I wrote a book

Friends, I wrote a book about angel investing, starting companies and the future. It’s called ANGEL and it’s coming out July 18th. [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/N6o9W ] They offered me a ghost writer, but I decided to write it myself. It took 19 long days, but I think it came out great. If you’re a founder, investor or in any way involved in technology you’re going to get a lot out of it. If you’re not in the industry, but you’re interested in breaking in and understanding how it works, well, ANGEL is a candid look at how it works and how you can break in. I wrote the book because I believe that the best way to generate outsized results is to own stock in high-growth, private, early-stage technology companies. If you’ve ever come to one of my events, or appreciate the podcast Continue reading "I wrote a book"

Billion Dollar Startup Ideas: The HBO of Podcasting

tl;dr: Someone is going to create the Netflix or HBO of podcasting, but it will take a legendary investor to put up $100 million to start a subscription-based network.

This post was originally published in the Inside Podcasting newsletter. Subscribe here for free!

Eight years ago I started a podcast called CalacanisCast. We quickly changed the name to This Week in Startups, and over the past seven years we’ve done over 700 episodes, twice a week, week after week.

This year we will hit $1m in revenue, 95% from loyal advertisers who are thrilled with the performance of their advertisements and my spectacularly heartfelt “reads.”

[ Note: We created something at the start called “white-listed advertising” which stated that I would never accept a sponsor unless I, or one of my team members, loved the product. We turned down things like LifeLock and e-cigarettes that would have been lucrative but Continue reading "Billion Dollar Startup Ideas: The HBO of Podcasting"

Airpods are Apple’s Best Product Since the iPad

To say Apple’s product launches since the iPad have been underwhelming to Apple fans would be an understatement.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/aTBRn ]

Apple Watch: everyone I know bought one, almost no one I know wears one. It’s confusing and not very useful.

Siri: after a four-year lead, Apple’s most fascinating service has been embarrassed by the prowess and ubiquity of Amazon’s Alexa — which is finding its way into TVs and washing machines!

Macbook Pro: After taking years to upgrade the standard laptop for developers and creatives, Apple released an underpowered and overpriced computer with all the important ports removed, creating a healthy market for used Macbook Pros.

Let those three missteps sink in for a moment.

Apple’s products used to be drool-worthy by default, now consumers expect to be let down by Tim Cook. In the words of POTUS… SAD!

The iPhone Continue reading "Airpods are Apple’s Best Product Since the iPad"

The Syndicate

[ Tl;dr: We’re creating the world’s largest startup angel syndicate at the LAUNCH Festival on April 6th & 7th. –@Jason Calacanis ] For close to 100 years non-accredited investors — currently defined as those making less than $200,000 a year or with less than one million in net worth excluding their home — have not been able to invest in private companies. That all changed this past May when the SEC started allowing everyone in the United States access to what I believe is the greatest wealth creation vehicle in the world today: startups. [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/HaLW5 ] Over the past 10 years startups like Dropbox, Mint (sold to Intuit for $170m), Yammer (sold to Microsoft for $1.2b), Fitbit (went public in June 2015), PowerSet (sold to Microsoft for $100m), Clicker (sold to CNET for $100m), Trello (sold to Atlassian for $425m), Continue reading "The Syndicate"

Inside.com launches 14th newsletter

66UImi1 Inside.com has launched its 14th newsletter: inside.com/facebook. Our mission is “to make you smarter & better at your job.” We write every single newsletter with this in mind, and we’ve perfected a format that is wildly addicting to our readers. We read hundreds of stories in a vertical, and we summarize the top 12 of them perfectly so that you can quickly get up to speed. We respect our readers and don’t try to trick them into clicking on links to get more page views. In fact, we only want one page from you ever, and that’s on the signup form for the topic you care most about.
https://inside.com/ev (electric vehicles, autonomous driving, etc.)
https://inside.com/streaming <– netflix, amazon, etc,

Donald Trump

From the Inside team:

TL;DR: We just launched Inside Trump, and we think you should check it out.

