The face of October disappointment (welcome Gen Zs)

Here’s a trip down memory lane – the green passage of late 2019 and the early 2020.

Startups blooming, with VCs pouring money over the top.

Practically negative interest rates. Three of my banks were charging me excess fees worth many hundreds of dollars (if not over a thousand) for cash sitting around. That’s when deposits were yielding like 0.05% interest rate or something and investing in them was dumb at best.

No wars in sight for decades (unless you were deeply entrenched into the Middle East never-ending saga).

Stunning job opportunities, blooming businesses, a growing economy running short of staff and competing for talent. Record-low mortgage rates and a surplus of opportunities on the market.

Fast-forward a couple of years – jumping through the madness in 2020, the first hardcore pandemic in a hundred years, lockdowns, stay-at-home. Local mom-and-pop shops closing, bars and cafes made obsolete, and several million casualties of the bloody bat-derived virus.

But 2021 and the first half of 2022 were too on the rise.

The stock market had it’s ever-peak around New Year’s of 2022.

Stimulus checks (3 of them) bolstered the economy in a way that gave birth to expensive images of monkeys across NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, virtual reality dreams in the Metaverse, and the paradigms of crypto payments in social media networks.

2021 saw the largest numbers of US homes sold since 2006!

Remote working skyrocketed inflation in certain economies thanks to hiring worldwide (no physical boundaries) and moonlighting (working multiple jobs). Let alone “The Great Resignation” (which I myself covered for Entrepreneur at the time).

2021 VC investments in the US were worth 345.4 billion dollars – more than the total volume of investments in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 combined.

(Europe is slightly offset – so consider that 2021-2022 if you’re in my area.)

The Golden Age is over.

This lengthy prelude is designed to illustrate the broken economy we’ve been living in for the past 3-6 years.

What we’re observing today is a form of recession – granted – but the root of this financial reset is driven by a hockey stick model that was never sustainable (or designed to be.)

I’ve been known for frugality in my business thinking. I’m never one to splurge on dumb stuff (except Starbucks), buy fancy interior, hit luxurious bars, or anything remotely similar.

This led to severe burn in the 2020-2022 period – thanks to the unlimited market opportunities presented by tons of business opportunities on the market, including the nomadic lifestyle that many enjoyed at the time.

Leveraging that short-spanned life was somewhat understandable – especially for Gen Z’s buying into the premise of remote work from the beach, work-life balance, the future of crypto, living in the metaverse or Mars, and living the life of an Instagram influencer.

We’re now back into a reshaped reality, closer to the one we lived in during the first two decades of this century. Whether that’s good or bet, we’re yet to see – and the turbulent years have led to innovations in the fintech and now health tech spaces, a slightly more advanced culture of individual investing, and opportunities for entrepreneurship built on stronger foundations.

Some have monetized successfully on the hype – kudos for timing the market.

But resorting back to investing in the long run, prioritizing profitable endeavors, and leveraging productivity (especially in the age of AI) will shape the direction of 2024 (and probably 2025).


My Take

✍️ October Business Tips – Since we’re approaching the end of the weirdest Q4 October I’ve seen in the last 20 years, I gathered this month’s tips on diversification, brand building, and other revenue-generating activities for customer experience and retention.

✍️ Vevol Media Pre-Seed Funding – Vevol Themes has completed its pre-seed funding phase and announced the addition of notable business advisors including Gary Smith, Lucian Rotar, and me! As advisors we hope to bring expertise in entrepreneurship, strategic growth, and venture funding, further positioning Vevol Themes to disrupt the Shopify marketplace and provide innovative solutions for online store owners.

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 

📄 Microsoft to spend $3.2b in Australia – Microsoft announced plans to invest A$5 billion in expanding its AI and cloud computing capabilities in Australia over two years, along with providing skills training and strengthening cyber security. The investment aims to increase computing capacity, support 300,000 Australians in acquiring digital skills, and enhance cyber threat information-sharing, highlighting Microsoft’s commitment to Australia’s growth and prosperity in the era of AI.

📄 X to have two new premium tiers – Elon Musk has announced that X (formerly known as Twitter) will launch two new premium subscription tiers: one at a lower cost with all features but with ads, and another more expensive tier without ads. The move is part of Musk’s efforts to generate revenue and combat issues such as bots, fake accounts, and inappropriate content on the platform.

