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Interview with Ian Cassel

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Excerpt From Early Bird: The Power of Investing Young

– Valuewalk

Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Ian Cassel is the founder of the MicroCapClub and Cofounder of Intelligent Fanatics. He is also the chief investment officer at Intelligent Fanatics Capital Management. Ian started investing when he was seventeen with the money in his college fund. He phased his way through different sectors such as mining and life sciences until he became a professional investor focusing on the fundamentals of businesses, not the sector. Ian specializes in microcap investing; he defines microcap as “companies with a market capitalization under $300 million,” meaning they are all very small businesses. All of his investing portfolio is in microcap companies.

One of the most important points Ian made in the following interview is that, as a beginner investor, you shouldn’t worry about finding the perfect or best stock as much as trying out ideas and strategies and learning from both your successes and failures.


Soren Peterson: How did you get started in investing?

Ian Cassel: “I started investing when I was a junior in high school. My parents sat me down and told me they had saved approximately $20,000 for my education, and they just wanted to let me know because that’s all I was going to get, and then I could apply where I wanted to apply. That was 1997. This was right in the heart of the dot com bubble and greed was rampant. When I got in control of that $20,000, I opened up a brokerage account with their financial advisor and bought three small cap technology names and rode that wave. During the dot com bubble it was easy. You could have have bought any technology company and had a multibagger a year or even less, and that is what happened to me. So I turned that $20,000 into $120,000 by the time I graduated—and that was 100% luck and 0% skill—and then rode that wave the whole way back down and turned that $120,000 into $8,000. The small cap tech names I owned went down and became microcaps, so that is where I got introduced to microcaps investing.”

So were you shocked about how that kind of got your start into microcaps? How has your investing style changed since?

“My investing style has evolved quite a bit over the last 20 years. I am now forty. The first microcap company I spent time researching was a company called XM Satellite Radio, which was a company that then merged with Sirius XM radio and is in every car today, but back then it was just an idea, a story stock. They had two billion in debt, very little in revenues. They didn’t really have any OEM agreements with any of the car manufacturers. I fell in love with the story: the idea of having 100 crystal-clear radio stations as you are driving. You are probably too young to remember, but with normal radio, you would drive twenty miles out of your radius and lose connection, and you would have to find a new radio station. Just the thought of 100 crystal-clear radio channels nationwide with no commercials, was a great story.

“When I was a sophomore in college, I saw that the CEO of XM Satellite Radio was presenting in a conference in New York City. So, I called the conference organizer and lied and said that I was Ian Cassel of Cassel Capital. They thought I was a fund manager, not a college student. They let me come.

“So, I took the bus from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to New York City. I put on the same suit from senior year that I wore for my senior photos and it still fit, thank goodness. Had some fake business cards made and made my way up there. Long story short, I was able to have a sit down conversation with the CEO, and from that point on, I took that $8,000 I had left from the dot com crash and bought XM Radio at $1.78 per share when I left that meeting.

“I got lucky again. Almost immediately the company started signing deals., The stock went from $1.78 up to $34 in fourteen months. So, I made back a lot of the money that I had lost in the dot com crash.

“I like to tell this story because it is what started my love affair with small stocks, with microcaps. The allure was that even a small time investor like me at the time had the ability to sit down with a microcap management team face-to-face. And yes, I may have used some coercive measures to do that. But it was really that ability to sit down with management that attracted me to that small-stock arena. I felt that gave me an edge.

“From that point forward, I focused on microcaps and to figure out how make a living from doing it. The first five years were really focused on story stock companies. I wasn’t focused on business fundamentals; I was focused on finding great stories. Bac then much of the activity and discussion on microcap companies was on public message boards. I gravitated to those boards, and I built a reputation on those boards as someone who was able to pick winning stocks. I found a few mentors on those boards as well. These mentors helped guide me and show me the good and the bad, and what to look for.

“I started out investing in story stocks, and then moved to precious metals and junior exploration companies for a few years, and then life science companies. I became a full time private investor in 2009 and this is when I started focusing on business fundamentals. I layered on what I would call a GARP style [growth at a reasonable price] or a Peter Lynch approach. My portfolio today is 100% small equities, microcaps. Today my style is a mix of my past experiences. I like to find great stories with a great business. But I still have a mining company. I still have a couple story stocks—God forbid!—. So my strategy is like my own painting. It is unique to me and I’m not done painting. I will probably be investing a little differently in 5 years. If you aren’t evolving, you aren’t growing.

