From 2012: There is no Series A Crunch.

I wrote this piece back in December 2012, when folks were in a panic over the “series A Crunch.”

Does/did my argument hold up, three years later?

best @jason

From November, 2012: The “Series A Crunch” refers to the fact that while angel-funded startups (think: $750,000 invested by angels in two founders) have grown five times-plus in the past three years, the number of Series A fundings (think: $3 million invested by a venture capitalist in a 10-person startup) has stayed the same.

I’m telling you right now this is a complete non-issue.

Many folks are obsessing over the supposed “Series A Crunch” because, quite logically, if there is a fixed number of Series A investments to go around and a lot more folks fighting for them, well, many folks will not get one.

Parents fleeing a public school system increase the demand for the (relatively) fixed number of slots in private education, making those slots more and more valuable. In fact, it only takes a percentage of actors to “switch teams” to cause an imbalance.

What these folks, largely journalists, who have no experience in business, fail to realize is that “things” do not always stay the same in an equation — and that founders should be wickedly good at adapting to changing conditions.

Fact one: The number of Series A fundings could dramatically increase.

The number of slots for players in the NBA this year was 435 (29 teams times 15 players). However, when the NBA started 60 years ago, there were only 11 teams, so the number of slots totaled just 165 (assuming 15-man rosters back then).

In the coming years, the NBA will, mark my word, add a half-dozen teams in Europe and Asia. It’s safe to assume there will be a 40-team league some day.

Additionally, after the shortened NBA season last year, fans, players, and the league realized 82 games were not as much fun as a condensed 50 to 60 game season. I believe the NBA will go to two shorter seasons a year: one US-only and one international.

With two seasons and a dozen more teams, it’s possible the number of slots will grow to 500 or 600 — or more.

Bottom line: Capacity increases along with opportunity.

VCs are a greedy lot (and us founders and GPs love you for it), and the world has mountains of money sitting in bonds, gold, corporate stockpiles, and plain old devaluing C-Notes (aka cash).

If 10 companies with the metrics of Fab, Dropbox, Yammer, Uber, or AirBnb were to walk into a VC firm with only the money to fund five, you know what they would do? Raise more money!

Capacity expands all the time, and it could turn on a dime. Look how quickly Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz raised fund after fund in the last couple of years.

Television is another wonderful example of capacity increasing.

Just 30 years ago, your chances of being an actor in a TV show was something like 20 shows on each of three different networks with seven characters on each. That means there were 420 slots available (20 shows times three networks times seven characters = 420).

Since that time, the number of channels has grown and therefore the number of shows with slots for actors.

Additionally, shows now have numerous plot twists per shows, which means shows need many more characters. Compare shows like “All in the Family” or “Happy Days” to more recent series like “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones,” or “The Walking Dead.” Tons of new characters are introduced into every episode of those later shows. I think you could count on one hand the new characters introduced on “Happy Days”: Pinky Tuscadero, Mork, and Chachi.

TV has experienced a double expansion: more shows and more characters per show.

This would be like the NBA deciding to make the court 20 percent bigger and putting 14 players on the court at a time rather than 10. (Wonder what that would be like?)

Fact two: A Series A is not the only option to grow a business.

Most pre-Series A companies have under 5-10 people and no revenue. Therefore they “burn” about $50,000 to $75,000 a month in my experience (think five people times $75,000 a year equals $375,000 plus $100,000 in other costs).

Here’s an absolutely crazy idea for folks “facing” the Series A Crunch: Make $2,750 a day (about $1 million per year). If you’re burning two or three times that amount, well, cut one-third your costs. VCs will fund any company with a Series A if they are making $2,750 a day.

If you can’t hit breakeven, well, shut your company down and go work for a startup that can. If you can only hit $1,000 a day, merge your company with another one that is making $1,000 a day and cut the bottom one-third of the staff.

Not willing to do that?

Well, if you’re not willing to give up your diapers and put on your big-boy undies, then you need to stay in nursery school for another year. Series A is for folks who don’t make wee-wee in the bed.

Fact three: VCs are not the only source of funding.

If you have some combination of solid growth, decent revenue, a great team, and a sexy product, you can easily — yes, easily — raise money from strategic investors or rich people. Is this ideal? Some have argued strategic money is bad, but those folks are usually VCs who are in competition with the strategics.

VCs really hate strategic money, because it is valuation insensitive and can result in an early exit (e.g., if Home Away had invested in Airnbnb, perhaps they would have been talked into selling in the HomeAway IPO).

If you went to Mark Cuban with a company making $25,000 a month, no or low burn, a big vision and a reasonable valuation, he will put money into it. I know, he invested in my last company — and many others — with that profile. Rich folks are very, very smart and they know that businesses that have money in their bank accounts and customers paying for their product rarely go to zero.

