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The best boxer briefs — Typical Contents

Preface:
This is the first guide in a series from Typical Contents, a kind of “wirecutter for clothes”. It’s by the team behind Epochs, a now defunct menswear blog.
We’ll be reviewing categories of clothing in hopes of finding the best item(s) in that category. This first post focuses on finding the best pair of boxer briefs. We bought all 13 pairs tested using our own money and there are no referral or affiliate links contained in this post.
Over the past six months I've been on a personal crusade to find the best pair of mens boxer briefs. The reason? I'm investing the time and money now, upfront, so I never have to think about what underwear I buy ever again. During this quest I've researched over 20 pairs of underwear, and wore and washed 13 pairs over six months (and I will continue to test and update this guide accordingly). CDLP's Boxer Brief came out on top; they're light and comfortable, look great and can be had for a reasonable price when bought in multiples.

Best overall

CDLP Boxer Brief
£29
An incredibly comfortable pair of underwear thanks to their light and airy lyocell material and lack of a fabric label. They're not quite so hard on the wallet in multipacks and subscriptions. Made in Portugal.
View on CDLP's website
CDLP’s Boxer Brief came out top in our testing. They were the most comfortable fit, perfectly hugging the wearer in a reassuring and supportive way. The unusual lyocell material was light, soft and has significant stretch. The material did have a slightly unusual sheen but this lessened on the body of the garment after a few washes (but remained on the waistband). The printed label on the inside is an excellent touch, avoiding the irritation of fabric labels. The waistband seam is moved off centre, preventing irritation in the small of the wearer’s back. The Portuguese manufacture oozes quality and means you’ll be supporting well paid workers. They are also durable: After six months of weekly wears and washes they show no issues.
£29 is expensive for a pair of underwear but its on par with others also made in developed countries. The price per pair can be brought down significantly by multipacks and CDLP's "Automatique" subscription service. A three pack costs £75, reducing the price per pair to £25 (a nine pack reduces the price per pair to £21.60 but costs an eye watering £195). Combining the three pack with a three month subscription reduces the price to £59 every three months. This reduces the price per pair to a relatively reasonable £19.
We were also impressed by CDLP’s presentation. The garments themselves exude a premium but understated feeling which is preferable to the brash loudness found in a lot of mens underwear. The bright yellow box the underwear arrives in was not only visually arresting, but made the unboxing feel special. It was reminiscent of a Mr Porter or Apple box opening experience.
This is the best pair of underpants I've ever owned. In the entire rotation this is the only pair I really looked forward to putting on. If you only want to own a single model of boxer brief, these should be it.

What we’d like to see improved

As CDLP’s founders themselves say, they “are not perfect”. We'd like more transparency around their factory in Portugal, more transparency about their lyocell material, its environmental impact, and manufacturing process. We’d also like to see some sort of recycling/disposal programme where old or worn out pairs can be sent back to the company for recycling alá Patagonia and others.

Also good

Sunspel Stretch Cotton Trunk
£28
A well crafted pair of underwear that is comfortable and will last a long time. The material is more substantial than our top pick, but was less breathable and light feeling. Made in Portugal.
View on Sunspel's website
The Sunspel Stretch Cotton Trunk is just as comfortable as our top pick, the CDLP Boxer Brief. They have an excellent, supportive and flattering fit, and conform well to the wearer's body. Unfortunately it does have a fabric label, which we found annoying. Where this pair differs from our top pick is the material, which is a more traditional cotton/elastane mix. It is thicker and more substantial feeling than CDLP's lyocell offering but we prefer CDLP's lighter feeling material. The quality and durability on display from Sunspel is outstanding, and we expect this pair to last a very long time. Do not confuse these Stretch Cotton Trunks with Sunspel's Superfine Cotton Trunks, which are 100% cotton and we did not favour in our testing (they are also more expensive).
Sunspel do not offer multipacks or any kind of subscription service meaning what you see is what you get in terms of pricing, barring sales. All in all Sunspel has a nearly as compelling offering as our top pick for the same price (or more expensive if you take multipacks and subscription discounts into account) as our top pick. But purchasers will not be disappointed with the quality and fit on display from this heritage British brand.

Budget pick

UNIQLO Mens Supima Cotton Boxer Brief
£5.90
Nearly (but not quite) as comfortable as our top picks, but there are significant sacrifices made in durability, quality and—arguably—origin. Made in Sri Lanka.
Buy on UNIQLO's website
For the more fiscally minded there is the UNIQLO Mens Supima Cotton Boxer Brief. They have an excellent, close fit and were almost (but not quite) as comfortable as our more expensive top picks. We were honestly surprised at how close they came though. The construction and quality doesn't feel as robust as our top picks and don't expect them to last nearly as long as the pairs made in Portugal. We wish they didn't have a fabric label, although it is at least a small one.
There was some slight confusion between different models with identical names on UNIQLO's website. Likely they are similar models from different factories that changed season to season. Perhaps this is a hazard of fast fashion. Speaking of which, there is some debate around the ethics used in UNIQLO's factories, despite the company’s claims. Bear in mind that this is a rock-bottom priced piece of clothing made in Sri Lanka, so ethically minded shoppers should probably steer clear.

Why you should trust us

We are the team behind the (now defunct) menswear website Epochs. Epochs examined the cultural and social history of menswear and produced some well received articles in the menswear community (e.g. Epochs Field Guide to Nautical Clothing, Epochs Field Guide to Camoflauge). We pride ourselves on our in-depth approach to research and focus on good design.
Luke McDonald is a fashion writer and stylist at London-based Thread. He has written many articles about menswear and styled a wide array of fashion shoots at Thread. Patrick McDonald is a designer based in Vancouver and has been a Muji underwear enthusiast for many years.
I (Andrew Emerson) am a designer in London. Finding the best pair of underwear became a mission of mine when I ended up with a drawer full of identical boxer briefs from a clothing subscription service in 2019. The consistency was nice but the quality was poor, so I decided I would replace my dozens of pairs of this brand's boxer brief with another model.

How we tested

Researching began online. We looked at a number of Reddit threads on malefashionadvice (thread 1, thread 2) and buyitforlife (thread 1, thread 2). We also looked at The Wirecutter’s “Best Boxer brief for Men” and “Best Travel Underwear 2020” articles as well. The Strategist had three relevant articles: ”The Best Men’s Underwear on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers”, ”What’s the Best Men’s Underwear?”, and ”What Are the Best Boxer Briefs for Men?”.
We also looked at brands that we had previous experience with, and that had permanent basics collections such as Everlane, Sunspel, ARKET and UNIQLO.
We looked to get a spread on different materials (cotton, cotton/elastane, wool, synthetics), different origins (Europe, Middle East, and Asia), and price points. Finally we purchased a shortlist of these using our own money.
We created a set of criteria that all pairs were judged against (see “What to look for” below). All purchased pairs were put in rotation for several months and notes taken on first and subsequent wears. We tracked the different pairs, stored notes, and ranked them using a Notion database. Finally we compiled our findings into this article. We intend to update this page periodically as we try new pairs (keep and eye on our changelog for updates) as there are other pairs we would still like to try.