I believe those who call themselves investors have lost money in investments at some point. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from losing money in an investment? And what were your initial reactions or emotions during that experience?

“I am an active investor, which really means I am a stock picker. I’m never going to be right all the time. This isn’t a game of perfection. When I lose money it is because I didn’t do my research or control my emotions or a combination of both of those things. If you are a microcap investor, it is important to know what you own because the businesses are small. They are impressionable. And so their situations are evolving all the time. You can’t just buy and forget them. You have to buy and verify your thesis to make sure it hasn’t changed in a bad way. So, a lot of my mistakes have been when I have taken my eye off the ball. Quite honestly even most of the winners I’ve had eventually couldn’t sustain their growth. So you have to have your pulse on the business. The other mistakes can be more emotional.

“The emotional side of investing is something you can’t really learn in a book or a classroom. There are lessons that have to be experienced. It’s kind of a test of how you can sit quietly while your emotions are screaming at you to do the wrong thing. Active investing is like navigating a ship across the ocean and the crew are sort of the company management team. The currents and the storms and the wind are the emotional component of that. Pick the right boat and the right crew and navigate the emotional side.”

What keeps you going? The potential returns?

“I just love the game. I just love investing in small equities. The key is acknowledging that you will always make mistakes. ‘I am a stock picker. I know I am only going to be right 60% of the time’ is what Peter Lynch said, which means being wrong 40% of the time.

“Successful stock picking isn’t just about picking winners but also means picking out the losers in your portfolio. I am constantly trying to identify the losers in my portfolio so I can get rid of them. Outside of that, successful investing is more about holding your winners as long as they execute.

“One winner can make up for ten or fifteen losers. So, investing in especially small stocks is a game of slugging percentage, to use a baseball term, not necessarily batting average. So, I know I am not going to be wrong all of the time, and I am really trying to hold my winners as long as possible and cut my losers as quickly as possible.

“A combination of both understanding that the power laws that you see in venture capital and what I mean by that is if a venture capital investor makes twenty investments, they know that two out of those twenty investments are going to drive the overall performance. They know they will have some that go to zero and some that go down. Those power laws are prevalent in small stocks and microcaps as well. For me I’m trying to find companies that have a lot of upside but also don’t have a lot of downside. In my early years I focused too much on, ‘Where can I make 500% in six months?’ Incidentally this is where you are going to lose money. Ironically most multi-baggers are found where you feel you aren’t going to lose over the next six months, not necessarily where you think you are going to make 500% over the next six months.

“There are 10,000 microcaps in North America. I have four main hurdles or filters for microcap companies.

  1. Is this a business that can grow through a recession? That is a very tough hurdle. Only 5% or 10% of stocks that can get through that filter.
  2. Does this business have a balance sheet that can weather a storm, that can allow that operator to act with occasional boldness to hopefully even acquire a competitor that is weak, maybe in the bad times.
  3. A third hurdle is a leader that is showing signs of intelligent fanaticism. I coauthored two books on the topic of intelligent fanatics. This is a term Charlie Munger uses in his speeches. Really trying to find those great leaders—that is a big part of what I do. If you want to find great companies early, you need to find great leaders early.
  4. Last but not least is a valuation hurdle. I am looking for an investment that I can double my money in three years based on fundamental drivers. That is a 25% compound annual growth rate over the long term. That is a benchmark that I make for myself.”

People assume that microcap investing is riskier because you’re dealing with newer, smaller businesses. Do you think this is true and what do you think about this risk? What advice would you give to a beginner investor interested in microcaps?

“I think in general there is always risk in doing something new where you don’t have experience. If you don’t have experience investing—what I usually tell new investors to microcaps is that most of the risk comes from story stocks. So if you focus on profitable businesses that are microcaps, that alleviates a lot of the pain that you could have in the future.