We’ve been busy at Inside over the past year building a network of email newsletters. We’ve added a dozen newsletters and 10xed our audience since March of last year, and have nailed down an editorial model that delivers huge value to our fast-growing readership.

Our team has become masterful at deeply understanding a topic, tracking down the most important people, companies, and developments, consuming every bit of news and information around it, and delivering a must-read roundup inspired by the famous presidential daily briefings. Given that coverage of Trump is absolutely ubiquitous, we knew we had a challenging undertaking with Inside Trump, but we set out build it. After much back-and-forth with our most loyal readers, and many Google Doc iterations of what this newsletter might be, we think we’ve got Continue reading "Donald Trump"

LAUNCH Incubator is looking for a Program Director

Program Director, LAUNCH Incubator
LAUNCH is looking for a driven and resourceful leader to develop content, curriculum and events for founders in the LAUNCH Incubator, as well as for our alumni and potential investments. The ideal candidate is resourceful and a great communicator, who can listen to our founders, determine what speakers, skills and content would be most helpful to them in building their businesses, and quickly build content for them.
Responsibilities
  • Develop content for the LAUNCH Incubator, LAUNCH Festival, LAUNCH SCALE, Angel Summit and This Week in Startups that helps founders grow.
  • Manage mentors & speakers for 18 sessions of the LAUNCH Incubator. (Each session has five mentors, so this would be 90 mentors per year.)
  • Understand Lean Startup methodology to optimize your efforts.
  • Build and maintain relationships with our network of influencers.
  • Identify key topics, events, and issues for influencers to offer input on.
  • Communicate actively with Continue reading "LAUNCH Incubator is looking for a Program Director"

Inside.com is looking for a Community and content development manager

Cool gig at Inside.com….
Inside.com is a network of email newsletters. We publish high quality roundups that curate, summarize, and analyze all of the most important news in many different verticals and industries. Some examples are cybersecurity, electric vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, drones, and more.
Over the past 10 months, we doubled our entire subscriber-base. Then we doubled it again. Then we doubled it a third time. And we’re just getting started. We also track net promoter scores and all of our newsletters score between 66 and 89 – which is right on par with world-renowned products like the iPhone and the Tesla Model S.
Our editorial team is masterful when it comes to creating a “presidential briefing” style update in any of these areas, but we also want to bring in voices of industry leaders to level up the content Continue reading "Inside.com is looking for a Community and content development manager"

Heading to CES 2017; looking for interviews

Going to CES Wednesday until Sunday, currently attending the Core Dinner (Wednesday), DFJ dinner (Friday) and taping three episodes of This Week in Startups at James Siminoff’s Ring booth (GREAT product btw, I have two). Staying with my boy Tony Hsieh in his trailer park in an Airstream. Have two of three interviews for TWIST locked up… need one more remarkable CEO/founder in the gadget/hardware/tech space…. cc: Jacqui Deegan, my producer (jacqui@launch.co). Might do a quick hit for CNBC while there, have time for 1-2 other interviews if folks need a talking head.
The main goal: don’t get the CES flu. Who else is going / what are your goals? <– click here for Facebook discussion about CES.

Inside Streaming

We recently re-launched Inside.com with a new design that shows users our existing network of email newsletters, and also uses a Kickstarter-inspired model to let the audience decide which newsletter we launch next. Here’s what it looks like:
 

Today, we’re excited to be launching Inside Streaming, as it has been the most popular list on the site, having recently reached its subscriber goal.

Here’s a bit more about the newsletter:

We’ve all been there. You’ve got a few hours to kill before bed and just want to start binging a great new show, but every app and platform and channel has added 18 new things since the last time you checked. And how are you supposed to know a “Bosch” from a “Goliath” without wasting valuable time watching something that might stink?

Enter Inside Streaming, a weekly email keeping you up-to-date on everything great that’s streaming now Continue reading "Inside Streaming"

Introducing Inside Amazon

The Inside.com network of newsletters continues to grow. Today we’re launching our eleventh newsletter: Inside Amazon.

