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Peter Thiel's Best Management Tip
And an idea SaaS founders would pay you to build
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Today at a glance:
Opportunity → Affiliate Scraper
Framework → Motivation Framework
Tool → Instantly
Trend → Cologne
Quote → Peter Thiel’s Idea on Managing People
💡 Opportunity: Affiliate Scam Alerts
I just launched an affiliate program for Megaphone, my new marketplace product and when researching which tool to use (I ended up going with Tapfiliate) I learned that there’s a pretty common affiliate scam with popular programs:
On the surface you may not think this is a massive issue — they’re driving users, right? The issue is that you’re paying affiliate commissions on organic search traffic that would have found and likely signed up for your product anyway. In fact you may also be losing out on sales, because your own landing page probably converts better than an affiliate’s page about your product.
I’d pay for an AI-powered dashboard that monitored and alerted me to affiliates who set scams like this up, and asked if I wanted to shut them off (and I think a lot of other people who run affiliate programs would pay for it too).
🧠 Framework: Motivation Framework
In an ideal world, the people you hire have very strong intrinsic motivation and require zero or minimal motivation maintenance over time. But the real world is messy and keeping people motivated on your team can be one of the hardest things you’ll do as a founder.
It makes sense. Team members will never have as much skin in the game as you do as the founder. You will always care more. Don’t let yourself be convinced otherwise.
But there are four leverage points that you can focus on to increase employee motivation:
Expectancy → Increase their perceived odds of success. Employees will be more motivated to work on something that they believe will have success.
Value → Increase the enjoyment or rewards of a task. The more rewarding a task is the more motivated employees will be to complete it.
Impulsiveness → Decrease the number of distractions they have. Create immediate deadlines so they cannot procrastinate.
Delay → Decrease how long it will take to receive the rewards.
🛠 Tool: Multi
Founders want their engineering teams coding rather than stuck in meetings. But when there’s a hard problem founders want them to get on a call ASAP to figure it out. The issue is meeting software isn’t optimized for how engineers actually solve problems.
📈 Trend: Colognes
Colognes aren’t a new trend. Men have been wearing cologne since at least the 1700’s. But the r/Colognes subreddit is new and spiking.
It’s a community of over 30,000 people showcasing their collections and sharing their passion for colognes. And it’s growing fast.
Items that people collect are always interesting business to build around. This reminded me of another luxury collectors item…watches.
In 2020, Hodinke, a media company and marketplace that combines luxury watch content with an eCommerce store raised $40M at a $100M valuation.
It’s true that giving up 40% of your company in a Series B is absurdly high, but they did land partners as part of the deal who had a ton of leverage in the watch world. Namely, LVMH.
Additionally the @watches instagram has 127k followers and they launched a watch portfolio and market management platform to go along with it.
Something very similar could be built around colognes relatively quickly.
💬 Quote: Peter Thiel’s Best Idea on Managing People
Last week I wrote about a framework that Jeff Bezos uses at Amazon and Peter Thiel implements the same idea at startups he gets deeply involved in.
Making every person responsible for one thing is apparently one of the biggest cheat codes for the world’s best founders.
I loved the point that more often startups die from internal conflict rather than competing forces. When times get hard at a startup it can be easy to start blaming each other, and underlying insecurities come out.
By defining everyone’s role around one unique task you’ll reduce internal conflict and eliminate the chances of your startup dying from forces you should be able to control.
🔗 Houck’s Picks
Upgrade for the full batch of picks this week:
The state of VC in 2023
5 software tools Greg Isenberg used to build his three startups
The different ways startups can compete for talent
How to get potential B2B clients emails addresses for free
The best way to find a co-founder
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