The Apple Revolution
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were perhaps two of the biggest innovative thinkers the world has ever seen. Their vision was so futuristic, one could only stand in awe and watch them create history. Jobs and Wozniak were first introduced to each other way back in the year 1971, by Bill Fernandez, who went on to become one of the first Apple employees. They became really close because of their shared love for technology and of course, pranks.
In fact, the two did not join forces for technology, but for their shared love for out of the box pranks. They would create extraordinarily provocative art which ended up being displayed at a graduation ceremony. They went so far as to almost be able to call the Pope in Vatican.
Eventually, like everyone else, the two pranksters grew tired of their ways and decided to focus on their love for technology like they had planned. Their first groundbreaking entry into the world of innovation was by creating “blue boxes,” a system which enabled people to make long distance calls for free.
In 1975, the two Steves attended the Homebrew Computer Club together, a computer hobbyist group which gathered at California’s Menlo Park. It was here, Woz first saw the MITS Altair, which today looks like little more than a box of lights and circuit boards. The two were inspired by the build it yourself approach followed by MITS (the Altair came as a kit) to make something simpler for the rest of the world. This philosophy continues to shine through in Apple’s products even today.
The first Apple computer, Apple 1, was created by Woz as a means of competition to show off what he could do with such limited resources. However, little did Woz know that Jobs would like the archetype so much, he would use it for all future Apple products. Woz built everything at Apple with his own hands and he wanted to actually sell the devices for a little more than the products used to build the devices.
However, Jobs had a bigger (and better) plan for Apple altogether. Jobs cracked a deal with the Byte Shop in Mountain View to supply it with 50 computers priced at $ 500 each. This meant, once the store had taken its cut, the Apple 1 sold for $ 666.66. The legend is that Wozniak liked repeating numbers and was unaware of the ‘number of the beast’ connection.
The Byte Shop was going on a limb for Jobs and Wozniak. The fact was, neither did Apple Computers Inc., have the resources to fulfill the order, nor did they have enough Apple I computers. A bank turned down their request for a loan and even the $ 5,000 they received from a friend’s father was not enough to fund the project. In the end, it was Byte’s purchase order that sealed the deal for the Apple founders. Jobs was banking on this order to see them through the end of the project. While the project went through, this risk taking factor became the main reason for one of the first employees of Apple to quit.
Despite the fact that only 200 Apple 1 computers were produced, the success in itself was so high, the team was able to bankroll the Apple 2 project. Once developed, this piece of technology, worth a little over $ 100, was selling a piece of hardware worth ten times that much. This in itself was uncharted territory for Apple as a company. Unfortunately, even with the right software, the Apple 2 could not have been a huge success as it did not adhere to the Company’s already established high standards.
More importantly, Apple 2 was the first computer to use colour graphics in the right way. Apple had designed a computer which embodied what we came to expect of desktop machines through the 1980s, 1990s and the first few years of this century. This was the beginning of everything, before Apple turned things on its head again and moved increasingly toward sealed boxes without the option for internal expansion.
The Apple 1, 2 and 3 were text based machines. The stupendous success of these two brilliant geniuses had left everyone wondering about the future of the Company. They did not have to wait long. Jobs desperately wanted to do something innovative and he got his break when working with the Lisa. From there on, he went on to create the Macintosh, which in itself was a massive revolution.
However, the original Macintosh required a lot of renovations needed to make it a success. For instance, it did not have an internal hard drive and this was cited as a massive problem. After several tweaks and modifications, the Macintosh 2 came into being. This was a massive success instantly at the time of its launch, beating Microsoft, which was the best selling software at the time.
Apple progressed through the years in leaps and bounds. Despite having lost one of the original founders (Ronald Wayne,) Woz took forward the Apple tradition by creating something truly brilliant. From just being a contraption of sorts, Apple products progressed to something far more sophisticated and sleek. Each design was worth taking note of and keeping a watch on the market and the market trends. From the Apple 1 versions, to the iPods and the iMacs of the current world, Apple has come a long way.
Through the years, Apple grew to expand its range of products and with a primary focus on design and technology. Post the stupendous success of the iPods, apple realised a lot of its future success was riding on the kind of products it would launch next. Launching the first ever iPhone on 29th June 2007, Apple created a massive revolution that was considered not only the best by the rest of the world but also by Times, who called the iPhone “The World’s Greatest Invention.” From the first ever phone introduced, Apple had no turning back and since then, has introduced not one, but ten iPhones and through the years, became the first ever company in the world to be valued over a trillion dollars!
Take a moment to ponder about this fact. If Woz and Jobs had not joined the computer club back in the day, then we would not have the empowering technology we have today.
5 Successful Indian Startups Founded By Women
The workplace has undergone massive changes in the last century. At the turn of the Industrial Revolution, any workplace was dominated by men while the women were delegated to run the homes. However, with the advent of the internet and new and exciting technologies, workplaces have undergone a tectonic shift. Women are no longer comfortable staying at home and are instead opting to lead teams and organisations. As every year passes, we get closer to true gender equality, women have proven time and again that they are equally capable to get the job done if not better in some instances. Names like Wolfe Herd (Bumble founder,) Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics founder,) Masaba Gupta (Masaba clothing label founder) are just some of the names who are known for leading world famous brands with their unique style of leadership.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we bring to you five women founders who run world famous and successful startups.
