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 or my writing, a great way to show your support is to spend $10-20 bucks on the audio book (I read it), the hardcover or the ebook. If you’re a super fan, buy all three or give them as a gift.

After you read it, please consider writing a review — if you loved it!

Barnes and Noble:
goo.gl/ZUw9k2

Amazon:
http://amzn.to/2sSyyKi

Audible:
http://amzn.to/2sAfEpv

iBooks:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/angel/id1166101041

All the best, @jason calacanis

PS – If you want to angel invest alongside me, or see my deal memos, sign up for http://jasonssyndicate.com

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 that we personally didn’t use. ]

We have four full-time employees on the show, not including me, and we are doing not only audio but also video. We do a dozen live events a year on average and “the show” is often the professional highlight of my week.

The podcast was, in large part, the reason I signed a high-six figure deal for my first book, titled ANGEL, which is coming out on July 18th (pre-order from this link if you want to thank me for all the free content we’ve done live and on the show — I sure would appreciate it).

My podcast is the best reflection of who I am, probably even better than these email missives because they include me interacting with the startup founders who are trying to change the world.

The pod has also made me wicked smart, giving me the MBA and Psychology PhD I never had the time to complete.

2017: The year of the Podcast

I predict this year is the tipping point for podcasting, with “Serial” laying the groundwork two years ago for “Missing Richard Simmons,” as well as folks like Joe Rogan going supernova, podcasts which are taking the medium from the underground to the mainstream.

Add to that the fact that Bill Simmons’ TV show on HBO flopped (I liked it) but his podcast is surging, a testament to the fact that talk shows are often awkward and gimmicky — severely so when compared to the authenticity of podcasting.

I’m guessing Bill is way past $10 million a year in podcasting revenue, and my pal Leo Laporte (for whom I have had the privilege of sitting in as host from time to time) is also at that $10m mark after laying the groundwork for the rest of us.

Reading advertising isn’t horrible, in fact it’s enjoyable for the right partners. I love reading ads, and have had my listeners yell “ohhh Audible!” and “I love Squarespace! Tommy John! MailChimp!” at me when they meet me — which is hilarious.

Candidly, selling ads and living hand-to-mouth is hard, even for an established podcast like This Week in Startups, which sells out for three to six months in advance (thanks Luke!).

On top of all this, podcasts are still hard to measure — something that is a “soft” issue because all the ROI-driven marketers use codes to get directional info on how they are doing.

Most podcasters would jump at the chance to stop selling ads and start simply collecting a check from an HBO like Bill Maher and John Oliver do, or cash a check from Netflix to produce something pure and unadulterated.

Podcast fans are more than willing to pay, and we see many Patreons hitting thousands and tens of thousands of dollars per month. When we did our patronage effort (long before Patreon existed) we instantly hit $5,000 a month.

However it’s hard for a large group of folks to pay for five or ten different podcasts they love, and that’s where I think the opportunity lies: a group subscription for podcasting’s top talents.

This would remove the cognitive load on consumers looking to support their favorite shows, while allowing the talent to focus 100% of their effort building increasingly better content — not marketing or revenue.

Simple Math: 100 podcasters, five million subscribers

If you could grab 20% of the top 500 podcasts over the next two years for the “HBO of Podcasting” at a $4m payment each, you would be looking at a whopping $400 million content budget — or as Sirius XM would refer to it, “two Howard Sterns” and Netflix would call it four “House of Cards” or “three weeks” (of content).

That’s a ton of money, but for 50 to 250 episodes per year depending on the cadence of each podcast, it would be $16,000 to $80,000 per episode — a HUGE budget for content creators.

My guess is that every podcaster in the top 20% zone could deliver 10,000 to 100,000+ paid subscribers. Call it 50,000 on average, which means without overlap you would be looking at five million paid subs. With duplication call it three or four million people, each paying $10 a month.

In other words, you would break even if you could convert 1–2% of Americans into a subscription.