What to look for in a pair of boxer briefs

We looked for a pair of underwear that was suitable for every day wear and most of life’s occasions; work, sleeping in, date night, running to catch a bus, dropping kids off, lounging around your apartment (but not for going to the gym or exercising in, you will need specialty underwear for that).
Boxer briefs only: We looked specifically at boxer briefs so that discounts more loose fitting boxers, and legless varieties like briefs. Boxer briefs were chosen because they are more supportive and comfortable than their cousins, and are flattering without being overly revealing. They are a modern, balanced undergarment for men.
Availability: Garments should be widely available and be almost always in stock. We discounted most high street labels because they have many different models that change frequently. We preferred those that were underwear specialists, or had a permanent collection of underwear.
Colours: We tested everything in black. This was to have a fair comparison, but also we prefer an understated look. It’s also more practical and won’t discolour.
Length and rise: Is the pair long or short in the leg? High or low rise? A balance is important here, but generally we want a regular rise combined with a slightly shorter leg length. Longer leg length can look antiquated, but a very short leg length can be uncomfortable and veer into hot pants territory (that’s bad). A slightly shorter leg can be flattering.
Fit: How tight or loose the pair is. Being boxer briefs, we are looking for a closer fitting garment, without being tight. The fit or cut is also a key factor when considering aesthetics. The fit should be flattering to the shape of the wearer, but bear in mind that it won’t make you look fit if you’re not.
Material: The main body will be some combination of cotton, wool, lyocell, elastane (spandex for our American compatriots). We found about 5-10% elastane is necessary for a comfortable, slightly stretchy fit. Without elastane, the garments had no give, weren’t fitted enough, and were generally less comfortable (they also tended to ride up the leg more). The waistband is generally a synthetic material with a percentage of elastane. The material of the waistband wasn’t as important as how it fit and felt (see below for more on waistbands).
Waistband: Two things to consider — softness and width. It should have a soft handle and be wide enough to spread the load. It also shouldn’t be too tight, or turn over easily.
Keyhole: Pretty much the only “feature” that mens boxer briefs can have; does the garment have a keyhole or not? We do not have a strong preference; slightly preferring without for simplicity. However it was not a factor that was taken into account when making our picks.
Durability: How does the garment hold up in day to day wear? How does it cope with being washed again and again? Despite what Tom Ford says, we don’t believe in throwing out our underwear after six months. We believe underwear should be able to stand up to being worn and washed at least once per week for around twelve months. We will update this guide as we continue to wash and wear our top picks.
Label/tag: Underwear should not have tags, which are annoying and itchy. Labels/tags printed directly on the garment are strongly preferred.
Price: Price can vary significantly, but we found there are generally a low and high price bracket, mostly depending on where the garment is made (see “origin” below).
Origin: Where the garment is manufactured. Today’s shoppers are much more conscientious about the ethics of their clothing. We gave preference to garments manufactured in developed countries and made in ethical, transparent ways.
Multipacks and subscription: Often a good way to reduce the price per unit. Subscription services are a great way to build up your underwear collection and of injecting fresh pairs into your rotation.

The competition

The ARKET Pima Cotton Trunks had too narrow a waistband which caused pressure on the wearer's hips. The tag is very long and caused irritation. They were also more expensive than our budget pick, which took them out of the running for us.
Although similar in many ways to our top pick (particularly the excellent lyocell material), the CDLP Boxer Trunk offers a more aggressive cut and a lower rise than their Boxer Brief cousins. However we found the leg length overly short and the cuffs of the legs more loose fitting than our top pick, leading to a overall less secure feeling fit. Some people may prefer the more sporty look, and the pair could be described as more flattering than any of our picks, but for everyday wear we prefer the CDLP Boxer Brief.
The Everlane Boxer Brief is a comfortable and all round good pair of underwear. They fit well, are the right length, and look good. The printed tag is a great touch as well. They fit was good, but were ever so slightly on the loose side in medium and weren't as flattering as the rest of our picks. The issue with Everlane's entry was the price. At £14 they are nearly three times more expensive than our budget pick for about the same experience. And although our top pick is priced at £29, they can be had for as low as £19 (and they're made in Portugal, not Sri Lanka). Shipping to the UK was also very expensive at £12. Overall they are a Very Good pair of boxer briefs but they're too expensive to be a budget pick and don't quite reach the excellence of our top picks.
The Rozenbroek Organic Bamboo Jersey Trunk is the only pair we wore that was manufactured in the UK, and is well priced for such a claim. Unfortunately we found the waistband very uncomfortable. It was too stiff, tight and thick. The edges were also slightly sharp and dug into the wearer’s hips. The bamboo material was comfortable, stretchy and light but Rozenbroek don't show the exact material breakdown on their website or on the garment itself.
Saxx is a brand well known and liked on the internet, featuring on many favourites lists. We tried the Saxx Undercover Trunk and found the cotton/modal/elastane material light, airy and supportive. One of Saxx's primary selling points is their "ballpark" technology, which is designed to cup the wearer’s genitals. We found this to be somewhat uncomfortable in practice though, with the fabric edge of the "pouch" rubbing annoyingly against the skin. The Vancouver, Canada based brand also isn't transparent about where it makes its product, which appear to be Chinese in origin. This lack of transparency made us somewhat uncomfortable, and £21 is on the steep side for China made underwear. The branding and marketing is also slightly over the top and in your face, especially compared to the understated approach of our picks. Finally Saxx is quite difficult to get outside of Canada and the US, and we had to resort to specialty outdoor shops to purchase ours in the UK.
The baggiest fit we tested belongs to the Smartwool Men's Merino Sport 150 Boxer Brief, which took them out of the running for us. This was a shame, because the merino wool construction was soft and light. £35 is also too much to be charging for a pair of underwear made in Vietnam.
The leg length was a little too long on the Stór Bamboo Boxer Brief and as a result they don't flatter the wearer. The bamboo material mix is soft and breathable and conforms well to the body and feels comparable to the lyocell used in our top pick. The origin (Turkey) is a little suspicious as it isn't listed anywhere on the website or the product. I had to reach out to the company to find out where they were made.
Being 100% cotton means the Sunspel Superfine Cotton Trunks don’t have much give, which created problems when worn. When combined with slightly too tight leg openings, it meant they tended to ride up over time, eventually leading to a nappy like appearance which then had to be readjusted. The tag is also a little annoying. Having said all that the waistband was soft and comfortable, and they are constructed well.
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Popcorn Time FAQ

30 March 2020: This post will be the new version of the FAQ, things will be updated step by step.

  Previous FAQ post (last edit March 2016)
 
Last edit: 30 March 2020
 
What website for Popcorn Time should I download from?
You should download Popcorn Time from https://popcorntime.app/ for the newest official version. But the other domain https://popcorntime.sh/ still works.
 
Is that website a scam? Does it contain a virus?
No. The official Popcorn Time is open source, and the source code is available at https://github.com/popcorn-official if you're interested. Since it's open source, anyone can look through the source code to find problems. Popcorn Time is not a scamming you or hiding a virus.
 
I think Popcorn Time gave me a virus or other malware.
Make sure you are using the official version of Popcorn Time, from the https://popcorntime.app/ website. If you downloaded Popcorn Time from somewhere else, it may possibly contain a virus someone else added. The official Popcorn Time website is malware-free, and any malware you may find via an antivirus scan are all false positives. Again, if you are a programmer, you are welcome to look through the Popcorn Time source code to confirm that it is malware free.
 
Is using Popcorn Time legal?
Depends on where you're from, really. Popcorn Time uses bittorrent, so if you really care, you'd better google what the legal situation around these protocol is where you live.
 
Popcorn Time works using torrents, fair enough. Am I seeding while watching a movie?
Yes, you are. You're going to be uploading bits and bits of the movie for as long as you're watching it on Popcorn Time. Using a VPN is the easiest way to hide this web traffic.
 
I want to protect my privacy when using Popcorn Time or other torrent software, what should I do?
You should use a VPN provider to hide your internet access. This helps prevent people from finding your IP address and tracking you.
 
Where can I learn about VPNs to safely watch videos with Popcorn Time?
For a lot of info on VPNs, how and which ones to use check out /VPN. The subreddit /popcorntime does not officially endorse a specific VPN provider for you to use.
 
What happens to the moves after I'm done?
Your movies will stay buried in a temp folder somewhere in your hard drive until you restart your computer. Then it will be gone for good.
 
Will there be a new version?
Most definitely, everybody is working hard to make Popcorn Time better than ever. Check for the newest beta compiled builds here.
 
How come you have the latest movies?
Popcorn Time search for movies uploaded by various sources (https://www.reddit.com/PopCornTime/comments/4ebnts/list_of_content_providers_and_various_services/). Better ask them how they are handling this!
 
Will you be adding movies in my language?
Chances are that most (if not all) of the movies available in Popcorn Time will be in English. However, languages for subtitles and the app itself are constantly being added by our lovely contributors.
 