“Of the 10,000 microcaps in North America, around 15% of them are profitable. So I would just say to focus on the real businesses. Focus on the profitable ones. “

“In general, I feel that all great companies started as small companies. I want to make big returns. I want to find the ones that go up 5x, 10x, or 100x. I haven’t had a 100x yet. It makes sense if you want to find a 100x return you have to start with a smaller business because they have more room to go up. But there is also lot of risk there. If you are looking at North America—there are about 20,000 public companies in North America. About half of these companies are small microcap companies that most people have never heard of. Unfortunately the financial mainstream media loves to broad-brush the microcap arena or the penny stock arena as this uninvestable wasteland of insignificant small companies that don’t deserve to be public in the first place. I disagree with that, which is one of the reasons why I am on social media and Twitter: to be a shining light for this space. They don’t realize Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, and Joel Greenblatt, started as microcap investors. Companies like Walmart, Amgen, Intuitive Surgical, Netflix, Monster Energy, Berkshire Hathaway—some of the best performing stocks of all time—started as microcap companies.

“And even beyond investing looking at the overall economy – Microcap companies as a whole employ more workers than Walmart. So this is an important piece of the economy. I think it is an area of investing that should be taken seriously. It is a validated investment class.

“Microcap investing is a place where the smaller retail investor has an edge over the institutional investors because most of these companies are so small and so illiquid that institutions aren’t able to buy them because of the illiquidity. Institutions can only buy them after they’ve executed, and their stocks go up. When their liquidity stocks go up, it allows them to deploy that capital. Institutions can only buy after these companies have gone up. Microcap is one of the few areas where the retail investor has the edge. And that is what continues to attract me to do it, and it is an incredible area for people that are willing to put forth the work to understand and invest in this area.”

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned from microcap investing?

“The biggest lesson is that it is hard. Finding great companies early is hard. I started a website called microcapclub.com back in 2011, and it is a private forum where some of the best microcap investors in the world share ideas and exchange ideas. Basically, if a member investor likes a stock, they write up a two- to three-page thesis on that stock so it kind of gets the conversation going. So, if you ever see the internals of MicroCapClub, it is basically a stock message board and each thread is a company. Some companies have a couple comments on them, and some have a thousand comments on them. One of the interesting things we do is we track the performance of every single company that has ever been profiled by our members, and we track the stock price and where it closed at the end of every month. So, we have some of the best microcap investors in the world on this site, which have profiled over 800 microcap companies since 2011. If you actually look at 800 in a performance analysis, out of the 800, roughly half are up and half are down, which doesn’t sound that impressive. But remember, this isn’t a game of batting average; it is a game of slugging percentage or power laws. Of the 400 that are up, actually 250 of those 400 that are up have doubled or more. 100 out of the 400 are up 300% or more, and 50 are up 500% or more, and we have now had 25 ten- baggers. Not an impressive batting average, but it is a really good slugging percentage.

“The biggest lesson I have learned is that you need to study those winners. Study their businesses, their leaders, and put in the reps, studying them, not just the twenty-five out of 800 that were ten-baggers, but go out there and study all winners.

“A good friend of mine, Connor Haley, did a case study in mid-2020 called the Makings of a Multibagger, where he studied the best-performing stocks over the last five years. You can search YouTube and find the interview I did with him. What you will find when you study winners is that there are two main drivers of big winning stocks (the ones that go up and stay up):

  1. Earnings growth. You want to find businesses that can grow earnings over the long term.
  2. Multiple expansion. As a company grows and gets discovered, and investors like the long-term prospects more, the multiple expands. If a company doubles its earnings over three years from ten million to twenty million, and the multiple stays the same and you made a 100% profit in three years, and that is not bad. But if the multiple the investors are willing to pay for the company also doubles, then you made 300% over those three years. So the key here is earnings growth and multiple expansion. So, how do you find growth companies before the multiple expands? You have to find them early when they are undiscovered by others. That is another reason why I like microcaps.”

What fundamentals are similar between microcap investing and large-cap investing?

“Fundamentally if you focus on profitable companies, they obviously are similar to large cap. They have revenue, they have earnings, they have cash flow, assets and liabilities, just like large caps. Microcaps are just smaller businesses. In many ways microcaps are a lot simpler to evaluate. I remember GE had something like 109 subsidiaries. Just think, as an investor, how confusing that is to evaluate a company like that. Microcaps are normally one business with a couple products. They are much easier to understand. You also have microcaps that pay dividends. Not too many, but they exist. You can find microcaps in every industry. Well, maybe not as many utilities. Most other industries are represented in microcaps as well.”