To put that in perspective take a look at this ranked list of paid subscribers:

  • New York Times: About 3 million (digital + print combined)
  • WSJ: 948,000 subscribers (digital only)
  • HBO App/Direct: 1 million
  • Pandora: 4.39 million (total)
  • The Podcast Company: five million in five years (projected)
  • Hulu: 12 million (launched in 2008)
  • HBO: 49 million (US)
  • SiriusXM: 31 million (US)
  • Netflix: 49 million (US)

To execute on this business you would need to do a Series A investment of $100m for 1/3rd of the company, followed by three or four additional rounds of investment in the $100–200m range. After spending ~$600 million you would have a service that was self-sustaining and have a high-growth value of 10x top line revenue of $500m — or five billion. You would have an outside chance of becoming the next Spotify or Netflix, putting you in the decacorn club.

At scale, you would integrate some modest advertising back into the product without having the subscribers get upset — SiriusXM did just that, and it’s barely noticeable when Howard does a quick ad read every hour or so.

Venture capitalists don’t normally deal in this kind of $100m investment range, so it would take either a very bullish one or a later stage private equity fund to do this.

There have been dozens of attempts at a podcasting network, but none of them have had the nine figures of funding it takes to get a true subscription flywheel going. A ten or twenty million dollar round of funding won’t get you to first base in a media landscape with Netflix and SiriusXM.

Sure, SirisXM, Spotify, Audible or Netflix could take this on, but greats companies tend to be great at one thing — so it’s unlikely they would dip into podcasting.

So, in the words of Kanye West, “Now who’s gonna be the Medici family and stand up and let me create more; or do you wanna marginalize me ’til I’m out of my moment?”

Best,

@jason


PS — LAUNCH Festival is next week… join us: launchfestival.com/tickets // use code JASON10 for 10% off any ticket.

PPS — Angel Summit is on Wednesday: 40+ angels talk about what they are investing in and why.

PPPS — My book comes out July 18th and it’s called ANGEL. Will be doing two weeks of media in New York city from the 17th until the 30th of July. If you want to host a book party at your startup or in your city, please hit reply and let me know. We are forming “ANGEL Squads” in various cities to setup Q&A and pitch sessions and I could use your help getting 100 folks to each one.

PPPPS — We just finished our sixth syndicate at Jasonssyndicate.com (no longer on AngelList). If you want to see the deals I’m investing in, and possible join us in funding these companies, you can signup to get my deal memos.

PPPPPS — I’m having fun with jasonstxtlist.com, where I regularly share these emails BEFORE I publish them to get feedback. I send maybe five to ten txt messages a month. Nothing crazy, it’s just sort of a fun way to communicate with y’all.

PPPPPPS — My startup, Inside.com, publishes concise, compelling newsletters that round up everything you need to know in 20 different verticals.

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 7 Plus was an OK release, with its exceptional camera and underwater functionality making up for an otherwise “meh” update.

Despite all this, Apple is still a money-printing machine, leading folks like Warren Buffett to load up on it while the pundits wonder if Apple is losing its product edge.

Their one notable exception is Airpods, the most gloriously elegant, addicting and game-changing product that Apple has produced since the iPad.

Airpods are wireless headphones that look like hearing aids with a tiny stem attached to them. You look like an idiot wearing them right now, primarily because they only come in bright white, not in an array of darker colors that would make them elegantly disappear.

These tiny wonders are designed to work instantly, as opposed to every other experience you’ve had with bluetooth devices, which constantly fail to connect or lose their connection so often that you ultimately stop using them.

Here are the nine brilliant features of Airpods I love:

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), TrueCar (raised $70m in its 2014 IPO), and Cafe X (raised $5m) have presented at our event — but 97% of the people at the event were not allowed to invest in them.

This year we’re inviting all 120 startups at the LAUNCH Festival to accept investment from the 12,000 attendees, SeedInvest’s network of 150,000 investors and the tens of thousands watching at home.

We’ve known this was coming, so four years ago — back in 2013 — we created a “virtual investing” contest at the LAUNCH Festival where consumers could invest 10,000 “LAUNCH Dollars.”

This year the investments will be real!

Continue reading The Syndicate

Inside.com launches 14th newsletter

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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,
https://inside.com/technically-sentient <— AI, Machine Learning
https://inside.com/readthisthing <— one great long read a day
Some upcoming newsletters you can vote on:

 

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 something that really does add value to the discussion.

Inside Trump is partly curation — we’re finding the best coverage across hundreds of publications and providing the high-level details along with links to great reporting so you can dive deeper. It’s also partly synthesis — after reading as much news as possible, the newsletter is relaying a concise, clickbait-free roundup of the news you need to know. Finally, it’s also partly original content from deep dives into Trump’s appointments and policies to explorations of the actions he takes in his first 100 days.