I can't get past the initial "Please wait..." screen :(
Living in the UK? Nothing that can be done about that right now, sorry. But setting up a proxy or a VPN might do the trick! You can also try caseyrain's solution, posted here.
 
Why can't I select subtitles?
You may have to wait until all of the movie data (cover, summary, length, etc...) is retrieved. Sometimes it may be some other issue.
 
Thinking about launching for iOS/Smart TVs/Commodore 64?
The efforts of our contributors are currently towards making the best desktop app for watching torrent movies. So launching versions for other devices is not in the immediate roadmap.
 
Are the developers in this subreddit?
We, the mods, are in no way affiliated or connected with the developers and can not confirm they know of /PopCornTime.
 
Are other websites of Popcorn Time safe?
Some other versions of the Popcorn Time app are generally known to be good, although not officially supported by the Popcorn Time team. This includes http://popcorntimece.ch/ and the version https://github.com/PopcornTimeTV/ for the Apple TV/iOS. These are open source and should be ok to use.
There are other websites for Popcorn Time, which are bad and may contain viruses, spam, etc. This includes the popcorn-time.to and popcorntime.ag apps; avoid these if you can.
Refer to this image for clarification.
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Michael Kors x Versace, Tesla Q3 deliveries are slightly greater than consensus, Dell exploring going public, Apple is not going to produce “risqué” shows and more

DOW JONES Apple (AAPL) – The tech behemoth has said it would not produce scripted shows with “risqué themes” for its upcoming streaming service, unlike competitors Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and AT&T’s (T) HBO, saying it did not want any negative images associated with the brand. Elsewhere the co. has begun establishing contingency plans if delays occur in the construction of its new London HQ at the landmark Battersea Power Station. (Newswires)
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – The co.’s Janssen Pharmaceutical announced its Phase 3 study of esketamine, a nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression, did not meet its primary endpoint was not met with statistical significance relative to the placebo and therefore could not be formally evaluated. (Newswires)
JPMorgan (JPM) – The bank has announced branch network expansions in Philadelphia and Delaware Valley as well as several other new commitments. (Newswires)
Nike (NKE) – The sports goods co. has had its price target raised to USD 96 from USD 90 at Stifel ahead of its Q1 earnings, citing positive data from a survey of 1,252 consumers. (Newswires)
S&P500 Abbott (ABT) – The med tech co. revealed positive clinical results from its COAPT study for its MitraClip device, which gives guideline-directed medical therapy in select patients with secondary mitral regurgitation, or a leaky heart valve, as a result of advanced heart failure. The study achieved the primary safety and efficacy endpoints as well as all secondary endpoints. (Newswires)
Airlines (DAL, AAL, UAL, LUV) - Lawmakers dropped a 'reasonable fee' proposal for luggage change fees from legislation reauthorizing the FFA. (Newswires)
Alexion (ALXN) – The med tech co. announced successful results from its Phase 3 PREVENT study of Soliris in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, the study met its primary endpoint and reduced NMOSD relapse by 94.2% in comparison to the placebo. (Newswires)
Arconic (ARNC) – The aerospace co.’s rising price tag (approaching USD 20bln) could potentially defer interest from bidders such as Apollo (APO), KKR (KKR), Blackstone (BX) and Carlyle Group (CG) for a planned leverage buyout; this is as the co. reaches a cyclical high. (Newswires)
BlackRock (BLK) – The asset manager, alongside other funds with a focus on distressed debt, are in early discussions to fund Argentinian co.s who have struggled gaining access to international bond and loan markets. (Newswires)
Boston Scientific (BSX) – The med tech co. announced positive data from its IMPERIAL trial, the first head-to-head drug-eluting stent trial in the superficial femoral artery. Elsewhere, the co. has received Premarket Approval from the FDA to market its Eluvia Drug-Eluting Vascular Stent System. (Newswires)
Comcast (CMCSA), Fox (FOXA), Sky (SKY LN) – The result from the highly anticipated auction of UK broadcaster Sky revealed Comcast as the highest bidder, offering GBP 17.28/shr, where it will acquire the co. for a diluted value of USD 40bln. Sky has urged its shareholders to accept Comcast’s offer, saying it is in their best interests. Fox, who already has a 39% stake in Sky, is considering its options on what to do with it. Comcast has also pledged to let Sky keep its autonomy, saying it will keep Sky’s current CEO Jeremy Darroch. (Newswires)
Digital Reality Trust (DLR) – The co.’s Brazilian subsidiary, Stellar Participacoes, will acquire the Brazilian data centre provider, Ascenty, for approximately USD 1.8bln. (Newswires)
Duke Energy (DUK) – As of Friday evening, the energy co. had restored nearly 1.8mln power outages in the Carolinas over the past week following hurricane Florence. (Newswires)
LabCorp (LH) – The healthcare co. issued a statement, expressing its disappointment, in response to the decision from the US District Court for the District of Columbia in ACLA Azar to dismiss the laboratory industry’s lawsuit to halt cuts to Medicare reimbursements. (Newswires)
Medtronic (MDT) – The med tech co. revealed the outcome from its BIONYX study, the first all-comers analysis in nearly 2,500 patients for the treatment of coronary artery disease. It showed no statistically significant difference in outcomes for the Resolute Onyx DP-DES treated group at 4.5% compared to 4.7% with the Orsiro BP-DES. Elsewhere, the co. presented three-year data from its IN.PACT Global Study that continued to prove the safety, durability and consistency of the IN.PACT Admiral drug-coated balloon in real-world patients with peripheral arterial disease. (Newswires)
Michael Kors (KORS) – The fashion brand is reportedly close to acquiring Italian fashion brand Versace for USD 2bln, other potential buyers include Tiffany (TIF). Versace has been seeking a listing since Blackstone (BX) purchased a 20% stake in the co. (Newswires)
Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) – The cruise co. has had its price target raised to USD 165 from USD 147 at Stifel. (Newswires)
United Airlines (UAL) – The co.’s pilots, via the Air Line Pilots Association, have refused to let the co. alter contract clauses related to the outsourcing of regional flight routes. (Newswires)
WellCare Health Plans (WCG) – The Medicaid provider has elected former Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, to its board of directors. (Newswires)
Barron’s still believes Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK) is under-priced, even though its share price has risen 15% since July 17th. (Newswires)
Barron’s showed optimism for med tech stocks, in particular Boston Scientific (BSX) and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), it believes they are trading at a premium given rapid sales growth and low supply. (Newswires)
Barron’s showed preference for manufacturers and banks as the US economy gains momentum, favoured stocks included: Caterpillar (CAT), Applied Materials (AMAT), BorgWarner (BWA), KeyCorp (KEY) and Parker-Hannifin (PH). (Newswires) Barron’s listed Apple (AAPL), Cisco (CSCO), Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL) as names that are providing solid dividends, especially relative to the peripheral tech sector. (Newswires)
NASDAQ 100 Alphabet (GOOGL) – In an internal memo, the tech giant’s CEO Sundar Pichai warned against letting employee’s personal politics leak into the workplace, who also said the co. is not biased towards any viewpoint. Elsewhere, the White House is considering an antitrust investigation into online platform bias at both Google and Facebook (FB), citing discrimination of conservatives / republicans. (Newswires)
Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) – The IT co. has named Michael Patsalos-Fox as chairman who will replace John Klein after 15 years in the position; Klein will remain a board member. (Newswires)
Mylan (MYL) – The pharma co. has announced a strategic partnership with Atomo Diagnostics to commercialize CE-Marked in vitro HIV rapid diagnostic tests for self-testing in low- and middle-income countries; it plans to launch in early 2019. (Newswires)
PayPal (PYPL) – The payments co. is to replace its Venmo service executive, Amit Jhawar, who only joined in August. This is in efforts to accelerate the service’s profitability. (Newswires)
Symantec (SYMC) – The software co. announced no changes will be made to previously reported earnings nor any employment changes will be made following the audit committee. (Newswires)
Tesla (TSLA) – Goldman Sachs has said the automaker’s Q3 deliveries are slightly greater than consensus. (Newswires)
OTHER NEWS Apollo (APO) – Former senior manging director of the private equity firm, Imran Siddiqui, has expressed concerns over the way the co. conducts business with affiliate Athene Holding (ATH), citing poor risk profiling and excessive asset management fees. (Newswires)
Construction Names – Following hurricane Florence, construction prices will be higher than usual due to the China trade tariffs being implemented on key products such as lumber, steel and aluminium; public co.s in the crosshairs include Weyerhaeuser (WY), Rayonier (RYN) and Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM). (Newswires)
Dell (DVMT) – The computer co. is said to be exploring going public via a traditional IPO, rather than an acquisition, and is planning to interview several banks this week. (Newswires)
Enable Midstream (ENBL) – The energy co. has announced the development of a new interstate natural gas pipeline, it will connect large supply locations with heavy export markets on the Gulf Coast; expected competition in 2022. (Newswires)
IDACORP (IDA) – The electric co. announced the increase of its quarterly dividend to USD 0.63/shr, an increase of 6.8%. (Newswires)
New York Times (NYT) – Expedia Group’s (EXPE) President of the Brand Expedia Group, Aman Bhutani, has joined the newspaper co.’s board of directors. (Newswires)
Pandora (P) – Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI) is to acquire the music streaming co. in an all-stock deal valued at around USD 3.5bln or USD 10.14/shr. Additionally, Pandora reiterates Q3 guidance. (Newswires)
Pembina Pipeline (PBA) – The pipeline co. has raised its FY18 Adj. EBITDA to USD 2.75bln-2.85bln. (Newswires)
Randgold Resources (GOLD) - The co. has confirmed the merger with Barrick Gold (ABX) valued at USD 18.3bln, creating the world's largest gold company by value and output. (Newswires)
Sarepta (SRPT) – The co. announced its clinical hold on Duchenne muscular dystrophy micro-dystrophin gene therapy programme was lifted; the co. in response submitted its plan to the FDA and is hoping to register for trial by the end of this year. (Newswires)
Shire (SHPG), Takeda (TKPYY) – One of the biggest stakeholders in Takeda Pharmaceuticals has raised concerns on the value that would be created from acquiring Shire for USD 62bln. (Newswires)
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$2,800/month selling seo tools.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Nick Swan of SanityCheck , a brand that sells seo tool.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, my name is Nick Swan and I am the founder and single person bootstrapper behind www.sanitycheck.io. It’s a SaaS tool that helps you rank your website higher in Google.
It takes the data in Google Search Console and presents it in more meaningful ways so you know what to do to get more organic traffic from Google. If you are an agency working on multiple sites it also helps save you a huge amount of time.
Customers include marketing and seo agencies, big ecommerce sites, and other software businesses.
While getting ready to launch paid plans for the tool, our eldest daughter who was only 3 years old at the time, was diagnosed with Leukemia. This put work and life into perspective and made me have to really concentrate on tasks when I did have time to work.
image
Our family outside the ‘world famous’ Bude Tunnel. Me, Isabel, Sophie, Charlie and Megan. We move to Bude, a small seaside town in Cornwall, UK about 3 years ago.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I have been building websites and doing SEO since around 1998 (yes I’m 39!) which was pre-Google. The good old days of Alta Vista, Excite, keyword stuffing and transparent text on pages!
I studied Software Engineering at University and helped fund this by building websites and doing SEO in the evenings and spare time.
After a few years of employment after leaving University, I co-founded a business that built tools and extensions for Microsoft SharePoint. Part of my role in this business was looking after the marketing website and so I continued to work in the SEO space.
Upon finishing working with SharePoint I started a vouchers/coupon site in the UK that through good timing (Google’s Penguin Algorithm was just rolling out so tons of existing sites got penalized in the search results) and some good SEO it started to rank really well.
At this time Google Search Console was the definitive place to find out which keywords your site and pages were ranking for, especially since Google Analytics marked most keywords as [not provided].
The main issue at the time was Google Search Console only showed the last 3 months worth of data (in January 2018 they updated this to 16 months of data).
Being a developer, and as Google Search Console had an API, I decided to write some code to archive this data away so I can run reports on it over longer periods of time.
Once it was up and running, with a really basic Bootstrap Theme, I posted about it on a few SEO communities I was a member of and people started to sign up. It was free at the time, and definitely an MVP, but it accomplished the first goal - which was to archive the data.
Once the data was being stored in the database I realised there were lots of interesting things we could do with it.
Whenever I made a change to a page to see if I could improve it’s ranking I would track the results in a spreadsheet. Once you start changing multiple pages it can become a time-consuming task to log all of this data. I was able to build an SEO testing suite within SanityCheck that allowed you to create an SEO Test when you made a change to a page - and SanityCheck automatically tracked the change in position, clicks etc. This literally saved me hours each day.
At the time of having SanityCheck in a free beta I was earning a living from the vouchecoupon site, so this SEO tool was just a side project that was ‘scratching my own itch’. I was using it on a day to day basis to help speed up my own SEO work so even if it never fully developed into a chargeable product I would have considered it a success.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

