On CNBC’s Squawk Alley 8/25/15: Investors react to market correction; will startups survive?

Producer Jacqui here. ICYMI, Jason was on CNBC’s Squawk Alley this a.m. talking about the market correction. How are investors reacting? Will startups survive? Some will still crush it, others will crash. Bold predictions abound.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/44b9c ]

On CNBC’s Squawk Alley 8/18/15: Zirtual latest, Donald Trump’s attack on #H1B visa

Producer Jacqui here. In case you missed it, Jason was on CNBC’s Squawk Alley this a.m. talking about Zirtual and the troubles encountered by fast-growing startups. Then onto Donald Trump‘s attack on the #H1B visa. Jason has choice words — and a solution.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/4gshj ]

 

 

TWiST 565: Ahryun Moon, founder of EtchApp & the return of “Ask Jason”!

Hi everyone,

Producer Jacqui here. A special two-parter for you. First up is Ahryun Moon, founder of EtchApp, a company that crushed the LAUNCH Hackathon and went onto product success, with their recent launch — and feature — in the Apple store. EtchApp is a multi-tasking replacement keyboard for devices so you can send messages and access services without switching — and just might be, as Jason predicts, THE killer Watch app. And it’s the return of #AskJason! Fans toss questions on a range of topics … from the Jobs Act to new avenues for startups to raise money, to why half of a college marketing class just doesn’t like Jason. Brace yourselves!

Watch/Listen: ThisWeekinStartups.com / iTunes audio / iTunes video / Soundcloud

Share: Click here to Tweet episode (can edit before sending).

Sign up for updatesthisweekinstartups.com

Thank you to our sponsors, InVision & Squarespace! Click here to tweet your support (can edit before sending).

InVision. Find out why so many hot startups are using InVision to prototype, present and collaborate on design in real-time. Sign-up for a 90-day free trial today at invisionapp.com/twist.

Squarespace. Build it Beautiful. Celebrating 10 years of making it fast and easy to create an exceptional-looking website! Get 10% off your first purchase at squarespace.com/twist.

Best,

Jacqui

PS – ICYMI: last 10 episodes!

Ep564: Julie Fredrickson, CEO & Co-founder of Stowaway Cosmetics, is a direct-to-consumer innovator taking on a $60b industry

Ep563: Ali Vahabzadeh, founder of Chariot, hopes to change the way we move around cities with the first-ever crowdsourced shuttle service

Ep562: Chuck Johnson, blogger & founder of gotnews.com, on being permanently banned from Twitter & his controversial journalism & belief

Ep560: Brian Hoffman’s OpenBazaar.org, a decentralized marketplace to buy/sell anything online with bitcoin, is a Big Idea with Big Backers

Ep559: Andy Weir, author of NYT bestseller “The Martian” (soon to be Ridley Scott/Matt Damon movie) on writing the year’s science fiction smash

Ep558: News Roundtable! Reddit’s game of thrones, tech outages seemingly everywhere, hackers gone wild, sex scandals, equity crowdfunding, luxury pot on demand (finally!), Tinder verified

Ep557: LAUNCH Incubator 2: Pinterest product Jason Shellen (formerly Google, AOL & founder of Boxer) on why people love stories not decks

Ep556: NYT bestselling author Steven Kotler (Tomorrowland, The Rise of Superman, Bold, Abundance) on science fictions turned fact, technologies becoming exponential, what terrifies scientists, & what triggers flow

Ep555: A.J. Daulerio, Ratter.com founder & former Deadspin & Gawker EIC, talks about the battles, triumphs, opportunities & the specter of bankruptcy in the content world

Ep554: TWiST/Inside Drones, Part 3! At Skycatch w/CEO Christian Sanz & the premiere of PixiePath w/CEO Bryan Elliot

Howard Stern’s easy billion dollar pay day — courtesy of Spotify or an app

There is little debate that the greatest radio host in history is Howard Stern.

