Black Friday winners and losers, Open AI flash news, my launches & packages in November

It’s been a VERY busy week in digital – somewhat expected with Black Friday coming up this week, but some added twists along the way.

OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman got kicked out on Friday, quickly hired by Microsoft on Monday, and back in his old seat today, after replacing most of OpenAI’s original board. This brought a major and extremely quick shift in the AI-sphere – Microsoft inviting OpenAI staff to join forces (after legitimately hiring 2 executives), Salesforce extending quick offers as well, Google/Elon keeping a close eye and iterating on that venture in the process.

Bottom line, AI isn’t going anywhere, and multiple players have been investing many billions to progress GPT. As users, we can only expect to adopt more AI software. As executives and founders, the marketplace is shifting real quick – so I’d be extra cautious on introducing new features or generally launching an AI business that could be turned into a Claude/Bard feature overnight.

Black Friday is right behind the door – and sales are ramping up for most businesses out there.

However, the largest ever FBA aggregator Thrasio prepares for bankruptcy. Thrasio’s total funding was $3.4 billion – and knowing many Thrasio employees personally, it frightens me thinking about the fall of giants. What will happen with individual FBA brands – we’re yet to see.

Amazon is unstoppable though. After they announced a Shopify deal including “Buy with Prime” in August, they will run Snap ads as well. There’s a clear segmentation of space – with the leading giants surviving the game and aggregating the market, and smaller players having a hard time competing and staying afloat.

Luckily, we see a handful of our Shopify stores growing and ramping up sales this month in preparation of the big season. Rush is observing more traffic and we’ll be peaking high over the next 2+ months (lots of January shipments traditionally as well).

And DevriX launched 2 WooCommerce platforms this month alone! Thrilled to be driving extra tens of millions of GMV in the coming months – in addition to our affiliate work in the space with publishers and FBA stores.

Maximizing the most out of Q4 is exhausting, but seeing results come in makes all the difference in the world. Working with my business coaches Steve and James helped us refine some value propositions and accelerate growth for multiple brands (and the clear uptick in November is obvious).

I also drew inspiration from James’s async mentorship plan as we’re exchanging texts and voices every few days. This is now outlined as the Strategy plan under our Growth Shuttle advisory services (along with my team of 6 people running R&D and martech experiments daily across the board).

Back to the sales season – have a profitable and rewarding Black Friday weekend (and December sales) everyone and hit “Reply” to share personal wins or Q1 hesitations you’re facing at the time.

Yours,
Mario


My Take 


✍️ IT Recruitment Challenges and Opportunities – According to DICE, 63% of recruiters face a lack of specialized IT skills. This week we look at IT Recruitment challenges and how to transform them into opportunities. This year we had an unexpected spike in business during the most surprising month of all – August! That led to us having to hire lots of new employees and it made me think of all the trouble one has to go through in the recruitment process. 

✍️ Building a Lead Funnel in 30 Days for a Solar Business – I wanted to share a one of DevriX’s latest case studies regarding marketing strategies we utilized for one of our latest clients. They are a leading European solar energy company expanded into the North American market. Utilizing a multifaceted approach, including redesigning the homepage into a lead magnet, establishing strategic partnerships, and employing targeted advertising and A/B testing, we successfully created a robust lead funnel, significantly improving lead generation, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS), thereby positioning the client for ambitious growth in the competitive solar industry.

✍️ Helping Brands Increase Revenues Through Shipping Notifications – We’re happy to be covered by professionals such as Pulse, who wrote how we aim to revolutionize post-purchase engagement for e-commerce owners through customizable shipping notifications and a branded tracking page with upsells.

✍️ WordPress Security Essentials – Join us with Cloudways as we talk about guarding your WordPress website. Hear from professionals such as Kathy Zant, Akshat Chaudhaary, Miriam Schwav, and Mohammad Moeez – our host.

✍️ 5 Effective Customer Experiences for Retailers – This week I wrote for Retail Customer experience regarding customer experiences for retailers in the digital age. Customers’ changing preferences, favoring convenience and personalized interactions, provide guidelines to help retailers compete in a crowded ecosystem.


Newsletter Recommendations

📧 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.

📧 The Average JoeMarket trends & insights that are simple, concise, and impactful. This newsletter stands out to me due to the 200,000+ audience that go through market trends and ideas together.

📧 The Early Bird – А special 7:00AM newsletter for those in the US, who feel to be at an information disadvantage. This newsletter covers early stories, that will impact the market every day.

📧 Morning Brew – Аn absolute classic, the Morning Brew delivers top news from a business-minded angle, and deliver it in a short, easy-to-read, actionable, and entertaining way.