I’m definitely not a designer, so using the Bootstrap framework and templates helps me get projects looking semi-decent! Decent enough to launch at least.
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The first version of SanityCheck was simply a bunch of text on a page explaining what it did. It was friends and people who knew me from the SEO community who were first trying the tool so they were doing me a favour as much as anything so it didn’t need a slick design and compelling sales copy.
At this point it was just a tool that was helping me with my day to day SEO work.
Getting feedback from users, and adding more functionality to help automate my own work was making the tool more useful. Six months after launching it as a beta product I decided it was time to start charging for it.
Once SanityCheck start generating some revenue I used a design agency to come up with a proper design for the marketing pages. This has been money well spent as I often get feedback on how good the marketing site looks.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Although I decided to start charging for the product, it was still going to be a side project so I didn’t need it to replace or become a main source of income. I hoped if things took off this would perhaps one day be the case, but there wasn’t the added pressure of it needing to happen straight away.
In the month before the planned charging launch our daughter had a bad cough and complained of aching legs. We just put it down to growing pains. It wasn’t until she had a terrible bruise on her back that we knew something more serious was up. It was only 3 hours from sitting in the doctors surgery, being transferred to hospital, to getting a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
The first few days were terrible, as you immediately consider the possibility of one of your children dying. Once we were transferred up to the main treatment centres in our region for paedeatric cancer we were told that our daughter had the most common and treatable type of leukaemia. It would be a 2 year 3 month treatment process with lots of potential side effects and risks, but we certainly felt it was a fight we had a good chance of winning.
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Isabel getting a blood transfusion.
Isabel began two weeks of intense treatment where we had to stay up in hospital. Our youngest son was only 4 months old at the time so I did a lot of the initial overnight stays.
Initially I thought I’d have a lot of spare time to work on SanityCheck while Isabel rested and recovered, but it turns out that wasn’t the case! :)
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Isabel getting chemo treatment in Bristol Childrens Hospital
I was either trying to think of ways to entertain a 3 year old who was feeling terrible and hooked up to chemotherapy machines, or I was tired in a chair trying to mentally recover. During those times of rest however - I did do a lot of thinking and planning. Coming up with what was crucial to get done and the approaches to do it. This meant when I did have a chance to work on my laptop I was really productive.
After 2 weeks of hospital stay we were all allowed home to continue Isabel’s treatment at a closer hospital. This still meant daily visits for 3 months which took up most of the day, but I did manage to alternate days between working and doing hospital trips.
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Even though Isabel’s hair fell out and at times she was really poorly, she never stopped smiling!
I finally managed to get paid plans launched in July 2017 - and had around 10 customers sign up from the initial beta period.
Thankfully Isabel’s treatment has gone really well, and she’s considered low risk. At this time of writing she has around 3 weeks of treatment left and she’s busy planning her 6th birthday and end of treatment plan.
We have been incredibly lucky with Isabel’s diagnosis and how her treatment has gone. Spending time in a children's oncology ward and meeting other families who are going through really difficult times does make you count your blessings and puts everyday things into perspective.
I am certainly a different person from before Isabel’s diagnosis - and it helps me rationalise and calmly deal with things now that I would previously have blown up to be massive problems.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I have always been honest with the users and customers of SanityCheck. They understand that it is just me behind the code, marketing and support - and they have embraced that and I hope they feel like they have been part of the journey of SanityCheck.
Even during the start of Isabel’s treatment I wrote about it in the email newsletter and apologised if sometimes I was a bit slow in replying to support emails. I will forever remember the emails back from people sending best wishes.
But as people have bought into the journey of SanityCheck - the one thing they like seeing is progress. I try my utmost to release at least one new meaningful feature or report each month. This shows them the tool is progressing and improving, and gives me a reason to contact them.
I always get a few new customers after sending out an email about a new feature which is nice to see immediate pay off from doing the work.
There are lots of SEO communities on Facebook and LinkedIn. I was a member and involved in these long before I started working on SanityCheck, so when I did share my project in them it wasn’t seen as spam. People in these communities are also friends and so recommend SanityCheck whenever someone posts a problem or question which SanityCheck can help solve or answer.
Twitter has great community of SEO people tweeting. I am always updating what I am working on, and promoted Tweets has been a good driver of trial users.
Each community or social media platform has a number of influencers and I have found offering free subscriptions helps get them to recommend the tool. It doesn’t cost me anything, but can help you reach people in a really effective way.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