How do you think about dividends in microcaps as opposed to dividends in large-cap investing?

“That depends on the type of microcap investor you are. I am more of a growth-oriented microcap investor. I don’t have any that are paying a dividend. It would almost be a red flag if they did because it would mean they aren’t finding enough growth avenues to deploy that capital internally. But you certainly can find dividend-paying microcaps. There are a bunch of them on MicroCapClub that are really good businesses that pay 3%–5% dividend yields. It is just that I don’t focus on that particularly.”

How do you find microcap companies to research when there might be little information on them?

“I developed a simple but thorough research process I call the FAIR research process: find, analyze, interact, and research

“I could talk this entire time on just this. I will take you through this. I will go through each one.

Find. Where do you start? It can be overwhelming. There are 20,000 public companies in North America. A half are microcaps. I think there are 70,000 companies worldwide. A half are microcaps.

“What do I do? Where do I start? Microcaps are small companies. They don’t have analysts’ coverage on most of them. They aren’t being spoon-fed to you by Wall Street, which means that you have to go out and do the work by yourself.

“The best way is just by brute force looking. That way, you aren’t missing something. Look at everything—I think Warren Buffet said that—and literally go A to Z, literally turn over all the rocks. I recently did this in Australia, with my analyst. We went A to Z in all of the microcaps in Australia. It takes a lot of work, but honestly oftentimes your edge is to look through a mountain of uninvestable ideas to find the great ones. I believe in brute force. Then there is networking. Microcap investors—at least the good ones—are independent thinkers because they have to be because they are doing this work themselves. It can be lonely. A lot of times you think you are looking at a stock, or these types of company, alone, but in reality, there are tons of microcap investors out there. There are a few physical or virtual places to connect with other microcap investors. Obviously one of these areas is microcapclub.com.

“Build relationships with a close group of investors that you exchange ideas with. I enjoy having a mix of people in my inner circle that invest differently than me. It is always interesting to me when I meet someone that invests the complete opposite of me but is successful. A lot of times, just inverting yourself, you can find out different areas that you can improve upon with your own processes. Last one for finding: screening. Screen for fundamentals that you find attractive, market cap, or whatever you want. And I find screening can be a trade-off between being very specific and comprehensive. I like being more comprehensive, and screening out less, when I am doing a screen. I like doing screens for everything under a certain market cap rather than screening for a list of specific fundamentals because a lot of times what you are left with is what everybody else is looking at. So, I I like to cast a wider net when I screen for opportunities.

Analyze. How do you analyze microcaps? First, watch out for red flags. There is fraud. Next, analyze the industry, the business, the financials, the products, the management, etc. Most US listed companies file with the SEC (SEC.gov), and you can pull up their financials. You can look at their 10Ks and 10Qs. Oftentimes they list their competitors and industry drivers, which you can research deeper.

Interact. This is what attracted me to microcap over twenty years ago: the ability to actually talk to the CEO. You can’t really do that with midcaps. I spend a lot of time interacting with the management teams. I usually fly out—pre-COVID—to meet with them, meet with the board, that type of thing. Oftentimes 90% of due diligence is analyzing customers and the employees and seeing if they are happy and why. Oftentimes your edge is that 90% of investors are not willing to do that kind of work. So that is the type of work that I am trying to do. Interacting can add a lot of value to investing. A lot of investors will say that it adds no value. But oftentimes that is just an excuse, because they aren’t willing to do the work.

Re-search. Stands for maintenance due diligence. We don’t buy and forget; we buy and verify. And the smaller the company, the more often you need to verify because their businesses are evolving and changing. It might be that initial research that gets you invested, but it is the ongoing research that keeps you invested. This research will be your pulse on the company and alert you to when the company is changing for the better or worse, and you can hold on or sell them before others sell. This maintenance due diligence or ongoing research is really, really important.”

That is a great framework. I learned a lot from that. Charlie Munger is a north star for many of us in the investing world and many of us use his quotes and advice to guide us in investing. What quote or advice would you personally like to be remembered for?

