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Digital Native: Top 10 of 2022
Recapping the Year's 10 Most-Popular Pieces
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Digital Native: Top 10 of 2022
Year 3 of Digital Native is in the books ✅
It’s been a good year, with 50 long-form pieces totaling 114,000 words. The best part of writing is building this community of readers, and this community grew +107% in 2022. Thank you for being part of it.
If you know anyone who would enjoy reading this newsletter in 2023, please spread the word. Coworkers, friends, family—anyone who you think would enjoy the content here.
And of course, I’d value feedback on Digital Native and on how I can improve in 2023.
To wrap up the year, below are the 10 most-read pieces of the year in descending order. If you missed any of these, hopefully they provide some good reading over the holidays.
10) CAC: Customer Acquisition Chaos (August 24th)
Every brand is facing CAC headwinds and we’re at a unique inflection point for CACs with Apple’s punitive privacy changes. But recent challenges in CAC also present new opportunities for startups.
9) Minions and Gen Z Characteristics (July 6th)
This piece breaks down 10 characteristics of Gen Z—from thrifty to anxious, entrepreneurial to escapist—and explores the ripple effects of generational behavior changes. Oh yeah, and we talk minions.
8) The Transformation of Commerce (March 9th)
As spend moves online, commerce is becoming more sustainable, more efficient, more affordable, and more convenient. Power is shifting to the consumer. This piece explores 10 mega-trends in commerce, from livestreaming to resale, sustainability to post-purchase experience.
7) The Rise of Cash App (May 25th)
Cash App is the world’s most underrated social network, leveraging savvy marketing and smart business strategy to overtake Venmo and become America’s leading consumer fintech. The origin of this piece was the below tweet, which Jack Dorsey responded to and which ultimately led me to Cat Ferdon. Cat is Cash App’s Head of Brand Marketing, one of the masterminds behind its viral success. She helped inform my piece on Cash App, and later participated in last week’s 2023 predictions.
6) This Is Water: Revisiting Social Constructs (August 22nd)
There are a lot of things we take for granted, but that are totally...made up. The largest opportunities for startups exist when you question the status quo and rethink social constructs. This piece unpacks which social constructs are ripe for change.
5) The Seven Deadly Sins of Consumer Tech (July 27th)
The old adage goes, “Social networks do best when they tap into one of the Seven Deadly Sins.” Pride. Sloth. Envy. Greed. Gluttony. Lust. Wrath. This piece refreshes that thesis for 2022, looking at old and new startups building on each sin. (The follow-up to this piece explored startups building on the Seven Heavenly Virtues—counterparts to each Sin.)
4) Revisiting LTV & CAC (September 21st)
In this macro environment, it’s important to revisit the nuts-and-bolts of unit economics. Too many companies have lost discipline when it comes to lifetime value and customer acquisition costs. This piece goes through the math, using Spotify as an example, and explores common errors that companies make.
3) The $100 Trillion Opportunity in Marketplaces (October 5th)
B2B commerce is 4-5x larger than B2C commerce, yet remains analog and inefficient. Cloud and mobile, the two biggest tailwinds of the last decade, have still barely touched B2B transactions. That’s starting to change.
2) 10 Charts That Capture How the World Is Changing (November 9th)
These 10 charts embody some of the most interesting and important shifts of our time, from climate change to media consumption to job growth. Each chart is accompanied by a brief explanation.
1) The TikTokization of Everything (September 28th)
Mobile and cloud aren’t saturated, but they aren’t as ripe for greenfield opportunity as they once were. In their place, AI is stepping in as the next wave of innovation, and we’re seeing every category be reinvented.
That’s a wrap ✅
See you in January, and enjoy the holiday.
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