Delusional employment expectations and the separation between enterprise and SMBs

Everything new is well-forgotten old.” – An old Russian proverb

As the economic tectonic shift is falling into its own place, we’re observing more signs of the “old normal”.

  • Inflation rates normalizing. The 2022 inflation rates were the highest in 40 years – with the last peak in 1981!
  • A more sensible funding environment. Global funding in 2023 is already lower than the 2018 numbers despite the GDP and inflation increments expected on an annual basis.
  • RTO mandates. Remote work has been around for decades if you account for freelancers and contractors, journalists, photographers, writers, creatives, and other part-timers. Some companies offering remote work existed 30 years ago. The pandemic boom made that the norm – but we’re back to the old days now.
  • Profit > Revenue. Influx of funding and cheap credits made it possible to spend millions or tens of millions on proof of concept. With startups failing more often and harder than before, profitability became more important (which has always been the case for 95% of all businesses in generations)
  • Employment productivity. Overhiring and lack of talent impacts team efficiency (large teams are less effective) and productivity (lack of scarcity in the workplace). RTO + automation + AI + layoffs are calibrating this.

Gen Zs haven’t been actively employed back when office jobs were the norm and Instagram wasn’t a revenue channel. Advertisers kept spending on influencers and wasting ad dollars on all sorts of brand exposure campaigns with no KPI attribution.

Now that ad dollars have been withdrawing for a year, certain jobs get an unexpected kick in the butt and entire career lines may shrink rapidly in the next 12 months.

And for us, millennials, generation X, and boomers, this shift feels like a comfortable pillow in the guest room when visiting our grandma or our favorite uncle during the holidays. We’re used to the smell and feel, it feels dated, but also nostalgic. We know what to expect and how to lean in.

The sooner we get to the “Old Normal”, the better.

Despite 18 months of Fed actions against the hyperinflation, and RTO, and the drop in startup funding and layoffs, I still meet 10-15 people every week who rely on funding a pre-revenue dull idea like it’s 2020, or expect a gazillion dollars for consulting or working three jobs at a time. Some of them have been hunting for jobs for 6+ months and complaining about conservative companies lacking vision.

All while Google, Meta, Amazon keep slashing jobs that don’t add enough value to the bottom line or could be replaced with a bot.

This cleanup will take another few months, but reality is bound to kick in.

And as smaller businesses are going under more often than not (especially when relying on external funding), I’m connecting with more enterprises looking to pivot into new channels and vertical, upgrade their demand creation & generation channels, and dive into areas that felt foreign for a new years but are back on track. Practical examples:

  • SEO is on the rise – DevriX has closed several SEO retainers in Q3 and Q4 and demand is at all high
  • Long-form content is back – with the pandemic being over, people don’t spend all their time on social. Long-form articles, essays, case studies, interviews, white papers are on the loose
  • Gated content is dying – everyone is fed up with paid campaigns to gated content. Education via brand development is valued higher – and inbound marketing is king
  • Newsletters are growing – this started in late 2021 as a booming market and it’s still on the rise, thanks to privacy issues and the value of 1st party data. Email’s ROI is the highest in the world which makes newsletters so valued

There are nuances to be mindful of – how AI is interfering with the SEO game or Google’s Search Generative Experience stealing answers and feeding users directly (no click attribution). The digital landscape is the fastest evolving one and requires continuous experimentation and larger data pools – which is what agencies are great at consolidating.

We live in interesting times – moving toward a stability cycle once metrics get normalized. Studying the last century is a great teacher of the stock market performance and recessions, and history tends to repeat itself.


7 Questions on Leadership – Had a great time with Jonno White talking about 7 of the most common questions of leadership and the need of perseverance through market changence and the importance of staying true to vision and criticism.

Tips for Supporting Managers and Reducing High Employee Turnover – It’s often said that employees don’t leave bad jobs—they leave bad managers. In this way, if you’re a business leader whose company is suddenly experiencing high turnover, taking a look at your managers and their performance may be a safe place to start when getting to the root of the issue.

📧 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.

📧 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.

📧 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.