It’s an in-depth, twice-weekly look at everything happening at The Everything Store. Our team is tapped into the analysts, journalists, bloggers, insiders, and experts surrounding Amazon’s various lines of business — and bringing you all the most important news in a quick and easy read.

If you own $AMZN stock, sell products on the Amazon platform, build software on AWS, or simply have an Amazon Prime membership, we think you’ll find Inside Amazon really interesting.

Four quick asks:

  1. Head over to Product Hunt and look for Inside Amazon and join the discussion
  2. Subscribe: inside.com/amazon
  3. Send this post to a friend who’s interested in Amazon!
  4. Click to tweet a one-click subscribe card for Inside Amazon (can edit before sending)

As always, post a comment and let us know what you think.

Sprinklr acquires LittleBird, a tool for finding experts on anything via Twitter

twitter-impressionist New York marketing tech firm Sprinklr has acquired Portland-based LittleBird, according to Sprinklr founder and CEO Ragy Thomas. LittleBird was founded in 2011 to help researchers quickly find the top experts and influencers on any given subject via Twitter. It raised $4.8 million in venture capital to build its analytics platform from Mark Cuban, Jason Calacanis, Oregon Angel Fund and… Read More

Trump, Jobs & Tech

As some of you know, I’ve tried to stay out of politics my whole life, instead focusing on creating and funding startups — which in turn create jobs.

My core belief is that if people have great jobs, you’re going to have a great society. That’s why so many elections seem to revolve, predictably, around the issue of employment.

This election was about jobs, specifically the blue collar ones.

The consensus view, from everything we’re reading, about what happened on November 8th is:

  1. Trump won because non-college educated, white voters who feel disenfranchised came out in greater numbers than anyone anticipated, while Hillary didn’t draw out as many voters as Obama did. [1] [2] [Chart 3]
  2. Many voted for Trump, despite some obvious and significant concerns, because they wanted a profound change in Washington.
  3. Polling was significantly off, causing false confidence for the Democrats.

This leads to a lot of questions:

  1. Why Continue reading "Trump, Jobs & Tech"

Technically Sentient

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I’m excited to announce another fantastic newsletter today: Technically Sentient. It’s all about artificial intelligence, robotics, and neurotechnology.

This one is special, because it’s not starting from scratch like our other newsletters have. Rob May has been doing a fantastic job writing it over the past couple of years, and now he’s bringing his expertise to Inside to reach our smart, sophisticated audience.

If you think this is interesting, here are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Head over to Product Hunt and look for Technically Sentient, and leave a comment (I’m doing a Q&A right now)
  2. Subscribe: Inside.com/technically-sentient
  3. Forward to a friend who cares about AI.

Artificial intelligence is one of the most important areas of technology emerging today, and Rob really has his finger to the pulse of it. If you care about AI, this newsletter is simply a must-read.

As always, leave a comment and Continue reading "Technically Sentient"

Email newsletters might save journalism — here’s why

[ Tl;dr: Today we’re launching the new Inside.com – a network of high-quality email newsletters. We have eight live newsletters, and we’re launching an exciting system that allows intelligent readers like yourself to decide which newsletter we launch next. Thanks to Rocketship for building the new platform. ] voting When I started Inside as an app, our idea was that if we could do an exceptional job curating the news, then millions of people would download our product and use it daily. We learned that, while a dedicated base of fans couldn’t get enough of it, most folks didn’t have space for another app in their lives. This is a lesson that has been hard-learned by a whole crop of “news-reader” style apps – from tiny startups like Circa to mega-brands like Facebook, both of which folded their news apps. The facts are simple: people are adding an average of
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Continue reading "Email newsletters might save journalism — here’s why"

The Six Reasons Smart Folks are Worried About Apple

There are two huge topics of discussion in Silicon Valley right now. The first is “Who will win the level 4 autonomy race, Tesla vs. Uber?,” and the second is “Is Apple in trouble?” [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/1132X ] One of the greatest parts of my life, and boy do I lead a charmed life, is that, for some crazy reason, the smartest kids in the class have decided they like to hang out with me. I’ve been asking my investor, founder and journalist friends what worries them about Apple, and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought myself. Here are the top six (valid) reasons I’ve compiled: 1. iPhone 7 announcement fell flat
2. Project Titan is anything but
3. The Underwhelming Watch
4. How is Apple MIA on VR & AR?
5. Machine Learning & AI
6. Jobs said Continue reading "The Six Reasons Smart Folks are Worried About Apple"

Scale v4.0

Founders, friends & investors,

On November 14-15 we will invite 2,000 of you to join us for the 4th edition of our SCALE conference.