Inside Trump has no political agenda. We’re just here to relay the most important news and information to our readers.

If you want to stay up on this ever-fascinating topic, we hope you’ll subscribe to Inside Trump (also, we hope you’ll hit reply to our newsletters and let us know what you think.)

Here’s how you can get involved:

Subscribe to Inside Trump 

Join the discussion about Inside Trump on Product Hunt 

Click to tweet about Inside 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 our team & alumni, including reporting directly to our CEO/founder.
  • Help in selecting our incubator startups.
Qualifications
  • Five years working in and around startups.
  • Proven track record of building quality products, content and/or events.
  • An extensive network of startup people and a deep grasp of the ‘who’s who’ in areas like growth, sales/bd, saas, hr/ops, engineering, design, etc.
  • Intelligence & the ability to quickly build efficient, repeatable processes for scaling our organization.
  • Technical skills, with the ability to quickly add new ones.
  • Excellent communications and presentation skills.
Qualities
  • Hustle. You need to be able to track down busy, influential people and get them to come to our events. This requires creative communication, research, persistence, and hustle.
  • Persistence. We mentioned this above, but it bears reiteration. You might need to email someone six times before you catch their attention. We need someone willing to push hard.
  • Communication. This position requires exceptional writing ability for private (email, mailing lists) and public (social media, blog posts) communications.
  • Curiosity. To excel in this role, you need to be able to build a deep understanding of each of the verticals we publish in. That means knowing the events, companies, products, and most importantly, people, in each of these verticals and having your finger on the pulse of any changes or developments.
  • Time-management & Organization. We have thousands of founders apply for our incubator, and tens of thousands come to our events. We have to manage a deluge of interest that results in a finite amount of deep engagement. This requires organization and time management skills.

This is a full-time position, splitting time between Burlingame and San Francisco.

Compensation: $80-100k/year, plus equity

Apply: https://launchevents.typeform.com/to/WpdStG

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 of the newsletters. This program is loosely modeled off the LinkedIn Influencer program, which you can read more about here.
We’re looking for someone to help create and grow this influencer program. The role consists of a few things:
  • Developing lists of the most influential people in all of our current and upcoming verticals
  • Identifying the best ways to contact and build relationships with these people
  • Applying a Lean Startup methodology to your outreach efforts
  • Building and maintaining relationships with our network of influencers
  • Identifying key topics, events, and issues for influencers to offer input on
  • Communicating actively with our editorial team to get this influencer content into our newsletters
Here are some key requirements:
  • Hustle. You need to be able to track down busy, influential people and get them to talk to you. This requires creative communication, research, persistence, and hustle.
  • Persistence. We mentioned this above, but it bears reiteration. You might need to email someone 6 times before you catch their attention. We need someone willing to push hard.
  • Communication. This is a growth position, not an editorial position, but we are an editorial-driven company and everybody needs to be able to write and communicate well.
  • Curiosity. To excel in this role, you need to be able to build a deep understanding of each of the verticals we publish in. That means knowing the events, companies, products, and most importantly, people, in each of these verticals and having your finger to the pulse of any changes or developments.

apply here

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 or coming soon on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, Go90, Seeso, Fullscreen and beyond. Plus we’ve got news on up-and-coming services, shows and movies to look out for on the horizon and lots more about the business and lifestyle of cutting the cord.

So stop scanning and start watching more great shows you love by subscribing to Inside Streaming. We send updates every Friday, but occasional bonus surprise updates just for fun.


Here’s what you can do to get involved:

  • Subscribe!
  • Email the link (inside.com/streaming) to three friends, and CC team@inside on the emails so we know you’re helping out
  • Find Inside Streaming on Product Hunt and show your support ⬆️
  • Use this Click-to-tweet link to share the news
  • Let us know what you think!

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.