1) Upasana Taku-MobiKwik
If you are an Indian and are used to doing online shopping, more often than not at the time of payment, you would be directed to a payment gateway. One of these gateways would normally be MobiKwik. The startup is a well known name in the digital payments and digital wallet space. MobiKwik was founded by Upasana Taku in 2009, who prior to founding MobiKwik used to work with PayPal. Today Upasana Taku is also in charge of bank partnerships, business operations, and talent acquisition at MobiKwik.
2) Richa Kar-Zivame
An enthusiastic MBA student, Richa Kar, developed an online lingerie shopping platform in the year 2011. Currently, Zivame is India’s leading online lingerie store with a valuation of more than $ 100 million. The brilliant idea for her own lingerie business came to light when Richa tracked Victoria’s Secret’s sales, who was one of her clients when she was working at SAP. She observed the lingerie sales figures reached peaks overseas but, Indian women were not provided with the similar innerwear. While Richa was studying the Indian lingerie market, she realized the social embarrassment in India surrounding lingerie shopping. Today Richa Kar could be credited with destigmatising the uneasiness surrounding lingerie shopping in India.
3) Falguna Nayar-Nykaa
After a long stint as an investment banker, Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa.com in the year 2013. An online one stop shop for beauty products from Indian and international brands, Nykaa changed the world of online shopping. Who would have ever thought buying makeup online would be so easy? Falguni Nayar proved many critics wrong and created a brand new place for people who love experimenting with styles, designs and colors.
ALSO READ: Zivame: Founding Story
4) Sabina Chopra-Yatra.com
Yatra.com is a popular Indian website for making flight and hotel bookings. Sabina Chopra was instrumental in identifying the potential for travel commerce in India and people moving towards cheaper or easier travel. By the time, people started looking to make bookings, Sabina made sure Yatra.com was already in place. Sabina was the former Head of India Operations of eBookers, which is also an online travel company based in Europe. Along with this, she was also working with Japan Airlines which further adds to her experience in the travel industry.
5) Rashmi Sinha-SlideShare
SlideShare allows people to upload and access their presentations online. While this feature is presently available everywhere, SlideShare was one of the first players in making this happen. Rashmi Sinha was one of the founders of the presentation sharing platform SlideShare. The company became so successful that in 2012, LinkedIn acquired the company for an amount of $100 million.
Let us know in the comments if you know any other wonderful women who have become leaders of their right or have started up and are doing extraordinary things. We at Startup Stories wish a wonderful Women’s Day to all the women in the world who are changemakers.
Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?
If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something. There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you. Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes. The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.
These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing. Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more. Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost. Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.
Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements. Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up. If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”
ALSO READ: How Digital Marketing Is Impacted Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic
Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition. This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing. Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing. Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”
There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms. Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.
Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present. Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics. We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)” Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort. The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions. Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools. Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.
With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset. The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.
From Unicorn To Bankruptcy; Knotel Bears The Brunt Of COVID-19 Pandemic
It is no secret that in the fast paced world of startups, fortunes can change at the snap of fingers. Sometimes startups tend to scale so quickly that they become unicorns and sometimes the fortunes reverse so quickly that a startup can immediately go bankrupt from being a unicorn. The latter was the case for an American property technology startup Knotel, who are now bankrupt due to the disruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Knotel is a property technology company quite similar to WeWork. Knotel designed, built and ran custom headquarters for companies which It manages the spaces with ‘flexible’ terms. Knotel does a mix of direct leases and revenue sharing deals. Knotel marketed its offering as ‘headquarters as a service’ or a flexible office space which could be customized for each tenant while also growing or shrinking as needed. For the revenue-share agreements, Knotel solicits clients, builds out offices, and manages properties, and shares the rent paid to it by the client with the landlord. This model is the majority revenue generator for Knotel.
In March 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed its economic destruction on the world, Knotel was valued at $ 1.6 billion. What is even more interesting is Knotel raised $ 400 million in Series C funding in August 2019 which led to its unicorn status. However, with the COVId-19 pandemic and its consequent lockdowns and curfews by various governments across the world, startups and businesses shifted to a remote working model. This in turn led to startups pulling out of Knotel properties to cut down on working costs.
ALSO READ: Quibi : Startup With A Billion Dollar Launch To Shutting Down All In Six Months
In late March 2020, according to Forbes, Knotel laid off 30% of its workforce and furloughed another 20%, due to the impact of the coronavirus. It was at this point that Knotel was valued at $ 1.6 billion. The company had started the year with about 500 employees. By the third week of March,Knotel had a headcount of 400. With the cuts, about 200 employees remained with the other 200 having either lost their jobs or on unpaid leave, according to Forbes.
In 2021, Knotel filed for bankruptcy and agreed to sell its assets to Newmark, one of their investors for a total of $ 70 million dollars. As work culture is still undergoing changes as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and with many companies realising that remote work model saves costs and improves work efficiency, the flexible workspace sector would continue to face challenges. Knotel is just the tip of the iceberg and is a warning call for the flexible working spaces industry.
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