Bottom line: You’re in control of your destiny, and obsessing on the blogger-manufactured “Series A crunch” will only distract you from the work you need to do survive the winter. And winter always comes. Always.

Why I’m bringing back the Open Angel Forum


[ tl;dr: I’m bringing back my angel dinner, the same one Uber & Thumbtack pitched their seed rounds at, at my house on December 2nd, because startups really need help getting past their seed rounds. ]

Back in 2009, I started a dinner party called Open Angel Forum. The goal was to kill the Keiretsu Forum, which charged founders thousands of dollars to (supposedly) pitch angel investors.

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Using the term “supposedly” because many founders told me the only follow-up they got from these payola groups was from service providers who attend them pretending to be angels.

Open Angel Forum alumni include: Uber, Thumbtack, Backupify, Contently, Food52, Signpost, StyleSeat, and countless others. They all raised part of their first round of funding at this wonderful event.

Then AngelList came around and there were many more angels than startups. There was no reason to host Open Angel Forum, at least not in New York, LA, or San Francisco. (They kept doing it in Boulder, actually).

Now I see a need for the Open Angel Forum again, but not because there are predatory scumbags trying to trick unsuspecting founders into paying for access to angels.

The problem today is that there are some great angel-funded startups that are stuck between the angel-funded world and the VC world.

Continue reading Why I’m bringing back the Open Angel Forum

What I learned from passing on investing in Twitter & Zynga — & saying yes to Uber & Thumbtack


This week I was asked to speak to a dozen billionaires at a secret meeting about putting $100b to work. They wanted me to talk about what I’ve learned over the past five years as an angel investor.

Well, here it is.

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It took me five years, but I’ve learned what the two most important factors are in the success of an angel investor. It’s not being smart, it’s not being diligent, and it’s certainly not being a visionary.

After passing on Twitter and Zynga, I invested in Thumbtack and Uber. Looking back, I knew Ev and Mark were winners, but I didn’t think their ideas — for “updates” and “social poker” — were winners.

I was wrong about their ideas, but I was right about them.  

When Travis and Marco came along with their ideas, I didn’t even try to judge if “on-demand drivers” and “a better craigslist” were winners, because I knew the individuals were winners.

That’s enough information to make a bet.

Which leads me to “Jason’s Law of Angel Investing,” which states:

“You don’t need to know if the idea will succeed — just the person.”

Continue reading What I learned from passing on investing in Twitter & Zynga — & saying yes to Uber & Thumbtack

FIGHT! FIGHT! My response to the CEO of Outbrain

[ tldr: The CEO of Outbrain sent me a choice email regarding AdReplacer, which might — at some point in the future — impact his business in some minor way. Here is my response. I’ll leave it up to him if he wants to publish his email. ]

Thanks for reaching out. Let’s split this into three issues here. First, my support of startups; second, how consumers feel about advertising (and your product); and third, the morality of adblockers.

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In terms of my support of startups, it speaks for itself:

  1. 150 angel investments
  2. almost 600 episodes of This Week in Startups
  3. 20,000 free tickets distributed for my events, Launch Festival, SCALE, etc., this year alone

To the second point, consumers are fed up with overbearing advertising. This is a problem that has been caused by aggressive marketers and the publishers who enable them.

Advertising inventory has exploded, but at the same time, consumers have become much more savvy about avoiding tricky ads. Which then requires marketers to get even trickier and more misleading.

This has resulted in the wholesale destruction of journalism’s famed “Chinese Wall” between editorial and sales, with even the New York Times trying to trick their customers into clicking on “native advertising.” It’s disgusting to anyone who cares about journalism and keeping the public well-informed.

Native ads are perhaps “Peak Deception” in this war between marketers and readers, with Google’s confusing search ads being a close second. (Reports show that up to 40% of Google users don’t know they’re clicking on an ad — something that has caught the attention of even the FTC, which is handing out warnings.)

Publishers will do anything they need to in order to survive. Except, it seems, charge for their content. They’re probably right not to charge, because most consumers don’t want to pay. And so the Cold War continues!

Continue reading FIGHT! FIGHT! My response to the CEO of Outbrain

Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight

Just like a @#$ to bring a knife to a gun fight
– Sean Connery, The Untouchables

We are living in an age of excellence, where the science of product design is churning out wave after wave of exceptionally well-conceived delights for consumers. Product is so important, in fact, that distribution is often drowned out by the popping of champagne corks, as founders watch their babies hit number one on Product Hunt and Hacker News.

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What a thrill it is to hit the top of the charts, a perfect peak, only to humble founders with the eventual and brutal pit of despair they will face in the coming days and weeks, as other products replace them at the top of the App Store.  

