Over Under Betting Strategy – A Guide on the Best Over

Entitled Dad wants my Granny-in-law's wheelchair.

So, several months ago, my Granny-In-Law was in an accident, that was not her fault. This resulted in both her fake leg and real leg getting broken, among other injuries.
Granny is just...full of rage. She's 80 years of rage, people! She had fought hard for decades over wanting to be independent and never be put in a home or becomes someone's burden. She wanted to live in her own home, take care of herself, and die in her own bed.
Sadly, the accident made that impossible now. She'll never be able to walk under her own power again, and she's hurting herself using a walker or whatever you called those wheeled things. She wants to live at home, however, she knew she would need someone there constantly, and hired a day nurse and a night nurse to come take care of her. She refuses to move into any home, relatives or otherwise.

Well, in an effort to get her out of the house, me Wifey and I would take her out. Yes, we were being very careful about where we were taking her, and going all out on masks, and antibacterial everything. We try to take her places that weren't too crowded, but also wheelchair accessible.
Well, a mall that was about an hour out of town had reopened. It's a sad, sad place, because many of the stores were closed, and possibly would never get any new business. It was a dying building, but the food court still had excellent food.
We went there today, the kids were off playing with some friends, so it was just me wifey, me Granny, and meself, taking laps around the mall, taking turns on who pushes granny.
Now, Granny was wearing a long skirt, but didn't have her fake leg on. You couldn't really see that she had one leg, unless you were looking very closely. So, I can kind of understand why this ED thought that my granny had two legs.
See, we got hungry, and went to the food court to get healthy (Heh heh) food to eat. We pulled up to a table, and started to chow down.
Then, ED appeared.
I don't even need to transcribe this part. It's a dime a dozen story, about an entitled parent that wants the wheelchair that someone is currently using. We say no, she says no and cannot walk, and the ED demands it for his son. He was sitting at another table, looking like he was out cold, he was that tired looking.

Granny finally had enough, and looked at him right in the eye and said: "young man! This is MY chair, which I need to move about. I don't care how tired your kid is, he cannot have this. I would not be able to walk at all!"
ED (obviously) replies; "You may be old, but you don't need it at all! You can walk you old crone."
Granny got red in the face; "OLD CRONE?! Lookie here, little boy, I may be old, but I can still can kick your ass, even if my only leg is in a bad shape!"
ED scoffs at her; "I bet you're only faking about having one leg!"
Granny looked like she was going to yell again. Except, she just grinned. She turned her chair too him, and lifted up her skirt. She showed him that she was, indeed, missing a leg.
"Think I'm faking here, kid?" She goes in a snide tone. "Think this is a fake stump?"
ED looked embarrassed, and tried to talk.
Granny wouldn't let him, she actually lifted up her stump a bit. "Why don't you touch my stump? Come on! It might be a real stump, might be fake! Touch it and see! Touch my stump! if it's a fake stump, the chair is yours!"
The guy backed off and started for his table. Except, Granny started to wheel after him, yelling at him "COME ON! Touch my Stump, you know you want to! Touch it!"
Me wifey was cracking up at this, so I had to be the one to grab her chair and bring her back. The ED picked his son up and carried him out of there quickly. Granny was grumbling about how rude that man was, but she looked so damn proud of herself! What few people there that was in hearing range was also laughing, although two people looked disgusted at my granny-in-law. Screw them.

At least that got some of her anger out of her system. The situation calmed her down a great deal, and cheered her up.
EDIT:Thank you for the rewards. That "I am deseast" one cracked me up.
submitted by justcallmephil35 to entitledparents [link] [comments]

This game's sleazy monetization is trying to toy with your brain. Don't fall prey to it.

I get the game is F2P, and I understand they have to make money. At first, I was pretty disappointed about bundle prices because I believed (and still do) that they were too high. I get their tactic here, it's to target the wealthy, and hopefully, down the line, small fries like the major player base will get a fair deal. It isn't only the bundles which target the wealthy, however. To preface this, I will say also that no western, successful F2P game has pay-to-win.
This game has the sleaziest monetization of any F2P I've ever played. I thought it would get better over time, but my hope has dwindled after Joe Lee's (RiotSWAGGERNAU7) statement regarding the battle-pass in Ask VALORANT #1. I would also like to say that managing monetization is this man's job. If you're going to get mad at anyone, get mad at the greedy guys at the top, not at him or the revenue team.
No VP in the battle-pass. Interesting strategy. Here is what he had to say.
Our goal is that when you buy a battle pass, you buy it for the total value of it rather than buying it as a way of getting enough currency to buy the next one. We want the battle pass to be the highest value product we offer as well as a compelling experience...
This statement seems pretty genuine, but when you actually view the battle-pass beyond its face value, what they have done is pretty manipulative, and such manipulation is further demonstrated in the second half of his statement (which I'll cover after).
Here is an image of VP and RP prices (I am in Australia, so prices will be different and the VP in each may be different, but the manipulation is a constant).
Radianite points (RP) is the second of two paid currencies, I'll call it semi-premium because of their absolutely insulting prices, but I would also like to say you can earn a considerable amount in-game (that however, does not detract from its egregiousness). You have to buy VP first, and of course, they made it so you can't buy exact amounts, you've gotta use the packs. They also put these little "-x%" next to each tier of RP because oh boy, if it wasn't a steal already it's gotta be a steal now. /s It is insulting. 10 RP goes from around $10AUD to $15AUD, so you're pretty much best case scenario paying 10 bucks for an upgrade for a skin you've already bought (the upgradeable skins on their own btw, are $30AUD). Explained succinctly and pretty much perfectly by u/schemeKC, "Radianite is priced astronomically high to artificially inflate its perceived value". That's where Mr. Lee's statement comes in.
Mr. Lee wants you to buy the battle-pass for "its total value". And jeez, the battle-pass must be good because of all that juicy Radianite which boosts its perceived value a fuckton. So after you finish the BP, you've got a nice amount of skins (none of which can be upgraded with RP). You've got this pile of RP leftover and it is just staring at you. The only way to use that RP though, is to spend even more money. Other F2P games give you premium currency for BPs months on end for free, and this game strips that away so you could be spending $10 every act, then coerces you to spend even more because of the RP you've been given. The way this statement was delivered to try and convince you that you were getting a good deal, now shows that this isn't something under the rug (to be felt not seen), it has been said by a real person. Any goodwill has been thrown out the window, and the player's intellect has been insulted. I hope that wasn't his intention, but that is exactly how it came across imo.
VP can only be bought in really inconveniencing amounts, a tactic mostly used in mobile games but hey, it's 2020. Small indie dev needs to survive right? /s It is annoying for every player, and these tiers are worse than any F2P game I've ever played.
If I wanted to buy 20 RP, I'd need to buy the 2175 VP pack and that would roughly equate to $15AUD per 10 RP. You can only use RP on paid skins (there are barely any free skins anyway). But let's say I want to buy the big boy 80 RP pack, ooh what value and it's 40% off! I would need to buy the 5800 VP pack for $80AUD and that would be around $10AUD per 10 RP if I were only buying RP. I need to buy another bundle to get an upgradeable skin, that sucks! I'll get the 1025 VP pack for $15 so I can buy a prime classic. That's $95AUD you've paid to get and upgrade a single skin (I'm not counting the RP you get for free for the purposes of demonstrating the confusion they have imbued within this model).
This is a small demonstration of obfuscation. The system is designed to make you pay more and more and more until... oh. I still have some VP left, and I can get another skin! Let me pay just this little bit more. I think my bank balance might be negative. A single prime skin without any of its variants is at least $30AUD unless you buy the big boy bundles, but then you've obviously spent more than 30 bucks. It is designed to confuse the player into purchasing the highest value pack so they don't have to think, and if I'm being honest I haven't seen mobile games this cunning. This is malicious, and kind of impressive in a super fucked up way.
The second half of his statement talks about the future of Radianite, and again, further attempts to display that "it's a great deal!" The revenue team wants RP to be "the evolving currency of VALORANT". They want this overpriced, huge pile of inflated pixels to be the next big thing. The RP you got for free can't be used for free, and honestly with the way this monetization is panning out I don't expect it ever to be used as such (despite what's said in the next few sentences, we've seen in the past a number of popular suggestions being thrown to the wind).
An auto-renewable battle-pass in any game is designed to respect the player's time. If I see a game I love with an auto-renewable pass, actively rewarding me for spending time with the game after a one time purchase, you'd better bet your top dollar I will spend more. This system does not respect your time, it constantly probes you to spend more and more. Riot obviously didn't design this system with morals in mind, and there are certainly way more subtle additions that I didn't catch.
So pretty much, this package has overpriced bundles and skins, psychologically manipulative RP, layers of obfuscation for all monetization - but hey, it's F2P! People who pay, they're suckers. Let their wealth be sapped for trying to support the devs. obligatory /s
For a developer that has such strong ties to its community, these sort of manipulative business practices sour our perception. Even EA, after the Battlefront 2 fiasco completely removed loot-boxes and to a further extent, even microtransactions from everything but their sports games and AL. They tried to improve their reputation by investing in more indie devs and actually supporting them. Riot has done nothing.
I know this post won't make them change their system. We have seen that they closed the door to the battle-pass changing after huge community outcry, and haven't at all changed the scummy Radianite, in fact, they've stated they are going to double down. But if we double down on our critique of the system we can be sure they will at least discuss it down the line. Your voice matters, probably not as much as your wallet though haha. Safeguard that shit from exploitation.
If and when you decide to purchase something here, a good question would probably be whether this company actually respects your purchasing decision. As it stands, my feet are firmly glued to the "no" side of the fence.
tl;dr - the game uses shady microtransaction design to confuse and fool players, then asks them to spend more money after stripping away common features of an established battle-pass model, completely failing to respect/reward their consumers' money/time.
submitted by IllumiMahdi to VALORANT [link] [comments]

A PC-User's Purchase "Guide" (it's not...just the ramblings of an idiot) to High Quality Audio on your system.

Hello friends, today I'd like to talk about an aspect of our glorious systems that get overlooked a lot: our audio experience on our battlestations. Thanks to paoper for formatting. Again disclaimer that I am an idiot, so take this post with a grain of salt. Better info and more accurate info from people way more knowledgeable than I am is readily available from /audiophile /budgetaudiophile and /headphones, this is just a start-up guide for the beginner.
NOTE: The monster I gave birth to has become too long. I felt that instead of a short list of things to order, I needed to give context as high fidelity is really all about what sound is like in your experience. Also a fun read if you are interested. Feel free to skip to the actual list (ctrl+f active speakers, passive speakers, headphones, subwoofer, amplifier)!
I have limited the price range of the products, because this is after all just food for thought and not even a proper guide; real audio purchases will require elbow-grease and research from your end to see if the product's sound signature will match your preferences in music and sound. If your product is not here, do not worry. I have put in products that I have had experience with and those that were recommended by multiple reviewers I hold in high regard (with the exception of a 2.1 system you will see later), and I had to consider the endless number of headphones/speakers vs the ones that are worth your hard-earned cash (and products vs how they compare to my current setup which includes both "high-end" and budget options).

Introduction

I've been building systems for myself and others since I randomly took a buildapc course in middle school (currently 28) and enjoy music very much (I grew up on linkin park, dre, biggie smalls, 3 6 mafia, tupac, ac/dc, red hot chilli peppers am fond of electro and dubstep and various genres of music). I have 2 decades of experience playing saxophone, clarinet, and the electric guitar, and have performed in jazz bands, rock bands, and an orchestra. My ear is highly trained from raw musical performance and not just listening to speakers from home, as well as having the nuance to differentiate between good speakers. I have owned many many forms of audio gear (instruments, speakers, headphones, studio monitors).

So wtf is this?

So occasionally while answering questions on this subreddit (mainly on why new builder's systems aren't posting, or what components they should get, or just mourning with fellow builders for systems that have passed on as well as celebrating the birth of new systems and fellow pc builders who take their rite of passage of building their own system with their own two hands) I would come across the occasional "what speakers/headphones are best under $xx" and with the state of pc products being "gaming rgb ultimate series XLR" or w/e, it's hard to discern what audio products are actually worth your money. Note that if you are using just "good enough" cheap speakers, any of the speakers/headphones on this list will blow your mind away. Get ready to enter a new world of audio.

Why should I bother getting better speakers/headphones?