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 didn’t Hillary inspire more voters to come out? Have things gotten that much worse for middle America under Obama, or was it just Hillary (i.e., her “unlikable” tag)?
  2. Why did women vote against Hillary in such large numbers, even after Trump’s comments about women?
  3. Is this a one-time surge of the dwindling majority? How many more elections can this base, commonly referred to as “angry white men,” be sustained?
  4. Is this outcome about race, gender, personality or jobs?
  5. What is the future of the political parties if the GOP got elected by winning the Democratic base of blue-collar workers?
  6. Can anyone be president now? Is political experience still a requirement for the top job in the land, or is Trump a one-time Black Swan event where a person who didn’t serve in the military or hold political office somehow got the top job?

At its core this election is about jobs.

We believe we have an unemployment rate of four or five percent, but our system of reporting unemployment is inherently, and intentionally, skewed. [4] We don’t count people who have given up finding work, and those are the people — and families — I believe won the election for Trump.

If we want to bridge the gap between the “two Americas” I have a simple suggestion: we start telling the truth about employment.

In talking to the smartest kids in the class, I’ve learned that the true measure of how we are doing with jobs is simply calculated:

  1. What percentage of American adults have a job (the participation rate) [5]
  2. What they are getting paid (relative wages)

You can argue about what that money buys (#2), or if people are living in new ways that offer less employment and more leisure time (#1), and most of all you can study why the people who are no longer participating have opted out (aging out plays a big role).

At the end of the day we need to talk about real numbers — not politically motivated massaged ones.

We need a plan to increase wages and create jobs, that’s obvious, but we need to set the goal posts and have a politically neutral conversation about what “winning” looks like for Americans and America.

Adding to the political fun with numbers I’ve mentioned above, we now have two very important questions to answer:

  1. What does “acceptable employment” in the 21st century look like? (more below)
  2. Will the number of jobs rapidly go away due to massive advances in robotics and AI?

Here in Silicon Valley we have been really thinking about this because, candidly, we know we are starting to have an impact.

On “acceptable employment,” consider a former retail worker who loses or leaves their job and decides to contruct a life in which they Airbnb their home a couple of days a month and work two days a week for DoorDash. Doing so cuts their income by 20% but they double their leisure time, reduce their stress by 50% and are 100% happier — is that failure or success?

How do we report this person in our labour stats? According to our reporting today, they would be a failure, but the truth is they might have a much better life.

Adding to the confusion, the leisure time example above might be considered successful or a failure by the same person in the same lifetime. Heck, they might flip back and forth between full-time employment and a “lifestyle employment” every couple of years.

We are going through a reset of the 40-hour work week.

I’m guessing you’ve run into, or know, a ridesharing driver who says they drive into a major city from 60+ miles outside of the city two days a week, doing the arbitrage of 1/4th the living costs with XX%+ of hourly wages. Is this person a success or failure for figuring out how to pay <$1,000 a month for 3x the living space as someone paying $4,000 a month in the city?

How do we account for that individual in our stats? Are they happy and productive, or unhappy?

Will self-driving cars make living 60–90 miles outside of a city and commuting possible because you can work/sleep/netflix in a car going 90 MPH in no traffic? Does that solve a lot of problems around cost of living?

How do we account for that?

Candidly, we must remember that as Americans, we’ve already won when compared to the global scale — but past performance might not be indicative of future success. [6]

Things are moving quickly and it’s confusing for everyone. 2016 is a wake-up call, but it’s our game to lose. We are still the greatest country in the world, and with continued innovation, candidness and empathy we can lead humanity through this seismic shift in employment.

Best @jason

Further reading:

[ 1 ] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/how-trump-won/507053/

[ 2 ] http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-us-politics-poor-whites/

[ 3 ] https://twitter.com/yanagiz/status/796382521688727552

[ 4 ] http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-is-the-real-unemployment-rate/

[ 5 ] https://twitter.com/Jason/status/796797519980204032

[ 6 ] http://hdr.undp.org/en/composite/HDI

[ 7 ] https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/

PS — Looking forward to seeing you all at launchscale.net next week. 50+ talks about how to grow your startup, plus 50 investors are hosting “founder speed dating.”

PPS — Set the date, LAUNCH Festival 2017 is on April 5th-7th!

PPPS — My startup Inside.com is up to 11 live newsletters. You should really check out the latest, Technically Sentient, about AI, as well as sign up for Inside Streaming which is starting next month and will help you select which show to binge watch next.

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 let us know what you think. — @jason

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 ZERO new apps to their phones each month, and most modern news consumption happens in social media) places like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, and, of course, email).