I’ve learnt to take a day at a time. With Isabel’s treatment we can end up in hospital for a few days with zero notice due to an infection.
This has meant I always stay away from long term planning and goal setting. I have tried to do this before - but it always seemed to coincide with an interruption and stay in hospital. I’d feel really frustrated.
So for the past 18 months, and for probably until the end of 2019, I will continue to take a day at a time. I know the kinds of things I want to work on - but it sometimes also comes down to ideas in the moment.
SanityCheck stores a lot of search data away for a site, and every now and again a customer or I will get an idea for a report that I can put together quite quickly. If you can do this at the same time as a topic or idea is being talked about on Twitter or another platform this can help amplify any promotion you do.
SanityCheck isn’t generating enough revenue to support me and my family by itself, so I get an income from some SEO consulting and other projects too.
Having an SEO tool such as SanityCheck helps lend credibility when talking to people about SEO consulting and has certainly helped get some customers. It’s also nice to offer a free subscription of SanityCheck while I am consulting with them and the SEO testing aspect of the tool helps prove the results and benefits the working is bringing.
Doing SEO work is also the best way to get ideas for new features and ways to make SanityCheck better - so I don’t think I’d ever want to give up the consulting work completely. If I did I wouldn’t be using SanityCheck as much myself, and would fall out of touch in terms of how to make the tool useful for people who do work on SEO day to day.
The lifetime value of SanityCheck customers is pretty good as we archive data away for websites the product becomes more useful the longer they use it. One thing I do want to work out better is paid marketing. I put some budget into promoted tweets - but have never really got Google or Facebook Ads to work.
There are a lot of other SEO tools around competing for advertising space - so it’s not a cheap niche for paid marketing but I’m sure I could still do better at it.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

When I started charging customers I had the basic plan at $10. I have a number of friends who are bootstrapping their own software businesses and have always thought most SEO tools are too expensive and out of reach.
So I thought I’d be nice and charge just $10 a month.
But growth is slow when only charging this much, and when a customer is only paying you $10 a month it feels as though support is a burden.
I’ve recently put prices up - which hasn’t slowed down growth of total customers at all, and therefore means better MRR each month.
So I’d definitely pick a monthly amount for your product that makes sense for you to spend time supporting that customer.
If I was to start this again, I would pick a monthly price for my base package where the annual total would equal a day of consulting work. That way each new customer would in theory replace a day of consulting - and actually make a meaningful abstract difference. You can have no qualms in the support needs of each customer then as each customer makes a meaningful difference in your life.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I’ve got loads…
I’ve got a brother who’s 10 years older than me and has been running his own business since forever, so it feels like self-employment and running my own business was always going to be the path I took.
Back in 2006 when I first co-founded the SharePoint related business the Joel on Software discussion forums were the place to be and a few GeekDinner meetups in London.
These days podcast wise I listen to:
A friend and I also have a podcast at www.britstrapped.com - although our calendars don’t always align to be able to keep to a regular schedule.
Books wise. I have read a lot. My problem is remembering what I have read! I always hope the stories and ideas are lodged somewhere in the back of my brain ready for when I need them or influencing my decisions without my realising. Some of my favourites are:
Business Biography type books such as:
Loads of Productivity/Psychology type books:

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Scratch your own itch.
Build something that will help automate or make your job quicker. At least then you always have 1 customer who will love the product. It’s likely there others who have the same problems as you - so there’s a potential market.
Whether that market is large enough to support a product that can support you - that’s the bit you need to figure out. But is that how you measure success?
If your product makes your own life easier - that’s pretty successful I’d say.
I’ve tried a number of times to build products for other people. It’s hard to keep the enthusiasm and motivation going (at least for me) when taking that approach. Of course, it works for some - but I will always take the ‘scratch your own itch’ approach now when deciding on future projects.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I’ve been involved in co-founding a business that employed 15-20 people before, and I am not sure I want to go that route again.
At the moment, I am happy being a single foundeemployee who makes use of specialised contractors for things such as design and copywriting when I need it.
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How SanityCheck looks these days after getting a professional design agency in to help.

Where can we go to learn more?

On September 7th I’ll be riding from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for Clic Sargent who have supported us a huge amount during Isabel’s treatment. You can find out more about the ride and sponsor me here.
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
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$750/month selling food diaries.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Laura Mulkerne of The Food Diary, a brand that sells food diary.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, I’m Laura, and I’m the founder of The Food Diary Co. We currently sell one key product: a food diary for people who want to track their food, symptoms, and wellness. Our diary was originally created for people with digestive and/or chronic illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBD, Coeliac and more, to better understand their trigger foods and digestive upsets, but it can help anyone better understand the effects of their diet on their overall health.
The diary is a gorgeous, leather-look journal encompassing three months’ worth of tracking, with a special design to help you discover what food and non-food triggers have the most impact on your health. The Daily Page is set up for you to track not just your diet and symptoms, but also key non-food triggers such as sleep quality, exercise, stress levels, and medicines.
Then comes the important part: the Monthly Page prompts you to sit down and take the time to analyse the previous 30 days, and asks specific questions to help you spot patterns and the things that are having a negative (or positive!) effect on your health. It’s a bag-friendly A5 size for carrying around with you, and the pages are undated so you can get tracking straight away. Best of all, the design is discreet and stylish - so no-one will know what you’re tracking (unless you want to tell them!).
We’re based and ship from the UK, but we sell our diaries worldwide. In fact, the USA, Canada and Australia are our biggest markets after the UK. The greatest thing about selling this product is connecting with the people who buy it: we share stories of diary users on our blog and social media regularly, and hearing how this diary is helping people all over the world absolutely makes my day.
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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