I have owned $20 logitech speakers, I currently own $1500 speakers. I have owned varying levels of headphones. The first half-decent (to my standards) speakers I had was a hand me down stereo set from an uncle. This thing was massive, but this thing was good. It's difficult to explain to you the sensation of music enveloping you with great speakers. Speakers are meant to reproduce sound, as in the sound of the instruments in the song. So great speakers and headphones can literally make you FEEL the music like at a rave or a concert or performance in the comfort of your home. This is why Home Theaters were so popular in the 80s/90s.
Upgrading will GREATLY enhance your music, netflix and gaming experience. In fact with passive bookshelf speakers, you can not only use them for your desktop setup, but also chuck them together with a tv and you've got a fine starter home theater system in your hands. You can even upgrade down the line incrementally, one speaker at a time, to a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup where your movies make you feel like your in SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
I currently live in a small apartment with my TV right next to my battlestation, and when i want to sit down on my couch and watch TV, I simply move 1 speaker from my desk to next to my TV, turn my AVR on and I have an easy 5.1 home theater in my tiny apartment. Move the speaker, revert back to 2.1 (or 5.1 if i choose to but i dont because of badspeaker placement when I'm sitting at my desk) amazingness at my battlestation. Consider this an investment into massively improving your experience of playing video games, watching netflix, or listening to music. You think those 4k graphics and ULTRAWIDE monitor is giving you more immersion in your game? Shit...having great speakers or headphones can make you feel like you're IN NORMANDY BEACH DURING THE FUCKING LANDINGS

General considerations (or feel free to just skip ahead to the list)

Now, I totally understand using simple logitech speakers due to budget/space/easy-access from best buy or not knowing about the wider audio world. So I am here today to give you a perspective on what audio components are TRULY worth your hard-earned cash. I have owned $20 logitech speakers in college, I have owned guitar amps as well as studio monitors/other speakers ranging from $100-$1500. Do know that all of this information is readily available in /BudgetAudiophile /audiophile and /headphones . I am merely condensing all of it into a single list, and attempt to sort of explain it to the pc builders, or just an idiot rambling.
If you would like more information on specific speakers, I would check out reviewers on youtube like zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studios, and thomas and stereo. For headphones, metal751, innerfidelity, Ishca's written reviews, DMS.
Z reviews is okay and he reviews everything from amps and dacs to speakers and headphones, but he gives 90% of his products good reviews, and has affiliate links to every single product he reviews....so you see where my dislike of him as a reviewer comes from. He is still an expert audiophile , he just chooses to not use his knowledge and ramble on in his videos, plus the shilling. Great place to start for audiophiles, as he is still a professional. I just think many move on to other reviewers.
Also with speakers, speaker placement is extremely important. Get those speakers off your desk and the woofers/tweeters to your ear level NO MATTER THE COST. Stack boxes/books, buy speaker stands/isolation pads from amazon, at worst buy yoga blocks from amazon. Put your speakers on them, get ready for even better audio.
General rule of thumb: dont buy HiFi at msrp. There are ALWAYS deals on speakers/headphones to take advantage of at any given time (massdrop for headphones, parts-express, accessories4less, crutchfield, adorama, Sweetwater, guitar center, etc). Speakers will get cheaper over time as manufacturers have to make room for new products/refreshes of the same models just as with headphones. If theres a particular headphone model you want, check to see if massdrop has it (website where users of the website decide what niche products the website will mass order, and both the website and you the users get reduced pricing).
Now this list is just simple guide. Obviously for $150 budget, theres probably like 10 different speakers to choose from. You will catch me repeat this many many times but sound is subjective, I don't know what genres of music you enjoy and what sound signatures in headphones/speakers you would prefer (warm sounds? bright? aggressively forward? laid back sound signature? importance of clarity vs bass?) So consider this list with a grain of salt, as this is after all, the ramblings of an idiot on reddit.

Categories

So I will be splitting this list into 4 categories:
And before I start, bass depth and low end does not fucking equal bad boomy bass. I absolutely detest low quality boomy bass like in Beats headphones and general "gaming speakers" or w/e. Also the budetaudiophile starter package is the dayton audio b652 + mini amp combo from parts-express. All the speakers that were considered were basically compared to the b652 before making it on here (and whether they justified the price bump over the b652)

Active vs. Passive (crude explanation)

So when a speaker plays music from your pc, the audio is processed by the audio card on your motherboard, which is then sent to the amplifier where the signal is amplified, and then finally is sent to be played on your speakers. Active speakers like logitech speakers that have a power cable running from the speakers directly to the wall socket have built-in amplifiers to power the speakers, whereas passive speakers require a separate amplifier to amplify the audio signal and feed the speakers power. Active vs passive, no real difference as both types of speakers will have good audio quality depending on how they are made and which ones you buy, but in the ultra budget section of speakers (under $300) actives tend to be cheaper than their passive counter parts. This is due to the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere.
Take for instance the Micca MB42X passive speakers($90) which also have a brother, the Micca PB42X ($120) powered speakers. Same exact speaker, but built in amp vs the amp you buy. Obviously the mb42x will sound marginally better purely from the virtue that the amplifier is not inside the goddamn box. But the mb42x + amp + speaker wire will probably cost you anywhere from basic $130 to $200 with difference in amplifier and whether you use bare speaker wire or banana plugs/cables. Cabling aesthetics and management will be greatly affected, with sound quality affected to a lesser degree, or more (but at what cost?). Amp choice to be explained later.
Now generally speakers should be recommended based on your music/audio preferences and tastes as speakers and in a larger part, speaker brands will have their own unique sound signatures that some will love and others will hate as sound is such a subjective experience. But since this is meant to cater to a wide audience, note that my list is not the ALL inclusive, and again is only the ramblings of an idiot.

BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

If you want to add bluetooth capabilities to your wires active or passive speakers, simply buy the esinkin W29 wireless bluetooth module, plug your speakers in, connect to your bluetooth on pc/phone/w/e, enjoy.

ACTIVE SPEAKERS

Simply connect to your PC or TV via 3.5mm (or the occasional usb).
Note: you may experience a hissing with active speakers that may annoy you to no end even up to the $400 mark. This is a result of the amplifier being built in to the speaker in close proximity, as well as sometimes the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Passive speakers do not have this unless you buy a really shitty amp. Note that while bigger woofer size does not necessarily indicate better quality/bass, this does more often than not seem to be the case as manufacturers put bigger woofers on the higher stepup model.
Note that while I have included 2.1 systems here, I would always recommend you get good bookshelves first, save up money and buy a subwoofer separate.

Example options

PASSIVE SPEAKERS

These speakers will require you to buy a separate amplifier, as well as separate cables. But the passive route allows you to have a modular audio system that allows you to upgrade parts as you go along in your life (yes I said life for once you dip your toes into high fidelity, you will get hooked onto a great lifelong journey searching for the perfect setup), or even just add parts in altogether (like having a miniamp on your desk for your passive speakers, having a separate dac or bluetooth module for your speakers so you can connect the passive speakers via USB or bluetooth wirelessly, stacked on top of a headphone dac/amp combo, stacked on top of a preamp, etc). Amplifier list to follow later.
Passive speaker specs to pay attention to will be their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1w/1m). Speaker ratings in wattage are measurements of how much power can be driven to them (higher watts, higher volume...once again crude explanation). A 20 watt x 2 channel amp (measured in 4 ohms) is enough to power 4 and 6 ohm speakers rated at 100 watts to moderate/decently loud listening levels on your desktop. Now the sensitivity thing. A speaker with a rating of 85db/1m/1w means it will produce 85 decibels of noise at 1 meter with 1 watt of power. Now this not linear....to make the same speaker go up to 90 decibels may require 10 or 15 watts of power depending on other variables. Depending on how loudly you play your music and what impedance/sensitivity your speakers have will result in your choice of amplifiers. More on this later.
The thing about passive bookshelf speakers are that you can use them in your desktop setup, AND with your TV as a legitimate starter 2.1 home theater setup (which you can upgrade to 3.1, and then 5.1/5.2, just buy a used receiver from craigslist for 50 bucks, ez)

What you will need for passive setup:

Note that passive speakers and amp require you to purchase speaker wire separately (fairly cheap) and strip them (youtube video will guide you, very easy). Or if you like clean cable management and easy setups, banana plug cables from amazon will set you straight, and while these banana plugs and cable are nice and PURELY OPTIONAL, they will add up in cost as your buy more of them for frankenstein 2.1 cabling. Also a 3.5mm to rca cable will be required. The connection will be your pc -> 3.5mm->rca->amp->speaker wire-> speaker wire->speaker. (replace speaker wire with banana plug if going that route). Subwoofer connection will be explained in subwoofer section.

Example options

AMPLIFIERS

Okay here is where we need to get into specific numbers. Active speakers have built-in amplifiers so they are exempt. But passive speakers will require separate amps and so you will need to pay attention to certain specs. In speakers you will need to pay attention to their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1m/1w). The typical mini amplifier will be class D (small form factor amps for desktop use) and their wattage per channel will be usually expressed in 4ohms. Take for instance the popular SMSL SA50. This is an amp that delivers 50 watts to its 2 channels, rated at 4 ohms. Speakers will have impedance of 4, 6, or 8 ohms usually. 50 watts at 4 ohms can be 25 watts at 8 ohms, but is probably more like 20 watts at 8 ohms, refer to product specs for specific wattage ratings at specific ohms. Speakers with high sensitivity (85-95 db/1w/1m) that have 6 ohm impedance are easier to drive with lower wattage.
But here's the thing, an the smsl sa50 will not deliver 50 CLEAN watts. Somewhere in the 30-40w range distortion will start to appear. But for reference, 30 clean watts is enough to drive sony cs5s to uncomfortably loud levels in an apartment (the whole apt, not just your room) so listening on your desktop, you only really need 10-15 clean watts (only after turning up your preamp input to maximum volume, which in this case is your youtube/windows10 volume level). Do note that if you have the space, a used $60 AV Receiver that will just shit out watts and have 5.1 surround will be the best, but these things are massive.

Example options

If you need more watts than the AD18, you're gonna need to get a class a/b amp that just shits out watts for cheap, or get a used av receiver. If you want a new one, the best budget option is the DENON AVR-S540BT 5.2 channel AVR from accessories4less.

SUBWOOFERS

Good subwoofers are expensive, and cheap subwoofers will hurt your listening experience rather than improve it (muddy boomy shitty bass). Your best bet may be to simply find a used subwoofer from craigslist or offerup, just dont get the polk audio PSW10, this is a very common sub you see on the 2nd hand market, because it is a shitty sub and so people get rid of it. Now as to whether you need a subwoofer. If you are in a dorm, don't get a subwoofer. Because.... if you live in a dorm, do not get a fucking subwoofer. Now if you live in a small apartment, fear not, proper subwoofer management will save you noise complaints. A good subwoofer will produce good quality low end you can hear and feel without having to turn up the volume. You want to look at the subwoofer's lowest frequency it can go to. That will show you how "tight" the bass will be. Now, low volume levels on a good sub will produce that bass for you without vibrating your walls (though subwoofer and speaker isolation as well as PLACEMENT (refer to the sub-crawl) will do more for getting the most sound out of your speakers without having to turn up the volume....and just turn off the sub after a reasonable time)
Now as to how to add a subwoofer to your system will depend on what setup you have and the available connections. If your speakers or amplifier has a subwoofer output, simply connect that to your subwoofer, set the crossover freuency (the frequency at which the subwoofer will start making sound) to 80hz, or lower depending on how low of a frequency our bookshelves can go down to.
If your speakers/amp do not have a subwoofer out, you will need to find a subwoofer that has high level speaker inputs. You will need to connect your bookshelves to the speaker outputs on the subwoofer via speaker wire/banana plugs, and then run speaker wire/banana plugs from the subwoofer input to your amplifier, ending with rca to 3.5mm connection to your pc.

Example options

HEADPHONES

Okay, I keep saying headphones and not headsets right. But you ask, Kilroy, you're an idiot. You're posting on buildapc for PC gamers and builders but you're talking headphones and not headsets. How idiotic are you? Pretty big, but friends hear me out. Now I used to live in South Korea, where PC Bangs (internet cafes) set the nation's standards for computers. All the places had to get the best bang for the buck pc gear to stay in business and remain competitive (all 100 computers at these places had like i5-6600k and gtx 1080 in 2015 or something I don't remember, along with mechanical BLUE SWITCH FUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK (imagine 100 blue switch keyboards being smashed on in a small underground area in Seoul) keyboards and decent headsets.
So I have tried MANY MANY different headsets, here is my conclusion. Just get proper headphones and get either get an antlion modmic, or V-MODA Boompro mic both available on amazon. (short list of mics later) or get proper headphones and usb mic. Okay, I have seen the headphone recommendation list, and the only one I would give any (if at all) weight to in the usual pc websites that our subreddit goes to, is the list from rtings. These guys mainly measure monitors and tvs (very well might i add) but the writer for their audio section is lacking it seems.
Please dont get Astro AXX headphones or corsair rgb xxxxxx w/e. Please for the love of god, take your good hard earned cash and get yourself a NICE pair of cans my fellow PC users. The mic part is secondary as GOOD headphones will forever change your PC using and music listening experience FOREVER
The TWO EXCEPTIONS that I have observed to this rule are the Hyperx Clouds and Cooler Master mh751/752.

Example options

Now obviously, there's other choices. A metric fuck load of them. But I had to account for how much you should be paying (price range) for upgrades in sound quality and performance.

Example options (Wireless headsets)

Okay. Wireless headsets, now let's think why do you need a wireless headset? Do you want to walk around your house while on discord? Maybe you want to keep the headset on while having to afk real quick for a smoke break or whatnot.

HEADPHONE AMP/DAC (digital to analogue converter)

My knowledge/experience with headphone amps and dacs are...extremely lacking, I'm more of a speaker guy. But, here is a list for you guys.

MICS

Other mics? Yes, but are they worth the extra $$ for marginally better audio recording? You decide.

Concluding remarks

Cool. Stay safe in these dark times brothers. Have a glorious day.
submitted by Kilroy1311 to buildapc [link] [comments]

r/NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season - #20-11

Welcome to the reveal for players ranked 20-11 for this year’s NFL Top 100 Players for the 2019 Season!

Players whose average rank had them land in places 20-11 are on this portion of the list revealed today. Players are associated with the team they finished 2019 with.
Below you will see write-ups from rankers summarizing the players' 2019 season and why they were among the best in 2019. Stats for each player are from this season and are included below. Additionally, their previous ranks in this long running series are also available for all of you.
Methodology
LINK TO THE HUB POST WITH A MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODOLOGY
  1. A CALL FOR RANKERS just after the Super Bowl.
  2. Rankers for each team nominated players to rank. 10 Games Played Minimum Threshold. Players are associated with the team they finished the 2019 Season with.
  3. The Grind. Utilize ranking threads for individual rankers broken up by positional group. Users were tasked with ranking players within the following tiers based on their evaluation: T-25, T-50, T-100, T-125 based on 2019 regular season only. There were no individual case threads. There were no arbitrary position limit caps. Just questions and rankings.
  4. Users submitted their individual Top 125 list. Ranking out to 125 is new for this year.
  5. User lists were reviewed for outliers by me with assistance from two former rankers. Users were permitted to correct any mistakes found. Once complete, lists were locked.
  6. Reveal the list… right now.
So now, without further ado, here are the players ranked 20-11 in the NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season!

