Business strategy life is 3 months MAX (proof: the history of IT unpacked here)

The past 2 months have been some of the busiest months since I started my digital agency 14 years ago.

The reason? Changes happen with a 50X velocity compared to a few years back.

Imagine two high school teachers, one teaching maths, literature, or history, and the other – computer science or marketing.

Without picking favorites here, the rules of math or the history lessons have barely evolved. Miller, Poe, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck are long gone – the system isn’t introducing new authors often and they remain the same.

Now, compared that with a teacher assigned to translate the modern times of software engineering, entrepreneurship, or marketing in today’s age. By the time someone knowledgeable enough starts a book on a programming language, it’s already 2 versions ahead or no longer relevant.

The same principles follow the growth, marketing, and sales paradigms. Yes, the foundations are roughly the same. But practically speaking – they change often.

This has always been valid in the faster moving communications/electronics environment. Some history lessons:

  • 1450 – Gutenberg invents the printing press
  • 1831 – Henry builds the electric telegraph, 5 years later Morse develops the Morse code and in 1843, the long-distance telegraph
  • 1876 – Bell and Watson show the electric telephone in Boston
  • 1925 – Baird showcases the first television signal
  • 1947 – commercial television and its first broadcast
  • Same year – Ring and Young of Bell labs propose the system that made cellphones possible
  • 1965 – first email ever sent (ant MIT)
  • 1969 – ARPANET created, we call that the Internet
  • 1981 – MS-DOS invented by Microsoft
  • 1981 – Osborne 1, the first laptop to market (laptops emerged in the years to follow)
  • 1983 – Microsoft Word
  • 1984 – Motorola’s brick phone founded
  • 1985 – Windows 1.0 (sorry Apple, macOS first released in 1999, late as usual)
  • 1991 – the creation of GSMs
  • 1992 – IBM creates IBM Simon, the first smartphone
  • 1994 – first smartphone apps for IBM
  • 1997 – mobile gaming with Snake for Nokia 6110
  • 2000 – Sharp and the first camera phone
  • 2003 – Nokia created 6600
  • 2007 – Apple’s first smartphone

A lot has happened in-between of course, but we can name some 15-20 significant disruptive events related to tech or comms over the past hundred years until the early 2000s with the dotcom boom.

It was still possible to translate and convey that knowledge to a mere human being – study the papers and design a deck that won’t be changing in the next 3-5 years significantly (besides introducing a new model by a new brand).

Now, picture this in the context of business growth and paradigms.

Phones become smartphones turn to tablets, into smart watches, AR glasses and VR glasses, backed by a myriad of channels and systems by a couple dozen massive tech companies in the Nasdaq index.

Between building a desktop app, moving to downloadable, on-premise, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, a hybrid model with electron apps… and move it to the Metaverse. Bundle in some NFTs as well, and make sure you support all the digital payment systems.

Forming partnerships and acquiring know-how is hard. Understanding what remains and will stay relevant is even harder.

The marketing/sales world follows a similar protocol.

When cold calling and print mail were once the norm, or billboards/TV/radio advertising, this has shifted quickly.

A dozen different platforms on the PPC front alone – Google Ads, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram (also Messenger or Whatsapp ads), Twitter (X), TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, then Quora, reddit or other directories – the list goes on. And it’s just ONE channel.

How much has email marketing shifted since?

How many times was the organic social space disrupted in the past decade? Between Cambridge Analytica, a dozen Facebook Pages/Groups changes, events being prominent on some platforms then not, video being a key growth channel then not, user behavior shifting from long-form landscape to portrait short reels or YouTube shorts.

Imagine launching a business around copywriting and then 80% of the business demands switching to video in the next year and a half. Or maybe a video production for 4K videos when influencers shoot vertical reels on their smartphone.

Inbound marketing, demand generation, GTM, PMF, ABM – the growth realm keeps finding new channels and playing around algorithm changes all day long.