Lasting distribution, created by growth-driven teams that have exceptional products, are the big winners today. Airbnb built a killer tool for Craigslist, Uber mastered the referral system and ‘over the shoulder virality’, while Wealthfront took the referral system and content marketing strategies deployed by others to the next level. WhatsApp crushed it using the “phonebook social network” combined with relentless localization.

I’ve been looking through the 400 applications, and still growing, that have come into this year’s LAUNCH Incubator class, and I’m stunned by how many have exceptionally well-created products — with no consideration for distribution.

Great moves all, but with no marketing budget, target audience, titles, or tag lines.

Standing out today with investors requires great products, but that’s table stakes. To really stand out from the pack, bring a killer distribution hack that you refined and can speak about first-hand.

Continue reading Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight

When should you start meeting with investors?


One of the most frequent questions I get from founders, and one I had myself when I was founding companies, is “When should I approach investors?”

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It’s a tricky question, and the answer would be different in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015. The benchmark for when “you’re ready for a meeting” changes based on the competition in the overall industry (now at record highs), the profile of the investor you’re meeting with (first year investor vs. year 20 investors), and your track record.

One thing is for sure going into 2016: do not show up at a meeting without a functional prototype (aka an MVP, ‘minimum viable product’).

Simply put, showing up without product today is like showing up without a business plan in 1995 — you simply won’t be taken seriously by most investors.

There are two exceptions to this:

  1. You’re meeting an investor who worked with you previously and you set the meeting in the context of “can I float an idea by you?”
  1. You sold your last company and returned 10x for your previous investors, and you put this meeting in the context of “I sold Weblogs Inc. 18 months after I started it, for 10x the valuation at which Mark Cuban invested. I’m working on my next idea and I want to show you the research.”

[ Note: that is how exactly how I landed Sequoia Capital for Mahalo, and got two other offers from big firms. I showed them my research on search results. Wouldn’t work today. Folks don’t invest millions to make an MVP anymore. ]

The bottom line is, the MVP is the business plan and your resume. It’s the business plan because you can show it to customers and get feedback on it immediately, and it’s the resume because an investor can see if you know how to build a product.

Continue reading When should you start meeting with investors?

How to pick an incubator: YCombinator, Techstars, 500Startups, or Launch Incubator

As a follow up to my post on creating the best startup incubator in the world, I made a little video on why you should apply to the Launch Incubator and how we built upon the model of YCombinator, 500Startups, Techstars and others to build what is, far and away, the best incubator in the world.

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* Quick note: TechStars subscribes to my small class size theory as well, with a max of 10 startups per class.

** Quick note: if you’re a startup and you get into YC, TS or 500 you should go — these are all great programs. If you get into those programs and mine? Well, I think you should come to mine, but the best way for you to figure that out for yourself is to:

a) talk to the graduates of both programs

b) ask which partner will be your partner at the program (not just the figure head of the program who you meet 2-3x), and how do they compare to me. If you’re spending 12 weeks with Dave Cohen, PG, McClure, or Sam Altman directly, that’s a tough decision.

The Greatest Incubator Ever Created

For the past 20 years I’ve watched the power incubators have had in technology. I’ve taken notes diligently, spoken to my 100+ portfolio company founders and have been quietly developing what is, hands down, the greatest startup program ever created.

It’s called the LAUNCH Incubator and we’ve graduated 13 startups in the last two classes.

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We studied Bill Gross’ pioneering Idealab, which brought us eToys and PeoplePC, and Paul Graham’s gold-standard YCombinator, with its phenomenal scale and triplet of unicorns in Zenefits, Dropbox, and Airbnb, as well as David Cohen’s innovative Techstars, which has reached across many cities and corporate partners including Disney and Microsoft.

These three programs are all exceptional and we’ve looked at everything they’ve done right, and combined it with our huge platform which includes the LAUNCH Festival (15,000 attendees, the largest startup conference in the world), the SCALE conference (4,000 attendees and 50+ growth speakers) and This Week in Startups (500+ episodes and counting!).

We’ve come to the conclusion that the best incubator in the world needs to focus on five things:

  1. Small class size
  2. Early access for great investors
  3. A curriculum focused on tactical issues
  4. Accepting startups with finished products
  5. Relentless support post demo day

We’ve done two classes so far, and we are accepting applications for three remaining slots in our Winter Class, which starts the week of November 16th. Our first class had 150 applicants and our second class had 350. Our current class will have over 500.

Most people won’t get in, but we’re going to meet with the top 10% in person and give them as candid feedback as we can, in the hopes that we might have them join us for the Spring Class or LAUNCH Festival.

You can apply at (November 10th is the deadline, applications are being reviewed in the order they come in).