#20 - Danielle Hunter - EDGE - Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R N/R 32
Written By: uggsandstarbux
Khalil Mack. Von Miller. JJ Watt. Those are the names that come up when you mention edge players in the NFL over the last half a decade. Yet none have as many sacks as Danielle Hunter in the last two years. Hunter is continually passed over in the conversation of edge rushers. Even among young edge rushers like the Bosa brothers, TJ Watt, Myles Garrett, and Bradley Chubb, Hunter is forgotten. He only received 4 All Pro votes from AP (of a possible 50). He failed to make PFF’s All Pro team. Is it because he wasn’t a 1st round pick? Is it because the Vikings defense was already dominant before his arrival?
Hunter has improved every year he’s gotten into the league (88 pressures this year vs 67 last year vs 55 in 2016). His first couple years in the league, he rotated in behind Everson Griffen and Brian Robinson. Yet he holds the record for most sacks before his 25th birthday and was one of only a handful of players in 2019 with double digit sacks and 15+ TFLs last season. He earned an 89.0 overall grade from PFF and forced 3 fumbles this year.
Beyond the numbers, Hunter is a unit. He came out of LSU as one of the more raw pass rushers in his draft. However, under the tutelage of the mighty Andre Patterson, Hunter has become one of the most athletic, versatile, technical, dominant edge defenders in the game. He can beat you with a pure bull rush, but he can also beat you with his speed and agility. He’s picked up Everson Griffen’s deadly spin move and has the motor to work through double teams. He can win with an inside move, or he can play pure 3T for an entire game (a la vs NO). He’s got a great understanding of the game and is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re placing bets for DPOY in 2020, don’t waste your money on the big name guys like Aaron Donald (+750) or Khalil Mack (+1100). Don’t spend it on young up and comers, lke Nick Bosa (+1300) or TJ Watt (+1500) either. Place it on Danielle Hunter (+2300). He’s going to continue dominating as he gains more recognition and climbs toward stardom.

#19 - Chris Godwin - Wide Receiver - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R
Written By: MysticTyph00n
At the beginning of the 2019 NFL season Bruce Arians said:
"I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot,"...."He's never coming off the field."
Bucs fans thought this could be very well true in BA's system, especially with the departure of Desean Jackson which only really left Mike Evans as the only other real target on the team.
The 3rd round pick from Penn State showed up big time this year after having two relatively quiet seasons. Through 13.5 games (missing the final 2.5 due to a hamstring injury) he amassed 86 receptions for 1,333 yards, 9 TDs and only one drop(In fact he's only had 2 drops total in 2018 & 2019)He very well could have gone over 100 receptions , 1,500 yards as well as double digit TDs, but that's just projecting right?
According to PFF he was an absolute monster in the slot with an outstanding 96.5 grade, which shows he can line up anywhere on the field and still produce big time for the Buccaneers.
In 2020, I honestly expect Chris Godwin to have close to the same production, and possibly even better with how much he produces from the slot.
Please don't leave us…

#18 - Quenton Nelson - Offensive Guard - Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 70
Written By: Zzyzx8
Selecting a guard 6th overall was a bold movie for second year GM Chris Ballard, even one as highly touted as Quenton Nelson. Casual fans hated it, while draft junkies loved it. Two years later, it’s become clear that the pick was a home run. Nelson’s selection single handedly turned around a unit that was largely responsible for a slew of injuries to Andrew Luck into one of the best units. Nelson’s second year was only better, cementing himself as one of the best guards in the league, a true road grader. He spent the past year terrorizing nfl defensive lineman en route to his second pro bowl and all pro selections. Plus, he pulled off what was by far the best touchdown celebration of the season

#17 - Jamal Adams - Strong Safety - New York Jets

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R 18
Written By: the_fuzzy_stoner robdog1330
I would just like to start with a moment of silence for the fans of the New York Jets after Jamal Adams recently demanded a trade from that inept organization with a dumpster fire of a coach in Adam Gase.
Anyways, after an incredible sophomore season, Adams has kept up with his awesome play in his third season as one of the NFL's best and most versatile defensive players as well as the clear-cut best player on a football team that somehow won seven games. Adams, also known as President 'Mal, recorded an interception (which was returned 61 yards to the house), 7 passes defended, 11 hurries, and 36 stops, but that's not all! Adams also garnered 6.5 sacks (which is amazing for a DB) and forced two fumbles (like this one he returned to the house on my guy Daniel Jones 😔). With his exceptional play, the star safety was named to the 1st Team All-Pro as well as his second Pro Bowl selection (an honor which none of his other Jets teammates got this year).
What makes Adams so special is that he is exceptional against both the running and passing game. Whether he's with Gang Green or another franchise next year, I'd expect another stellar season out of Jamal Adams in 2020 (assuming there is one) and even as a Giants fan who watched him dominate my team this past season, I really appreciate the guy's play.

#16 - Derrick Henry - Running Back - Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R N/R
Written By: broccolibush42
DERRRRIIIICK HENRY!!!
This part man part tractor was the plow that turned our barren field into a bountiful wheat field full of Nashville Hot Chicken. This beautiful muscly man with a poop rat tail decimated opponents and General Sherman'd the AFC South. Totaling at 1540 yards and 16 Touchdowns in 15 games, with 6 coming from a slow start in a Mariota lead offense, he caught fire and dragged his nuts all over teams like the Chargers, Chiefs, Jags, Colts, Texans, Raiders and was showing just absolute dominance on the field. (Sadly we arent able to take the playoffs into account otherwise i'd gush over how he embarrassed a couple of scrub one and done teams).
Henry has this certain tenacity and a godlike level of endurance that just makes him an absolute beast in the 2nd half. He is just able to keep going, and going, and going, until finally, players get tired of it and turn into lead blockers for him. He is extremely hard to tackle to. Take a look at this play against the Chiefs in week 10, guys just bounce off him like he's running through toddlers. Derrick Henry is so hard to tackle that, according to PFF, Henry had over 1200 of his 1540 total yards after contact. Like this dude was getting hit at the line of scrimmage and he is just like, fuck this shit, i aint no dion lewis, and keeps going. How is this guy even real???
Another thing about Henry is his speed! Henry is a 6'3" 240 pound dude running 20+ MPH down the field when he breaks the open one. Like look at this speed he gets vs the Browns in week 1. Or this one against the Jags where he outruns guys and stiff arms the ones who barely managed to keep pace. Speaking of stiff arms, Derrick Henry has one of, if not, the BEST Stiff Arm in the league. If I had to pick a way to die, I think I would like Henry to stiff arm me in the face running at me at 21 miles per hour with this face, because there would be no greater honor to a titans fan than death by Henry. That concludes my Henry jerk fest. Here are some more highlights. and here are the real link.

#15 - Travis Kelce - Tight End - Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/R 84 N/R 28 31 13
Written By: DTSportsNow
Travis Kelce was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. He wound up missing his rookie season due needing to receive microfracture surgery on his knee over the offseason and dealing with a bone bruise during the season. Since then he's received 4 All-Pro designations and was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade team. He's also become the 1st TE in NFL history to have 4 straight 1,000+ yard seasons. Not bad considering how his career got started.
In 2019 he finished his 2nd straight season of 1,200+ yards and 3rd straight season leading the league in deep receiving yards by a tight end (274). He finished top 4 in overall TE grade for the 4th straight year (85.1), and was named to his second 2nd-team All-Pro designation. In the Sunday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears he caught his 500th career reception, becoming the fastest TE in NFL history to reach that mark.
There's no doubt that Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the game, and winding up in the top 20 proves many believe him to be one of the very best players in the league. Since Gronk's decline it's essentially been between him and George Kittle for the top player at the position. He's a key component of what Andy Reid and the Chiefs like to do on offense, even as stacked as the offence is. With a Super Bowl victory and a few records to his name already his legacy will be decided by how long he can keep up his premier play. His partnership with Patrick Mahomes should take him to a locked up Hall of Fame bust.

#14 - Ryan Ramczyk - Offensive Tackle - New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 100 74
Written By: Dahki
In 2017, sb nation wrote an article claiming that Ryan Ramczyk wasn't a first round talent at LT. The site went so far as to say he would benefit from a switch to RT. In short, they ended up nailing that on the head. The three-year vet has spent almost the entirety of his career anchoring the right side of the Saints O-line after being picked at 32 overall, and boy, has it worked out for both the team and the Wisconsin alum.
Ram makes the /nfl top 100 list for two reasons. First, he was really good. Second, we really wanted to hammer in the idea that the Saints O-line as a whole was really good. Most notably, Ram exits the 2019 season with his first first-team all pro, and he was more than deserving of it. Similar to teammate Terron Armstead, Ram refused to allow Brees or Teddy to be touched, giving up no sacks on the season. Even better, Ram kept his QBs almost squeaky clean in the pocket, allowing just one hit on the entire season, good for 2nd best in the league among nominated tackles. And Ram didn't just do well in pass pro; he was PFFs top graded OT when run-blocking, showcasing his power and quickness from his spot. In total, Ram spent the 2019 season as the biggest challenge for opposing D-lines to overcome when facing the Saints.

#13 - Julio Jones - Wide Receiver - Atlanta Falcons

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
32 93 23 8 2 21 17
Written By: CokeZ3ro
It's a bird, it’s a plane, no it's Jet Jones! In his 9th season Julio continues to be one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL, and the undisputed best player on the team. He’s a force that defenses must give their full attention, and even then he can explode. Even when he doesn’t get the ball, his influence and abilities still shape the play, and better everyone around him. This past offseason Julio agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $66 million, making him the NFL’s highest paid WR, and extending him to 2023. Even though 2019 was a down year statistically, Julio continued to show why the money is worth it. In a “down year” Julio was 2nd in reception yards, 3rd in Yards/Game, and 1st in Scrimmage Yards/Touch, and made his 6th consecutive Pro-Bowl.
But stats can hardly capture the elite combination of athleticism and skill that makes Julio so great. A combination perfectly captured here where Julio is able to jump over the coverage of CB Leodis McKelvin and then tiptoe to complete the coverage on the way down. Later that same game, with the Falcons against the wall, Julio showed that no man can catch him in a 53-yard burst (shoutout to Jake Matthews for the Pancake Block). Julio utilized his route skills to make CB Pierre Desir eat turf before making a 34-yard reception; which likely would have been much more if Ryan didn’t underthrow it. He’s pretty good at catching too, exhibited as reaches over CB Quincy Wilson and manages to hold onto the ball through tackles from Wilson and SS Clayton Geathers to score. Doesn’t matter who you are, Luke Keuchly, Marshon Lattimore, AJ Bouye; doesn’t matter. bUt hE dOEsn’T gET tOUchDoWnS I hear the Fantasy owners say. Watch this and notice how often in the redzone Julio is serving to support his team (blocks, inside presence, taking double defenders), or is just ignored. He’s open more often people realize.
Even in a disappointing season for the Falcons, Julio continues to shine through as one of the NFL’s premiere combos of athleticism and skill. Julio is and will continue to be an absolute force for the offense.

#12 - Chandler Jones - EDGE - Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/R N/R N/R N/R 60 24 100
Written By: Beehay
In my write up of ChanJo last year, I mentioned that the return to the 3/4 (even if it's under Vance Joseph) will be huge for his stats. And boy howdy was it! At 30 years old and after double digit sack totals for 5 straight years, Jones set a career high of sacks at 19 this year. He had 8 Forced Fumbles, 53 Tackles, and 26 QB hits. Most of his stats improved from 2018, some more drastically than others. His pass coverage marginally improved but why the hell would you really want him to cover guys? (Don't say it Niners fans, DON'T SAY IT)
Chandler Jones is the prototype for edge defenders. He is what all other Defensive Coordinators wish they had. Strong, fast, smart, consistent. Here's a guys opinion and a breakdown. Here's some highlights because not everybody watched all 16 Cardinals games last year and I don't blame them. I think he will rank even higher next year if he stays healthy because he will finally get to settle into a defense again. Even if it's Vance Joseph's.