Business Strategy 

📄 Meta Expanded Acess to Content and API – Meta is enhancing its Content Library and API tools, providing researchers with greater access to Facebook and Instagram content data to study usage trends and inform social platform policy. While partly driven by regulatory compliance, this expansion offers valuable insights into social media’s impact on various aspects, although it remains to be seen if Meta will limit access for certain research areas, particularly those exploring the negative impacts of social media.

📄 Altman to Return to OpenAI – Sam Altman, previously ousted from OpenAI, is set to return as CEO following intense negotiations, with a new initial board led by Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. This decision, influenced by key investors like Microsoft, marks a significant turnaround in the AI industry, reflecting both Altman’s prominence in the field and the company’s ongoing challenges in governance and strategic direction.

📄 A Crypto King has folded – Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, will plead guilty to violating U.S. anti-money-laundering requirements and agree to pay $4.3 billion in fines. The company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, stepped down and entered a guilty plea, marking a significant shift in the exchange’s compliance strategy and its interaction with U.S. regulations.

📄 X Sues Media Matters X filed a lawsuit against Media Matters for America and its staff member for publishing a report alleging Nazi content appeared alongside advertisements from major corporations on the X app. The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages and the removal of the article, claims Media Matters intentionally misrepresented the app’s content to harm X’s advertising sales, amidst broader tensions involving Musk, his critics, and the platform’s relationship with advertisers.

📄 Alibaba drops $20 Billion in Market Value – Alibaba announced it will not proceed with the spinoff of its Cloud Intelligence Group, citing uncertainties arising from U.S. chip export curbs as a key reason. This decision, impacting its competition with giants like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, led to a significant loss of over $21 billion in market capitalization for Alibaba.


Global News

📈 Stock futures are mostly flat, with tech pointing slightly higher following Nvidia’s results. A year after U.K. market turmoil, a new chancellor will step up to the podium with a budget statement on Wednesday. So U.K. gilts could see action later.

  • S&P: 4,556 (+0.42%)

📈 The rise in mortgage rates comes alongside appreciating home prices, both of which have hampered homebuying activity. More than half of home purchase mortgages originated in July had a monthly payment greater than $2,000, according to Black Knight. Twenty-three percent of originations in July had a payment over $3,000. The affordability squeeze is stretching budgets, and keeping many first-time homebuyers out of the market altogether.

  • 30-year mortgage rate: 7.73% (-0.03%)
  • 15-year mortgage rate: 7.02% (-0.01%)

 📈 Federal Reserve officials at their most recent meeting expressed little appetite for cutting interest rates anytime soon, particularly as inflation remains well above their goal, according to minutes released Tuesday. At the least, they said policy will need to stay “restrictive” until data shows inflation on a convincing trek back to the central bank’s 2% goal.

📰 This week we see good news for Israeli hostages, the downfall of kings of crypto, and the end of the journey of a prolific mental health advocate.

  • Israeli cabinet approves deal with Hamas that will see 50 hostages released from Gaza over a four-day pause in fighting.
  • The CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, will step down after the company pleaded guilty to U.S. money laundering violations.
  • Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady and humanitarian who advocated for mental health issues, has died at the age of 96


Investing Updates

  • Blindspot– links over a million global digital billboards, simplifying advertising for diverse clients like TikTok, Netflix, and Rihanna.
  • Willicroft– seeks €475,000 to launch Europe’s first authentic plant-based butter, featuring natural ingredients and unique fermentation processes. 
  • InteroCloud– provides a digital healthcare management platform for small and medium clinics in CEE. 

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

  • Cybersecurity SaaS– This business is a well-known technology and solution provider in the cybersecurity industry. It has seen an impressive 130% increase in recurring revenue YoY.
    • Monthly Profit: $110.8K
    • Annual Revenue: $4.5M
    • Age: 19 years
  • Vitamins Store– Established 29 years ago, this store offers a range of high-quality health products from top brands at competitive prices. With an email list of 20K, an aged domain, and established suppliers in place.
    • Monthly Profit: $5.2K
    • Return Customer Rate: 19.5%
    • Average Order Value: $118
  • News & Entertainment Blog – This three-year-old content site generates income through selling sponsored article opportunities to entrepreneurs and businesses. With a profit margin of 84%, 30K quality backlinks and 15K social media followers.
    • Monthly Profit: $3.9K
    • Annual Revenue: $56.7K
    • Authority Score: 26


Need my Help? 

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.

🛒 Running on Shopify? Set up Rush now and increase your revenue with post-purchase orders automatically!

🚀 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!