The diary was born, like so many things, out of my own needs.
I had spent nearly two years feeling sick from constant nausea, cramps, bowel issues and a complete lack of energy. Eventually, after pinging back and forth to several GPs, I met with a specialist - a gastroenterologist - and was diagnosed with IBS and possible Coeliac Disease.
At that point, I knew it was finally time to get a grip on my diet and figure out exactly what was causing my symptoms.
Which meant I needed a food diary, stat.
Being a stationery junkie, and having read that 1 in 5 people in the UK have IBS (not to mention around 45 million people in the USA who are affected by autoimmune and digestive issues), I assumed there would be something like this out there already.
But an exhaustive search in stores and online came up with nothing designed for me. Zip. Zilch.
Everything was designed for people who wanted to lose weight. So I did what everyone had to do up until now: I bought a regular notepad and made my own food diary. It was a lot of trial and error - some days forgetting to record this particular data, getting frustrated with drawing out my format every damn day.
Sometimes it wasn’t easy to maintain the motivation to work when you had 2 hours of commuting a day and long work days, but I was determined to see the project to fruition.
There were phone apps, and I gave them a shot, but I found I was spending ages having to input the food data - I cook a lot (you have to when you have intolerances or are following a diet with an exclusionary period) and I massively disliked the amount of time it would take me to input even a single meal. Some apps wanted way too much info, even down to the brand of chicken breast or spices I was using! Who has that kind of time!?
After a few months with my notebook, I had pinpointed the trigger foods and issues that had been plaguing me, and my health had done a complete 180. Removing gluten had been the key thing, but through using my food diary I realised that I couldn’t even touch caffeine anymore, that half an apple was fine but a whole one was too much, that a lot of mushrooms spelled a day of cramps, and that erratic sleep hours did a huge number on me.
I knew I wanted to continue with using the diary to maintain my good health, and I couldn’t stop thinking about creating a beautiful diary of my own. Eventually, I decided it was time to get it made: not just for me, but for everyone else out there who needed something similar. I bounced ideas off my dad, who is an entrepreneur himself and has decades of business experience, and then got to work creating our Food Diary!
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Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

During the start of the business, I was working full time in-house as a Digital Manager in the charity sector, so everything had to be done outside of work hours. Sometimes it wasn’t easy to maintain the motivation to work when you had 2 hours of commuting a day and long work days, but I was determined to see the project to fruition: I really believed in it and its potential to help people.
Initially, we were talking to a UK printer about the design, but small features of the design we were after (and now have) prompted the printer to suggest we looked at factories in Europe. Google and Pinterest were my main friends in finding factory details.
First I found stationery products that were similar in style to what I was looking for, then I did all the Google sleuthing I could to trace their origins. Eventually, I found a factory with similar designs to what I was looking for, and when I spoke to my dad about it he said it happened to be in the town he and my mum were flying into for a holiday in a few weeks. It felt serendipitous to say the least!
Given that my dad has worked with many factories over the course of his career, I was absolutely over the moon that he didn’t mind taking the time to meet with them, to check it out and let me know whether or not it was worth taking the risk on. The start-up money for the diaries was coming out of my own savings, so it was important that we ensured everything would work as well as we could.
The initial factory meeting was a success and I got to work liaising with our lead at the factory to mock-up the diary. Within a few weeks, I had a notebook mock-up! Holding even just the prototype in my hands felt like the biggest boost that kept me going.
Eventually, after double and triple checking the design for typos/mistakes, I hit send on the full order for the first run of diaries. Never known nerves like it! Our first order had to be 1,000 diaries, which is an expensive first print run, but I had to take a leap of faith.

Describe the process of launching the business.