#11 - Ronnie Stanley - Offensive Tackle - Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R 97
Written By: Letsgomountaineers5
Where to begin with Ronnie Stanley? Oh, how about a nearly minute long clip of him absolutely bullying First Team All Pro and NFC DPOY Chandler Jones. You like that? (Sorry Cards fans, but hey we all know Chandler Jones is a beast). Ronnie Stanley was the best LT in the league. No wait, actually he was the best overall tackle in the league. Actually, Stanley was the best lineman in the league, bar none. I truly believe Stanley was a top 5 player in the NFL last season and even tried (and failed/came to senses) to argue Stanley as a top 2 player. His dominance on the left side of that line was unprecedented.
I know stats don’t paint the entire picture, especially for OL, but I have to start there because his stats were unworldly as a blindside protector facing the best pass rushers the NFL has to offer. Going against the likes of TJ Watt twice a year, Carlos Dunlap twice a year, Myles Garrett, Chandler Jones, Nick Bosa, Shaq Barrett (need I go on), he allowed zero sacks and six pressures on 445 pass blocking snaps. Of tackles with at least 400 pass blocking snaps to allow 6 pressures or less, he was the only one. Wait, the only one? Let’s expand. 10 pressures on 400 snaps? Hmm. Only Ronnie Stanley. 15? Hmm only Ronnie Stanley. 20 and no sacks? Only Ronnie Stanley. Unreal.
So how does he do it? Well for starters, he has an elite pass rusher’s explosion as an offensive lineman. He can pack a pop that will knock the best rushers off line or on their ass without overextending. Just ask Nick Bosa. Refer back to the Chandler Jones lowlight reel for a second and check out how often he simply beats Jones (one of the most explosive and best bending edge rushers in the game) to his spot time and time again. Stanley is out of his stance so fast it looks like he’s false starting and, be it film review/sixth sense/sheer athleticism (my money is on all three), he hits the pass rushers’ marks before they do. Sometimes, he even chips defenders to the ground he doesn’t have a responsibility for. Because of these reasons, he’s basically the only lineman in the game not playing catchup and is tremendously equipped to react to counters. In the run game, he was a driving reason behind that team’s record setting running success. He can be a mauler, but with his speed also can pull like the best guards in the game and lead block for some of the fastest players in the game.
At the end of the day, his dominance in both pass blocking and run blocking makes him a worthy top 15 player, and if not for a tendency to underrate linemen, I believe he should’ve been a shoe-in for the top 10. If you read this far, thank you. Now I need to go puke after that glowing endorsement for a Raven.

LINK TO 2019 POSITIONAL GROUPING TRACKER

LINK TO 2019 RANKER SHEETS

LINK TO HUB

Schedule Change

Unveiling of ranks 10-6 will take place Monday, July 6 instead of Tuesday. Unveiling of ranks 5-1 will take place on Thursday, July 9. Thank you!
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First Contact - TOTAL WAR - 217 (Foxtrot-Nine-Two)

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The multi-role strike hovercraft slipped through the air, dropping altitude quickly. The intact ships of the squadron were smoking, over half of them the battle-screens were down and the particle screens were so overloaded they were flickering and snarling.
Mukstet, pilot of Foxtrot-Niner-Two, lead striker of the squadron due to their unorthodox launch, looked around, the window shields covering the smart-armaglass retracted. The trees were whipping by and so far there hadn't been any Precursors popping up on the sensors.
That could be because our sensors are hashed, he thought to himself. He saw a faint glimmer of sparkling blue and did a slow bank toward it.
The controls were mushy, slow to respond. The two fifty-gallon reactor mass tanks were empty, used to power the afterburners, which meant his fusion reactor was offline. He was running on the auxilary zero-point reactors now and they barely had the power to keep the ship in the air. They were at over 80% heat, which left the alarms pinging in his ear. The hotter they got the higher the impedance and the less power the reactors produced due to the power being converted to heat.
It was a vicious self-sustaining cycle.
Terrans have been able to beat everything but heat, Mukstet thought, dropping his altitude even further. He was barely skimming above the tree-tops now. He glanced around him, doing a visual on the other striker craft. Four of them were streaming smoke, one white, one bluish, the other two black smoke pouring from where the weapon covers had torn free. A glance at the squadron icons showed him that of the twenty strikers besides his all of them were yellow or amber.
"973, can you do field repairs?" he asked over the link.
--need time and mass nano-forges too hot too slushy slushy-- the green mantid sent back along with a picture of a half-dozen green mantids standing on the lid of a top loading clothes washing machine with bubbles pouring out from the edges of the lid. The caption read "C17H35COONa/H2O!!!!!" Mukstet didn't get it completely but he got the gist.
The blue glimmer came out to be a large lake surrounded by manicured lawns, decorative tree groves, shrubs, and estates for Lanaktallan. There were wrecking equipment near the manors and over half of them were in the middle of being demolished.
"All Foxtrot-Niner elements, all strikers on me, we're going land near the lake and do field repairs," Mukstet said. "All dismount strike team leaderss give me a status report on your dismount teams once we're on the ground. Have your green buddies reconfigure your suits for intra-atmospheric combat. My appreciation to your green buddies for keeping everyone alive during our insertion."
Blinks came back from the squad leaders.
"Foxtrot-Niner-Two, this is Foxtrot-Niner-Twelve, my center-line gravitons are out and my zero-point heat is at 92% and rising. Tell me we're setting down soon," came Dulketit's voice.
"Five mikes, that's it, just five mikes, Foxtrot-Niner-Twelve," Mukstet said. "All squadron strikers, drop speed to two-hundred kay."
The icons blinked and Mukstet went back to keeping his battered striker in the air.
He managed to get his landing gear deployed and set down on what was obviously a manor's ornate back lawn. The striker hovercraft settled down slowly, bumping, and Mukstet killed the power. The vehicle made a whining sound that slowly went silent. The other twenty striker craft settled down on the lawn, not quite dress right dress but close enough.
Foxtrot-Nine-Seven and Foxtrot-Nine-Eighteen both had fires erupt. Black armored troops jumped out with fire extinquishers, hosing down the fires with white powder.
"How's she look?" Mukstet asked his mantids.
--couple hours need mass good to stop at water you run hoses-- 973 sent back with an image of armored Telkan wrestling umbilicals from the lake to the strikers.
"All right. How's the engineers? You all make it?" Mukstet asked.
--some injured two lost legs three lost bladearms be okie okie-- 973 transmitted back with a sweating smiley face.
"All right. Make sure they get first aid," Mukstet said. He reached down and popped the umbilical connecting him to Jekib. He turned on the system, feeling cool air flood in. He hadn't realized how overheated he'd gotten during the insertion. He undid his five-point harness and hit the release stud for his neural jack connector.
It felt weird being disconnected from the striker. Light he was lighter somehow. Aches and pains vanished for a second to be replaced by other aches and pains. His shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers hurt from the vibration through the stick and how tightly he'd gripped everything.
He closed his eyes, just like he'd been trained to, and took several deep breaths, giving his brain time to synch back up to his body. A count of five, opening and closing his hands each count, and then he opened his eyes again. He reached out and hit the stud on the side to open up the cock-pit side door.
Air rolled over him, smelling of water and alien green things. He could see the dismount strikers spreading out at the pointed directions of Sergeant Kuplo. Some of the scouts were running for the construction equipment, others were opening up panels on the striker craft and pulling out hoses, still others were kneeling down while a handful of troops with the red cross, red crescent, and red square of medical personnel were checking their armor's statistics.
The next two hours passed with a blur. Pulling the hoses out to refill the reactor mass with filtered water, the debris caught by the filters passed to the nano-forges, the greenies making repairs as rapidly as possible. Telkan Marines helped put mass into the hoppers for the nano-forges to tear apart once the creation engines had cooled down and deslushed.
"You get anyone yet?" Mukstet asked Kanpuk, his Technical Specialist operating the com-system.
"No. Tegket's working with the other EW guys to try to cut through the interference, but these Precusors are a lot better at jamming than the other ones," Kanpuk said. "So far we've heard some chatter, including a Telkan Marine Heavy Assault Battalion that got dropped into the wrong zone and are protecting a refugee center or ammo dump or something, as well as a couple of Terran Pacific Rim Class warmechs just jumping from the Boop and making landfall via impact."
Mukstet shook his head. They'd barely made it, he couldn't imagine dropping free fall to planet-side in a three hundred foot tall ten thousand ton mech. But then, those mech guys were a whole different breed of crazy. Mukstet's brother had tried out for the war-mech program and now was the pilot of a heavy assault class mech.
But then, he'd always been a little weird, even before the Terrans came.
"Keep me posted. Let me know if we find anyone that needs close air support once we get the strikers reconfigured for intra-atmosphere work and as much of the field repairs as we can do are done," Mukstet said. He'd opened the faceplate on his armored vac-rated flight suit and was enjoying the cool fresh air after all the hours sharing Jekib's air.
The Marine Scout armor used a laser to stimulate a small fungus to produce oxygen from CO2 and CO with enough efficency they could operate in total vacuum for months.
That was something that Mukstet had noticed. During comparisons to Lanaktallan equipment, he'd noticed that the Overseers had created all of their equipment under the assumption that everything would run perfectly. Terrans on the other hand, designed all their equipment as if the world was coming to end and whoever was using the equipment was in the worst possible conditions in the worst possible situation.
Which Mukstet was glad for now.
--refabbing ordnance-- 973 reported. --airframe repairs during wing repairs done--
Mukstet looked over and could see the green mantid engineers, in their hard-shell extreme environment armor moving off the wings of the strikers. They'd been forced to weld the wings in the open position to prevent an actuator failure from allowing the wings to slide into the retracted position. Now that they were ground-side the mantids had to cut the welds and smooth the armor again to allow the wings to deploy and shift properly.
"Everyone get something to eat. Sergeant Kuplo, make sure your men take shifts, eat, and get some water into them, that was a rough landing," Mukstet ordered.
"Yes, sir," the Scout Sergeant said. "You heard him, men. Squad leaders, take charge of your squads. Get with me in half an hour and I'll have guard rotations."
There was a click as Sergeant Kuplo switched to the leadership channel. "What's the ETA on the strikers being ready?"
Mukstet checked the chron display on his retinal link. "Eight hours for full repairs, two more to combat capable. We had to strip the ordnance to run the afterburners in vacuum."
"I'll assign shifts as if its eight hours then, sir," Sergeant Kuplo said.
"You know I'm just a Private First Class, right?" Mukstet said.
"You're striker a pilot and you're in charge of the squadron, that makes you 'sir', sir," Sergeant Kuplo said and then shut off the link to stop any more discussion.
Mukstet sighed and went back to overseeing the striker hovercraft being worked on. The weapons were all deployable, able to be rotated back up into the airframe to increase stealth then deployed when live fire time came.
One thing that Mukstet had noticed is that Terrans really liked kinetic weaponry. His striker had two six barrel rotating autocannons, two door guns, and an underbelly deployable cannon. Missile pods, sure, but he noted there wasn't any laser, plasma, or maser systems. All kinetic.
He wondered why that was as he moved around Striker Foxtrot-Niner-Fifteen, noting that the mantids were repairing the pilot side smartglass and had the armor off the nose to expose where they were working on the airframe.
He took a moment to admit to himself that he really really really wished the Terran pilots and dismount leaders had made it off the Boop. He didn't have any orders loaded up, the only scans of the planet were the ones he'd managed to get from orbit and on the way down, and he had no idea of who had even made it groundside and who hadn't.
He was glad to hear at least some of his fellow Telkans had made it groundside. Second Telkan was largely unblooded with the exception of the power armor guys and most of those were in the infantry units.
Mukstet had joined the Marines after fighting on the wall of Log Base Gamma on Telkan-2 for nearly a month, dressed in an armored vac-suit and running a massive rotary laser cannon. He'd never felt so helpless in his life as when he'd been on that wall. He'd swore he'd never feel that way again and signed up when the Telkan Marine recruiter had come through.
It was slowly getting dark, the pale sparks of the mantid engineers becoming brighter and brighter as time went on and the night got darker. He could see holograms springing up where the mantids clustered together and went to work.
--airframe repaired armor repaired ordnance almost done-- 973 reported. --software checks done combat capable but fragile fragile need two more hours--
"You've got it," Mukstet sighed. My first combat command and the entire squadron is grounded. At least I got them onto the ground.
Mukstet kept walking back and forth on the grass, his palm turned up so he could look at what little ground-side data they had. A BOLO almost four hundred miles out but Mukstet's trainers had all stressed that unless it was coming to your rescue or had requested you a trooper never had a reason to go into the hellfire of a BOLO's combat zone. Off to the east, roughly a hundred and fifty miles, the sensors had picked up heavy Precursor movement almost three hours ago but Mukstet had no idea where they were now. To the west there was heavy groundfire that they'd managed to avoid during their orbits.
The nearest population center was over a hundred miles away to the south, what had looked like a refining facility next to a lake with close packed barracks. Next closest one was two hundred miles to the north, a city from the looks of it.
Mukstet looked at the scans he'd managed to pull of the Precursor vehicles, comparing them to the ones loaded in his striker's IFF. After a little bit he walked over to where Sergeant Kuplo was standing, watching his men who were dug into the ruins of the half-demolished manors.
"Sir?" Sergeant Kuplo asked.
"Do you have your Precursor profiles loaded?" Mukstet asked.
"Yes, sir," the Sergeant said. "Same with the men."
Mukstet held his hand out, palm up, and showed the most common type of Precursor machine that was estimated to be over 5,000 tons. "You have this in your database?"
The Telkan NCO leaned forward, examining it. It had what looked like three snail shells side by side with massive tracks on either side, crawler legs on the side and in front and what looked like a set of jaws up front.
"No, sir. It doesn't match any of my profiles," Kuplo answered. "Where was this taken?"
"Over a thousand of them, from orbit. It's about two hundred meters long and twenty meters wide," Mukstet said. "I've seen something like it before, though."
"Where?" the NCO asked.
"Log Base Gamma, Second Telkan War," Mukstet said. "One large shell at the rear, and made of meat and chitin, but it definitely fits the look."
"You sure, sir?" Kuplo asked. "I was on Telisminia, we mostly had the big layered plate ones."
"I'm sure," Mukstet said. "Which means, these aren't the Precursors from the First Telkan War."
"All right, sir," Kuplo said, nodding slowly. "What's the plan?"
"Give me a few minutes, Sergeant," Mukstet said.
"I'll be over here, sir," the NCO said.
Mukstet walked away, looking at the different types of Precursor machines they'd spotted on the way in, as well as the vessels that they'd passed that had been fighting the Boop and other ships.
More flowing, more like they were patterned off of something living. Lots of mechanical tentacles and pinchers and crab/insect legs. They moved in groups, smaller ones around the big ones, the smallest ones riding on the bigger ones.
These aren't related to the ones from the first war, these are related to those things that came from outer space. Maybe the things made them somehow? Mukstet wondered. A terrible thought bubbled up.
Maybe something else made both?
He looked around. The field was good sized, large enough that all the strikers could be landed on it and then some room. The lake was important, if there was one thing the strikers were it was thirsty. There was plenty of debris to salvage to stuff in the hoppers, the trees on three sides would provide warning of anything large coming in.
I need to think of more than just now. I need to consider that we might not be able to regroup for several days. The strikers will need repair, reloading, remassed. Flight crews will need sleep and food, Musktet thought to himself, looking around.
He checked his armor's database and ran a search string for the terms he needed.
There were six field manuals detailing creation of an operations base. He stood by the lake, looking at the 3D wire-frames, reading the manuals quickly. There were some conflicting thoughts, some stuff that he didn't quite understand.
"Sergeant Kuplo, join me if you would," he sent over the comlink.
"On my way, sir," the NCO said.
It took a few moments for the NCO to join him and he kept scanning the field manuals the whole time.
"You needed me, sir?" Kuplo asked.
"Our current situation is one we've only lightly trained for. I don't doubt we would have trained for it when we arrived here but right now we've got some problems," Mukstet said.
"Aye, sir," Kuplo answered.
"Right now we have no support base. The squadron is based off the Boop, and the Boop is gone. That means right now, all we'd be doing is flying in circles squawking 'DOES ANYONE NEED HELP?' like jumping lizards with their heads cut off," Mukstet said.
"True, sir," Kuplo said, nodding.
"Everyone landed under fire. We passed heavy ground fire repeatedly, which means III Corps and Second Telkan landed into the teeth of heavy fire. Right now, we have a secure area," Mukstet turned and motioned at the field. "We don't know how far we are from any front, but even if this isn't a strategic area for a strike base we can still start a logistics base right here."
"How so, sir?" Kuplo asked.
"Foxtrot-Two-Twenty-Two has bad airframe damage. It's combat capable under the current conditions but to be honest I wouldn't want to have the crew risk it," Mukstet said. "I'm saying we have one active wing at all times, doing recon patrols. Two wings on standby, one on repairs. We pull the nano-forges from Twenty-two, Seventeen, and Eight, and start fabricating the things we need to fabricate a strike base."
Mukstet turned and waved at the area. "We already have construction equipment. You told me that there was construction supplies, that it was obvious something was going to be built out here on top of the Lanaktallan estates that are being torn down. We construct an airfield, rearming point, remassing point. Establish an urgent care clinic, mess hall, and at least get some tents up for sleeping so you don't have to sleep in holes."
Kuplo nodded slowly.
"The Corpsmen on standby will run the urgent care clinic. We've already got wounded little brothers, so we pull the worst wounded to work on building the camp, take the strikers in with the teams we can put together," Mukstet said. He pinged the hasty file he'd put together over to the NCO.
Kuplo turned his hand up, looking at the proposed idea.
"Wish we had something bigger as far as nano-forges go, but the little brothers care capable of damn near miracles with the stuff we've got," Mukstet said. "Right now, we'll break into wing shifts, the ones on standby work on the striker base, one in the air, one grounded. Four wings of four strikers each."
Kuplo nodded. "It could work. Even if we have to abandon the base due to the front shifting or being reassigned another place, digging in is our best bet, at least till the commo channels clear up or we can get something on the command net."
"Let's get it done, Sergeant," Mukstet said.
"Ayut," the NCO said. He put his hand to his helmet to signal he was speaking to the dismount crews.
Mukstet stared at the night around him, made bright as day by the electronics in his suit.
-----------
"Foxtrot-Niner-Two, taking command of Foxtrot Wing One," Mukstet said, checking over his instruments. He knew he'd need to be careful of the port-side graviton generators, but it beat not having the striker up and running.
"Roger, Foxtrot-Niner-Two. You are green to begin mission," Pv2 Dektol, communications technician for the grounded Striker-Twenty-Two said over the headset.
"Establish link with us when you get that commo-antenna up," Mukstet said.
"Roger that, sir," the Pv2, only one rank below Mukstet, said into the mic. "Good luck."
Mukstet got the striker, fully loaded and with a compliment of dismount light scout Marines aboard, into the air. He started moving forward, the rest of the Wing-One following him, then banked to fly low over the lake.
Let's go see if we have any neighbors, Mukstet thought, tabbing up a piece of stimgum.
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Material Differences Ch 48

