Amazon Celebrates Best Ever Red Tuesday

Today’s article is guest written by @ChrisKotera

“This has been the best Red Tuesday ever for us!” said Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos on Tuesday evening as the lowest grossing Red Tuesday to date was coming to a close. “I’m so relieved to even out the sales records of Black Friday and Cyber Weekend/Monday. I was nervous about what to do with all that money. My kids are so spoiled. My daughter wants Albania for Christmas and I was almost rich enough last night to do it. After looking at today’s numbers, I could only afford Albania if it was on sale. I’ll just get her another yacht so she can have a normal childhood.”

Conveyor belts, tricycles, and trucks lay dormant at Amazon’s largest fulfillment center in Phoenix Arizona as only 113 online orders for the day had come in. Latoya Harrison, an employee at the fulfillment center was available for comment, “I was so sick of this sh*t the last few days. We were working so hard to fill all these orders I missed a whole holiday weekend with my family. I’m still at work but it’s nice to have an easy, boring day to reflect on my life choices.”

In Gardner, Kansas, consumer Margie Jepsen celebrated Red Tuesday by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. “Since its Red Tuesday, the $247 Chapter 7 filing fee is 40% off! I can afford that! I was afraid I’d have to return that 60” 3D LED TV I bought online yesterday!” Margie was then on her way to enjoy dinner with her family for the first time in five days. “I’ve just been buying stuff all weekend, I’m anxious to hug my children.”

“Although today has been exciting and unprecedented, we’re hoping for even fewer orders and less revenue next year on Red Tuesday. Maybe I’ll make so little money next year I’ll talk my kids into wanting iPads instead of countries,” said Bezos in his closing statement with us.

Wanton Wantrepreneur: The FAT startup

Some startup methodologies that emphasize learning and shit have taken hold in the startup community in recent years. They suggest things like running lean, the idea that spending less money while you are learning is a good idea, and customer validation, determining whether or not you have customers for something before you actually build it. These ideas have caused more entrepreneurs to live on ramen noodles while venture capitalists fly their private jets around the world going on golf vacations. Is any additional explanation needed? Welcome to the FAT startup movement!

Today we will discuss the first tenet of the movement. In future posts, I will outline exactly what you should be doing if you want to build a massive company.

Impress your potential customers

We should all know by now that nobody gets fired for buying IBM. Because this is true, you should look at IBM for guidance on how to make your customers feel comfortable. And what do we know about IBM? They have some of the most amazing corporate campuses in the world, R&D labs with all of the latest technology, and lots and lots of employees doing important things.

You clearly need to do whatever you can to look like a big, successful, 100 year old company. Get fat fast! Hire as many employees as possible and make sure your potential clients know how many people you manage.

PRO-TIP: if you hire lots of contractors, you can make sure they only work a few hours a week, but claim them as employees in the numbers you tell your clients.

When it comes to your furniture and facilities, everything should be top notch. IKEA is for punks and Europeans. Only buy original designer pieces so you can tell your guests about how authentic your space is. Google is a huge company doing trillions in revenue each year, do you think they have IKEA egg seats and massage nap beds in their lobbies? Neither should you.

PRO-TIP: if you really want to impress, make sure you have your architect personally hand build a sculpture of themselves in your lobby. Your clients will awe at how much pull you have and immediately want to give you their money.

Your perks have to match your klout (score), so don’t settle for second best. Massages during lunch hours and laundry facilities are for scrubs and companies that manufacture physical goods. THIS IS THE INTERNET! You should offer on-site broadway musicals, complete with the original casts, in between professional race car lessons from Formula 1 drivers.

Wanton Wantrepreneur: 6 business models you should be using right now

Licensed under cc from sepblog on flickr.

An unbelievable number of founders come to pitch me on their companies with no idea what their business model should look like. It is never ok to put off figuring out your business model when there are so many great ones available to you. Here are a few of my favorites.

Pyramid scheme

Because most startups never figure out how to provide a product that meets any kind of market need, why not use a business model that doesn’t require any kind of product at all? Better yet, the only work you have to do is recruit people who recruit more people. Of course, pyramid schemes are eventually unsustainable, but so are most startups that get acquired. Know when to get out.

Shell company

This is what most startups are anyways, so it strikes me as odd that more of them don’t just adopt this business model from the start. A shell company is usually a company with only cash assets and no real operational purpose other than to hold and spend that money, much like Color.com. So get your investment capital, start paying yourself a salary, and wait for the cash to run out.

Tax haven

In the rare case that you know someone making an actual profit, chances are they are in a country with high corporate income taxes. While you are busy trying to get ahold of your first yacht, why not bring in a little bit of income operating as a tax haven? It’s extremely simple. Your profitable colleagues funnel all of their corporate transactions through your business, which happens to be incorporated in some Caribbean country with no corporate taxes. They get to keep more of their money, and you don’t have far to walk to look at yachts.

Ponzi scheme

Ponzi schemes get all kinds of unfair bad press, but nobody ever talks about the success stories like Groupon. As long as you have something going that looks like it could be big, just keep raising money and buying back your own stock with it.