In addition to reinventing himself multiple times, from the long-forgotten battles with the FCC in the 90s to giving Charlie Rose a run for his money over the past decade as ‘greatest interviewer alive,’ Howard’s savviest role is behind the scenes as a platform rainmaker.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/SKy6Y ]

First he syndicated his show across the nation after being told his New York humor wouldn’t fly in other markets — heck, they told him he wouldn’t work in Boston and DC! He hit 60 markets and 20m listeners.

Mind-blowing.

Then they told him he couldn’t do books, movies and TV, and he became the King of all Media.

When a new platform emerged called satellite radio, he jumped ship, made a couple hundred million, and literally put a Sirius and XM on his back.

Of course, what was great about satellite was that he could be in every market with one deal, but the drawback was that you had to pay. Can you imagine how huge Howard would have become if satellite radio chose to be ad-based?

Anyway, SiriusXM has reached the end of the line with satellite radio because, well, the Internet. With LTE/4G speeds and smart phones, listening to Howard on-demand is soooooo much better.

You no longer have to miss half an interview; you can simply listen to anything that occurred in the last 10 days. A huge benefit, but still only 1% of the potential.

It’s time for Howard to leave satellite and go direct to consumers or join Spotify. Either of these will make him $1b. Here’s what Howard 3.0 would look like:

  1. Howard tapes his show at any time. No more waking up at 4am and worrying about not being able to take Beth to parties. If you want to start at 10am or 1pm or 10pm, go for it.
  2. Howard tapes his show from anywhere at any time. Want to stay out in the Hamptons? Tape when you’re in LA? Sure, set up a couple of microphones and go.
  3. Never have another boss.
  4. Provide your entire catalogue free or for subscribers on the internet (Howard got his archive back years ago).
  5. Allow fans to remix and make clips from the archives — and repost to your site.

Continue reading Howard Stern’s easy billion dollar pay day — courtesy of Spotify or an app

SMARTCAMP: 30 cities, 10 finalists, 1 winner

We’re doing a global startup competition … with IBM!

I’m proud to announce that IBM and LAUNCH are hosting SMARTCAMP 2015: a 30-city startup competition.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/7bspf ]

$25,000 in funding (from me!) and acceptance into our 12-week, LAUNCH Incubator is the grand prize, and you can read all about it and request an application at smartcamp2015.com.

Competitions from Singapore to Sao Paulo are accepting applications, and live events will be occurring across the globe in the fall.

Finalists will travel to San Francisco to attend our SCALE conference on October 13th and 14th. The founders will learn how to grow their startups from 50+ speakers, as well as have lunch with me and four of the most powerful investors in Silicon Valley.

Those 10 finalists will work on their startups and come back to the LAUNCH Festival from March 2nd through 4th. The top three will make it to the main stage and compete for the grand prize: $25,000 from me and 12 weeks inside my incubator.

Visit smartcamp2015.com and signup with your email to get an application.

smartcamp2

all the best,

@jason and the LAUNCH Team

Inside.com’s vertical strategy — looking for some partners!

inside scienceWe’ve been working hard on Inside.com and we’re starting to make great progress with our vertical App strategy. While our main Inside App has a great, loyal following, trying to get a large number of folks to a general App hasn’t been easy — for anyone.

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

Of course, getting a smaller number of people to a large number of vertical Apps is, well, easier! As such we’re in the process of experimenting with a dozen vertical Apps. We’re testing big verticals, like TV and video games, as well as medium-sized content verticals, like Science and Space.

We’re testing one local vertical (San Francisco) as well as emerging verticals like cannabis and drones (don’t suggest embracing those two at the same time).

We see a future when we partner with amazing brands to create verticals like, say, Inside MOVIE FRANCHISE, Inside SPORTS TEAM NAME or perhaps use our platform to power a local newspaper and/or TV station.

If you’re interested hit me up: jason at inside.com!

Here are the first 11 verticals … which ones should we do next?

 

Inside Drones

www.insidedrones.com

www.twitter.com/insidedrones

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inside-drones/id977357311?mt=8

 

Inside Gadgets

www.insidegadgets.net

https://twitter.com/GoInsideGadgets

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inside-gadgets/id994325918?mt=8

Continue reading Inside.com’s vertical strategy — looking for some partners!

The most important piece of advice for folks starting their careers

[ From a tweet storm last week ]

1/The most important piece of advice I can give folks starting out: be great at an important skill.