Playbooks expire in 2-3 months. As soon as Google introduces a new search update, iOS kicks in some privacy notes, or email spam takes a different term (whereas your workplace emails get lost now), the org is in panic and an entire business model fades away in months if not weeks.

Marketplaces introducing severe changes in algorithm or taxes. Valid for App stores (iOS/Shopify) or Amazon.

Ads threatened by first-party cookies, then worked around with other privacy hacks.

And don’t get me started on GPTs and populating the Internet with robot content or cold outreach.

These disruptive changes have accelerated in velocity and speed by a factor of 50X.

Staying up to date nowadays is nearly impossible – nor in terms of managing a business sustainably without recessions and layoffs every few years, and massive peaks of winners and losers over the course of a lucky year or two.

Slowdown is not approaching anywhere near. It’s not a capitalistic concept that would evolve and pick up, unifying systems and protocols, minimizing innovation (because it’s degrading). Everyone is pivoting and experimenting weekly on multiple fronts, and businesses are held captive in the middle.

The reason we’re repeating the November exercise here is being kept between 2 quarters, and as I mentioned earlier, playbooks now rarely survive longer than two or three months. Every week, 50+ AI apps and SaaS are introduced on Product Hunt alone, picked up by businesses, freelancers, agencies to introduce a whole new mechanic to the game – personalized AI emails, human-based avatars, AI videos based on a GPT script, live chat bots and what not.

(We even get agency leads nowdays from ChatGPT recommended search. ChatGPT SEO on the rise.)

We spend the later part of Q4s pitching new year roadmaps and plans, and for a second year in a row, 60%+ of our pitches in November were no longer relevant in January – due to layoffs, businesses downsizing, wars, pirates, shifting from growth to preservation, heavier reliance on AI, and more.

And having 15+ years of marketing and growth experience isn’t helping when new tools and mediums come around.

  • We don’t have historical data on success on AI cold outreach because it wasn’t around a year ago (figuratively speaking).
  • Snapchat’s latest ads model was announced 3 months ago – besides a leap of faith, what’s the guarantee here?
  • AI content – we know it’s there; how confidently we can predict GPT accuracy or SEO impact from Google? Google were 100% against AI when ChatGPT came up and threatening bans all over, until Bard (now Gemini) reappearing and changing the rules of the game.

We lack expertise not because we don’t understand how to use social media, the psychological principles of outreach, defining USPs, how to create captivating videos, or produce long-form content. The rules of the game change together with consumer behavior. Algorithms kick in and prioritize different content or ranking criteria. People start to use phones for work more than laptops, or make purchases in the Metaverse which was previously impossible.

But even standard channels like email or paid ads are radically different and need constant adjustments based on real-time experience – because what worked 3 months ago no longer is.

At DevriX, we’ve been defaulting heavily to our Experimentation as a Service proposition as it’s the only one we know would work for good. Heraclitus said that “the only constant is change” 2,500 years ago and it’s still as valid.

What I can confidently say after the past decade+ of scaling digital properties – there are very, very, very few channels that are still doing “okay” yet not great after two or three years. Meta ads for DTC, B2C or low-cost affiliate are still key. SEO is getting worse but still used. Partnerships/endorsements – whether you call them partners, influencers, ambassadors, won’t disappear, and just form into different mediums. On-site is crushing remote – valid for growth, collaboration, and sales.

But how they fit in the mix and what else gets in, and how are offers packaged and structured, how pricing gets refined and adjusted – that product-market mix is changing virtually daily.

P.S. After the long history lesson, I plan to record a video around that script. Feedback and thoughts are welcome if you went through all of that.


 ✍️ Recession-Proof Your Business: Strategies for Ecommerce Growth  Join us in this YouTube video, as we discuss strategies for e-commerce businesses to thrive in the current economic climate.

✍️ Five Critical Trends Impacting Enterprises In 2024 – After an uncertain 2023, businesses are ready for fear and unpredictability to give way to growth and innovation. Meanwhile, we are witnessing a confluence of economic uncertainties and technological advancements reshaping the landscape of e-commerce and digital marketing. Here are five critical trends impacting enterprises in 2024.