As a digital manager, creating the website was my favourite part. I was lucky in a way - my background meant I had a solid grasp on analytics, tracking, e-commerce, user journeys, and all that jazz.
Here is the current design of the website:
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It’s clean and minimal because a) I like that sort of thing and b) I want to keep the focus on the diary.
I’ve worked with several CMS’ but began the site using Squarespace primarily because of the ease of setting up the e-commerce part of the site, and because they had a couple of themes that really appealed to me. If I were doing this again, I would look more carefully into spending money on a good Wordpress or ShowIt, because there are a few things that I need Squarespace to do that it is not very good at (primarily integrating advanced Google Ecommerce Analytics and certain design needs).
Because I had spent a lot of time on Instagram personally while I was going through my own health issues, I felt like I had a firm, gut instinct as to who our core customers would be...which meant I had a good direction to work in when designing the brand aesthetic.
During the design of the process itself, I paid a talented designer friend to professionally interpret my drawings of the logo and page design, which meant I had a little basis for building the brand around. All of this came out of my own savings, so I tried to bootstrap as much as I could get away with.
The launch itself was ‘soft’ at best - it was basically a Facebook post to my friends and the quiet creation of our Instagram and Facebook pages.
Part of it was fear (what if I was wrong about who needs this? What if no-one buys? Perhaps just quietly, quietly...) and part of it was lack of time to engineer a full roll-out.
My first customers were my friends, but the validating part of that was that only one of them purchased a diary simply to support me - everyone else bought it because they needed it for themselves or a friend. And when the first order from a person I didn’t know rolled in a couple of weeks later...that felt pretty darn great.
If I could re-do the launch, I would certainly take an online course or two in launching a new programme and be bolder, and braver in the roll-out.
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Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Since launching I’ve tried a few different things, marketing-wise, and most of it has been on a minimal to-no budget.
I’ve tested facebook ads but found it a little difficult because of rules Facebook has around the wording of health-related adverts. Google ads did great at bringing traffic to the website, but the conversion rate was low. So instead, I’ve been happy to focus on organic marketing and growth.
We (myself and family as support) did a couple of in-person shows and events, which were great but not only was the ££ outlay pretty heavy, it made me realise how important it was for me to be there in person to connect with the customer about the origin story of the diary. As I’m traveling for a little while, those sorts of events are off the table for a bit.
Working with instagram influencers through offering them a free diary to try or give away has been key for this business.
If you do want to pitch influencers however, be sure to do several things:
Personalise your pitch to the influencer
Don’t just dash off the same pitch to everyone. Let them know you understand their audience and/or personal things they’ve talked about that lead you to believe they would really benefit from using your product and sharing it with their followers.
Be patient and polite.
The Instagrammer may not be able to talk about your product straight away; from pitch, to acceptance, to your product appearing on their feed could take months.
Track the response from their posts when they do happen.
This is especially important for giveaways. I found that more niche instagrammers with smaller audiences provided the greater feedback and engagement for us: we’ve had a few instagrammers with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers post and felt only the smallest lift in engagement.
However, we’ve had bloggers or instagrammers with just a thousand or couple of thousand followers (but super-niche and super-engaged audiences) talk about the diary, and had several orders off the back of that one post or Story.
We’ve been lucky too, to get a lot of organic chat about our diary online from people who love it, and I always make time to share and boost that positive feedback where possible.
If you’re a small company, whilst working on getting samples to influencers, I would also say look at building an online tribe around you of people whose work complements yours. Going after the big influencers is exciting, but don’t neglect your peers who are building audiences at the same time; you can team up to create content, do platform takeovers, create free downloads and more, all of which will mutually help you build audiences and improve your SEO.
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How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today the business is still a side-business, as I’m currently travelling and building my freelance comms and photography work. We still distribute from the UK, and I love that I can do the majority of the work from anywhere in the world.
All of our sales are through our online storefront, and I’m really lucky to have the support of my family, who help me with the physical things that need doing back in the UK - without them, this wouldn’t currently be possible.
For the future I’m focusing on beefing up our SEO, getting back into a regular email newsletter and growing our list, and looking into other forms of marketing that I think would really mesh well with this company’s product (mainly Pinterest and affiliate marketing).
I also have plenty of new product ideas knocking around in my head and want to figure out ways to better serve our customers in our international markets. As I’m juggling many things at the minute, the diary occasionally gets pushed to one side, but I work on it at least one day per week.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Starting the business has been such a growth thing for me, personally. I’d never created a product before - never even considered it - and I stop every now and then to remind myself that something that existed only in my head is now available for people to buy online. And that they love it, return for more, and tell me how great it is? That’s the cherry on top.
For running a side-business, I’ve learned that carving out time in your schedule to do work and timer alarms are your friend. Doing something for 15 minutes is better than not doing anything at all. Not only that, but getting clear on your goals for the coming months, and working backwards to where you are, so you can try and figure out the vital things you need to do is really important. There will always be a million, not-so-pressing things on your to-do list that mask the One Big Scary Thing you need to do to keep your project or business moving forward. Do that task first: you’ll be surprised how Not Scary it can be. Also, even if something is terrifying the first time, by the third, fifth, tenth time it’ll be old hat to you and you’ll wonder what the fuss was about!
There was a Reddit thread once from an entrepreneur who said, share with me your idea and I’ll see if I can help you with some advice to get moving. A lot of people responded with ‘why would I share this on a public forum - won’t you, or someone else, steal it?’ The entrepreneur’s response was: less than 1% of people are truly going to move on that idea that’s been knocking around in their head for a while. Action is what sets those people apart - and it’s got to be what sets you apart too.
You’ll have dips and lulls, and moments where you wonder why you decided to do this in the first place. But if you can keep your reason for starting this close to your heart at all times, it’ll be the little fire that keeps you going.
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What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I run The Food Diary Co through Squarespace but I’m currently looking into other platforms (mainly Wordpress) to improve the analytical capability and to remove a monthly cost that doesn’t seem too worth it currently. For shipping we ship Royal Mail from the UK and for email newsletters I use MailChimp; I have several years of working with this platform, and not only is the free version great and exactly what we need right now, but I know what excellent tools are awaiting me if and when we progress to paying for the service.
If you’re new and starting up your online business I really recommend getting someone to properly set up Google Analytics (especially advanced ecommerce) on your site, and doing Google’s free analytics Academy courses. They’re a little tough going at times, but analytics are the foundation of marketing, so if you’re going to handle that side of things yourself you’re going to need to understand it.
I love using Buffer for social media scheduling, and if you’re really into the Instagram stuff, Planoly is a fantastic tool. They have a useful email newsletter with Instagram tips and interviews with digital managers etc, but fair warning it skews towards millennial women, so while the information is very helpful, the aesthetic of that newsletter isn’t for everyone!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Books-wise I would heartily recommend reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and Deep Work by Cal Newport. Both of them will help you focus on what’s important to you and your business, and to help block out time wasting stuff. Podcast-wise I love listening to Online Marketing made Easyby Amy Porterfield and NPR’s How I Built This. Hurdle is also an interesting one for people who are building businesses in the wellness space.
I find that I need a mix of reminders of how to focus and be productive, and bigger-picture things to help me dream and generate ideas. I find it’s really tough at times not to get distracted by what other people are doing, so I come back to these books and podcasts a lot to help me tune out all the noise. For the more specific ‘how-to’ of marketing, the Social Media Examiner and Neil Patel websites are really great.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My number one tip is: focus on you, what you want your business to achieve, and how you’re going to do it. There is so much happening in the world, and we have access to tune into all of it, but the smart thing to do is to tune 99% of it out. Always try to go back to what you started and why, because it will sustain you when you’re having a tough day or a tough week.
Be playful and experimentive where possible, and test test test! If you have an idea, whether it’s for marketing or anything else, figure out what you need to make it possible and go for it! Don’t wait for something to be perfect: perfect is very definitely the enemy of the good, and if you let it it’ll stop you from just getting something out there and moving.
Be careful about what you pour your money into at the beginning. If you’re an online-only business, do you need all those business cards or the stationery or flyers? On the flip side, good design, good website work - the things that are the foundations of your business - these will always be worth paying for.
Make sure your financials are in order from the very beginning: open a dedicated money account, get advice from someone you trust (or a professional!) about the legal stuff, keep impeccable records so that tax season is easy.
Find a peer group, or a mastermind, of people at a similar phase to yourself. Meet regularly, even over skype or google hangout, and bounce ideas off each other. We can’t do these things alone!
And most of all: have fun! You’re starting a business, and that’s exciting! Be proud of yourself for having the drive to push it forward.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can find us online at https://thefooddiary.co and on Instagram at https://instagram.com/thefooddiaryco. Or do get in touch and drop us an email to [email protected].
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If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
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$20,000/month selling social media scheduler tools.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Dinesh Agrawal of RecurPost, a brand that makes social media scheduler tool.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Dinesh and I am the founder of RecurPost. RecurPost is a social media scheduler with repeating schedules.
I graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Georgia State University, Atlanta. I thought I was going to become an academician, but I ended up becoming an entrepreneur.
I have created over 30 products so far, but RecurPost was the first one that got decent traction. I have loved every part of going from an idea to a product with over 25,000 users in less than 3 years.
One of the side benefits of RecurPost is that it helps me connect with other businesses. I love talking to people. This has given me a number of new friends.
I wanted RecurPost to be a small business friendly startup and hence I decided to have a forever free plan that is good enough for most businesses. As they grow, they will outgrow the free plan and that is when we ask them to go for a paid plan.
We have over 26,000 businesses who benefit from using RecurPost. We are currently making $20,000 a month in revenue. Users typically sign up for RecurPost free plan, use it for a few months and then upgrade to our Medium plan.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I was groomed to be a research scientist. I spent a few years doing that. However, I come from a business family and that had a strong influence on me. I loved the idea of creating products that benefit others. I loved the idea of creating jobs. I could do this only if I started something of my own.
My training as a research scientist, i.e. my Ph.D. in Computer Science, helped me get into software development. Atlanta was a big city and there were always events that exposed me to entrepreneurship. I knew it was for me and that is how I got into startups.
The day I walked the stage to my Ph.D. degree was the same day I moved to India. I started a company that helped people with great ideas to launch those ideas. Instead of becoming an offshore outsourcing company, we came in as technical partners who took equity in the final product. We built a number of products under this model.
There was a web-based clone of Slack called MindStack, but we could not get users. Another product helped users find games of Cricket (like baseball but more popular than Soccer in many parts of the world) being played around you. The idea was that by finding people in your city, you can make new friends even if your work moved you to a different city. Again, we failed to find users. We also created a suite of tools for SEO, but that did not work well either.
Our first tool in social media management was a comprehensive marketing tool. It had end-to-end automation for any social media marketer. However, we ended up building so many features in it that it simply became overwhelming for users.
This is when we decided we had to create a simpler product if we wanted users to adopt it. We pivoted that tool to only do one thing, which was repeating schedules, and we went with it. People really loved the simplicity this time and we were in business.
image

Describe the process of launching the business.

I had enough savings to keep the lights on for a long time. Therefore, it was not the case that we would have to shut shop if we could not become profitable soon. Luckily we did though.
When we first launched RecurPost, we promoted it using social media. Wait, isn’t that a self fulfilling prophecy?
Then we started to reach out to people with large Facebook groups in similar niches. This is how I got connected with Jen Lehner of The Front Row. She was so generous she invited me to do a demo on her Facebook group. However, she wasn’t sure about a new product so she checked us out and sent us the following message:
“I currently use MeetEdgar, and recommend to all of my students and followers. I want to make sure I am comparing apples to apples before I create my video tutorial comparing the two. One thing I notice is that I don't see the opportunity to bring in RSS.”
RSS Feed apparently was a big deal to her. So we worked on it that same day and before our meeting the next day, we added support for RSS Feeds. I am blessed with some of the best developers in the world.
This was a game changer. Most of the people who attended that webinar signed up. They also shared RecurPost in other groups. Here is a recording of that webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdpuFp3mU9A
Since we have been in the market for so long, we have gotten our name out on different publications now so we get traffic from there too. Here are some chosen links:
This is something that I always tell new entrepreneurs. Time will always be on your side if you are doing it right.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We have been mentioned by some really high ranking websites, which resulted in a better rank for RecurPost on Google. This has been a great source of new users for us. We are now looking at what else we can do to improve our search engine ranks.
We have created a lot of informative pages on our website that target our keywords. It is too early to tell if they are working or not, but from our experience we are hopeful that they will work.
We have also started producing great content via blogs. This content is not really targeted around keywords, but it is something that appeals to our current and potential users. You can check out our blog at recurpost.com/blog.
We share every blog post with our users via email as well. Those who do not open the first email, we send them a follow up email to remind them. Mailchimp comes handy for this.
Once we made the mistake of putting a link to a different blog post and we got multiple emails where people were asking us to share the correct URL. I was sad about the mistake, but I was happy that people cared :) and that tells me we are producing decent content.
We have also created some useful resources on our blog that help users with their business, such as we create a template for social media marketing agencies recurpost.com/blog/ultimate-guide-for-social-media-agencies/ that resulted in a large number of dounwloads. Those users were added to a drip email campaign where we introduced them to features of RecurPost.
In addition to this, Facebook displays the name of the app that was used to post an update on a Group. When people with large groups follow us, this helps us get the word out organically.
We have tried paid Facebook marketing as well, but that did not work well. It is possible that we always chose the wrong agency to do it for us, but it could also be about the budget we feel comfortable spending.
We also have a generous affiliate program that pays you 20% of the recurring revenue that we generate via people you sent our way. This has also helped us get mentions on some blog posts.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are currently profitable with our revenues. We have not taken any funding so far, which has worked great for us.
Our current margins are not very high as we pay our employees well.
Since we are a cloud based startup, web hosting is a big expense too. We would like it to grow even further though as that means we are doing well and need more machines :)
We have over 25,000 email subscribers who are mostly our users or those who subscribed via our blogs. There are many who joined from our blogs like I mentioned in an earlier section.
Currently, we are not working on any new large features. We are making the existing features really simple to use. Currently, our setup requires a few steps that confuse users. We are working on rethinking our strategy so that users start using RecurPost within a few hours or signing up.
We have social media inbox feature on our roadmap next. This way, you can not only share content from RecurPost, you can reply to all of the comments, replies etc. that you received across all social accounts.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