Chapter is long! Not much to say! Got carried away! Ends with a bang! Enjoy!
My Stories
Material Differences Wiki
Chapter 1
Chapter 47
Where was the sun? Where was the warmth? What happened? Jaeger slowly stumbled around within the dark fog. He couldn’t find his way. This place was supposed to be filled with love, and joy. Where had it gone? Did he know what he was looking for? Or why he couldn’t find it? It was like his limbs were extra heavy and sluggish for some reason. Weighted down by… what? Jaeger wasn’t really sure where he was, or why he was there anymore. But there was this oppressive feeling of… guilt… sadness… He had to find it… What? Something in the dark fog ahead… He could just barely make it out… a wispy figure… “Jaeger…” Why was he so cold… He was trying to reach out for it. The tiny figure shrouded in the mist… surely this was the answer… what he still sought? His fingers stretched…
“Jaeger.” Jaeger jerked within the chair as his eyes opened. Slowly looking around and then down a moment he remembered he was hooked up to one of the Tesla chairs to help heal. Then he groaned softly as reality reasserted itself upon him.
“Ow…” The chair had been working hard but that didn’t change the fact he was sore all over, and bruised in many places.
“How was your nap?” Tanya was asking as she stepped up to his side, looking over the monitor to check his progress.
“Shit.” Jaeger muttered and rubbed a hand across his face slowly.
“You’re usually a great napper. Dream at all?” Tanya seemed satisfied with whatever the monitor said as she looked at him instead.
“Yeah… no… I don’t know.” Jaeger shook his head and rubbed his face a bit more. Usually he woke up feeling so refreshed. “What’s up?” He finally tried to focus on Tanya, figuring there had to be something up.
“We’ve got Whispertail up on comms again. There’s also some movement in the valley, and word is MPs have set up roadblocks in Splitstream. Our battle might have drawn attention so I was hoping you could talk to him and sort things out before we have to fight a whole nother battle.” She handed him a tablet then as he yawned and rubbed his eyes with his thumbs a bit harder to try and… rub life into them maybe? He didn’t know why. It just felt like it would do something.
“Sure.” He agreed as he sat up a bit more. “What’s our current sitrep with cleanup anyway?”
“Kuv’s organized the scavenging efforts. Plenty of good tech to reuse for our bots. Ham is bringing additional units online up at his scrapyard. Tabori swept the area to ensure we didn’t miss anyone. Max is configuring new patrol routes. Figs is making sure his new arm works fine. Probably by jerking off. He said he wanted to know what it was like to jerk off with a small white hand for a change and was trying to turn off the feeling so it would be like a stranger doing it.” Jaeger winced a little at the mental image.
“Must you?” He asked.
“Just making sure you’re still alive.” Tanya gave his shoulder a pat. “Want me to wait around just in case you need any more info?”
Jaeger considered that a while and then nodded as she stepped back and sat down. Looking at the tablet she’d handed him he caught a bit of his reflection in the dark screen. He still looked like shit. Letting out a heavy sigh he slowly rolled his head around to try and work out a mild kink in his neck and then turned it on. Then he just stared at the call button trying to think of how to best do this. Finally he just shrugged and hit it. “Super Cereal, this is Tone Deaf. Please respond.”
He waited a few seconds and was about to send again when the comm crackled a moment. “This is a secure line. Though I am supposing the names are to try and make it clear it’s really you.” Whispertail’s voice crackled a bit but was mostly clear.
“I couldn’t remember what you’d called me when you called before. Figured this would work. We’re still alive, and we won. Did your ship survive? I wasn’t sure how to warn you without a secure line.” Jaeger hoped Ham’s ruse earlier had worked.
“It suffered heavy damage, but it avoided outright destruction. Even my crew was not expecting… that. I wish to speak with you in person. Are you accepting visitors?” Jaeger arched a brow at that and glanced over at Tanya who just shrugged.
“Hangar works.” She confirmed.
“We’re open to visitors. But isn’t this a secure line?” Jaeger asked and looked back at the tablet, as if it would tell him if he was being spied on.
“Some things are best discussed face to face.” Whispertail somewhat ominously replied.
“I’d be happy to have you here. I’m a bit… under the weather. Ah… injured. So the discussion might have to take place partially in a med bay. But you’re certainly welcome.” Jaeger wasn’t sure what to make of it.
“Then I shall arrive shortly. Please do not shoot my transport out of the sky.” The call cut then and the tablet showed him a ship’s tracking beacon instead which he handed off to Tanya.
“Should we be worried?” She asked just as he was pondering the same thing.
“I don’t… think so? Even if his cruiser is damaged he’s got Pact naval assets around here for sure. He could still have the compound bombarded.” Jaeger scratched his head then and just shrugged all over again. “I guess we’ll just have to find out. Tell Tabori not to shoot the ship. Get… uh… Is Brandy-Lynn doing anything?”
“If she is it can’t be important.” Tanya replied.
“Get her and Figs and we’ll all meet him in the hangar. No armor, no weapons. Leave Tabori outside.” Jaeger rubbed his chin then as he thought it over.
“You sure?” Tanya confirmed, giving him a look.
“Yeah… yes.” Jaeger nodded with more confidence. “Wait is Ham in the air?”
“He’s at the scrap yard like I told you.” Tanya reminded him as Jaeger waved it off.
“Uh, Tami? The tech? Is she with him?” Tanya nodded. “Alright… Who else is here? Kuv. Keep him out of sight. Bring Max and Raven down. We’ll all meet him in the hangar then. I don’t know what he wants but I want to put on a friendly face.”
“Got it.” Tanya nodded and started to turn when Jaeger had a brief half remembered glimpse into his dream.
“Do you think Leona survived?” The words were out just before he could process what he was even asking. Tanya looked back then and frowned a little.
“The computer was wiped. If anything is left it’s in your implant. So… I don’t know. Memories can be hard to shake.” With that she turned and walked out, leaving him alone in the cold sterile medbay.
A shiver swept through him then and he shuddered a moment. “What implant?” He asked aloud and squinted a moment as his head hurt. Groaning he leaned back in the chair and turned it on a little higher intensity while watching the tablet. He wanted to be up and active when Whispertail arrived. Feeling his muscles clench and relax through his body was a… uncomfortable experience to say the least. But it gave him something to focus on.
Show Whispertail the possible location of Marque’s fortress. Enlist his help to destroy it. Get the code fragments. Then… what? Would Whispertail let him slink back off into the wilds? What would happen to the compound? Whispertail had to report to his superiors. What did they know? What would they think of rogue Revenant still running around? Would the Ravex help shift the blame towards Marque? Would he need to try and get Max and Raven out? To send them where? Whispertail had met Kuv before, it wouldn’t be terribly hard to track him down…
Did he just assume the Obsidian Guard would be his friends? What kind of asshole was he to put so much faith in a former enemy that he had met so recently? Yet, every time they did interact Whispertail proved to be a capable and meaningful ally. Was that itself some kind of act? Get him to lower his guard? Or did he truly respect Jaeger as a friend? Too many questions. Not enough info. The ship was getting closer, so he finally deactivated the machine. Groaning softly as the last pulse of electricity ran through his body as it shut down.
Swinging his legs off and then standing up slowly he had to grip the headrest for support a moment. Felt like he’d just been sitting on the can for too long… feet were numb. Some super soldier he was… Once some feeling returned he carefully curled his toes inside his shoes a moment and then began to shakily walk towards the hangar. Each step carried with it a little more confidence as his body seemed to realign itself with his continued existence.
As he stepped into the hangar and looked around he found it to be the same as always, and yet different at the same time. A number of deactivated bots were lined up against a wall on the far side. Waiting their turn to be pulled into a repair bay to be worked on. Cases of ammo, and rockets were laid out to resupply the Vantahawk. The smell of cordite and gunpowder hung heavily in the air, burning at his nostrils a moment before he adjusted to it and the smell seemed to blend in and disappear. A parting kiss from an old friend.
Bertha was the only active inhabitant at the moment. Though for now all she did was stand vigil over the deactivated bots and watch. Her massive red eye slowly sweeping the area. “Did you have a glorious battle Bertha?” He called out as her eye stopped and focused on him.
“Unit designation Jaeger. Battle conclusion parameter glorious not found. Battle conclusion parameters victory or defeat. Battle analysis concludes parameter victory met.” The bot gave a salute then with a raise of her autocannon for a moment. He supposed there was more truth to the statement than the bot might know… What was glory anyway? But he focused on something else.
“You sound different, you know Bertha. Was your update alright?” He mentioned her unusual speech pattern. Did she get reset somehow?
“Trooper level designation. Experience level boot. Requires adjusted speech. Addendum translation provisor unit designation Tex. I gotta talk slow. So these dumb unit designation motherfuckers. Can understand me.” The bot gestured at the trooper bots while Jaeger raised an eyebrow at the translation Tex had provided for her. A bot, advising another bot, on how to translate to… human? Shit talking? That was new…
“Good to know. I have some friends coming. Ravex. Obsidian guard. Please don’t attack them unless they attack first.” He asked and the bot just resumed scanning the hangar.
“Understood.” Simple as that. At least she didn’t judge him for allying himself with their own enemy. For a moment he looked down at himself then. Olive drab shirt, olive drab sweats. Did some admin clerk centuries ago know what he was doing when he picked the new color for… whoever had first even used olive drab? The Americans? The Brits? Whoever it was they’d spawned a color to mark an entire caste of people forevermore.
Was there a Ravex equivalent? The question made him ponder for a bit, thinking back on the various Ravex units that he’d fought over the years. The barracks that they’d seen. They had that kind of… ashy brown a lot. Did all species have some kind of color like that? Shit. What about the Kra’Kto’Sui? The octopeople had a whole nother color receptor didn’t they? Was human fashion… was all fashion other than their own painfully drab in comparison? Or just… garish maybe?
Now he had a sudden urge to start researching Kra’Kto’Sui fashion. But before he could do anything about it the door opened and the others started coming through. Tanya first, followed by his kids, then Figs and Brandy-Lynn who had a feather for some reason? Even as he wondered about it he watched Brandy-Lynn use it to brush over Fig’s newfound white arm, which made him reflexively slap at it with his other. Growling then he turned and chased after her as she laughed and raced around the Hangar. For all his concerns about what was going to happen at least those two seemed to be totally normal. Normal for them.
“Knock it off.” He called out in his typical dad voice. “No running around the ammo dump idiots.”
“She started it!” Figs grumbled as they slowed down.
“Obviously. Doesn’t mean you can just chase her around a bunch of missile racks.” He waved around the hangar and shook his head. When he glanced back he saw Raven and Max giving him odd looks. “What?”
“Sorry. I just… wasn’t used to hearing you talk like that to anyone else.” Max shrugged.
“Yeah it’s strange to know we’re like… your second round of kids.” Raven added with a nod which made both Tanya and Jaeger snort in amusement.
“There’s a lot of theories about how to behave as a proper NCO. I guess the dad role just kind of… fits me best.” Jaeger shrugged.
“I’m not sure it’s a dad role exactly. I mean… you hopefully don’t take Max and Raven out on leave and get blind fall down drunk with them all that often.” Tanya remarked which made them both chuckle all over again.
“He let me try beer a few times.” Max mentioned which made Tanya arch a brow and look from him to Jaeger.
“Oh?” She asked. “What did you think?”
“Tasted… bleh.” Max’s nose scrunched up a moment as he winced at the memory and stuck out his tongue.
