Best seller in 100 hours, Organic in flux, breaking through the silence

First off, I want to sincerely thank the dozens of active subscribers here for helping “MBA Disrupted” become a best seller in under 100 hours!

The formal release was planned on May 21, but Amazon approved the final draft on Friday night – and we actually managed to hit several #1s for a New Release in multiple categories (Starting a Business, Entrepreneurship Management, Business Management) over the weekend – and a #1 among all books in Entrepreneurship Management this morning!

This makes it a formal best seller – even though Amazon refreshes the chart hourly so no book stays there forever. So I’m super thankful for everyone supporting the journey within the first few days, even while we’re still finalizing the community program and working on the book print options in the next few weeks (heck, I have several podcasts lined up next week for promo so we’re just starting!)

I’m looking forward to compiling more reviews as they come – still light on them in Amazon as it takes a while to read through 396 pages – and I’ll add them on the wall of fame on mbadisrupted.com.

As for the digital landscape, the battle between organic/free/brand marketing and PPC/outbound sales is stronger than ever.

Disclosure – I’m a massive proponent of brand marketing, inbound, authority building. This has been my philosophy over the past 15 years. It’s easy to abuse PPC or cold calling at mass, leading to hundreds of spam emails and 100+ spam calls reaching my inboxes and numbers every single month. So while I’m not discarding their effectiveness, building an effective funnel isn’t getting easier or cheaper.

But organic is in a total flux lately – and it isn’t getting better.

  • Google’s SGE rollout keeps tanking legitimate websites. I meet publishers multiple times a week conducting mass layoffs or closing shop altogether. It’s a tragedy – and this isn’t the only category affected. Google is spitting some horrible content – useless, incorrect, delusional, even racist or vulgar, simply quoting random links that don’t even correspond to the questions asked.
  • Social – X deleted 150M bots last month and impressions are suddenly down a lot. LinkedIn’s reach took a fourth or fifth consecutive slash in impressions, and rage is through the roof for tons of creators. Facebook’s organic group reach for other categories was impacted, too.
  • Legitimate email campaigns are going through more zealous checks on one end (confirming double click confirmation or origin sources) with some getting flagged for no reason (new algorithms). ESPs and email inboxes are getting in the way with new filtering algorithms, playing with deliverability – either opening everything (inflated open rates) or sending emails to Promotions.

Bottom line, organic is in trouble.

I’m still bullish on communities, partnerships, events as a key channel – that’s growing in efficiency, but only scalable to an extent (events don’t happen daily or require travel).

But PPC is still crushing it in certain categories. It isn’t getting anywhere. And with person/buyer-level identity data, automated outreach – email/LinkedIn – evolved dramatically. Sales outreach companies can now identify a good chunk of website traffic, pull that into spreadsheets, enrich with AI, identify company sizes/Crunchbase data with scrapers and crawlers, and run automated campaigns on top.

It’s highly personalized and very powerful. Frightening at times.

This level of AI outreach WILL PREVAIL over the next months until it crosses a threshold when everyone adopts it. But even so, it’s one thing getting calls from a random company that has nothing to do with your buying habits. And a different thing getting calls and emails only from websites you have actually been browsing.

So – food for thought on what happens on digital.

I’m glad that “MBA Disrupted” covers all major GTM motions and 12 different business models for digital businesses. Resilience and diversification are what survivors count on.

And yet, we’re seeing increased demand in certain categories and businesses that stayed quiet in Q1. So Q2 is indeed more vivid and some companies are back in business. While last summer was extremely busy (unusual for July and August), it’s possible that we see a bounce back in the next weeks and a busy summer once again.

Yours,
Mario


 ✍️ Positioning for Strategic Exit – With limited runway and a need to stabilize cash flow, we discuss how to streamline operations and maintain your customer base. Whether you’re targeting a financial or strategic buyer, learn how to highlight your business’s core strengths and potential profitability.

✍️ Demand Generation in 2024 – One of the core challenges B2B SaaS face today is weakened USPs. What once mattered to business is no longer top of mind and the key value proposition no longer delivers the same amount of value.

✍️ Prolonging the Sales Funnel – The dumbest thing to do with outbound is prolong the sales funnel just because your playbook says so!  Conversion rates go down dramatically, with B2B valuations tanking, BDR/SDR teams shrinking to optimize efficiency, brand affinity or MQLs dropping as spend is trimmed down, and 95% of leads are not in a buy phase anyway.


📧 Stacked Marketer – One of my go-to newsletters and a business that we’ve worked with a while ago on the DevriX front. It is loved by marketers who get hands-on with campaigns, who need to stay up-to-date with frequently changing platforms., who need to get an edge, and who need to achieve outsized results with limited resources, aka performance-focused marketers.

📧 Boldpush – А special newsletter for those interested in marketing intelligence and strategy to the most ambitious brands. Props to Julius Solaris for creating one of my top newsletter reads for GTM strategies and actionable content.


📄 OpenAI and Scarlett Johansson’s voice – Actress Scarlett Johansson claimed that OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, asked her to be the voice of “Sky”, one of the voice options available under the AI voice feature, which rolled out last September.