“I would like to be remembered for fighting to keep the microcap light lit. This place was left for dead ten years due to regulations and the rise of venture capital and private equity. I feel microcap is in a much better place now. I just want to leave microcap in a better place than when I entered it.”


For Ian, investing is a continual learning process. In order to learn more, it can be helpful to continue to research stocks even after you have bought them to make sure you still want to invest in them and that you understand the new developments and ventures of those businesses.

One way to research is to reach out to board members or the management of a business and ask them questions to better understand the company. This strategy is also mentioned by Emily McCormick for understanding banks, but it can apply to microcaps in general. This opportunity is one of Ian’s favorite things about investing in microcaps: because the companies are small and often serve local customers, you stand a higher chance that they will engage with you, as an individual investor, than you would with the CEO of Apple.

However, if you can’t meet with someone from a business, you can also learn a lot by reading the annual report, which is usually accessible on Google. In his FAIR researching framework, Ian mentioned the importance of closely studying financials.

Going back to the idea of investing in fundamentals and not necessarily by sector, Ian likes to only invest in microcaps that have strong fundamentals or will have strong fundamentals. This may seem obvious, but many investors overlook this aspect of a business.

Another reason Ian likes microcaps so much is because everyday investors can have an advantage over the professional investors on Wall Street because they can learn about a microcap company in its early stages. This may not seem all that important, but if you can understand why a company works (or doesn’t) and how it works, you can use that to inform your choice of whether or not to invest. This is especially true if the company is located geographically near you or you have talked to the management so you have a chance to understand the company well. This is a resource many investors may not have, or 95% of investors won’t try to get. When you think about it that way, it is a major advantage and one that you can use.

Excerpt From Early Bird: The Power of Investing Young

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LastPass hacked, OpenAI opens access to ChatGPT, and Kanye gets suspended from Twitter (again) • TechCrunch

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Aaaaand we’re back! With our Thanksgiving mini-hiatus behind us, it’s time for another edition of Week in Review — the newsletter where we quickly wrap up the most read TechCrunch stories from the past seven(ish) days. No matter how busy you are, it should give you a pretty good idea of what people were talking about in tech this week.

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Instafest goes instaviral: You’ve probably been to a great music festival before. But have you been to one made just for you? Probably not. Instafest, a web app that went super viral this week, helps you daydream about what that festival might look like. Sign in with your Spotify credentials and it’ll generate a promo poster for a pretend festival based on your listening habits.

LastPass breached (again): “Password manager LastPass said it’s investigating a security incident after its systems were compromised for the second time this year,” writes Zack Whittaker. Investigations are still underway, which unfortunately means it’s not super clear what (and whose) data might’ve been accessed.

ChatGPT opens up: This week, OpenAI widely opened up access to ChatGPT, which lets you interact with their new language-generation AI through a simple chat-style interface. In other words, it lets you generate (sometimes scarily well-written) passages of text by chatting with a robot. Darrell used it to instantly write the Pokémon cheat sheet he’s always wanted.

AWS re:Invents: This week, Amazon Web Services hosted its annual re:Invent conference, where the company shows off what’s next for the cloud computing platform that powers a massive chunk of the internet. This year’s highlights? A low-code tool for serverless apps, a pledge to give AWS customers control over where in the world their data is stored (to help navigate increasingly complicated government policies), and a tool to run “city-sized simulations” in the cloud.

Twitter suspends Kanye (again): “Elon Musk has suspended Kanye West’s (aka Ye) Twitter account after the latter posted antisemitic tweets and violated the platform’s rules,” writes Ivan Mehta.

Spotify Wraps it up: Each year in December, Spotify ships “Wrapped” — an interactive feature that takes your Spotify listening data for the year and presents it in a super visual way. This year it’s got the straightforward stuff like how many minutes you streamed, but it’s also branching out with ideas like “listening personalities” — a Myers-Briggs-inspired system that puts each user into one of 16 camps, like “the Adventurer” or “the Replayer.”

DoorDash layoffs: I was hoping to go a week without a layoffs story cracking the list. Alas, DoorDash confirmed this week that it’s laying off 1,250 people, with CEO Tony Xu explaining that they hired too quickly during the pandemic.