“I didn’t do anything to him either.” Jaeger confirmed before Tanya even asked. “I’m telling you all liking beer is Stockholm syndrome. You drink it so much you convince yourselves you actually like it. But it’s awful. Gimme a Mai Tai anyday.”
“Oh that sounds great.” Brandy-Lynn nodded as she walked back over. “There’s a place I funded that was supposed to be a hipster bar but I made them turn it into a Tiki place instead because that’s what I felt like at the time. It’s built around an old pool they have a floating bar on now. It’s great.”
“Tiki Cove? That place is horrid. It’s so cliche it’s not even funny. Their drinks lack any kind of subtlety not to mention how tacky and lacking in cultural sensitivity the decor is.” Figs crossed his arms and then uncrossed them as the mismatched sizes obviously didn’t make it look right.
“If Figs hates it then it sounds good to me.” Jaeger nodded.
“What! Sarge! You wound me!” Figs grumpily set a hand on his chest looking offended. “I made you that wonderful cocktail when you came to visit!”
“That drink was so bitter and so sour it was like getting punched in the face without any of the good parts of actually getting punched in the face. Which is saying something because there are very few good parts to being punched in the face.” Jaeger shot back with a slow shake of his head.
“The sourness and bitterness were meant to enhance the complex experience of the drink! More to a beverage than getting drunk you know.” Figs sniffed and looked away rather disdainfully.
“Actually getting punched in the face is a complex experience. Doesn’t mean I enjoy it.” Jaeger countered. Figs looked ready to keep arguing but then there was a beep from the nearby console.
“The shuttle is here.” Tanya said. “It’s a typical Obsidian Guard Butterfly. Which means it's armed.”
“All their craft are armed.” Jaeger brushed off the insinuation. “Open the hangar.” The doors above them silently opened as they saw the craft approach. Seeing the shuttle moving in still gave him a brief desire to grab a gun, or dive for cover but he ignored it and just waited.
The Ravex shuttle was more wing than hull he felt but the Ravex always did enjoy using the flying wing style for their in atmosphere landers and the like. For a moment his eyes went to the turrets on either end of the giant wing but they were obviously powered down and didn’t have any gunners so he relaxed. So far so good… But why did Whispertail want to talk face to face anyway? He’d get his answer soon enough as the ramp slowly opened and the shogun walked down towards him. “Whispertail, welcome to my humble home.”
“If your idea of humble is a secret Revenant facility powered by a shard reactor and possessing a full suite of automated defenses I’m unsure what you would consider extravagant.” The Ravex’s usual sense of humor was obviously intact.
“It’s an expression. You’ve met some of us, but this is Tanya, my XO.” He gestured briefly at Tanya who nodded. “This is my son Max.” He set a hand on Max’s shoulder who straightened up a bit more, if it was possible to try and stare down the much bigger Ravex. “And this is Raven.”
“Hello.” Raven smiled and waved as she was introduced before stepping forward and holding out something small and silver to Whispertail that Jaeger didn’t recognize.
“Ah… what is this?” Whispertail asked as he carefully accepted it.
“It’s candy. Ravex safe I checked. We haven’t really had time to prepare any other refreshments for guests. Or more traditional Exkishem. Sorry.” Jaeger couldn’t help but snort softly as his daughter did her best to be a good host. He imagined whatever exkishem was, had to be Ravex. Whispertail glanced up at Jaeger then who just shrugged.
“Thank you. I shall dine on this when I am able. I do not have any resikel to exchange apologies.” Whispertail bowed his head a moment then and slipped the candy into his armored harness. He looked ready to continue when another voice behind him spoke first.
“Where’s Tami?” Jaeger looked up and Whispertail spun around apparently surprised as well to see agent Lexa striding down the ramp.
“What are you doing here?” He hissed out at her. “I expressly instructed you to remain at the base!”
“And I told you I was coming!” She hissed right back at him. Had she snuck aboard Whispertail’s shuttle? An Obsidian guard shuttle? He was having a really hard time understanding her skill level. Her shooting had been awful, and she hadn’t realized her boss was corrupt as hell. But then that takedown at Funhaven, and now this?
“How did you even get past the guards? Your father’s own security detail had promised me they wouldn’t let you out of their sight!” Whispertail hissed as he stomped up to glare down at her. Yet, to her credit she just crossed her arms and glared right back.
“Despite what you might think you’re not actually my superior and all orders are merely requests which I am free to ignore. Besides I need to talk to Jaeger.” She started to step past but Whispertail set out a hand to stop her.
“I am here to speak with Jaeger. You will wait your turn if nothing else.” Jaeger arched a brow a moment as he noticed how Whispertail’s tail was twitching. She’d gotten under his skin it seemed. Fur. Scales? Wait skin still worked right? He shook his head a moment to stop wondering about the appropriate way to phrase that for a Ravex. She’d certainly pissed him off anyway.
“Fine.” She huffed. “But where’s Tami?” She looked past Whispertail at Jaeger then.
“Uh she’s with Ham. They’ll be back…” He glanced over at Tanya for a time frame but she just shrugged. “They’ll be back.” Jaeger repeated simply.
“Then I’d like to talk to her over your comms at least.” She insisted.
“Tanya get her patched in.” Jaeger waved Tanya over and then focused on Whispertail. “Do we need to talk in private?”
“Yes.” He nodded and cast a sideways glare at Lexa who was already ignoring him.
“This way.” Jaeger waved him on and turned back to walk the way he came leading Whispertail into the medbay he’d been healing up in earlier. The two were quiet as they walked and Jaeger began to wonder just what this little trip was all about. They could have tightbeamed without fear of anyone listening in but Whispertail obviously wanted to be here personally. Once they were inside the medbay Jaeger turned to face the large xeno, casually leaning against a counter to appear as at ease as possible.
However once they were alone Whispertail didn’t speak. He just examined Jaeger for a moment and then began to look around the medbay. It wasn’t like he was desperately searching for something. But more… examining the place as a stranger might, trying to determine just what he was looking at. Was he expecting Jaeger to speak first? Was he trying to delay him for some reason and just make him wait? What would be the reason for that?
Lets say he had an Obsidian Guard Talon on their way here. Even with things as chaotic as they are after the battle the compound defenses would still pick them up well before they got here. Would he try and kill Jaeger when he found out and attack from the inside? To what end? The others would still be able to take him down, plus the shuttle wouldn’t get out of the hangar without codes. They couldn’t man the turrets without being obvious. No…
Jaeger had been as friendly as he could, explaining what Marque was up to, and giving the Ravex all the help he could. Was there something he had let slip? What did he have to slip? He couldn’t figure the Ravex out. “I can’t figure you out Jaeger.” Jaeger blinked as Whispertail set his hands on one of the operating tables, facing away from him as he spoke. Echoing the thought in Jaeger’s head right now.
“I can’t figure you out either if that’s helpful.” Jaeger smirked a little, figuring Whispertail would be annoyed. But the Ravex just turned to him looking serious and Jaeger’s smirk faded.
“When we met it was a hostile encounter. You tried to kill me.” The big Ravex more announced than accused.
“Whoa.” Jaeger held up a hand. “Let's be straight on this. You attacked me first.”
“First you were just a heat signature, and then you were more obviously a Revenant. Was I to think after all this time one of you would be… friendly? All the animosity between our peoples and you fault me for assuming you were there to kill me?” Whispertail asked.
“I’m not faulting anyone.” Jaeger corrected. “I’m only saying you attacked first. I defended myself. Then when I realized the fight could be ended without either of us dying… I so ended it.”
“Yes… you did.” Whispertail considered him extra carefully, leaning in a little as if proximity somehow aided honesty. “Why?”
“Did I not cover this before? I’m fighting Marque Malinovsky. My brother in law. Who… has an army. And… production facilities of some kind to equip this army. I’ve got… a hand of people and only now a small contingent of prewar bots to fight back against him with. Back then… I didn’t even know for sure Marque was the threat, or what he had. I just knew… I could fail. So… why not tell someone else what was going on in case I did. Marque and I… Obviously aren’t friends but we’re polite. I promised not to kill his kids, he promised no to kill mine. I still have to ensure he doesn’t win.” Jaeger rambled a little trying to figure out what Whispertail wanted to know.
“Why is that exactly? What is his goal? Conquest?” Whispertail asked.
“Yes.” Jaeger nodded. “He thinks his organization is the true Void Government and he wants it all back. He sees the Pact as illegitimate and juvenile. He wants… humanity first. Synths above all. And… I don’t know… everyone else slaves or dead. I haven’t exactly gotten a pamphlet detailing all of his mission objectives.” Jaeger shrugged a moment.
“So you’d rather we win than he does. Even if you also lose?” As he said that Jaeger began to feel a little worried.
“Is that it? Do you need me to lose?” He wasn’t sure what to do about that if Whispertail said yes.
“No.” Jaeger relaxed even as the Ravex said that. “What I’m trying to figure out is what you want out of this.”
“To… make society better. To help save the Pact.” Whispertail just stared at him, seemingly unconvinced.
“Why? Since the end of the war you have lived here in isolation with your children. You are isolated from society. What impact does the Pact have on your life? Why are you invested in helping it?” Whispertail’s words cut into Jaeger for a moment. “Why fight for a society you’re not a part of?”
“Because that’s what I did before.” Jaeger could see the confusion in Whispertail’s face. “I grew up on earth. Which was a shitty place to be, and even worse if you were poor. I grew up knowing only a society that revolved around respect. Respect of power in the most bloody simple way people could show it. I can’t tell you how many people I saw get killed over some stupid… bullshit. Some perceived disrespect. Or just not enough respect. All I knew is I had to get out of that shithole. Which meant taking the merc exams and seeing what nation would take me. Which for me meant the Revenant program. They didn’t call it that at first obviously but that’s what it was. All I cared about is that it was Void. Do you know what that meant?”
“I suspect I do not know the true extent.” Whispertail replied.
Jaeger just waved a hand around the medbay for a moment at some of the tech. “It meant I could get my mom a free ride to the best place in the universe! Everyone talked about how amazing the Void was and I got in. All I had to do was kill for them. So I did. I became a killer for a society I wasn’t really a part of. I only barely ever saw what civilian life was like in the Void. Just a tiny bit of R&R, here and mostly in Funhaven so… far as I knew it was the best place ever! I spent the majority of my time elsewhere. Killing Davari, killing Russian, Americans, Anterans-”
“Kids.” Whispertail added. He didn’t seem angry but he was carefully watching Jaeger.
“Kids.” He nodded. “Civilians. Politicians. I was being told who to kill by people I knew were smarter than me. They said it was all sad, but necessary. To preserve the Void Way Of Life.” He carefully enunciated each word. “To protect a society I didn’t get to live in. But my mom did. And that’s all I cared about. They said kill, I killed. They said sabotage I sabotaged. They said murder innocent people? I murdered. I gave them my soul. So that once I was done with my time in purgatory… when I’d killed my way to heaven it would all be waiting for me.” Jaeger looked away then, going quiet.
“Then the war.” Whispertail continued.
“I had been helping the very company I thought was protecting my new home, destroy it instead. Undermined everything I was supposed to love about it. Helped trade freedom for control, democracy for dictatorship, and knowledge for ignorance. But I thought I could still save it. We just had to win the war. So we fought… and fought… And we won the war. My wife’s body was destroyed. I’d lost… most of my friends and comrades… and the society I’d done all that work for? It was dead too.” Jaeger wasn’t looking at Whispertail now. His eyes just stared vacantly at the wall for a while.
