Forbes 30 Under 30 Is a Frauds Dream

The Forbes 30 Under 30 list, a famous yearly list that recognizes the achievements of young entrepreneurs and leaders, is the topic of this article, which explores the pattern of frauds being highlighted on the list. Sam Bankman-Fried, Elizabeth Holmes, and Charlie Javice are the three people mentioned by the author who have been mentioned on the list and are suspected of having committed fraud. The author speculates that Forbes may have assisted in these people’s ascent without conducting enough critical scrutiny, and afterwards benefited from publishing stories about their subsequent fall from grace.

When the Forbes list included Martin Shkreli, Sam Bankman-Fried, and Elizabeth Holmes you know it’s going to be good. Frauds on Forbes lists is a normal occurrence.

Oh and…

The Rise of Blackhat SEO with the Emergence of AI Tools

The following blogpost, is written with AI. Using a propped to create a blogpost based on the article AI Will Break Online Search. That article claims that generative AI tools are going to fuel Blackhat SEO.

Now the AI generated article:

With the rise of AI tools for content creation, marketers can generate volumes of content at scale. This is exciting for companies, but this also presents a challenge. Blackhat SEO is about to be scaled with the aid of AI, breaking the online search as we know it. The magic box at the top of the browser where we all reflexively type “how to [blank]”, “[blank] near me”, “best [blank] Reddit”, and anything else we seek a semi-reliable answer to will no longer provide the same quality of results.

One reason for the decline of search quality is the volume of things on the internet (quantity) and the lower average caliber of all those things (quality). While Google search has been declining in quality for years, AI tools will take blackhat SEO to the next level, flooding the internet with spam content.

Generative text AI is impressive, as it can create unique content in perfect English, but it is often plagiarized and inaccurate. The tools will be used to generate volumes of pages that fill websites that exist only to influence purchasing decisions with no concern for user value. This will be a major concern for companies that value user experience, as users may not be able to trust the top results on Google search results anymore.

While blackhat SEO has always existed, AI will enable unfettered use of marketing tactics. Private blog networks (PBNs) and click-through rate (CTR) manipulation are among the tactics that will be scaled with AI. PBNs are a network of websites that exist primarily to link to other websites to help rank them in Google and other search engines. CTR manipulation is a tactic that uses bots or real humans to coordinate clicks on a search engine results page(SERP) to influence a website’s ranking for a given term.

It is important to note that blackhat SEO is not the same as SEO optimization and strategy. Companies must understand that using blackhat SEO tactics can harm their reputation and do more damage than good in the long run. Blackhat SEO tactics may provide quick wins, but they will eventually lead to penalties and a loss of credibility with search engines.

In conclusion, AI tools for content creation will change the digital marketing landscape forever, and with the rise of these tools, blackhat SEO tactics will become more prevalent than ever. Companies must take a stand to protect their reputation and ensure that they are not using blackhat SEO tactics to manipulate search rankings. The internet must be kept clean of spam and low-quality content, and user experience must be a top priority for companies. Only then can we ensure that the magic box at the top of the browser continues to provide us with valuable, relevant results.

Spring Free EV Contract Breach

At this point over 30,000 people have read the article about Spring Free EV breaching a contract with Push ROI. This video is to add more context to Spring Free EV’s behavior, and to explain Push ROI’s offers over time. Investors Reid Hoffman, Evan Williams & Mark Pincus have not offered a public statement.

Please Stop Being An Askhole.

Have you ever dealt with someone who eagerly asks for your advice but never acts on it? The kind of person, who ask for consultation on what they (not you) should eat for dinner? These people are called askholes. They are annoying. They are offensive, and holy hell, are they uninvestable.

Louis Rossman recently published a video about being investable. Not in terms of cash, but with time, effort, and energy from people who do not get an ROI from helping you. In Rossman’s video someone send sent him an email requesting help fixing a Mac Book. But it became clear that the person was going to ask for step one, follow up with step two, and so on until everything had been explained to him from the ground up.

This is not an example of someone who wants to invest, it’s an example of “scope creep” as Push ROI pointed out in a blog/video response to Rossman’s video. Saying,

“It’s also scope creep, where someone asks for an opinion, changes to a request for step-by-step training, and hard pivots asking you to just do it for them. Slowly boiling the frog, moving someone from what they were comfortable and willing to do into something to which they would not have agreed.

Most of us have been the immature person who has done this sort of thing, often unintentionally. But ideally, we grow out of it before we burn too many relationships and opportunities. Rossman did something that most people would not have, he responded to explain why the person’s email was rude.”

The two types of askhole, the scope creeper, and the advice ignore are both demoralizing to the people they seek advice from, and collectively, they are uninvestable askholes.

Sending Introductions Is Simple

Indeed wrote a great article explaining exactly how to introduce yourself with an email. That advice may help you a lot.