Salesforce co-CEO steps down: “In one week last December, [Bret Taylor] was named board chair at Twitter and co-CEO at Salesforce,” writes Ron Miller. “One year later, he doesn’t have either job.” Taylor says he has “decided to return to [his] entrepreneurial roots.”

audio roundup

I expected things to be a little quiet in TC Podcast land last week because of the holiday, but we somehow still had great shows! Ron Miller and Rita Liao joined Darrell Etherington on The TechCrunch Podcast to talk about the departure of Salesforce’s co-CEO and China’s “great wall of porn”; Team Chain Reaction shared an interview with Nikil Viswanathan, CEO of web3 development platform Alchemy; and the ever-lovely Equity crew talked about everything from Sam Bankman-Fried’s wild interview at DealBook to why all three of the co-founders at financing startup Pipe stepped down simultaneously.

TechCrunch+

What lies behind the TC+ members-only paywall? Here’s what TC+ members were reading most this week:

Lessons for raising $10M without giving up a board seat: Reclaim.ai has raised $10 million over the last two years, all “without giving up a single board seat.” How? Reclaim.ai co-founder Henry Shapiro shares his insights.

Consultants are the new nontraditional VC: “Why are so many consultant-led venture capital funds launching now?” asks Rebecca Szkutak.

Fundraising in times of greater VC scrutiny: “Founders may be discouraged in this environment, but they need to remember that they have ‘currency,’ too,” writes DocSend co-founder and former CEO Russ Heddleston.

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Building global, scalable metaverse applications

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Previously we talked about the trillion-dollar infrastructure opportunity that comes with building the metaverse — and it is indeed very large. But what about the applications that will run on top of this new infrastructure?

Metaverse applications will be very different from the traditional web or mobile apps that we are used to today. For one, they will be much more immersive and interactive, blurring the lines between the virtual and physical worlds. And because of the distributed nature of the metaverse, they will also need to be able to scale globally — something that has never been done before at this level.

In this article, we will take a developer’s perspective and explore what it will take to build global, scalable metaverse applications.

As you are aware, the metaverse will work very differently from the web or mobile apps we have today. For one, it is distributed, meaning there is no central server that controls everything. This has a number of implications for developers:

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  • They will need to be able to deal with data that is spread out across many different servers (or “nodes”) in a decentralized manner.
  • They will need to be able to deal with users that are also spread out across many different servers.
  • They will need to be able to deal with the fact that each user may have a different experience of the metaverse, based on their location and the devices they are using due to the fact not everyone has the same tech setup, and this plays a pivotal role in how the metaverse is experienced by each user.

These challenges are not insurmountable, but they do require a different way of thinking about application development. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Data control and manipulation

In a traditional web or mobile app, all the data is stored on a central server. This makes it easy for developers to query and manipulate that data because everything is in one place.

In a distributed metaverse, however, data is spread out across many different servers. This means that developers will need to find new ways to query and manipulate data that is not centrally located.

One way to do this is through the blockchain itself. This distributed ledger, as you know, is spread out across many different servers and allows developers to query and manipulate data in a decentralized manner.

Another way to deal with the challenge of data is through what is known as “content delivery networks” (CDNs). These are networks of servers that are designed to deliver content to users in a fast and efficient manner.

CDNs are often used to deliver web content, but they can also be used to deliver metaverse content. This is because CDNs are designed to deal with large amounts of data that need to be delivered quickly and efficiently — something that is essential for metaverse applications.

Users and devices

Another challenge that developers will need to face is the fact that users and devices are also spread out across many different servers. This means that developers will need to find ways to deliver content to users in a way that is efficient and effective.

One way to do this is through the use of “mirrors.” Mirrors are copies of the content that are stored on different servers. When a user requests content, they are redirected to the nearest mirror, which helps to improve performance and reduce latency.

When a user’s device is not able to connect to the server that is hosting the content, another way to deliver content is through “proxies.” Proxies are servers that act on behalf of the user’s device and fetch the content from the server that is hosting it.

This can be done in a number of ways, but one common way is through the use of a “reverse proxy.” In this case, the proxy server is located between the user’s device and the server that is hosting the content. The proxy fetches the content from the server and then delivers it to the user’s device.