“So I took my kids and came here and tried to raise them as best I could. But it’s not enough. I buried my head in the sand and assumed…” Jaeger shrugged. “I don’t know. That… it would fix itself. Because I was tired… I had been fighting almost my entire life and suddenly I was in a scenario where… I had to make the decisions. There weren’t any smarter people to just… tell me what to do. I figured… I don’t know. That… they were the most important thing to me. But… by focusing on them I didn’t help out anyone else… So… my kids are good but the rest of society is fucked and I didn’t help. Which sucks! How the fuck could I find the time? Raise my kids well, help everyone, be a productive member of society… The fuck am I supposed to do?” Jaeger felt exhausted just talking about it.
“You have a highly advanced compound here at your disposal. Plus what appears to be a small army of also highly advanced robots at your command. You could have dominated the coast. Become a warlord. Possibly seized the planet for your own.” Whispertail mentioned but Jaeger just frowned.
“Me? Did I not just explain I’d lost the smart people telling me what to do? Fuck do I know about running a planet? What I should just become some new… scav king. Raise my kids in some… minor fiefdom that would get crushed when the Pact finally got around to it? And what sort of message does that teach them? I made sure the scavs in Columbia stayed in Columbia for a reason. It was the only semi decent thing I could do for everyone north up the coast. Give them time and space to rebuild. I know society still hates synths… but it’s still better than whatever autocratic… oligarchy Marque is planning.” Jaeger wondered for a moment what could have happened if he’d been more active all along. Would it have been worth it? Knowing he’d have had to miss more of the kid’s lives? “What would you have done?”
Whispertail seemed to consider this question for a moment and then shrugged. “I do not have children. That is not to say I don’t have biological offspring. I’ve participated in many seasonal heats.” Jaeger wasn’t sure he needed to know that… But the Ravex continued. “Yet, we as a species do not raise our own young. We are raised only by those fit to raise children. In a communal environment. The fact that other species let… just anyone be a parent is… honestly rather appalling. Are you aware of the types of parents that exist?”
“Yeah… I’m… pretty aware.” Jaeger nodded slowly.
“Madness.” The big xeno shook his head slowly. “Raising children is best left to experts. So, I do not know how you feel. I cannot fully understand it. The only legacy I have is my nation. So in this… I do understand some of your pain. For the first time in centuries the Ravex are not one people under one nation. We are split. This pains me… All the work I had done was also taken from me by radicals and fanatics. I will not live to see a restoration of my people. But I can live to see them survive in some way within the Pact. This is why I have dedicated my life now to its success. This is why I need to know your mind. Are you helping me only because it suits you for now? Or are you in this Jaeger? Are you in this fully and wholly? Not just for your offspring, but all children living within this young nation?”
Whispertail approached him then, standing tall as he looked down at Jaeger. “I am with you.” He nodded and reached out to grip the xeno’s forearm, as Whispertail returned the gesture.
“Good.” He nodded and released Jaeger’s arm. “I’m going to need you to join Titan.”
“What?” Jaeger blinked, not having expected that outcome even remotely.
“I need to legitimize your efforts legally. I will, for obvious reasons, leave out your true past. But, your cover identity as an Absolute Dynamics mechanic who was brought up in the emergency reserves during the war makes sense. Both as to why you remained a prospector for so long, and why we need you now.” Whispertail explained as he pulled out a data slate that had some kind of contract on it for Jaeger to read.
“Uh… what about… Agent Alvarez? Or Director or whatever his title was?” Jaeger asked as he began to scroll through the document. “Didn’t you have trouble proving his guilt and stuff? What happened with that?”
“When it became clear he had directly threatened the life of the daughter of one of the wealthiest individuals within the Pact, as well as spied upon his business things moved much more quickly.” Jaeger arched a brow as he looked back up at Whispertail. What had Lexa’s dad done? “I do not exactly approve of the nature of human politics but this once it was useful to me.”
“Did you find any… codes in his things?” Jaeger wasn’t sure what Whispertail new about the codes.
“Lexa and her friend Tami have informed me they are for memories. Could you explain?” Whispertail watched him close.
“Revenant memories. Supply caches, secret bases, door codes, and obviously evidence of who used to work with them.” It wasn’t all that far off from the truth…
“And why are they so valuable to those involved?” Whispertail asked next.
“Marque wants them for the supply caches, and codes and more power. Alvarez probably wanted them to help blackmail politicians who escaped the post war purges. I want them because… there’s some small chance my wife’s memories can be saved and I can see her again. I know you guys don’t exactly get married but you do have soul mates right?” Jaeger wasn’t sure if he could appeal to the Ravex’s emotional side but he’d try.
“We do. You wouldn’t also be looking for nuclear launch codes would you?” Even as Whispertail asked Jaeger rolled his eyes.
“I already have those. I don’t need more. Why do people keep asking me that? We both know irradiated planets don’t do anyone any good.” Even as Jaeger spoke the Ravex nodded.
“Very well… The codes will be returned to you. Our experts couldn’t make any sense of them anyway. They keep changing…” Whispertail tapped his chin.
“Once you get them all it’s supposed to unlock something.” Jaeger shrugged. “I only half understand it. Even if I get them all I might not be able to get it to work.” That was still entirely true.
“Then it is settled.” Whispertail announced and turned to walk out the door. “We must plan our assault immediately.”
“Just like that?” Jaeger arched a brow a moment.
“You have given me no cause to doubt you thus far. You have shown me only good faith, and while I disagree with your actions I at least understand them. Not all allies are mirror images of one another. Besides we have precious little time. It is essential we defeat him before the Pact Vote.” Whispertail explained as he began walking back towards the hangar.
“What vote?” Jaeger asked as he quickly moved to follow.
“A convention is being held in Solavis city on how to address the Void remnant that Marque is apparently the leader of. Some would prefer to see us normalize relations and work out some deal in order to secure peace. At the cost of the delicate balance of powers of course. If we show he has been operating in our soil all along to undermine the government then it is unlikely he will achieve this deal. He will be seen as either a hostile nation, or a hostile insurgency. But not the legitimate ruler of the Void. Did you seriously not know any of this?” Whispertail paused to glance back at Jaeger.
“No! I told you I had my head in the sand! I barely know what’s going on out there. No one told me!” He waved a hand vaguely around him.
“It has been all over the news… Nevermind. Let us end this more simply by defeating him in open combat. I suspect that is where our strengths lie anyway.” Whispertail nodded as they stepped out into the hangar. Ham’s Vantahawk was back, and Jaeger saw him and the others clustered around a display table alongside a familiar Ravex.
“First Claw Second Feather Assault Mother Rockdove, nice to see you again.” Jaeger spoke as he approached her, and then his eyes moved past to another bright smiling face even if in a new uniform. “Ah, First Claw Second Feather Shock Commando Twilightbloom, good to see you again as well. Is that your rank?”
“Hi Jaeger!” The big xeno ignored the second part of his greeting to press forward and wrap him in a big hug as he gasped and felt his shoulders get partially crushed for a moment until she let go. “Friend Jaeger it is very nice to see you again! I’m remembering things better now!”
“That’s good.” He smiled and then rubbed at his left shoulder a moment.
“Rockdove, why are you sharing live intel assets with them? I didn’t authorize this.” Whispertail growled out, though in English as if to make a point of berating her in a way Jaeger could understand.
“I am sharing intel assets with our allies for the impending assault. You said we were here to secure their support. Are they not our allies?” Rockdove countered.
Whispertail glanced sideways a moment as Jaeger. “They are. But I had not declared this fact and you were already sharing this information.”
“Then I will accept your inevitable non judicial punishment later.” Rockdove waved it off.
“Hey, you guys NJP too? We’re so alike.” Figs said with a big grin.
“What are we looking at?” Jaeger asked, ignoring the comment as he focused on a display of a mountain and some sort of fortress within it.
“This is the Scissor Mountain complex. I don’t know what they call it.” Ham replied. “This is what we’re going up against. Several anti ship, and anti air batteries here, here, and here. And possibly here.. Several artillery and anti tank bunkers along this approach. C-RAM batteries just… everywhere… Several hangars… And I’m not sure how many barracks.” Jaeger looked across the portions of the map as they lit up.
“How did you get this?” If the map was accurate it was going to be a nightmare to assault.
“It used to be an Absolute Dynamics complex like we thought. Or… they’d started building it just as the war hit so when I was back at the scrapyard I just did a system ping, found the only network address I didn’t have listed, found a directory, and then downloaded a map. We really really need to find some way to purge the old systems.” Ham shrugged then.
“Well shit… Can your cruiser or possibly more than one give it a serious orbital bombardment?” Jaeger asked.
“Once they realize his cruiser, or any Pact ships are moving into bombardment position he can knock them out. Or make it a deadly endeavor.” Ham countered. “This is probably why Marque has been so bold lately. He knows we can’t just bomb him without casualties and he’s betting we won’t nuke him. Even if we did it’s a hardened complex. We’d ruin the surface installations and such but we’d still have to root him out.”
“Which is where my plan comes in!” Everyone looked over at Brandy-Lynn in surprise as she cast back a manic grin while setting a hand on Kuv’s shoulder.
Jaeger frowned at the sight of the Jipasi and glanced at Tanya who noticed his look. “She brought him out of his hiding place before I realized what was going on. Blame her not me.”
“I simply needed to confer with our expert here to make sure my plan would work!” She nodded, and then before Jaeger could ask she held up a hand. “No nukes! Totally conventional. Well… actually… completely unconventional but the destructive force is just like… gravity. Well… gravity and explosive stuff. But no nukes! No shards! No earthquakers!”
“What’s the plan?” Jaeger finally asked.
“I am a woman of secrets! I’m not giving away any info like that!” She huffed and crossed her arms.
“You’re not giving away… your plan?” Jaeger sighed heavily and began to rub his face with his hands.
“No! I mean… not like the good bits! Listen, does this space station still orbit the planet? The recent battle didn’t mess with it or anything?” She held out a dataslate to Whispertail who squinted at it.
“I believe so. No change has been reported in any orbital platforms or debris if that’s what you mean.” He gave Jaeger a look who thought it over.
“Did you reactivate one of those old hyper velocity tungsten rod platforms they were working on? Why?” Then he held up a hand a moment later. “Wait no. Let me guess. Because you thought it was cool?”
“It is cool. But I made it better! It’s even better now isn’t it Kuv!” She elbowed the Jipasi who gasped a moment at the shove. Though he’d been rather quiet so far.
“It’s… I am both terrified and thrilled by the potential. I have professed to being an expert of destruction for so long… and yet somehow I never considered this option. For all my impressive ingenuity I have been outdown. By white trash.” He shook his head slowly, as if actually upset Brandy-Lynn had outdone him somehow. But her grin just grew wider still.
“What’s the plan?” Jaeger tried to press.
“This will destroy the defenses. If not… shatter the entire complex.” Kuv sighed and gripped his head. “How could I not have foreseen this need! Why did my exemplary Jipasi skills fail me! How could I have prepared so many explosives and yet never considered how to rend a mountain from the face of a planet so righteously!”
[Continued in Comments]
submitted by RegalLegalEagle to HFY [link] [comments]