Meanwhile, publishers increasingly rely on viral traffic – which incentivizes silly clickbait, or worse they focus on writing headlines that rank in Google (best iPhone cases FTW!).

Email incentivizes the opposite — it drives us to build a lasting relationship with our readers who demand we deliver massive value. If we don’t they click unsubscribe.

I love that newsletters are held to such a high standard — it makes our writers focused on what matters most.

When it comes to news curation, here’s what we think matters:

1) Content selected by real-world relevance, not catchy titles or more-searched terms.

2) Content selected and presented in a fair way without obvious bias or added commentary.

3) Transparency. No hidden agendas. Literally email us and ask us why we ran a story and we’ll tell you.

We’re going all in with email newsletters because I think we can save journalism by putting 99 cents of every dollar we spend on writers. Our business has close to zero infrastructure costs and massive consumer feedback.

Nine months ago, we started with the Inside Daily Brief, a twice-daily roundup of the most interesting news in the world, which had 10,000 subscribers and just one writer/editor. Now, we have an audience of 100,000 subscribers across eight newsletters, with six people on our editorial team (and it’s growing!).

We’re just getting started.

In addition to letting you subscribe to our existing newsletters, the new site also lets you vote for which newsletters we’ll launch next. Do you want us to hire a top notch writer and launch Inside Golf or Inside Space or Inside Video Games?

Cast your vote, and tell your friends – when we hit 5,000 “early adopters” we’ll launch it.

So, here’s my ask:

  • Head over to inside.com and subscribe/vote for all the newsletters you find most interesting
  • Check out our post today on Product Hunt and leave some feedback
  • Tell your friends! If we can keep growing the readership of these newsletters, we can keep improving and launching new ones. That starts with you spreading the word.
  • Hit reply to the emails we send and tell us what you love, if we make a mistake and share an intelligent response to the question of the day. I read every email reply!

– @jason

 

PS – Here’s our subscriber growth in the past few months:

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If you have a newsletter and you want to join our network, please email partners@inside.com. We’re looking to not only launch our own newsletters, but host and sell the advertising in other ones too.

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 or 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 he solved TV, but we can’t see it

iPhone 7

We wanted VR, we wanted a new form factor and Howard Stern wanted holographic phone calls. We got Samsung’s waterproofing from two years ago, a new color (or lack of color), a camera upgrade and they took our headphone jack. 

I’m actually excited about the camera upgrades, as I’ve got kids and I like taking pictures of food, but I know that I’m in the minority of people who will upgrade a 12-24 month-old phone just to take slightly better pictures.

Those of us who drop our phones into the toilet, or who spend too much time emailing in the hot tub, will certainly appreciate the waterproofing. I’ve started to see friends making videos underwater on the Cape with the Samsung waterproof smartphone and it’s cool, but the iPhone 7 is rated just under the Samsung in terms of water protection.

As an aside, it’s kind of cool that there is actually a rating system around “immersion protection,” with the iPhone 7 being resistant and the Samsung being able to operate underwater for 30 minutes (more).

Is this Apple’s shortcoming, or simply a sign that we’ve hit Peak Smartphone? Probably 50-50, and that’s a huge problem for Apple, either way.

More importantly, Android’s operating system continues to get tighter and easier to use, and don’t get me started on how much better Google’s Project Fi is than AT&T or Verizon’s offerings, providing a real reason to switch to Android: less carrier pain!

Apple really should make their own Project Fi, as the best part of Android is kicking out Verizon.

Project Titan

Reports are they’ve rebooted away from making their own car, and earlier this year we heard they couldn’t find a partner for the project (i.e., BMW or Mercedes). The car is the missing piece to the puzzle, and the facts that they can’t get a partner, and have decided to not release their own project is really sad — or it’s a diversionary tactic!

Seriously, it’s completely possible Apple is making the car and is doing a MASSIVE head fake to the industry by leaking that they will simply be a software provider.

The Underwhelming Watch

Everyone I know bought the watch and very few are still using it. They added GPS and made it swim proof in version 2.0, but that is basically a catch-up move. My Fitbit Surge lasts for a week on a charge and has had GPS for a couple of years.

Clearly Apple missed the mark with a timepiece and now realize they need to specialize and win over the athletes. I give them credit for that.