Let me explain a little bit about each lesson and share with you what our founders have said.

Continue reading The Greatest Incubator Ever Created

Startup Time-to-Profitability Calculator


A couple of months back I wrote a piece called “The Startup Martian,” and asked founders “Can You Get There on What You Got?”

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PG recently wrote a related piece, Default Alive or Default Dead, that referenced an awesome little web tool that I’m going to be using in every angel meeting I ever do again called the “Startup Growth Calculator (which here I’ve set at $30,000 a month in costs, $1,000 a month in revenue and 20% m/o/m growth — 1.5 years to profitability!”

I do these calculations in my head instantly when talking to founders by asking them a series of questions in our meetings:

1. “How many people do you need to build and maintain the product?” then…

2. “How much are you going to charge for the product?” then…

3. “How many customers do you think you’ll have at the end of year one … and two?”

Now I can just direct people to this simple page — brilliant!

Apple’s brilliant assault on advertising — and Google

For their iOS 9 release, Apple not only permits, but actively encourages developers to make Apps that remove advertising and tracking from the web. They added this feature deliberately; it’s not a hack by developers they’ve turned a blind eye to.

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I’ve been using two Apps called Adblock Fast and Crystal for the past week and surfing the web on my iPhone has become delightfully fast and uncluttered. Blocking ads on your mobile phone is like moving from a crowded apartment complex in a polluted, violent city to a peaceful lake house.

It’s a massive, noticeable change for two important reasons that have to do with the device you’re holding: screen size and bandwidth.

Given the increasing size of our desktop monitors, multiple windows to choose from, and increasingly fast cable modems and fiber connections, ad blockers have been a minor innovation on the desktop this past decade. (We hate you if you have fiber, really.) On a desktop, you barely notice the ads are gone, because the ads weren’t laying on top of the content. They were typically around the content.

On an iPhone, well, you’re dealing with 5-10% of the screen size of your desktop monitors, so publishers putting up a roadblock on the content, then asking you to use your fat fingers to hit the tiny little X or ‘skip the ad in 4… 3… 2… 1…’ is just overbearing.

Mobile advertising is so ugly and intrusive, it actually makes people AVOID mobile browsing. That’s why the ‘read it later’ feature, pioneered by Marco Arment’s brilliant Instapaper and Nate Weiner’s Pocket, became so popular that Apple copied them. When a user hits ‘read it later,’ it means ‘read this when I don’t have to deal with all this bullshit.’

Continue reading Apple’s brilliant assault on advertising — and Google

You don’t have what it takes

“You don’t have what it takes,” I told the founder as he stared at me, crestfallen like a child who just found out that he didn’t make the team.

“I do, I’ve worked harder than anyone else…” he pleaded.

“It’s not about hard work, it’s about solving hard problems with the least amount of work,” I told him.

“So what should I do?” he asked.

“You should quit… and go work for someone who does have what it takes,” I told him, without a moment’s reservation or regret.

“You should do something that’s much easier and that allows you to refine your skills. Right now, you’re one of three people at a startup when you should be one of 200 people at a mid-sized company,” I added, ending the meeting.

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Most Folks Don’t Have What it Takes

You see, what I’ve learned after 25 years of doing this startup thing is that 99% of people simply don’t have what it takes to lead a startup — and thank God. Leading a startup is a brutal pursuit. Most days are a death march in which you work horrific hours under massive duress waiting for your chance … to join the 80% of startups that die off.

What person in their right mind wants to run marathons that 80% of the time ends in them falling between miles 18 and 25? You’d have to be an unbalanced and desperate person to want to run a marathon in which the last five miles are filled with people getting tackled and sucker punched to the ground.

So, if you’re reading this, chances are, candidly, you don’t have what it takes.

Said conversely, if you’re well adjusted, smart and not a masochist — congrats!

Continue reading You don’t have what it takes

On CNBC’s Squawk Alley 9/15/15: Twitter CEO delay, Evernote a dead unicorn?, Tim Cook gunning for Google

Producer Jacqui here. ICYMI, Jason was on CNBC’s Squawk Alley this a.m. commenting on why the Twitter CEO delay, whether Evernote is a dead unicorn, and how Tim Cook is gunning for Google. Check it out!

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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.

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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.

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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: / iTunes audio / iTunes video / Soundcloud

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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, on being permanently banned from Twitter & his controversial journalism & belief

Ep560: Brian Hoffman’s, 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, 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.

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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.


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.

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$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

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 and signup with your email to get an application.


all the best,

@jason and the LAUNCH Team’s vertical strategy — looking for some partners!

inside scienceWe’ve been working hard on 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.

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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!

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


Inside Drones


Inside Gadgets

Continue reading’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.

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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