A step-by-step guide of how I would build a SaaS company right now - part 3

Part 1 Part 2 Part 2.5
I was shooting for every week, but that proved harder than anticipated, I'll try to wrap this up in the next few weeks though.
This is part 3 of 5.
  1. Start with your revenue and monetization plan (are you targeting a sector that has money and can/will pay - Part 1)
  2. Align yourself with others in your space (cheapest way to get traction/credibility - Part 2)
2.5 - Process, process, process - Start one, refine it, continually improve it - Part 2.5
  1. Work on road mapping your product to align with what complements your partnerships (cheapest distribution)
  2. Work on building a marketing strategy that can help expose and align your brand while strengthening its recognition with your partners (will this make us both look good)
  3. Build customer advocates along the way, tell their stories (lead with examples)
Work on road mapping your product to align with what complements your partnerships (cheapest distribution)
What exactly does this mean?
All platforms that you integrate with usually do one or two things really really well, then there are features they have to have in order to connect the dots, arguably though, these features don’t get a lot of love and well, they are MVPs in the traditional sense. This is what we’re looking for. This is the sweet spot.
Side notes: This was actually just exposed with the latest Microsoft 365 update which is taking the Notion approach to collaboration - I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Google do something similar to this in the very near future.
Zoom built an entire business on this, video conferencing wasn’t new but the ease of getting started without an account or software to download combined with free time allowances made them a massive success. They also integrated very quickly with partner tools like slack.
This usually comes in a few flavors - something that checks a box and something that just wasn’t thought out workflow wise. Slack did this to both google and microsoft quite successfully.
If at any time microsoft or google wanted to compete they could have during the last 7 years it’s been a known entity, in fact it took a solid 5 before microsoft even hinted at teams. Slack gets to play nice with everyone while microsoft and google have the tough time of wanting to keep everyone in their ecosystem. It’s a tough call for them to allow outside access.
Because these companies don’t focus on these things as much as other parts of their platforms, room for improvements will start to crop up quickly. Remember that list of customers using competitors, it’s time to talk to some of them.
You can only accomplish the above if you have an established approach for your internal workings - aka alignment across the organization.
The road map process will differ based on your individual products, so instead of the products we’re going to focus on a repeatable framework that you can adapt.
Understanding how your product fits into a workflow.
Partners aren’t just tech partners, partners are often your first few clients. Pay attention to their workflows and how you can add value and become integral to their success.
Product development - the internal fight between engineers, product managers, sales, executives, and everyone else. Oh and customers, they’ll always tell you how you can make things better - it would be a modern day miracle if we listened to them more often.
Product, like marketing, is something everyone has an opinion about.
We’re going to go over how you should position your product in the market. Specifically how your solution impacts the workflow of your potential customers. When we change our approach from what features our product has and move the conversation to how our product improves, adds data, or simplifies a clients workflow success follows.
True innovation comes from understanding that all companies are looking for more data, recommendations, and automation. Hint: all these lead to reduced resources and increased revenue.
You want to know how bad this really is? Just look at common things we deal with, phone trees, spam emails, even how people organize their inbox or don’t.
Inefficiency is really all around you, when you put a magnifying glass up to it.
Sidenote here - if you ever find yourself looking for a problem or trying to better understand a workflow, write down every step you take for an entire day while working with a program. You’d be amazed by all the little things that you do and the massive room for improvement.
What is a product?
Let’s take a step back and look at the different kind of products that exist generally -
  1. Add on
  2. Stand alone
  3. Platform
  4. Suite
We’ll take these one at a time with this framework -
What are they?
Why do they exist?
Is it right for me?
What is the workflow play?
Add On
What is an add on?
An add on, plugin, app, etc they go by many names is essentially a piece of software built on top of another piece of software. It relies on the backbone of another service to deliver value. Usually using the platform’s API or existing architecture.
The program or software exists within the ecosystem of another product.
Why do they exist?
The companies that allow add-ons are “Platforms” they have a core that they maintain and spend time developing communities to build on their flexible architecture. If we were doing a timeline of how most companies grow it usually goes:
Addon / Stand Alone → Platform → Suite
We see this more and more as the sheer quantity of software options has increased.
Is it right for me?
I’d say in 2020 it should play a large role in your initial launch and outreach. There are millions of people using existing platforms to create lots of things, for B2B it’s really easy to build targeted lists of clients of those that are using these platforms. Small purpose built apps that solve for very real problems are all around us and a lot of the small ones serve very specific purposes with built in use cases. They require people to be niche by default.
Remember the zoom example from above - remove friction and you can win market share.
Literally, everyone has an add on these days. Usually a small part of their larger product.
They also make for a great marketing play as well, they are relatively simple to build, especially in the case of something like a chrome extension and allow a company to rapidly test new features and release them in small parts to existing customers to gauge interest.
What is the workflow play?
For most B2B software outside of software that is used to run the business daily, getting users to continually find value in it can be difficult. For a lot of it, it’s set it and forget it. Add-ons allow you to better incorporate your product into the customer’s workflow.
If you’re looking to improve a workflow for an existing internal process, at the very least an add on is a great way to embed your product where your customers are spending time.
Big takeaway: When you build on top of an existing platform, you get clout, you can align yourself with that platform to plan development around features that benefit the users of that platform.
It’s much easier to say I build [something specific] for people that use [plugin or CMS framework] built on top of [platform].
To be less abstract…
I build background effects packages for people using Elementor built on top of Wordpress.
Broken down - We’re now looking for people using Elementor on wordpress that are looking for background effects to add a little extra to their website.
It’s all about narrowing down who your champion partners will be - those that find the most value in these things.
We’re always looking for our advantage and positioning ourselves to grow - we do this by targeting areas that need a little more attention or things that are currently cumbersome but need a little more love.
Stand Alone
What is a stand alone product?
A stand alone product is one that provides a singular function with limited integrations that allows users to create and manage a workflow or a process from within the application.
Something like a Help Desk is a good example of a stand alone product.
These are purpose built products that don’t require any other integrations to provide value.
Why do they exist?
This is what most people think of when they say they are building a SaaS company. They are building something that solves a specific problem for other companies. Most companies fall under this category, nearly all start in this category.
Most companies also stop at this point, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Build something solid and purpose built that provides value, then expand via add ons to cater to different existing platforms and you’ve got a solid business model.
Is it right for me?
It should be, it’s pretty much required most of the time. Your app should be able to function on it’s own to provide value. Does it have to be, no. There are plenty of businesses that stay just as add ons built on top of large platforms like Salesforce.
This is a call you’re going to have to make for yourself, however these are definitely the predominant leaders.
What is the workflow play?
How does your app work with an existing business workflow? This is really the question. If you’re a stand alone app, do you work for everyone in a business? A team?
Most of the time, a product focuses on an internal team that requires them as part of their workflow. There are different entry points within a team as well.
Are you targeting executives? Directors? Managers? Lower level staff?
How your product works with each of those levels will be different because the expectations and needs of customers at these levels are all different.
Remember, you’re not selling into a company, you’re selling into a role at the company.
When we start thinking about partners as some of your first few clients, really what we’re looking for is a group of true believers that see promise in what we’re creating.
This promise has to work towards providing them more data (less guessing), make decision making easier (more clarity), and lead towards automation (no one likes doing the same things over and over).
Big takeaway -
When you’re a stand alone product you have to nail workflow. The UX/UI has to be intuitive, easy to pickup and easier to get a team behind. It just has to work. Not only that it should have a feature that is 10x better than the competition.
If you don’t have a 10x feature, it’s time to take a closer look at the workflow because it’s obviously you’re missing something.
Remember to start with data collection, move to recommendations based on the data collection, and finish with automating a task over time based on the workflow.
Platform
What is a platform product?
A product that allows people to build on top of it, Shopify, Wordpress, Slack, Salesforce (not the other parts of the suite) these are all examples of a platform product.
They started as stand alone products but then opened up their ecosystem to allow people to build on top of them.
If you have a passionate tech forward audience and customer base this is a great position to head towards, typically this moves you from being SaaS to almost a PaaS play where you charge for the ability for people to build on top of you.
These guys are also heavy weights, getting a company to move away from one of them is next to impossible. There’s just a lot of friction that goes into it. I’ve watched this from the front lines numerous times, in most cases, the effort needed to move from one platform to another isn’t worth it in the short term.
It adds complexity to an existing workflow and is immediately met with pushback the farther down the process it goes.
Why do they exist?
They exist to enable people to have a platform to build on top of - they also exist to give new companies a really focused way to find their target market.
The platform is the stepping stone towards a larger land grab towards a full suite of products. You can start to see this happening with some of the larger players as their market share for a specific focus moves them to expand into a full suite of products.
Hubspot, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc. they have all moved towards the suite play. But they all graduated from stand alone to platform to suite - it’s incredibly rare to see someone go after a platform or suite play from the start.
The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Slack going platform very soon after starting to roll out.
Is it right for me?
Depends. Platforms for two sided marketplaces seem to be the only reason that you would want to be a platform or if you built a new product from scratch. It’s ambitious, but let’s face it, there are tons of opportunities that still remain in this sector.
I think we’re just starting the process of enabling marketplaces through technology, I’d love one marketplace to search them all.
Want a good example - second hand marketplaces - no two descriptions are the same. Which makes things a nightmare to search - I’m looking at you ebay.
If I was looking for something used, I might even pay a one time fee to know the trending price, the frequency of the items posted with the preferred specs I’m looking for etc. The used market is ripe for disruption.
Imagine you were looking for a certain color combination for a used vehicle and you wanted to search across all marketplaces to find the color combo and also get data on how often one of those comes up for purchase - I think you can see where data aggregation, recommendations, and an automated process would make things easier.
Sidenote on this example - some credit unions will actually pay someone to search for your car - there’s a built in marketplace for this HUMAN driven activity already.
What is the workflow play?
To the workflow - look at complicated steps that involve multiple pieces of software where no one is doing an amazing job and you might be onto something.
There was a move back in the day to get everything in one place, then APIs happened and now you can connect just about all the tools together. There are companies that specifically focus on niche workflows though, they take longer to get started and don’t always go the platform route - you need a lot of users to make this viable - but they do exist.
So back to this workflow - look at the number of tools, their age, their representative structure - back to the car example go try doing a search for a used car on Hertz.com - actually do a search on any car site - it sucks.
Imagine combining more natural language search like Algolia to that experience - I’m betting someone could build a better data heavy engine to tackle that beast.
With anything though - clean data in makes it easier to create searches, but making sure that data is clean is tough.
So the workflow is built around two sides for a platform - how the customer - in this case the business can use the software to provide better service to the end customer. What is the internal workflow most often done that requires the most amount of human effort? Focus on simplifying that - does your software streamline this - if yes you’re on the way to becoming a platform that others would be willing to build upon all you have to do is keep the architecture up to date to handle the increased load.
Big Takeaway -
You won’t start this way, or you might not start this way, but if you do, the workflow and ease of creation is going to be the one thing that wins out, focus entirely on UX/UI and create something that is quicker, easier, better than what other people have and you’ll find success.
Platforms however are great places to look for partners. They are usually always open to partners that help expand or can introduce people to their offerings.
Suite
What is a suite product?
The granddaddy of all software plays where you build/acquire/grow individual parts of a business to integrate natively and own the entire experience in your own controlled walled garden.
G Suite, Microsoft, Salesforce, etc.
These guys buy smaller platforms and stand alone products and integrate them. Or they just build their own.
Why do they exist?
With single products like standalone and platforms eventually you run out of rapid market expansion, the quickest way to increase revenue is to sell additional products to your existing customers. It’s also a lot cheaper.
Cross selling and upselling are the leading drivers of increased revenue once you have product market fit. Add on services like advanced reporting, automation, or additional features can often unlock better functionality of existing products.
A suite makes it easy to cross sell and upsell, it goes beyond MVPs in certain areas and actually builds tools that are full fledged and integrate seamlessly and more deeply than someone building an integration from outside the system.
Is it right for me?
Never say never, but not likely. It’s aspirational but financially often doesn’t make a lot of sense. In the startup world of today, where growth is at a premium, I would never suggest any of my clients have this as an immediate goal. You need a bank account that is deeper than deep and you’re competing against incumbents that have warchests to outspend you at every turn.
The only company I can think of that has dented some of this is NextCloud. But their path to doing it was going open source and playing hard on the privacy angle pitting themselves as a google docs alternative.
What is the workflow play?
A place where you can do everything in one space. This is actually the holy grail, but it’s also the reason I’m writing this right now in a google doc before cutting and pasting it over to reddit.
Even though there are lots of options with new ones coming out daily, once you’re in an ecosystem, going outside of it usually leads to reduced efficiency. When tools are built to work together, a magical thing happens, you don’t want to try other things.
Don’t get me wrong, there are tools for literally everything out there.
But as a go to list of tools that I use everyday -
Google docs
Gmail
Trello
Slack
Most everything else is use to setup then just monitor - which is fine for normal business things, but when you strip back and look at your core of active software that you use daily there’s a 99% chance that it falls into an ecosystem and you’d likely move to a system if they offered a competitor - Microsoft Teams comes to mind.
Slack is great, don’t get me wrong, but I already pay for storage for my Google Account and it’s really really cheap on a business plan to upgrade to unlimited storage - I’m also willing to bet Google could do a better job of searching through a Slack like interface to also suggest items from other places. It’s not an if, it’s a when.
Take Away
Suites sometimes are just a combination of tools that people offer, usually parts of a platform that are built on one another - when you’re going after market share you always want to think of a core product then build things that compliment it.
The answer is not to build them all upfront, but to build them over time.
Remember again - data, recommendations, then automation.
If you have a roadmap make sure that it’s headed in this direction - it’s amazing how many companies don’t emphasize data collection and reporting early on.
This is how you build trust with an audience - show them what’s working and what’s not and make it easy to grab insights.
What does all this mean for our topic?
Today, right now in 2020, I’d focus initially on an add-on or standalone product play.
Pick a strong partner or integration in the space - find a way to compliment what they offer that will help them earn more clients or make more money. If your product can do that, a larger company will jump at the opportunity to help you out.
Trust, I know this from partnering with the big ones in consumer - Amazon, Google, Apple etc. if your product plays into or assists in their narrative there is almost always a co-marketing deal to be struck. The only caveat is you have to ensure that there is no direct conflict with the main partner. If something isn’t part of their core business you’ll be ok for a while.
In B2B this becomes even easier - everyone is looking for growth - know how the companies measure growth - hint for certain sectors it’s adding data either quantity or amount. They get paid more the more they manage or the more records.
If you can help their platforms grow you’ll win.
Your product should make your partners look great. Figure out things that can add more value or unlock more data within your partners. Most all of them allow for you to sync and move data in, use this to your advantage.
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Understanding the Settings in Oddsportal. O/U (Over/Under), or any of the other options, then that bet type tab will be the first you see. However, it will always be the 1X2 odds displayed when initially opening a league. Odds to Use for Ante Post Football Betting Systems. 4 Proven Betting Systems That Work. I remember when I first started searching for a proven betting system googling the term “ betting systems.” There was all sorts of progressive staking systems, martingale systems, stop at a winner systems, progressive laying systems.The fact was though that none of these betting systems held up to any long term analysis and would normally blow your bank Over and Under betting is a betting method where you place a wager on outcomes of the teams. We'll go through Over and Under betting explained and how does it work. Also which sports it can be applied to, and what to keep in mind when placing stakes. Predict if the score will be over/under odds set by a bookmaker. The over/under for the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons is listed at 59.5. This is exceptionally high for an NFL game – it’s the highest projection in the history of the Super Bowl – but it means you can place a bet on whether the two teams will combine to score more or less than 59.5 points in the game. Many basketball betting enthusiasts would affirm that betting on over/under scores are probably a lot easier than any other bets. Over/unders a lot more logical and common sense based than other wagering products like parlays and teasers. A regular over/under bet would find the gambler risking $110 to win $100.

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