My prediction: The smartwatch is DOA until they can put a 4G connection into it and make it a standalone device. Imagine being able to call an Uber, check your email and make a phone call on your watch while leaving your phone at home — that’s compelling!

How is Apple MIA on VR & AR?

If any company should own the VR & AR space, it’s Apple, which has a massive App Store with loyal developers, sexy hardware and made-to-use chips that are exceptional at graphics. Yet, here we are, with Oculus being bought by Facebook and leading the pack along with…. HTC’s Vive. Samsung, Google, Sony and Microsoft have really compelling products in the market as well.

Heck, Snapchat is making some AR glasses as we speak, which I’m predicting will feature people’s Snapcodes above their heads while allowing you to “blink three times quickly” to publish the last seven seconds of your life.

Yep, Snapchat will release a “Life DVR” before Apple even announces something.

[ If you missed it, here is the video from the tiny startup they bought, and their public demo. ]

That’s seven major competitors out there getting it done and we don’t even have a rumor about an Apple product. Now, VR & AR are very new and there is no clear winner, so it is possible that Apple could come from behind — like they did in smartphones and tablets — and lap the competition. But given their recent track record, it is strange we’re not even hearing rumors.

Machine Learning and AI

Apple took forever to figure out the cloud and now it looks like the same pattern might be playing itself out again with machine learning and AI.

The sexy features in products we’ll be using in the coming years might not be measured in design and hardware specs, but rather in intelligence. Do you care about what the car looks like or the fact that it doesn’t let you get in a fender bender (or lets you sleep on the way to work)?

Will you care about the UX of your next email app and calendar, or the fact that it prioritizes your email perfectly, and finds the perfect cafe, time and people to invite to solve your latest business meeting needs?

All the good stuff coming will be based on machine learning and AI and that doesn’t play to Apple’s strength — but boy does it play to Google’s!

Jobs said he solved TV, but we can’t see it

Famously, Steve Jobs told Walt Mossberg that he had solved the TV issue, and that he was going to do an actual physical TV — not just the current hockey puck device called “Apple TV” that you plug into your Samsung TV. (The one that comes with a kickass Smarthub built in that does 90% of what Apple TV already does, and some things it refuses to do, like support Amazon Prime!)

There has been no word on a physical TV in a long, long time, and Apple can’t seem to figure out how to do a skinny bundle for an OTT (over the top) service.

The Big Question People Aren’t Asking Publicly — Yet

It’s super annoying when folks say “Steve Jobs would have gotten this done” and “Jobs would never have stood for this,” but the reason folks say it is because Jobs was that good at getting the final 10% or 20% out of product — and Apple.

Without Steve, Apple seems to be getting by just fine, but these six red flags are leading folks to believe that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start thinking about putting a visionary product person in the top seat and having Cook move back to the more natural position of COO.

Tim Cook has kept the ship tight at Apple, but there is a growing sense among the most elite and informed people I talk to that someone with a bold product — or corporate M&A — vision needs to take over.

Founder authority, which is driving Tesla, Google, Netflix, Uber, Amazon and Facebook to dizzying heights of audacious innovation, is what’s missing at Apple today. Cook has managed the transition exceptionally when you look at the stunning balance sheet, but someone has to step into the driver’s seat and prepare Apple to compete with Elon, Larry, Reed, Travis, Jeff and Mark — who are just getting started.

In my follow-up piece, I’ll outline “the Path to a Trillion,” but for now, what do you think are the biggest threats to Apple out of those six? Are there any other issues that belong in the top six?

All the best, @jason

PS – I’m writing this on my iMac Retina, while my iPhone 6s and iPad Pro charge on the desk, but I’m wearing a Fitbit Surge and have my Nexus 6 in my pocket. I just bought my first Windows machine in years to power my Oculus headset. I’m 80% Apple, 20% other right now — and the Apple part is shrinking fast.  

PPS – Our next event will feature speed dating with the 100 founders who are the most ready for their Series A, pitching to the 50 top investors in the world. You get 10 minutes to quickly meet, so this is super efficient for everyone. Founders and investors apply here.