Location and devices

As we mentioned before, each user’s experience of the metaverse will be different based on their location and the devices they are using. This is because not everyone has the same tech setup, and this plays a pivotal role in how the metaverse is experienced by each user.

For example, someone who is using a virtual reality headset will have a completely different experience than someone who is just using a desktop computer. And someone who is located in Europe will have a different experience than someone who is located in Asia.

Though it may not be obvious why geographical location would play a part in something that is meant to be boundless, think of it this way. The internet is a physical infrastructure that is spread out across the world. And although the metaverse is not bound by the same physical limitations, it still relies on this infrastructure to function.

This means that developers will need to take into account the different geographical locations of their users and devices and design their applications accordingly. They will need to be able to deliver content quickly and efficiently to users all over the world, regardless of their location.

Different geographical locations also have different laws and regulations. This is something that developers will need to be aware of when designing applications for the metaverse. They will need to make sure that their applications are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Application development

Now that we’ve looked at some of the challenges that developers will need to face, let’s take a look at how they can develop metaverse applications. Since the metaverse is virtual, the type of development that is required is different from traditional application development.

The first thing that developers will need to do is to create a “space”. A space is a virtual environment that is used to host applications.

Spaces are created using a variety of different tools, but the most popular tool currently is Unity, a game engine used to create 3D environments.

Once a space has been created, developers will need to populate it with content. This content can be anything from 3D models to audio files.

The next step is to publish the space. This means that the space will be made available to other users, who will be able to access the space through a variety of different devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Finally, developers will need to promote their space. This means that they will need to market their space to users.

Getting applications to scale

Since web 3.0 is decentralized, scalability is usually the biggest challenge because traditional servers are almost impossible to use. IPFS is one solution that can help with this problem.

IPFS is a distributed file system used to store and share files. IPFS is similar to BitTorrent, but it is designed to be used for file storage rather than file sharing.

IPFS is a peer-to-peer system, which means that there is no central server. This makes IPFS very scalable because there is no single point of failure.

To use IPFS, developers will need to install it on their computer and add their space to the network. Then, other users will be able to access it.

The bottom line on building global, scalable metaverse applications

To finish off, the technology to build scalable metaverse applications already exists; but a lot of creativity is still required to make it all work together in a user-friendly way. The key is to keep the following concepts in mind:

  • The metaverse is global and decentralized
  • Users will access the metaverse through a variety of devices
  • Location and device management are important
  • Application development is different from traditional development
  • Scalability is a challenge, but IPFS can help

Clearly, we can’t have an article series about building the metaverse without discussing NFTs. In fact, these might be the key to making a global, decentralized, metaverse work. In our next article, we will explore how NFTs can be used in the metaverse.

By keeping these concepts in mind, developers will be able to create metaverse applications that are both user-friendly and scalable.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode

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Startups

7 Secrets of Truly Successful Personal Brands

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The choice to launch your brand is noticeable. But creating a solid brand is essential. Authenticity, consistency, initiative, confidence, courage, and time are required to complete everything.

Personal branding is not a thing to do because social media says so. Today it’s an essential element in your communication strategy, used by not only famous and influential people and big businesses but also every individual that wants to be seen, heard and ultimately valued.

Globally, everyday people are already creating their own brands. The corporate branding machine enslavement is too much, so many professionals are leaving employment. It is crucial to build your brand authority because other than leading to commercial and reputational opportunities, it’s also positive for your self-expression.

Better clientele, industry recognition and financial gains result from it. Due to declining trust in our institutions, customers trust individuals more than businesses; therefore, you should concentrate on establishing your personal (and business) brand as part of your elevation strategy.

Check out these seven personal branding success secrets:

1. Find and curate your “A-Team”

A new brand’s path can be pretty tricky and resemble an endless race of overcoming technical, emotional and personal obstacles. A key component of overcoming these obstacles is finding and building a solid team that shares your vision and mission.

Co-founders, workers, advisers, consultants, mentors, coaches and even dependable family members may be a part of your team — link your team selection to your values and ideals and favor compatibility above competence.

Related: I’ve Interviewed and Hired Thousands of People. Here’s What to Keep in Mind Before Offering the Job.

