31% of SMBs have stopped operating in the last three months

    52% of personal businesses have shut down

    36% of SMBs reported conducting all of their business online (which is something Shopify and others have seen)

    74% of surveyed employees said they did not have paid sick leave, but that number jumps to 93% for hotel, cafe, and restaurant industries

    45% of owners/managers at small businesses said they’ll rehire the same staff when they reopen (yikes)

    11% of operating businesses predict they’ll fail in the next three months given current conditions (this seems unreasonably optimistic)

    •    •    •

    There will be no “Silicon Valley exodus”
    May 18 2020  •  0 comments

    I originally shared the following on LinkedIn.

    – – –

    “Silicon Valley faces tech exodus.”

    No it doesn’t.

    San Francisco and Silicon Valley will continue to be the global startup and tech hub. It’s where the medium and large tech orgs are based, it’s where the VCs are anchored (or have a satellite office), and it has a massive pool of talent to fill all roles of a company of any stage.

    I’ve not even touched on the amazing weather, food, views, events, and the mix of cultures.

    The Bay Area is amazing. For every person wanting to move out, dozens are wanting to move in.

    The cost of living is high, but so are the salaries, the benefits/perks, the work experience, and the likelihood that you can not only find a tech company you love (and when you want to change tech jobs your options are seemingly endless), but a job that you love which *also* has a high likelihood of success (e.g. IPO).

    Also, this isn’t a zero sum game. The Valley/SF can be incredibly important *while* other cities also exponentially increase in their importance.

    We’ve already seen this happen in Boston, Seattle, Austin, and New York City.

    I’m typing this from Atlanta, an incredible tech hub that I moved to after leaving SF a year ago.

    •    •    •

    A poll of U.S. SMBs during quarantine
    May 12 2020  •  0 comments

    Some interesting numbers from a poll conducted by Veem of U.S. SMBs.

    • 90% of small businesses are bracing for an economic slowdown

    • 81% of small businesses think COVID-19 could impact them for 12–16 months

    • 65% of companies said they had either submitted an application for the federal aid or planned to do so in the near future

    • 59% of companies are applying/have applied for loans

    • 52% of companies are cutting operational costs

    • 55% have already experienced some significant impact to revenue

    • 50%+ of companies reported moderate to high supply-chain disruptions as a result of factory shutdowns, border restrictions, and industry furloughs

    • 30%+ are now setting up regional supply chains or changing their supply chain

    • 30% are optimistic, taking the stance that they are better positioned to thrive in the current environment (e.g. ecommerce)

    • 13% of companies have not taken any measures to prepare for a slowdown

    • 54% of the companies are freezing hiring

    • 23% are downsizing staff

    • 18% said they plan to increase staff training and support

    •    •    •

    Almost 3 of 4 Americans say the economy is reopening too fast
    May 8 2020  •  0 comments

    71% of Americans are worried that coronavirus restrictions are being lifted too quickly

    29% said that restrictions aren’t being lifted quickly enough

    14% said they think it is safe to end stay-at-home orders

    9% of those surveyed said they think “it is safe now” for schools and universities to reopen

    Source: The Hill

    •    •    •