The important skills in the world right now include:

a. sales
b. coding
c. product design
d. growth
e. design
f. corporate storyteller

2/Refine your skill faster than your peers.

If you’re a product designer, stop binge-watching TV & read every book on UX. Learn to use every tool you find on the internet.

Many folks will tell you that the world is not a zero sum game, with one person not having to lose at the expense of another winning. This is simply not true, as in most startups there is a very limited number of seats and they go to the people who work the hardest and who have the most skill.

In your career you will find that life is a zero sum game: the winners get the prime positions and the person who comes in second place for that position is the first loser — not the second winner.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/uUcf3 ]

3/Take your skills to a startup. Period. Full Stop.

Don’t worry about your salary, just get enough money to live in a closet close to work. Focus on providing your CEO 10x the value of your contemporaries. Your CEO will notice you, eventually, and she will love you.

CEOs love people who work hard and who refine their skills faster than everyone else (see #2) because those people remind them of themselves. How the f@#4k do you think she got the CEO slot, by waiting in line? By random luck? No, she f@#$king took that slot.

If you’re taking your slot by working harder than everyone else and by refining your skills faster than everyone else she will notice it.

Continue reading The most important piece of advice for folks starting their careers

Circa’s biggest crime was …

This week, a promising startup died: Circa. I was a small investor and a big fan.

There’s a special place in my heart for emerging news brands and curation, and Circa was both.

For background, the company spent $5m building and running a stunning, some say quirky, app powered by a respectable team of news junkies for the past three years.

Compare that to magazine launches in the 90s, which ran $10-20m per year, and you can see how efficient their effort was.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/4Qx3U ]

Sadly, Circa never caught fire. They did have a small, loyal following. Which is really what the first two years of a startup is about: you grab some kindling and light it up. You then hope you can get some embers burning hot. In the case of consumer products, those embers are your early true believers — the superfans.

They had enough of these burning hot embers that I believe they could’ve gotten 3,000 folks to pay $10 a month for it. Not huge money, but enough to keep the brand publishing.

After being shopped for an extended period of time, no one bought the assets, which is puzzling. There is still a possibility this will happen; in a wind-down like this, the board and founders are obligated (sometimes legally, always morally) to sell the assets to recover even a penny on the dollar for investors (which in this case would be ~$50,000).

Last I heard, another dotcom offered $500,000 to pick up the team and platform but the VCs blocked the deal, hoping someone else would pay more. Someone will debate that in the comments, I’m sure.

Continue reading Circa’s biggest crime was …

What I would do if I were CEO of Twitter — a seven-part plan

[ UPDATE: 6/18/15: Listen to Baratunde Thurston read this entire blog post on Soundcloud. Hilarious. ]

I was on CNBC on Monday talking about who would be the next CEO of Twitter. On that hit, I explain why Adam Bain is the next CEO. I thought I would expand upon my thoughts on Twitter in this 2,000 word essay, because it seems no one else has any thoughts. 

At the end of the day, Wall Street ran Twitter’s CEO out despite my piece explaining why this would be a mistake back in January.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/Y4lTQ ]

Technically Dick resigned, and is leaving next month, ending his five-year run as the CEO of one of the five greatest Internet companies ever created — Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Amazon lead that group. 

Here is what I would do if I were CEO of Twitter. Or, said another way, here is what Adam should do:

  1. Explain to Wall Street explicitly that Twitter is Not Facebook

Wall Street keeps comparing Twitter to Facebook, hoping that Twitter will become less complex, less intimidating, and more accessible to common folk. These analysts on Wall Street are wickedly smart when it comes to grouping and analyzing things, but in the case of Facebook and Twitter, this is a huge mistake.

Twitter’s users, the ones who are logged in and contributing content to the service, are the politicians, celebrities, business leaders, and journalists in the world who drive massive consumption of culture by passive, non-logged in users.

On Facebook, everyone is the celebrity of their own lives, which is exceptionally boring to everyone on the planet, except maybe the dozen or so people who are part of that life. That’s why, on Facebook, the trending stories in your feed are birth announcements, and on Twitter, it’s what you’re going to read in the New York Times and TMZ tomorrow.