 

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 ticket for $295, which includes lunch & downloadable copies of all the videos from the event for your team. launchscale.net/tickets

 3. Buy a VIP ticket for $995, which includes lunch, videos of all the talks, and a seat at the two intimate dinners. launchscale.net/tickets

4. If you build a tool or provide a service for startups and/or investors, you can present your tool for 10 minutes on stage in exchange for helping support the event as a partner. Email partners@launch.co

5. You can nominate someone (including yourself) to be part of the SCALE 100 speed-dating program, which is limited to 100 founders. In order to be in the SCALE 100 you need to have a product in market that has traction but that has NOT raised Series A. The goal of speed dating is to introduce the “up and coming” startups that are getting ready for their series A in the next 3-18 months. If your startup is pre-traction, you should apply to present at the LAUNCH Festival (announcement coming October 1st). Nominate your start-up

 6. We have 10 (unpaid) speaking slots left for founders or investors. If you would like to talk at this event the best way is to pitch us on a talk with the format of “How I built COMPANY NAME from X to Z, and from A to F, doing these three things.” Every talk at SCALE is designed to be massively helpful in either growing your company or helping you raise capital.

7. We have eight paid speaking slots with demo tables for partners who are looking to demo their products or services to the audience. Email partners@launch.co if interested.

WHY OUR EVENTS HAVE THE BEST CONTENT

All of our speakers must rehearse their talks at least one time with me and my team. We give candid feedback and rank the talks before you see them. We do not allow anyone on stage who doesn’t score an 8.5 of 10 on our internal scoring system. Additionally, we ask all of our attendees to rank each speaker and we send those rankings to the speakers, along with your comments. We invite the speakers who are in the top 1/3rd to speak again the next year.

All the best, @jason

PS – Featured talks are listed below. Four stars indicate that this was a top-rated speaker at one of our previous events.

****Scaling Z2: The Next Generation of Zenefits, David Sacks, Zenefits

How Casper Revolutionized Sleep & Became a $100m Company in Less than Two Years, Philip Krim, Casper

****The Super, Way Early Indicators For Hyper-Growth SaaS Companies, Jason Lemkin, SaaStr

How to Increase Conversion 30% & Retention 35% by Giving Away Your Product, Amanda Richardson, Hotel Tonight

****How to Make Your Product Viral in 5 Easy Ways, Josh Elman, Greylock

Locking Down Series A: How to Know When You Have Product-Market Fit, Satya Patel, Homebrew

Winning With Data: How to Create & Scale a Data-Driven Company, Tomasz Tunguz, Redpoint

****A Step-by-Step Practical Guide to Getting Your Series B, Jed Katz, Javelin Venture Partners

10 Lessons From Scaling Pinterest & The Hierarchy of Engagement, Sarah Tavel, Greylock

****Stay Scrappy: How to Double Your Runway by Leveraging Co-working Spaces & Shared Resources, Paul Judge, Tech Square Labs

Take the Red Pill: The Billion-Dollar Opportunities Now Emerging for Businesses that Combine Software with Real-World Operations, Glenn Kelman, Redfin

****Beyond Fundraising: Building Trust With Your Investors to Ensure Profitability, Clara Brenner, Urban Innovation Fund

****Launching a New Market: Hacks & Guerilla Tips to Gain Attention in a New Geography, Sonny Mayugba, Requested

****Think Outside the Digital Box: Promotions in the Physical Realm, Aaron Magness, Betabrand

Leveraging Data to Maximize New Client Acquisition, Retention & Monetization, Melody McCloskey, StyleSeat

Every VC Thinks They’re a BizDev Rock Star: How to Really Leverage Them & Their Network, John Heltzel, Los Altos Advisors

Want Real Disruption, Have a Real Mission: 10 Ways to Scale by Strengthening Your Purpose, James Siminoff, Ring

Out of Office, On the Clock: Scaling with Remote Talent, Brian Alvey, Clipisode

****Why Attribution Modeling is Critical to B2B Startups & How You Can Master it in Under 60 Days, Andy Artz, Social Capital

****Beyond Sand Hill Road: Finding Great Investors Outside of Silicon Valley, Jonathon Triest, Ludlow Ventures

****After the Chicken-and-Egg Problem: How to Scale a Marketplace, Abigail Keifer, RedClay

Moneyball: How to Optimize Paid Acquisition via Segmentation & Landing Pages, Edgar Blazona, BenchMade Modern

