Napkin Math

Business breakdowns, by the numbers.

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Napkin Math

You Probably Shouldn’t Work at a Startup

It’s overrated—both financially and emotionally

173 May 20, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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Substack Rhymes With Medium

Substack can't decide if it's a CMS or a media brand. Neither could Medium. Their indecision will likely lead to similar outcomes.

163 Sep 26, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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Why MasterClass Isn’t Really About Mastery

And other lessons from a 9-figure edtech startup

159 Jul 1, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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How Costco Convinces Brands to Cannibalize Themselves

An unlikely marriage where both sides win

156 Jul 15, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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Product-Led Growth’s Failure

How a Scrappy Utah Software Company Ignored Every Silicon Valley Heuristic and Won Anyway

143 Jun 3, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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Revenue: It’s Simple, Until It Isn’t

Finally, a clear explanation of bookings, billings and revenue

124 🔒 Feb 5, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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Crypto’s Failed Promise

The problem with crypto-as-a-nation-state

106 May 12, 2022 by Evan Armstrong

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The primary trends I’m investing in next year

Inflation, web3, embedded fintech, investing in people, and the newsletter winter that is coming

101 Dec 16, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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COGS: How I Bankrupted MoviePass

An Intuitive Explainer for How To Lose Money and Win Anyway

95 Apr 15, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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What You Need To Know About The Ant Financial IPO

The largest IPO in history is happening in China with Ant Financial. In this post, we discuss all the services Ant Financial provides and what to expect in the future from Ant.

94 Oct 30, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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How AB 5 Will Break Uber’s Business

The difference between a contractor and an employee, what Uber's existing business looks like and how AB5 will impact their financials.

90 Aug 20, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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The Empire Stripes Back

A $100B Bet on Two Brothers

85 🔒 May 5, 2022 by Evan Armstrong

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Should you invest in Wish? An S-1 Analysis

A look inside the S-1 of Wish. Included is the background of Wish, a look at their margins, how the universal postal union is changing their cost structure, how their CAC is rising and if they are viable long-term.

85 Dec 1, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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Twitter’s Probably Screwed

The Rugged Landscape of Digital Advertising

78 🔒 Mar 30, 2022 by Evan Armstrong

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The Quest for Monopoly

A history of stock market exchanges: from fragmentation to monopoly, monopoly to fragmentation and back again.

69 Aug 25, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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The Futility of Utility

A personal essay

67 🔒 Apr 8, 2022 by Evan Armstrong

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How Chegg Grew Their Share Price 20x In Four Years

Chegg grew their stock price from under $10 to over $85. They did it by changing their business model from the ground up and investing in digital media content.

64 Sep 18, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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Joe Rogan: The Platform-Proof Creator

Spotify’s No-Win Predicament

54 🔒 Feb 25, 2022 by Evan Armstrong

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The Investment Opportunity in School Bus Operators

Many schools have closed, representing a unique opportunity to buy school bus operators. With a strong moat, now might be the right time to buy.

50 Sep 4, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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NFT Projects are just MLMs for Tech Elites

A somewhat impartial review of current NFT business models

48 Sep 30, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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Cash—Kingmaker or Killer?

A examination of when cash can anoint a market winner

48 Apr 28, 2022 by Kyle Harrison

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Cash Conversion Cycle: Bridging the Gap Between Profitability & Cash Flow

What is the Cash Conversion Cycle and why is it useful? In this post, we discuss the Cash Conversion Cycle formula, an example calculation, and a comparison of public retailer IPOs.

48 🔒 Nov 12, 2020 by Adam Keesling

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How Do You Compete with Free?

Notion: The Embattled Artist

48 🔒 Nov 24, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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Investing on Instinct

Why the best deals are done with no data at all

47 🔒 Dec 1, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

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Want to Become a Unicorn? Buy it, Don’t Build it

How Amazon Marketplace works, how Thrasio built a unicorn, the platform risk associated with the strategy, and regulation concerns.

46 Jul 23, 2020 by Adam Keesling