But if you’re trying to introduce two people in an email, it’s really easy. Just ask the parties if they mind if you send an introduction. Next, write a few sentences. No need for something long or complicated.

If you tend to feel like you should say more, or worry about what may happen between the two people you’ve introduced. Knock it off.

Introducing people you know is a great way to build better relationships with both parties. You establish a personal link with each introduction. Writing the email should take less than 5-minutes, with a quick phone call or a few texts to explain the introduction it will take under an hour. So being a connector is a high-value low effort favor. Just stay out of the way, once you make the intro. As explained in the video below.

With the obligatory “don’t screw things up, by overcomplicating the email” out of the way. Helping people meet each other enhances your own professional network. It shows you want others to succeed, and build a hell of a lot of goodwill.

Just remember the golden rule, leave them to talk.

The two of them have the room now. Once everyone is connected, excuse yourself from the conversation. You’re being a part of the discussion is unneeded, after all. It’s on them to continue the conversation or not. Don’t squander the goodwill you just built by trying to do more.

What if I am needed?

A few scenarios here. If you’re introducing two people for a specific project, for example, an engineer to the architect you’ve been working with, you may be needed, but that is often very clear. In most other cases just part with, “let me know if you need anything from me”?

LA Times Is Wrong About Elon Musk Twitter Bots

LA Times ran an article claiming that Elon Musk used Twitter bots to prop up Teslas falling stock price. The trouble is the article is based on flawed research from one guy, David A Kirsch. Kirsch has a flawed research methodology, and apparently an ax to grind with Tesla.

Mason Pelt from Push ROI made a video, and later an article criticizing. Kirsch’s approach to research, that used a tool called Botometer. The Botometer tool has a lot of criticism from data scientists. in several studies. 1, 2, 3 the tool has been shown unreliable.

One Twitter user even manipulated their score with Botometer.

Pelt was from the only critic, as others pointed out both flaws in the Botometer tool, and the fact that Kirsch refused to share any details about his methodology or the accounts that he identified as bots.

“The claim that Elon Musk is wielding a bot army to promote Tesla is an old conspiracy that just won’t fade away — or some people won’t let fade away. I don’t think there’s much chance Elon Musk or Tesla are utilizing a Twitter bot army to pump the stock or promote Tesla in a positive light, despite recent thinly veiled accusations from the LA Times on the matter. The approach simply doesn’t mesh with Elon Musk’s philosophy or business approach on a variety of matters.” opens an article by Johnna Crider for CleanTechnica.

Crider’s article brought my attention to the fact that Kirsch seems to have an ax to grind with Tesla.

On top of that, no one has seen the paper.

And it seems like no one is going to see it.

No one at all is arguing that bots aren’t real. We’ve all seen bots prop up crypto scams. Generally, people aren’t even arguing that Twitter bots aren’t talking about Tesla given the volume of scams impersonating Musk.

“I’m not saying no bot accounts pushed Tesla. It’s Twitter; I’m sure bots said many things. But the speculation that Elon Musk or his agents used botnets to push up tesla stock or build his cult of personality is not well supported. That claim is based on research that isn’t reviewed, isn’t published as a preprint (so it can’t be analyzed by others), uses a flawed tool for bot identification, and is orchestrated by someone whose research is not generally social bots.” concluded Pelt’s article.

Sunil Paul, a VC who doesn’t understand contracts

Over a couple of blog posts and a series of Tweets an ad agency founder made it clear that VC Sunil Paul doesn’t understand contracts or worse, doesn’t respect them.

In a blog post Mason Pelt of Push ROI, explained the exact timeline where Sunil Paul’s venture Spring Free EV (he’s the CEO, not just an investor), negotiated, signed and breached a contract. The post summarized here, details several bad faith actions taken after the contract breach as well.

On Twitter Pelt made it clear that he doesn’t care if other companies won’t work with him because of this, Tweeting that he’s “saying this publicly because other service providers deserve the heads up.”

Pelt also took Spring Free EV’s CEO to task for the use of the Getaround logo on his bio. Paul uses the Getaround logo on his Spring Free EV bio, and talks about incubating them on his Spring Ventures (his VC firm) bio. However, press representatives for Getaround stated Paul was never involved with the company — and in Paul’s own words (archive link)

“In the summer of 2009, I taught at Singularity University and helped incubate a company to create peer-to-peer carsharing, Getaround. At the end of the summer I offered to invest in the nascent team and join as an executive chairman, but they turned me down, concerned I would exert too much control over their company. Annoyed at being rebuffed, I decided to experiment with P2P carsharing myself. A key obstacle was insurance. Personal insurance didn’t cover renting out your car to someone else and an insurance company could cancel your insurance if you did so.”