****Don’t Take NO for an Answer: Creating AMP (Angel Market Pressure), James Heller, Wrapify

****Why you should NEVER Scale With Negative Unit Economics & How You Can Turn it Around, Jason Demant, Bento

****You Make What You Measure: Why Good Metrics are Critical to Good Growth, Kyle Hill, HomeHero

How to Scale Your Startup By Selling to the Government, Stonly Baptiste, Urban Us

****Zero to 60: Lessons in Building an Org Chart from Scratch, Adam Nash, Wealthfront

How to Land Customers, Employees and Investors Through Social Impact, Shaun Abrahamson, Urban Us

The Power of NPS & Relentless “Delightification,” Jill Bourque, RushTix

****How to Get 100,000 Users for Your Bot in 100 Days, Adelyn Zhou, TopBots

Delivering Delight: Why Customer Satisfaction is Everything & How to Achieve It, David Hassell, 15Five

How to Hack Your Hiring Process: Recruiting Top Talent as a Startup with Limited Capital, Andrew Farah, Density

Top 10 Rules for Customer Success, Mei Siauw, LeadIQ

****The Power of Customer Engagement: Leveraging Feedback Loops to Unlock More Revenue from Clients, Craig Zingerline, Votion

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

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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 building a massively successful and 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.

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 newsletter all about the Bay Area. We’re covering everything from breaking news to politics and housing to fun stuff like events and new restaurants, five days per week.

If you live in the Bay Area, we’d really appreciate if you give it a try and let us know what you think. Also, it’s up on Product Hunt today, and we’d love if you join the discussion there.

Soon we’re going to be rolling out a platform that brings all of this work together more cohesively, but in the meantime, here are all the Inside newsletters you can subscribe to:

Inside SFInside Daily Brief — Inside VR & AR — Inside Security — Inside Electric Vehicles — Inside Drones — ReadThisThing

As always, leave a reply and let us know what you think. — @jason

PS: to celebrate the launch, we’re giving away a $150 gift card to Pizzeria Delfina. Enter to win here.

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

News Roundtable! Ari Levy, CNBC & Rolfe Winkler, WSJ: Walmart & Jet, Google & anti-trust, Uber & China, Elon & Energy, CEOs & bad behavior

Hi everyone, Producer Jacqui here. Ari Levy of CNBC and Rolfe Winkler of The Wall Street Journal joined @Jason for a must-see News Roundtable on This Week in Startups. An amazing discussion that kicked off with big deal of the week, Walmart snapping up Jet.com for $3b, that crackled on to Google, the government, anti-trust, the entire U.S. debt problem, the Chinese Market, the very future of energy (featuring, naturally, Elon), and the latest in startup CEOs behaving badly. And more.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/00i8b ]

Subscribe in iTunes: http://bit.ly/TWiSTAV

And watch here! 🙂

Some key discussions
M&A

The big deal of week is Jet.com being bought for $3B by Walmart. What’s behind the deal? Walmart.com has been around since 2000 and has never bridged the gap with Amazon, remaining the #2 player in e-commerce. Could Jet.com & CEO Marc Lore be the answer?

Politics & Google

What’s the story of Google, the White House, and anti-trust? Google was investigated on anti-trust grounds by the FTC, but ultimately, the decision was made against pursuing any anti-trust case. The Obama administration has been pro-tech and pro-Google. And lobbying works — both parties have been fairly reluctant to launch any anti-trust campaign within technology in the US.

Debt in economy

Debt-to-GDP in the economy, even after some of the de-leveraging from 2009, is still at a level that is “mind-boggling.” The problem is in private debt (corporate, student loan, credit card, mortgage debt). Is this why millennials do not accumulate assets? Where do we go from here?

Bad behavior

Using the recent Hampton Creek controversy as a starting point, the panelists debate questionable CEO startup behavior of late. When Silicon Valley prioritizes growth over everything, yet any appearance of impropriety IS impropriety, where is that line … exactly?

Elon Musk & the future

How much do you want the future to arrive early? Elon would like the world to solve global warming and get off fossil fuels in his lifetime. But we have to decide as a society where to allocate funds. Is there a sustainable, bull market in electric- & self-driving cars? And when you factor in all of the capital and regulatory requirements required, do you bet on Tesla? (or Apple? Google?).