 📄 Wayfair lays off 13% – Wayfair is laying off 1,650 employees, amounting to 13% of its global workforce, as the online home goods retailer struggled to rebound following its success amid pandemic lockdowns.

📄 Jobless claims at 16-month low – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years, suggesting job growth likely remained solid in January. The unexpected decline in initial claims reported by the Labor Department on Thursday added to strong retail sales growth in December in painting an upbeat picture of the economy, and could make it difficult for the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates in March as financial markets anticipate.

📄 Saudi Arabia foes big in Davos – Saudi Arabia’s delegation came out in force in Davos as the country looks to establish itself as a tech hub in the region. The Saudi delegation staged a splashy presence on the city’s main street, including an expansive storefront dedicated to promoting Neom, a new urban development in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

📄 China Declining Population – Data released on Wednesday showed a population of 1.409 billion at the end of 2023 – a 2.08m decrease from 2022. The most recent decline is double that of the previous year, which marked the first population drop in 60 years. But experts say this fall is expected given the country’s expanding urban class and record-low birth rate.

📄 Meta Data Combination and the EU – People using Instagram and Facebook in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will soon be offered several choices about how they would like to manage their experiences across Meta products. Meta are offering these choices to address the requirements of the DMA, which enter into force in March 2024.

📈 The S&P 500 rose above 4,800 for the first time in just over two years Friday, trading just shy of the benchmark stock index’s all-time high and capping the market’s semi-miraculous gains amid a challenging macro environment.

  • S&P 500: $4,864 (+0.29%)

📈 The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly index of mortgage application activity fell 6.9% in the week ended Oct. 13 to 166.9, the lowest since May 1995. Applications for loans to buy a home fell 5.6% to the lowest since February 1995 and applications to refinance an existing mortgage tumbled 9.9% to the lowest since January.

  • 30-year mortgage rate: 6.98%(+0.04)
  • 15-year mortgage rate: 6.45%(+0.13)

📈 Federal Reserve officials made a concerted effort this past week to stress that Fed rate cuts will be slower and less aggressive than investors have been expected. That message is starting to get through to Wall Street, though that didn’t stop the stock market rally. At the Dec. 12-13 Fed meeting, policymakers signaled that the central bank would cut rates three times in 2024, confirming a pivot from Fed rate hikes. But markets immediately expected six quarter-point rate cuts for the year, or 150 basis points, with the first cut coming in March.

📰 This week’s marks new bombings of Houthi targets, presidential campagin news, and a death in the King legacy.

  • The U.S. and British militaries have launched a new round of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen, defense officials say.
  • Dexter Scott King, the son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has died at age 62, his family says.
  • Ron DeSantis is preparing to suspend his presidential campaign ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Happy Birthday to SeedBlink! Bringing opportunities to the European Angel Investing community for more than 4 years now.

  • Sessions backed by Earlybird, UiPath’s early supporter, Stride and LAUNCHub, aims to challenge the global video conferencing market. 
  • Alcatraz AI – expanding its biometric authentication technology, raising a Series A extension now at $6.9M after securing new deals with top Fortune500 companies, airports & stadiums.  
  • Willicroft backed by PINC, Feast, Vandersterre and 6 angels, is looking to scale its plant-based cheese and butter products. 

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!

Global Link Management SaaS PlatformThis is a top 400 site, commonly used by individuals, influencers, and businesses to simplify the process of sharing multiple online destinations with their audience through a single clickable link.

  • Monthly Profit: $46.8K
  • Monthly Page Views: 136M
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue: $110K

Pet Rug Ecommerce StoreA five-year-old Ecommerce business specializing in a high-quality pet rugs generating a trailing twelve month revenue of $403K.

  • Monthly Profit: $11K
  • AOV: $134
  • Customer Return Rate: 22%

B2B Reputation Management SaaSThis five-year-old business offers a SaaS solution that helps businesses with online reviews and has demonstrated strong financial performance, boasting a $528,576 TTM revenue and $311,670 TTM profit.

  • Monthly Profit: $25.9K
  • Annual Recurring Revenue: $500K+
  • Customer Lifetime Value: $1,539

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!