As Pelt put it on Twitter, the logo is used on “Sunil Paul’s about page despite his involvement seeming to have been, meeting with them at some type of startup incubator, and having them refuse to take his investment dollars or grant him a board seat.”

Happy 22222

Today is 2/2/22, and you know what that means? Nothing, it means nothing at all. I looked outside at 2:22 on 2/22/22 and the world was unchanged. I check the news, and it turns out Slack is down, Russian’s may be invading Ukraine, and Facebook is trying to clone TikTok. So nothing new.

People are still working like normal. This beautiful moment is passing everyone by; Even marketers seem to have missed the chance. I’ve seen no ads commiserating the event. Now I’ll have to wait 200 more years to see an ad for Taco 22222 Tuesday. Very sad.

If I still worked in an office, I’d have at least gotten the chance to have a post work happy hour with my coworkers. Maybe I’ll see if anyone is down to “demonstrate the advantage of inclusion and diversity, and help reinforce a positive corporate culture” or whatever companies are saying to describe games over Zoom while they are not marketing the moment of alignment. Eye roll.

Maybe All Company Holiday Parties Should Be Virtual

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) ran an article this month discussing the pros and cons of in-person holiday office parties this year. 

“While last year’s parties were almost exclusively virtual, declining coronavirus cases, rising vaccination rates and the arrival of COVID-19 booster shots are allowing for more in-person experiences this time around, especially at smaller employers. However, to keep employees safe, some organizations are keeping their events completely virtual, while others are inventing new ways to mark the season.” reads the leade of the article.

The SHRM article shares several perspectives. Some employers very much value the party is employee morale and engagement. In contrast, others were opting to have no event or a virtual gathering in the name of safety. 

The internet has no shortage when it comes to virtual holiday party ideas. From a Virtual Yuletide Showdown with scavenger hunt-style challenges to A Very Merry Mystery virtual whodunnit game. 

And choosing a virtual event isn’t just about safety. For some companies, virtual events are a highly desirable option, and not just for holiday parties. 

“As it turns out, adopting a virtual event strategy can actually produce a number of unexpected benefits — benefits that will surely outlast the pandemic. Of course, virtual events will always be more accessible than in-person events, but the marketers we spoke to had other lessons to share as well. Here’s how forward-thinking marketers learned to love virtual events and reaped benefits that will follow them for years to come.” says CMS wire.

Arkadin says “Getting to an event means travelling, and often hotel, food, drink, and entertainment budgets. Whether it’s Barcelona, Las Vegas, London, or Singapore, if the event is not close to your visitor’s home location, they face additional expenses beyond the ticket price. In fact, even free events, may not be affordable, due to these extra costs. Going virtual can remove the financial hurdle.”

And some employees prefer virtual events. 

“Some workers may really enjoy offices, but distributed teams like the one behind WordPress prove offices aren’t needed for successful companies or engaged employees. What is viewed as the best experience will vary from person to person. I have no idea if office workers will mostly head back to the office or not. But the only efficient meetings I’ve had in my life have been virtual, and bad meetings are bad for employees.” said Internet News Flash

YouTube Will Have More Ads, But These Ads Won’t Help Your Favorite Creators

YouTube will start running ads on channels outside the Partner Program, according to credible reports, including a statement from YouTube itself. YouTube said, “we’ll begin slowly rolling out ads on a limited number of videos from channels not in YPP,”

This is a win for YouTube, and will likely help make Vimeo a lot of money from brands who cannot risk having ads on their videos. But I will never feel bad about using an ad blocker again. Google (parent company of YouTube) is a big bad bully of the internet. They have build the web up, broken the internet down, and blame the robots when people get upset.

I sat and watched tens of thousands of ads to help the creators in the YT partner program. People who made livings off of YouTube. But YouTube has lost my willingness to watch another damn ad. I care nothing about the success of YouTube as a corporatiwon.

YouTube has found a way to cut out most creators, and yes, they offer free hosting for all manner of content. But if they hadn’t popped up, hadn’t been the big chungus gobbling up web video for the last 13 years, maybe we would have other viable consumer web video sites to broadcast ourselves.

Google just killed off free unlimited hosting in the Google Photos app, and while it sound like I’m mad that I don’t get free stuff. I’m not. I’m royally pissed that I will likely now pay Google the exact same amount I would have paid another company, but Google being free killed those competitors.

To quote dontfiremepls from Hacker News, people (like me) our upset,

“Because it’s anti-competitive dumping. The dirty secret of SV is that it’s an enormous dumping scheme: burn billions of dollars of money to offer ‘free’ or goods and services, gain a dominant position in the market by driving the honestly priced competition into the ground, then jack up the prices and fleece the customers. Uber is the poster boy of this strategy, but it’s not the only one.

They are right, and FY Your Information, Google sucks.