  1. Steady Growth is Good Growth & The Reddit Paradox

Twitter has grown exactly 5-10% quarter over quarter since inception. The fact that it has not tanked, been disintermediated, or otherwise copied is due to the small miracle of network effects and Dick’s steady hand. 

While the analysts might want to see dramatic action to run Twitter from 300m to 1b users, there is a strong case that doing so would drive away Twitter’s already brilliant community. 

This is the so-called “Reddit Paradox” in full effect: live by your core community, die by your core community. In Reddit’s case, they’ve built a huge, engaged community of primarily highly intelligent, technically savvy, and frequently precocious boys (it’s mainly male) to a scale no one believed would ever be possible — and then you put the most polarizing female figure in Silicon Valley in charge of it! In the middle of the highest profile sexism case in our lifetimes!

How is that working out for Reddit? Can Ellen Pao convince a large portion (but not all) of the core users, who have defined Reddit for the past decade, to stop their gallows humor in the comments, their politically incorrect pugnaciousness, their hilarious-and-sometimes-scary criticism of people and their obsession with p0rn? 

Sure she can!

[ insert Facepalm meme here saying “Ellen Pao, the fearless leader Reddit wants!” ]

Continue reading What I would do if I were CEO of Twitter — a seven-part plan

Apple is launching search engine to destroy Google — and you’re already using it

whacked

Apple is launching a search engine called “Spotlight,” at a pace of 3% a quarter — if you have an iPhone or Mac you’ve been using it for a while!

Google has gone from unstoppable to “about to be stopped,” in the minds of the smartest folks in the industry. Search ads are Google’s cash cow; unfortunately, for them, it seems that Google is not advancing the platform (outside of slamming massive amounts of “paid inclusion”).

ads 1“Paid Inclusion” is basically the ads that consumers think are content, but are really ads.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/90f3g ]

You can see this on your desktop by doing a search for “used iPhone.” The majority of the screen real estate is now ads! In the example above 11 of the 12 links are advertisements!

Wow.

On top of that, < 1% of the screen real estate is dedicated to telling this insane fact to consumers! See the tiny ‘AD’ and ‘SPONSORED’ logos? Yeah, barely noticeable … by design.

In the old days Google used to highlight the ads with a background color … over time they have included smaller and smaller notes; this is, of course, a huge debate in the industry. In fact, people have done studies to prove that a large percentage of users don’t know they are clicking on ads.

Continue reading Apple is launching search engine to destroy Google — and you’re already using it

The best job for an audio/video genius in San Francisco!

16078702253_798ca60c79_kFor the past six years I’ve taped over 500 episodes of my podcast, This Week in Startups. We’ve had the most amazing guests on the show, from Travis at Uber (Ep180) to Peter Thiel (Ep525) to Chris Sacca (Ep291) to Glenn Beck (Ep526) to VC John Doerr (Ep520) to Anne Wojcicki (Ep521) to Reid Hoffman (Ep490) to Fred Wilson (Ep523) to Yancey at Kickstarter (Ep524) to Chamath (Ep480) to Evan from Twitter (Ep345) to Kevin from Instagram (Ep196) to Andrew from Groupon (Ep52) to Tim Ferriss (Ep484) … the list goes on and on and on and on.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/c731y ]

The show has massive reach and massive resources now. We tape in our own studio, we have the latest cameras, microphones and technology.

We have an Emmy-Award winning producer named Jacqui!

We do live shows that sell out in seconds with 500 attendees.

Most importantly, we have hell of a good time! We laugh and joke and sit in awe of the subjects we get to interview.

The show is doing so well that we are adding two full-time directors and video editors. We are looking for at least one with a lot of experience, and the second one can either have a lot of experience or a lot of hustle!

You can Apply here.

If you ever want to reach me and pitch me on working on my team, I have the winners@launch.co email always open!

Working for me will level you up and you’ll have me as an advocate for life. I’ve invested in my alumni’s startups, and helped get my former team members the greatest gigs in the world. I’m loyal like a bulldog and I love seeing my people do their best work and go onto great things.

plunge

Working for me is like joining the Navy Seals: most folks can’t do it, but those who can go on to change the world — and push themselves to a level they didn’t even know they could.