2. Tap into future trends and needs

Adapting based on future trends and customer needs is pivotal because the world is evolving daily. For example, if Jeff Bezos tried setting up an online bookstore today, he would most possibly fail miserably. However, his foresight to know what customers need drove Amazon to a global ecommerce store today. Timing is everything!

Likewise, knowing the market’s future can help your brand make the right moves and become successful. But it doesn’t imply it’s impossible to foresee how the corporate world will develop. What matters most is how analytically sound you are and how well-equipped you are to anticipate future events.

Even though it won’t always be exact to a tee, this will give you a solid idea of where things are going. Making assumptions about future trends carries some calculated risk, but staying safe will never help you or your brand grow.

Related: Looking for a New Business Idea? Here’s How to Identify What People Really Need

3. Unlearn outdated trends to make way for the new

For a brand to flourish, it is vital to unlearn in business. We can only build something fresh and distinctive if we let go of our outdated attitudes and practices—discovering a new project or closing a transaction with unexpected customers results from curiosity.

Unlearning is a systematic strategy to advance and overcome barriers one at a time.

Entrepreneurship success is composed of 20% learning and 80% unlearning. Remove the restrictive presumptions to make room for helpful information.

4. Think fast for solutions and act fast

One of the secrets to a great brand is having the capacity to think and respond quickly. Since environmental issues are worsening, the brand must move soon, seek eco-alternatives and sustainable solutions that reduce their adverse effects, and convey the concept of conscious living to the next generation as quickly as possible.

Simply acting quickly and moving quickly to find answers can give you a competitive edge. If you are not in a technology-dominant business-like distribution, manufacturing, or something not typically controlled by technology firms, your rivals are probably advancing slowly. We must make many daily decisions, but some are more crucial than others.

For example, eating is essential, but whether you choose a salad, chicken or a Big Mac is less important at the moment. You can think more rapidly if you can swiftly pick what to eat. Even if your choice weren’t the best, the effects would be minimal in the short term.

5. Be adaptable and flexible

Being an entrepreneur entails weighing possibilities and dangers equally. This will help you create a distinct brand and ensure its long-term survival and competitiveness. Many new brands tend to concentrate on a single item or service.

Meanwhile, they frequently need to see the value of brand creation right away. Startup brands often think that the benefits of their products are evident and that the brand can speak for itself. You can only place that much faith in some potential consumers.

You must include the development of your brand skills in your content strategy and make sure that the visuals reflect this.

You must evaluate new items in light of your company values as you grow. Check to see if your objectives are compatible, and if not, make any necessary modifications.

6. Become an autodidact

After college, education for most people typically comes to an end. However, your reputation will continue to rise if you develop a passion for studying and being an autodidact.

However, in this day and age of information overload and many online distractions, being an effective autodidact can be taxing. Therefore, staying focused on your mission is more crucial than ever.

Some people contend that the age of the autodidact, or self-directed learning, is currently upon us. After all, the internet is brimming with tools for self-learning that you can utilize to build your brand. However, beware that some may lack substance and are merely shiny bells and whistles.

Related: 6 Little-Known Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

7. Be street smart

Being “street smart,” or able to foresee and handle unexpected everyday business issues, is generally seen as a crucial ability for brand owners and entrepreneurs.

Most investors claim to be able to spot this capacity when they see it, but the experience is necessary to describe it. To be a street-smart person, you need to comprehend your brand’s surroundings or condition well.

You are consciously aware of your surroundings. Moreover, you can see what’s happening around you even when you can’t see it. You can form opinions about the situation based on lived experience, the environment and the people in it, giving you the confidence to put your faith in these opinions.

Related: Are You ‘Intelligent’ Enough to Be an Entrepreneur?

Conclusion

To succeed at personal branding, you must be a brand new, evolving you. In a world full of imitators, be genuine and authentic to yourself.

Authentic personal branding is more than simply self-promotion and marketing commonly seen online. It focuses more on making a courageous difference in people’s lives and inspiring them to live better lives. It can also be about inspiring humanity to do good. After 33 years in this game, I believe and practice that “doing good” is all possible.

You must invest time and effort to be the “go-to” authority in your chosen area. All things worth doing must be done well; therefore, it’s better to make the most of that time and effort!

Applying the seven tips above will help you create an authentic personal brand that is true to you and enjoy the success that will inevitably follow.

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