Multi-level marketing

To be a proper MLM company, you really have to have a product that people could sell, but that they won’t actually be able to sell. So make some shitty software, sign up a few customers, and then come back and offer to pay them some percentage of future earnings if they can get more customers for  you. Make sure to promise that they will get rich easily. I mean, how hard do they think this will be? This stuff sells itself.

 

 

Flickr photo link.

The Wanton Wantrepreneur: The foolproof way to calculate your company value

Licensed from 401K on Flickr.

If you are like me, you have put up a LaunchRock page and updated your LinkedIn profile to reflect your new status as CEO. You have a team of crack developers that you recruited away from the Geek Squad at Best Buy. You copied a business model off of DocStoc and put your name on it. It’s time to raise money, but how much is your company worth?

Founders

It has been said that investors invest in the team, not the idea. This is total bullshit. Investors like people that are young and stupid, which explains why they love college dropouts. How much money did Facebook raise anyways? Like a trillion dollars.

Add $100k if you are 27 to 29

Add $200k if you are 22 to 26

Add $400k if you are 19 to 21

Add $100k if you dropped out of college

Team

Your founding team needs to be big so you can prove that you can recruit. The internet is filled with VC’s telling you to always be recruiting, and if you have 4 or 5 cofounders, then everyone knows you can close, and that is worth lots of money.

Subtract $500k if you are a solo founder

Add $50k if you have 2 cofounders with you

Add $100k if you have 3 cofounders with you

Add $500k if you have 4 or more cofounders with you

Customers

This is the worst thing for your business. Customers always feel like you owe them something, mostly because they gave you money, and then they try to tell you what to do. Worst yet, once someone pays you, then you have to tell investors how little the customer gave you. If nobody has given you any money yet, then you are ahead of the game.

Subtract $1k for every paying customer

Skills

Everyone working at a startup has to be good at something. And what is the best way to tell if someone has skills? Where they worked before.

Add $50k for each ex-Google employee

Add $100k for each ex-Apple employee

Add $500k for each Facebook employee

You are probably wondering why Facebook employees are worth so much to the value of your company. Investors only hate one thing worse than losing money, and that is looking stupid. The more Facebook employees you have, the more likely you are to get some newly minted millionaire idiot to invest in your company when it implodes.

Miscellaneous

There is plenty of other stuff that can impact your valuation.

Add $100k if your developers use Apple products

Subtract $100k if you know what Windows Azure is

Add $1m for: The Instagram of X

Add $100k for every five thousand Twitter followers you have

At the end of the day, just remember that entrepreneurship is not about creating value, it’s about raising money and buying a yacht. Follow my guide to valuing your company and you will be on the ocean in no time.

Congress Demands Return of Facebook Poke Button

facebookThe United States Congress has issued a demand to Mark Zuckerberg, the new billionaire head of Facebook: “Bring back the Poke Button”. It seems, although most people didn’t really notice it was missing, that it is in fact, missing. However, upon investigation, we were able to find the elusive button. We found it buried in the “settings” menu on our friends’ pages. To find out why this has happened – out of pure curiosity and not real concern – we contacted the Director of Poking (yes, the title is real) at Facebook in Palo Alto, CA. We were surprised to receive a quick response from Andy Baldwin. Yes, the same Andy Baldwin of ABC’s The Bachelor. Here is an excerpt of his response:

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…[Mark] Zuck[erberg] pulled the plug on poking. I don’t care if I get fired over this response, but that smarmy weasel can kiss my smooth hot ass. Turns out, he made the button as a way to feel like he was poking girls. I suppose since he couldn’t get laid in real life, he would “poke” every girl who joined Facebook. He even has this wall in his office, where he puts a mark for every girl he poked. Anyway, he has essentially killed my job – I won’t be here much longer. Why did he get rid of the poke? I can’t say for sure, but it may have something to do with pressure from his investors. I saw a lot of “professional” looking women going in his office ever since he pulled the poke…

We thanked Mr. Baldwin for his time and set our sights on Congress. We interviewed a Congressman who wished to remain anonymous, so we’ll call him Congressman Bill Long representing the 7th District of Missouri. Bill said the entire congress is in an uproar over the missing button. When asked why, he stated that he and his colleagues have used the poke for years as a contest and to gauge the availability of chicks. Startled, we asked him to clarify. After reassuring the Congressman (Bill Long, 7th District, Missouri) that we would keep is comments anonymous, he gave us more detail:

079 Capitol Hill United States Congress 1993

“Around the congressional offices it is sort of a game to see how many babes we can poke. And if they poke back, then we get a notch on our desk. If you poked a honey three times, and she poked back three times, that meant you could get a ‘real’ poke – if you know what I mean. My desk looks like a serrated knife. This is anonymous, right?”

We reassured Congressman Bill Long, 7th District, Missouri, that this was an anonymous interview.

I suppose we will wait and see how Facebook responds to this demand.