This Week in Startups is pure joy at this point, with a ton of resources to do things correctly.

Join us as we tell these stories!

Jeff Dachis, Founder & CEO of OneDrop (previously Razorfish), on This Week in Startups

Jeff Dachis, former CEO/Founder Razorfish, is changing the way people manage diabetes with his new data analytics & social platform OneDrop

Producer Jacqui here. On today’s show is entrepreneur extraordinaire Jeff Dachis, former CEO/Founder of Razorfish & current CEO/Founder of OneDrop.today, an incredible management & social platform for people with diabetes that won Best Design at LAUNCH Festival 2015. Soon after Jeff learned that he had diabetes in 2013, he discovered the complete lack of tools available to manage it — and decided to invent them. OneDrop, a Waze for diabetes, pulls together data that is normally siloed, and gives users all the information they need, in one place: tracking glucose levels, meals consumed, exercise & activity information, and much more. OneDrop also connects users, letting them share their data & support each other’s endeavors. Jeff walks us through an awesome demo of his product, including sneak previews of features & new monitors coming soon. It’s a rich conversation in which Jason and Jeff also discuss the need for more prevention-based healthcare solutions in our problem-based system, health care versus self care, disease management as a market, the differences between diabetes types 1 and 2 (and the future/hope for each…), what Jeff has learned on his entrepreneurial journey since web 1.0 (hint: talent is everything) — and more. Join us!!

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to This Week in Startups on iTunes.

Follow on Twitter,  Instagram & Facebook.

Join the TWiST list for access to backchannel, chat rooms, and more.

Drones in 2015 are like VHS recorders in 1985

vhs dork

A year ago I thought drones were stupid and overhyped. They crashed, they were expensive, and there wasn’t much use for them.

This year I got to spend time flying drones with Chris Anderson at 3DR’s HQ in Berkeley. They’re located in the middle of an industrial park reminiscent of the original Terminator set — it’s awesome.

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

After seeing his latest product I’m 100% convinced that drones are nearly ready for prime time.

Using a drone in 2015 is like using a VHS recorder in 1985: you look like a huge attention-seeking dork, but everyone wants to talk to you about the technology. My Great Uncle Joe DeFalco used to be the family “VHS recording dork” at the drunken McCabe/Kennedy holiday parties in Brooklyn and Jersey, walking up to everyone yelling “Identify yourself!”

It was like being interrogated by the Stasi, but despite how annoying he was, those tapes are invaluable today.

30 years later we all have an HD camera in our pockets and are creating walls of video recordings at amusement parks. In fact, you could fit about 50 mobile phones in amount of space that an old VHS tape took up.

There are three reasons I think drones are no longer toys:

  1. They are dead simple to fly
  2. They don’t require massive maintenance & assembly
  3. The “prosumer grade” ones are now $1,000
  4. Commercial applications are everywhere
  5. Regulation is reaching reasonable

Continue reading Drones in 2015 are like VHS recorders in 1985

Trading Open Standards for Corporate Ones

Twitter has a horrible trolling problem, and they’re tackling it head on by banning the accounts of uber-Trolls like Charles Johnson of gotnews.com — who is a true piece of work. Also, Twitter today warned white supremacist @rabite to stop encouraging his followers to harass people.

Trolls can ruin your Tweeting experience by flooding your stream with stupidity, hate, and threats — or as these evil bastards sometimes call their abuse, “criticism” or “satire.”

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/s97Ze ]

Sometimes these people call it both criticism and satire! Sometimes these people are mentally ill, other times they are drunk or high. In all cases they are saying things that we don’t need to hear.

Twitter has had enough and they are policing these abusive tweets. Tweets are famously 140 characters, and the customer service team is going to study those characters to figure out how to solve this problem.

However, after a lot of study it turns out the characters are not the real problem — it’s the words. Trolls are using words that hurt people, and the customer support team is going to put an end to these words, or more specifically, the combination of these words in sequences — also known on the platform as “sentences.”