✍️ How Brands Can Use Marketing Experimentation To Spur Continual Innovation – The internet, already a place where trends, products and platforms come and go with incredible speed and velocity, is changing faster than ever before. With the digital landscape changing daily, staying ahead of the latest trends and consumer sentiment demands more than adapting to change. It requires brands and global enterprises to actively drive it.

📧 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.

📄 FTC blocks Kroger-Albertsons merger – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and eight states said on Monday they are suing to block supermarket chain Kroger’s $24.6 billion deal to buy smaller rival Albertsons saying it would boost grocery prices for millions of Americans. The deal, which would create a grocery empire with more than 4,000 stores, has drawn tough scrutiny from lawmakers and consumer groups worried about higher grocery prices, job losses, store closures and diminishing choice for consumers.

📄 Bitcoin soars past $56,000 – A rally in Bitcoin pushed the asset to a 2024 high.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency is up more than 10% to $56,449 in the last 24 hours — its highest price since December 2021

📄 LinkedIn algorithm change –  LinkedIn is developing a new way for posts to show up on other people’s feeds. It’s called a “suggested post” — an ambitious, new way of distributing content, where your best posts will be shown to targeted users for months or even years.

Gemini Relaunch –  Google plans to relaunch its image-generation AI tool in the next “few weeks,” according to Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis. The company took the tool offline Thursday following a string of controversies. Google introduced the image-generation capability earlier this month through Gemini, its main suite of AI models.

📄 Reddit files to go public – Reddit on Thursday filed to go public. Its market debut will mark the first major tech initial public offering of the year and the first social media IPO since Pinterest went public in 2019. The social media company, founded in 2005 by technology entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, has raised about $1.3 billion in funding and has a post valuation of $10 billion, according to deal-tracking service PitchBook.

📈 When Nvidia (NVDA) tripped a rip-roaring rally for the S&P 500 SPX last week, it marked the first time in a year for a 2% market move in either direction.

  • S&P 500: $5,078(+0.17%)

📈 At its Jan. 31 meeting, the Federal Reserve announced it would hold off changing rates and affirmed its plan to slash rates this year. Rate changes affect many areas of the economy, including the 10-year Treasury, a key benchmark for fixed-rate mortgages.

  • 30-year mortgage rate: 7.34%(+0.05)
  • 15-year mortgage rate: 6.76%(+0.14)

📈 Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Schmid on Monday used a debut speech on policy to signal that he remains focused on the threat of high inflation and is in no rush to cut interest rates.

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

  • US home prices hit an all-time high in December, according to data released Tuesday.
  • President Biden says he hopes there will be a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict by next Monday.
  • A former FBI informant indicted for allegedly lying about the Bidens will remain in jail while he awaits trial, a federal judge rules

  • Vestinda – raising €375,000 to help investors automate and grow their portfolios using technology. Backed by TechStars & Banca Sella.
  • Atmos UAVraising €800,000 to scale its land surveying drone solution.
  • CONTENTSthe marketing content generator, is extending its €16M Series B after Thomson Reuters Ventures and Alkemia Capital joined the round. 

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, including their newest feature – being able to buy and sell Newsletters!

Previously Public SaaS Marketing PlatformA SaaS platform that provides data on anonymized website visitors, this business was acquired by a public company in 2006 and was then repurchased as a new business in 2019, operating for a combined 17 years.

  • Monthly profit: $54.7K
  • TTM revenue: $442K
  • Business age: 17 years

B2B Growth Marketing AgencyThis business provides clients with copy for email campaigns, ads, and sales funnels.

  • Monthly profit: $24K
  • Profit margin: 58%
  • Business age: 8 years

Live Streaming SaaS for AthletesThis business offers content creators the ability to livestream a sport as if it was on TV.

  • Monthly profit: $4.5K
  • Domain authority: 24
  • Business age: 5 years

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!