📄 Microsoft: Leaked pay guidelines – Microsoft’s leaked pay guidelines showcased the potential for new hires to receive substantial compensation packages, including bonuses over $1 million and significant stock awards. In response to employee concerns, Microsoft implemented a compensation increase for employees at levels 67 and below, but due to economic challenges, the company later froze base pay raises and reduced its budget for bonuses and stock awards.

📄 Microsoft: Leaked pay guidelines – Nvidia is reportedly designing central processing units (CPUs) that would run Windows operating system, aiming to challenge Intel’s dominance in the personal computer market. This move is part of Microsoft’s effort to support chip companies in developing Arm-based processors for Windows PCs, following the success of Apple’s Arm-based chips in its Mac computers.

📄 China tech giants to invest $340M in OpenAI competitor – Zhipu AI, a foundation model developer originating from Tsinghua University, has secured 2.5 billion yuan ($340 million) in funding this year amid growing AI competition between the U.S. and China and increasing geopolitical tensions. The investment, predominantly from local Chinese investors and tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent, comes as the U.S. tightens tech sector restrictions on China, pushing Chinese AI companies to adapt and stockpile semiconductors.

Global News

📈 Stock futures are higher as bond yields hold steady, following Monday’s dramatic 5% run for the 10-year note. Bitcoin is up after reaching a nearly 18-month high on Monday over optimism that an ETF based on the crypto will soon be approved in the U.S.

  • S&P: 4,247 (+0.72%)

📈 Is it cheaper to rent? Depends how you look at it. In Graham Stephan’s recent newsletter, he observes that purchasing a home, often seen as a significant asset, comes with numerous hidden costs like PMI, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.
   On the other hand, Graham explained that renting offers financial transparency and flexibility, often proving cheaper in the short-term; however, long-term homeownership can provide stability and a sense of ownership, especially if one plans to stay in the same location for over a decade.

  • 30-year mortgage rate: 7.98% (+0.06%)
  • 15-year mortgage rate: 7.19% (+0.13%)

📈 After 18 months of a Fed-policy-induced rollercoaster ride, investors are ready for things to be boring again. Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted that the central bank was no longer controlling the inflation story during his speech at the Economic Club of New York last week, said Joe Brusuelas, RSM US chief economist.

📰 Sadly, war plagues this week’s news. Even through the tiny glimmers of hope and released hostages, the situation in the Middle East is reaching a boiling point.

  • A Hamas “abduction manual” released by IDF suggests hostage-taking was a core goal of the group’s attack against Israel, and showed detailed instructions for how to kidnap civilians.
  • Two more hostages are released by Hamas, multiple sources say.
  • The White House requests more than $105 billion in aid from Congress to put towards Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs.

Investing Updates

SeedBlink’s Secondary Market Event is underway. During an event, they support buyers and sellers in their negotiating efforts and finalising transaction successfully. 

  • CONTENTS– raising €15M for automating the content workflow.
  • FrontWave– raising up to €1M to improve breast screening for early cancer diagnosis. 
  • Swipe– raising €1M to scale its refurbishing smartphones solution in Central-Eastern Europe. 

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

  • Health Online Retail Platform– This 13-year old Ecommerce business generates an annual revenue of over $524K with a strong email list of 27K subscribers, as well as 18K Twitter followers.
    • Monthly Profit: $5.1K
    • MRR: $756
    • Age: 13 years
  • SaaS Reseller Business – This thriving business is a leader in the niche of engraved seeds. It generated an annual revenue of $55.3K, and has a high profit margin of 60%. With efficient manufacturing process and over 82% organic and direct traffic.
    • Monthly Profit: $2.2K
    • AOV: $534
    • Age: 3 years
  • Niche Furniture Business – This is a twenty-nine-year-old high quality furniture business operating in niche industries included hotels and hospitality businesses, assisted living facilities, and education institutions.
    • Monthly Profit: $62.9K
    • Annual Revenue: $2.5M
    • Age: 29 years

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 $350/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 for investment opportunities? Check out SeedBlink.

💡 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!