Sentences are really the problem you see, because the individual words can’t actually hurt you that much. When put in a certain order, they form ideas.

Ideas are really the problem and I for one salute the anonymous human agents at Twitter who will sort through the ideas people are sharing on Twitter and remove the ones that make Twitter less fun for people.

No one deserves to wake up, open their Twitter stream, and be faced with ideas that they don’t like or agree with. No one.

Continue reading Trading Open Standards for Corporate Ones

#TWiSTLive at Samsung Global Innovation Center with Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense

#TWiSTLive at Samsung Global Innovation Center: Virtual reality demo & fireside chat with Amir Rubin, industry pioneer & CEO of Sixense

#TWiSTLive!! Virtual reality is an exciting & hotly debated space. Its potential is massive, but will it ever really “arrive”? In today’s live show, recorded at Samsung Global Innovation Center, Jason answers this question with a resounding YES, as he demos the latest & greatest VR and hosts a riveting fireside chat with Amir Rubin, VR pioneer & CEO of Sixense, a premiere virtual reality platform. After a lively demo of Sixense’s cutting-edge, award-winning products, Jason talks with Amir about his inspirations, the state of the field, and what’s coming. We learn why VR is not just about gaming but about every industry (esp. healthcare, education), why motion sickness is no longer an issue, how technologies like 3D printing help VR immensely, how developers are building amazing applications on the Sixense platform, how every phone going forward will be VR ready, why VR is so effective in training for high-risk jobs like welders & pilots, why service providers will give VR headsets away for free, how VR is going to be a new way for creative people to monetize their skills, how movie studios can use VR for you to actually experience being the super hero, why the biggest challenge facing VR is educating consumers — and much much more!

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to This Week in Startups on iTunes.

Follow on Twitter,  Instagram & Facebook.

Join the TWiST list for access to backchannel, chat rooms, and more.

News Roundtable with Jessica Lessin (The Information) & Ari Levy (CNBC) on This Week in Startups

News Roundtable: Secret’s bank heist, Google as Game of Thrones, Apple TV’s fate, Facebook’s about-face in revenue sharing, the combustible combo of venture+journalism, weed on demand

It’s News Roundtable Friday! Joining Jason today is Jessica Lessin, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Information and Ari Levy, Senior Technology Reporter at CNBC. The three tackle the latest, greatest, juiciest stories of late in this epic episode. Nothing is left off the table. Secret’s bank heist, how Google is like Game of Thrones, is Android poised for world domination?, the combustible combination of venture + journalism, and several of the greatest existential questions of our time: what is the future of advertising on mobile, what happens when you give nerds $20m, and when will Amazon start delivering weed?? And, oh, so much more.

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to This Week in Startups on iTunes.

Follow on Twitter,  Instagram & Facebook.

Join the TWiST list for access to backchannel, chat rooms, and more.

Des Traynor, Cofounder of Intercom, on This Week in Startups

LAUNCH Incubator 2: Des Traynor, Cofounder Intercom, on product vision, roadmap, virality, & everything you need to know for “Starting Up”

LAUNCH Incubator series is back! Today’s episode features returning speaker, Des Traynor, Cofounder of Intercom (www.intercom.io), who dazzles with a whole new tactical talk on “Starting Up.” Des’s presentation to the class covers everything from the importance of needing a vision (and what one looks like) to defining your roadmap, from the ins and outs of knowing your true competitors & marketplace (including markets to avoid) to getting your product to go viral (hint: design viral!), from best practices in launching a new feature to which features you should be mostly focusing on — and much more. Don’t miss this!

**For copy of slides email Des directly at des-slides@intercom.io**

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to This Week in Startups on iTunes.

Follow on Twitter,  Instagram & Facebook.