The SCALE conference has two tracks featuring 26 speakers each, and we focus on the two most important aspects of running a startup:

1. Growth
2. Raising Money

This year we are also introducing “Founder | Investor: Speed Dating,” which will be 12-minute sessions between the 100 startups we’ve determined are the “most likely to scale” in the next 18 months and the 50 investors we think are the most active and helpful in the industry (both VCs & angels). Founders & investors apply for speed dating here.

There are seven ways you can participate in the event:

1. FREE TICKETS FOR FOUNDERS: Founders can come for free by clicking to tweet this message (limited to the first 1,000 folks): http://ctt.ec/lt362

2. Buy a Summit Continue reading "Scale v4.0"

Ed Catmull, President of Pixar & Disney Animation, & author of “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration”

Hi everyone, Producer Jacqui here. We were honored to have Ed Catmull in the studio with Jason last week for an epic conversation we had no choice but to split into two parts. :-) But you can watch them both here. Enjoy! [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/0UyJ0 ] Subscribe in iTunes: http://bit.ly/TWiSTAV Ed Catmull President of Pixar-Disney and author of “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” is one of the greatest startup founders in the history of Silicon Valley. Today he joins Jason on This Week in Startups to share his own personal story, perhaps the best that has come out of Pixar. We learn about Ed’s journey from his early days as a pioneer of computer animation, being hired by George Lucas to run the computer division at Lucasfilm, working with Steve Jobs to form Pixar (ultimately Pixar-Disney) and leading it to meteoric success. Ed takes us into his existential crisis after megahit Toy Story, behind the storytelling scenes of The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Inside Out, and around the risks, triumphs and failures that led to his development of a massively profitable and sustainable creative culture.
PART 1
Continue reading "Ed Catmull, President of Pixar & Disney Animation, & author of “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration”"

Do you live in the Bay Area?

tl;dr: We’re launching an awesome newsletter about the Bay Area today, called Inside SF. It’s also up on Product Hunt, and we’d love if you join the discussion over there.

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Friends,

We’ve been on a roll at Inside, launching and growing email newsletters. In the past 6 months we’ve gone from one newsletter with a total of 10,000 subscribers, to 6 newsletters with a total of 100,000 subscribers — and we’re just getting started.

These newsletters aren’t crafted by algorithms, and they go much deeper than just a curated list of links. We have a talented (and growing!) editorial team that dives deep into each vertical we tackle: scouring the top blogs and the obscure ones, participating in the online communities, learning which reporters are really nailing it, and digging in to deliver a polished, comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know.

Today we’re launching Inside SF, a Continue reading "Do you live in the Bay Area?"

Evolving Twitter, A message from our CEO

Twitter is an exceptionally important platform, but it’s struggling massively in the past couple of years because it can’t figure out how to be an open, anonymous platform, while controlling harassment. [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/kVdC0 ] It’s kind of embarrassing that Twitter can’t figure this out on their own, so I figured I would redesign the product and write the memo to the user base for their CEO Jack. You’re welcome! @jason Calacanis twitter verified [A troll-free twitter is coming. Image by @paljasma] Evolving Twitter, A message from our CEO By @Jack, January 1st, 2017 On behalf of the Twitter team I’d like to wish you a happy new year and thank you for not only using our service, but for passionately sharing with us how you would like to see it evolve with the hashtag #twitter2017. Today we’re taking a major step in the evolution of Twitter by rolling out verified accounts to all of our users. Verification isn’t a perfect process, and it will take a year to give our most active users the blue check mark, but we think it will be worth it because people will have to “own their words.” Continue reading "Evolving Twitter, A message from our CEO"