Dear <<First Name>>,

On Father’s Day, I tried to think back on some of the useful lessons I’ve learned and read about in the past year and a half I’ve been a dad. A couple that keep coming back to me are:
  • Be mindful of how I behave because a little fellow follows me.
  • Take good care of myself both physically and mentally because being well-rested, healthy, and in shape will give me deeper reserves of patience, good vibes, and energy to be the best parent I can be.
To all the dads out there, hope you had a nice Father's Day.

Last week's newsletter got a 62.1% open rate. The most-clicked link was my post Set Up to Fail, Failed to Set Up. The most-clicked link not by me was this blog post on providing feedback.

Recurring revenue and moats by Bruce Packard (blog post)
I admit I've been a worshipper of recurring revenue, prioritizing our recurring revenue contracts at Barrel and also investing mainly in businesses with strong recurring revenue offerings.

Of course, recurring revenue and stringent contracts in and of themselves do not offer a competitive advantage. What matters is customers finding the product/services valuable, great customer service, and customer loyalty to the brand from their positive experiences.

The author presents mortgages and broadband as two recurring revenue models that have done customers no favors as well as creating limited value for shareholders who invest in such businesses.

The Hierarchy of Marketplaces by Sarah Tavel (Medium blog post)
Loved this 3-parter by Benchmark VC Sarah Tavel. Her podcast interview on Invest Like the Best is worth checking out. Some quick takeaways on building marketplaces at scale:
  • Level 1 – Kickstart: focus on happiness per transaction to get quality growth early on and increases the stickiness of the marketplace (retention)
  • Level 2 – Tip: identify and maximize growth and happiness loops that help the marketplace scale quickly (e.g. Superhost badges on Airbnb that reward great hosts, reinforce quality, and give great experiences to customers)
  • Level 3 – Dominate: once you've scaled, you need to aim to be #1 by a lot, and that means expanding to new cities, broadening your offering, and doing what it takes to fend off competitors because it's possible another marketplace is coming to leapfrog you very soon
Why Figma Wins by Kevin Kwok (blog post)
At Barrel, we went all-in on Figma a few months ago as we saw the need for a more robust cloud-based design tool (vs. Sketch). Our designers seem to be liking Figma quite a bit. This essay explores Figma's potential to become a scaled platform for all things design and how plugins are a key to growth.

I felt Figma was a bit overhyped in this piece and the argument that non-designers can get more intimately involved in the design process because of this tool felt overly optimistic. Still, worth a read if you're interested in what design collaboration tools are a must these days.

Shopify: A Sustained Success Story by Albert Wang (Medium blog post)
Shopify's stock went on a tear again on news of its partnership with Walmart. Coincidentally, I had actually dumped 100% of my Walmart stock (which I had held for over 5 years) and bought Shopify some weeks ago. This post is a very bullish and in-depth look at Shopify's business and its potential.

"I believe that E-commerce platforms that enable SMBs are still relatively early on the S-curve and when you combine that with Shopify’s exceptionally strong competitive advantage, the forecasted 5–10 year out earnings can grow exponentially."

Lessons from Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday
Looking back on books I’ve read in the past year, I felt this one by Ryan Holiday had the most relevant and timeless lessons for being not only a decent person but a good parent. Patience, knowing what’s enough, gratitude, acting bravely, and eschewing ego are just some of the valuable qualities that help set high standards that our kids can follow.


P.S. You can check out my list of books read right here. My hope is to get a good mix of challenging reads with some that are entertaining, inspiring, and instructive.

If you like what you've read, please share with your friends. They can sign up for the list here. Also, I always welcome recommendations of any kind–books, podcasts, movies, etc.

About me: Peter Kang is co-founder of Barrel, a digital agency in New York City. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, son, and dog.
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