📄A secret search engine? – Has OpenAI quietly launched an early version of ChatGPT Search, as part of the GPT-4o rollout? ChatGPT (the free 4o version) now tells you the sites it is searching to provide its AI-generated answers and crawls and summarizes webpages. And the websites it lists aren’t hallucinations.

📄Red Lobster files for bankrupsy – Red Lobster, which brought affordable shrimp and lobster to middle-class America and grew to become the largest seafood restaurant chain in the world, has filed for bankruptcy. The company said it had more than $1 billion in debt and less than $30 million in cash on hand. It plans to sell its business to its lenders, and in turn, it will receive financing to stay afloat. It expects to continue to close restaurants in the meantime.

📄Saudi Arabia and Boeing – The Saudia Group announced an order for 105 Airbus jets on Monday. It comes as a reported Boeing order from Riyadh Air, also government-owned, has yet to materialize. Its CEO blamed negative media coverage as to why he hasn’t yet announced the deal.

📄How AMC bested Gamestop – It was Meme Stock Week last week, and despite having a clear early advantage, GameStop ended up losing its stonk crown to rival AMC.


📈  Late last year, the strategist pounded the table over uncompelling risk-reward for stocks, warned in early 2024 of stagflation risks, and in April of a correction not finished only for Wall Street to resume climbing. He was also wrongly bullish in 2022 and bearish in 2023.

  • S&P 500: $5,321(+0.16%)

📈 The multiple rate cut predictions from the start of the year may be no more, as many experts expect rates to stay higher for longer. The movement of fixed mortgage rates parallels the 10-year Treasury yield, which moves as investor appetite fluctuates with the state of the economy, inflation and Federal Reserve decisions. At the close of the latest Fed meeting on May 1, policymakers held firm and opted not to cut rates. The recent April Consumer Price Index (CPI) data shows inflation easing, but still not to the 2 percent rate the Fed wants.

“The market was enamored with a slightly lower CPI. We are in a ‘buy on any positive news no matter how modest’ state,” says Dick Lepre of RealFinity.

  • 30-year mortgage rate: 7.06%(-0.15)
  • 15-year mortgage rate: 6.50%(-0.21)

📈  Federal Reserve policymakers on Tuesday said it is prudent for the U.S. central bank to wait several more months to ensure that inflation really is back on a path to the 2% target before commencing interest rate cuts.

“In the absence of a significant weakening in the labor market, I need to see several more months of good inflation data before I would be comfortable supporting an easing in the stance of monetary policy” Fed Governor Christopher Waller told the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

📰 Here are some of the most prominent headlines this week:

  • The defense rests in Trump hush money trial — concluding witness testimony and setting up closing arguments for next week.
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has died in a helicopter crash, state media reports.
  • FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg will resign following a scathing investigation that detailed a toxic workplace.

  • Mindgram – raising €1,75M to support mental health & well-being in the workplace. Backed by Credo, Portfolion & others.
  • Hunch – raising €1,25M to increase sales through automated marketing & AI. Backed by Catalyst Romania, Euroventures. 

Note: Got a round going that you want to feature – your own business or a portfolio company? Get in touch.

Now let’s have a look at the latest top Flippa offers

Social Media Lead Generation SaaS – This SaaS business enables businesses to scrape emails from their social media followers.

  • Monthly profit: $48,538
  • Profit margin: 84%
  • Business age: 2 years

Online Notarization SaaS – This SaaS business offers a streamlined online notarization service focused on the US legal, real estate, and insurance sectors.

  • Monthly profit: $85,597
  • Profit margin: 70%
  • Active subscribers: 2400+

Hair Styling Pomade Ecommerce Brand – This business sells a branded pomade hair styling product for men.

  • Monthly profit: $20,484
  • Profit margin: 51%
  • Average order value: $20

I’m involved with a number of initiatives – here’s what I can do to help you:

🌐 Scalable and secure WordPress? DevriX provides WordPress retainers to SMEs, publishers, eCommerce, SaaS, and more. Our plans start from $1,200/mo to $40K/mo for anything from support through engineering, CRO, performance, security, to fractional CXO services and managing the data stacks of large corps.

🚀 Want to scale and optimize your business? Growth Shuttle offers personalized advisory plans starting at $600/hr. Tap into my personal pool of business know-how and my data warehouse of industry data.

👥 Want access to my blueprints/books and a weekly Slack planning session? Join my Community and grab my Entrepreneurship book

📈 Looking to start a US company? Check out doola and their “Business in a Box” model. Suitable for both foreigners and US citizens and both for residents and non-residents.

📊 Have you tried buying and selling digital property? Have a look at Flippa’s marketplace. They offer a vast variety of online businesses for any buyer’s interests. Or if you’re ready for an exit, Flippa provides you with the necessary tools to list your business and close the deal.

💼 Looking for investment opportunities? Check out SeedBlink and use Nimity to manage it.

💡 Eager to incorporate my recommended solutions? Track my angel investments. Sharing, applying for open roles, or writing reviews helps a ton.  And anything else I try to publish on my blog and my courses here!