We were always a customer centric company. We still strive to please our customers. We are always listening to their feedback. If a feature request came from a user, it is always ranked higher than other things.
We started a Facebook group which allowed users to communicate with us in a familiar setting. People have been able to share their feedback on our new features, complain when something is broken and let us know when they see something that can be added to RecurPost. I highly recommend starting a Facebook group to everyone.
I was a hard core programmer, like with a Ph.D. in Computer science, and it was difficult for me to be a marketer. However, I knew there was no other way around it and thus I started learning things slowly. I figured a few things about marketing and then hired people to help me when I knew where can marketing take us.
Every month, we dedicate one day for our team to discuss things like benefits of RecurPost as a social media tool, about our company, anything new they learned, what can be done in the future and if our competitors are doing something that benefits users. These meetings always give us something that we would have missed otherwise.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

One needs to use tools to increase their productivity. We depend on a lot of tools as well.
For email marketing we rely on Mailchimp. It is simple and easy to use.
For social media marketing we rely on ...ahem.. RecurPost.
For design needs we depend on Adobe’s suite of tools including Photoshop, AI and lightroom.
We use Moz data to analyze competitors. We also look at SEMRush data for this.
We are moving our support to Freshdesk soon.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

As entrepreneurs we tend to do a lot of work, which makes us waste a lot of energy in unnecessary work.
I read The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin and it helped me figure out what costs you a lot in terms of your brain energy.
I listen to Andrew Warner’s podcast Mixergy (I have been a guest there too) to hear fellow entrepreneurs. There is so much I have learned from there.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I’d highly recommend those who just got started or are getting started to carefully see when something is working and when it is not. If you try to drag something, that’s not working, too far, it will not generate you anything. Instead, you will lose a lot. This is especially true for your first startup. Your first need (and will) not be your only product.
If something is working slowly then you can try a finite number of things to see if you can make it go fast. If not, don’t be afraid to sell it to someone who can take it there.
When something is working, that is not the end. That is the beginning. Figure out what is your goal from that product and set up your roadmap based on that. Just because something works, that’s not everything it should do.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are currently looking for course creators or social media coaches to partner with them. We have a lot that we can offer them and their audience.

Where can we go to learn more?

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Numerical and A 1k-5k

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submitted by j259awesome to u/j259awesome [link] [comments]

Tmp FAQ

Most recently edited: March 2016
What website for Popcorn Time should I download from?
You should download Popcorn Time from https://popcorntime.sh/ for the newest official version.
Is that website a scam? Does it contain a virus?
No. The official Popcorn Time is open source, and the source code is available at https://github.com/popcorn-official if you're interested. Since it's open source, anyone can look through the source code to find problems. Popcorn Time is not a scamming you or hiding a virus.
I think Popcorn Time gave me a virus or other malware.
Make sure you are using the official version of Popcorn Time, from the https://popcorntime.sh/ website. If you downloaded Popcorn Time from somewhere else, it may possibly contain a virus someone else added. The official Popcorn Time website is malware-free, and any malware you may find via an antivirus scan are all false positives. Again, if you are a programmer, you are welcome to look through the Popcorn Time source code to confirm that it is malware free.
Is Popcorn Time a honeypot controlled by the MPAA?
No. Recently, the MPAA has issued DMCA notices against popcorntime.sh as reported by a Torrentfreak article. It would be quite silly for the MPAA to issue legal threats against itself. If you're not sure and want confirmation, see the commit log to look at the community writing code for Popcorn Time.
Some guys have "evidence" that some Popcorn Time websites are secretly controlled by the MPAA, but they're all lies. The technical details can be found in this post. The people who do know who currently operates Popcorn Time publicly states that it isn't run by the MPAA, and if there were any real evidence the MPAA is operating Popcorn Time, then news sources like Torrentfreak, etc would all be reporting about it. The actual operators of Popcorn Time are trying to stay anonymous (for the obvious reason that they don't want to be a target for legal problems).
Is using Popcorn Time legal?
Depends on where you're from, really. Popcorn Time uses bittorrent, so if you really care, you'd better google what the legal situation around these protocol is where you live.
Popcorn Time works using torrents, fair enough. Am I seeding while watching a movie?
Yes, you are. You're going to be uploading bits and bits of the movie for as long as you're watching it on Popcorn Time. Using a VPN is the easiest way to hide this web traffic.
I want to protect my privacy when using Popcorn Time or other torrent software, what should I do?
You should use a VPN provider to hide your internet access. This helps prevent people from finding your IP address and tracking you.
Where can I learn about VPNs to safely watch videos with Popcorn Time?
For a lot of info on VPNs, how and which ones to use check out /VPN. The subreddit /popcorntime does not officially endorse a specific VPN provider for you to use.
What happens to the moves after I'm done?
Your movies will stay buried in a temp folder somewhere in your hard drive until you restart your computer. Then it will be gone for good.
Will there be a new version?
Most definitely, everybody is working hard to make Popcorn Time better than ever. Check for the newest beta compiled builds here.
How come you have the latest movies?
Popcorn Time search for movies uploaded by various sources (https://www.reddit.com/PopCornTime/comments/4ebnts/list_of_content_providers_and_various_services/). Better ask them how they are handling this!
I want to change which API that I'm using. What do I do?
Go into the Popcorn Time app settings and set your API for movies or TV shows. A list of available APIs can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/PopCornTime/comments/4943sk/apis_list/
Will you be adding movies in my language?
Chances are that most (if not all) of the movies available in Popcorn Time will be in English. However, languages for subtitles and the app itself are constantly being added by our lovely contributors.
I can't get past the initial "Please wait..." screen :(
Living in the UK? Nothing that can be done about that right now, sorry. But setting up a proxy or a VPN might do the trick! You can also try caseyrain's solution, posted here.
Why can't I select subtitles?
You may have to wait until all of the movie data (cover, summary, length, etc...) is retrieved. Sometimes it may be some other issue.
Thinking about launching for iOS/Smart TVs/Commodore 64?
The efforts of our contributors are currently towards making the best desktop app for watching torrent movies. So launching versions for other devices is not in the immediate roadmap.
Are the developers in this subreddit?
We, the mods, are in no way affiliated or connected with the developers and can not confirm they know of /PopCornTime.
Are other websites of Popcorn Time safe?
Some other versions of the Popcorn Time app are generally known to be good, although not officially supported by the Popcorn Time team. This includes http://popcorntimece.ch/ and the version https://github.com/PopcornTimeTV/ for the Apple TV. These are open source and should be ok to use.
There are other websites for Popcorn Time, which are bad and may contain viruses, spam, etc. This includes the popcorn-time.to and popcorntime.ag apps; avoid these if you can.
Refer to this image for clarification.
submitted by Promethei08 to P_ei08 [link] [comments]

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