TrueCar’s Scott Painter & Zenefits’ Parker Conrad on This Week in Startups

True Car’s Scott Painter & Zenefits’ Parker Conrad bring new power to consumers & successfully reinvent entrenched industries: car-buying and human resources

Today’s awesome two-part episode from Launch Festival 2015 features Founder/CEO of TrueCar Scott Painter and Cofounder/CEO of Zenefits Parker Conrad. Jason first sat down for a fascinating discussion with Scott about the mission of TrueCar (simple: a better way to buy a car), and how his business disrupts the industry. We learn how they have grown from $10m-$200m in revenue since launching at the Launch Festival a few years ago, how they overcame being boycotted by 33% of the car dealers on their platform in 2011, why car dealer problems are actually bigger than car buyer problems, why Scott is not a huge believer in self-driving cars (his 20-year plan does not involve autonomous cars) or in car ownership going away (the car industry is at an all-time high), and why Apple should buy Tesla for any price. In part two Jason talks with Parker Conrad about the inspiration behind Zenefits (hint: Parker’s pain in doing all the HR as Cofounder in his last company), and how the company is absolutely crushing it. In their discussion they cover Zenefits’ meteoric rise as the fastest growing SaaS company ever (grown to 800 employees in two years) with no plans to slow down, why “the Salesforce for employment” is an interesting analogy for the Zenefits business, how Andreessen Horowitz was a huge help in landing David Sacks (former Yammer Founder/CEO) as COO, how Jason switched his companies to Zenefits last year & is saving huge $$ — and much more!

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to This Week in Startups on iTunes.

Follow on Twitter,  Instagram & Facebook.

#TWiSTLive: May 20 with Amir Rubin, CEO Sixense, “Ask Jason” on stage + VR workshop

I’d like you to join me on Wednesday, May 20th for our next #TWiSTLive at Samsung Global Innovation Center in Mountain View. It’ll be an awesome event, starting early with public office hours with me (“Ask Jason” or pitch your company idea on stage) and a hands-on VR workshop hosted by Andrew Dickerson, Director of Software Development, GearVP.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/5c9Q7 ]

There will be plenty of networking opps with cocktails and appetizers before and after the show’s main event: my fireside chat with Amir Rubin. Amir is CEO of Sixense and has 20+ years expertise in developing products in simulation, video games, virtual reality & motion tracking. Full event agenda is below.

Tickets are $50.00, but use code SAMSUNGGIC here to get tickets today for FREE. Secure them now because this event will sell out!! See you there!

best, @jason

TWiST Live! Agenda

12:00pm: Registration opens for VR workshop with Andrew Dickerson, Director of Software Development, GearVP, Samsung. RSVP for workshop, “Introduction to Gear VR Development in Unity.”

12:30-3:00pm: VR Workshop

1:30pm: Registration opens for TWiST live event & public office hours with Jason Calacanis (**come early for your chance to “Ask Jason” or pitch on stage!**)

2:30-3:30pm: On-stage “Ask Jason” office hours with Jason Calacanis and Samsung

2:00-4:00pm: Running demos on VR headsets

4:00-5:00pm: Appetizers & cocktails

5:00-6:00pm: Jason Calacanis fireside chat with Amir Rubin, CEO, Sixense

6:00-7:00pm: Cocktail networking hour

 

The Last Mile (TLM) founder Chris Redlitz & graduate Kenyatta Leal on This Week in Startups

In-prison accelerator The Last Mile teaches inmates technology & entrepreneurship, giving them essential skills & the promise of a better life; Founder Chris Redlitz & graduate Kenyatta Leal explain exactly how

It’s one of Jason’s favorite episodes. In the studio is Chris Redlitz, Partner at Transmedia Capital and Founder of The Last Mile (TLM), a program that teaches prisoners technology and entrepreneurship to gain essential job skills and prevent recidivism. Joining as well is Last Mile grad Kenyatta Leal, former San Quentin inmate of 19 years and current Manager of Campus Services at RocketSpace. Chris shares his inspiration for The Last Mile, its incredible success, and ambitious & promising future, while Kenyatta describes in-depth the harsh realities of prison life, along with the critical skills/lessons he learned at TLM and the euphoric moment of experiencing freedom again. The three dive into many different riveting discussions, including the alarming incarceration rates in the U.S., the pathology of the broken the prison/punishment system, how programs like The Last Mile give great hope and purpose, and a vision for a better future. You don’t want to miss this!

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to This Week in Startups on iTunes.

Follow on Twitter,  Instagram & Facebook.