A catch phrase will go here soon.

(The) Startup Depression

9/29/2008

I wrote this to my email list on Saturday the 27th of 2008. Two days before the single largest drop in the history of the stock market. 

Now, I promised myself I was retired from blogging to focus on my email newsletter, but I’m getting pounded with so many requests for this essay that I’m giving up and posting it here. This does not mean my retirement from blogging is off, this means I’m posting this so I don’t have to respond to hundreds of emails asking for a copy. If you want future missives like this signup for Jason’s List: Jason’s List signup.

For background, the goal of this post was not to spread fear, but rather inspire folks at startup companies to get focused and to save as many as possible from hitting the wall. Myself? We’ll I funded Mahalo for the long-term and while the market down turn isn’t good for anyone, we’re largely immune from it because we are building on a five year plan that we’re only 18 months into.  

Doesn’t mean I’m not hyper focused, I am…. I’m just not panicking. Great entrepreneurs build value and market-share in down markets. They go to work seven days a week and the breakout when other folks check out. 

Location: CalaCompound, Brentwood, CA
Monday, September 27th, 5:15PM PST.
Word Count: 3,283
Jason’s List Subscriber Count: 6,992
List management: http://tinyurl.com/jasonslist
Message type: startups
Forwarding instructions: startups, VCs
Republishing rights: Please do not reprint

(The) Startup Depression
————————————
Since stock market gyrations and the elections seem to be making
everyone rightfully nauseous and depressed, I thought I would take
this email to discuss the biggest ramifications of these challenging
times: depression.

It’s my believe that the economic downturn will be much worse than it
is today, and that 50-80% of the venture-backed startups currently
operating will shut down or go on life-support (i.e. 3-4 folks working
on them) within the next 18 months.

Make a list of every Web 2.0 startup to raise an A or B round and
cross 80% of them off the list, because they will not make it to their
next round of funding or profitability.

Now, I could be totally wrong. No one can guess or time the markets
perfectly. However, planning for the worst is a virtuous idea, so I
encourage you to read on.

Everyone I talk to is feeling confused, paralyzed and anxious–many
are in full-blown depression. People are scared, and they should be.
This could be the start of a very difficult time for our country and
the rest of the world.

In this email, we’ll focus on the entrepreneurial and startup
depression and economic downturns/depressions–and how you can deal
with them.

Some background to get us started
————————————
Few things in the world are as exhilarating as starting a new company.
Metaphors abound, and we’ve all heard them: starting a company is like
having a baby, falling in love, and running a marathon. Few folks,
however, want to continue the metaphor when things go bad at a
startup. If they did, we would be having discussions about running a
startup being like divorcing your spouse, collapsing from exhaustion
in the 20th mile of the marathon, or–God forbid–losing a child.

Metaphors swing both ways.

Anxiety and depression from a failed, or failing, startup can be
intense–even debilitating. When outside factors such as markets or
buildings collapsing are added to the mix, I’ve seen great
entrepreneurs just fold.

Now, I’ve never folded, and I don’t say that as some badge of courage.
No, sometimes it’s really, really stupid to keep fighting. Most
consider it especially stupid to fight when you know you’re going to
lose. I don’t.

The result of never folding is that I’ve had my ass kicked pretty bad.
Multiple times.

Depending on your DNA, getting your ass kicked is either complete
torture or deviantly rewarding. Truth be told, I like getting my ass
kicked because it makes me angry, motivated and focused. If I look
back on the couple of moments of success I’ve been lucky enough to
have in my life, they all seem to come after a good ass-kicking.

The darkest hour is–in fact–right before the dawn.

Brief Disclaimer
————————————
I’d be lying if I said I understood the complexities of depression or
depressions. I’m not a psychologist nor am I an economist. I’ve never
suffered from clinical depression and I didn’t live through the last
depression. However, I do have a BA in Psychology, have read many
books about the psychology of happiness, and I’ve felt the sting of
the last huge correction (2000-2002).

Consider these one (hu)man’s notes on “entrepreneurial depression and
anxiety.” They are worth the price you’ve paid for them, but I hope
they are helpful to you–especially if you’re suffering right now. If
you are suffering from depression or anxiety, go see a professional.

Really, it’s the best thing to do. Feel free to print this out and
bring it with you and ask your newfound therapist what they think of
my observations and advice. Then email me back what they said… I’m
curious where my thoughts rank.

Kurnit’s Three Reasons Why Companies Fail
————————————
Scott Kurnit of the Mining Company (aka About.com) told me there are
three reasons why a business will fail: it’s a bad idea, bad execution
or outside factors. If you examine your business with these three
filters right now, you can baseline where you’re at: one, two or three
strikes.

His theory correlates well with the attribution theory in psychology.
The theory concerns itself with how an individual attributes the
things that happen to them (or others). For example, if you were
pulled over by a cop for speeding, you can attribute that to number of
factors, both internal and external.

Some folks might internalize the event and curse themselves for being
reckless: “I should have known better!” Others might blame an external
source, such as the cop or the bankrupt city they work for: “Gosh darn
Los Angeles cops! They’re just trying to balance the budget by
harassing us!”

Kurnit’s theory, as told to me, mentions two internal factors (bad
idea and execution) and one external (outside factors). When faced
with massive market uncertainty, like we are today, it’s a virtuous
idea to assess each of these factors.

Right now, every single one of us has HUGE outside factors we must
consider. The market collapse is going to make the next couple of
years impossible and frustrating for many entrepreneurs. Even the
great companies – like Google, Microsoft and Apple – are going to hit
hard times.

One of the most important philosophical minds of our time summed it up
best: “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the
bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t
my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?” — Yogi
Berra.

Viktor Frankl’s Search for Meaning
————————————
John Brockman, my dear friend and agent (if I ever get around to
writing a book), handed me one of the most important books of my life:
“Authentic Happiness” by Marty Seligman. That book led me to the most
important book of my life: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor
Frankl.

Frankl was a psychologist and Holocaust survivor.

He studied how people react to horrible circumstances that are beyond
their control. He studied why some people give up and others carry on.
While few of us can understand the level of suffering of people during
the Holocaust, Nanking or the Killing Fields, Frankl put his theories
forward so that we could carry them into our daily lives.

Logotherapy was what Frankl called his theories, and their major
tenants are that we choose how to find meaning in our circumstances
and that our experiences all have meaning.

My interpretation of Frankl is that you actually get to choose how you
feel about your circumstances.

The Worst Year of my life
————————————
It’s still hard for me to talk about it seven years later–and I’m not
going to talk about it in too much detail right now. In the early
months of 2001, I watched my first business, Silicon Alley Reporter,
crash from 70 employees to 12. The $20m offer I’d received to buy the
business was a distant memory, as was the $11.6m in revenue we had in
2000.

Money was evaporating from the bank account, dotcoms were going bust
and we–the dotcom kids–went from visionaries to charlatans
overnight. I went from hosting multi-million dollar conferences, doing
Charlie Rose guest spots and being featured in a 6,000 word article in
the “New Yorker” to not being able to meet payroll.

Many folks said I was lucky with Silicon Alley Reporter, while others
said I was fraud who had finally been found out. I was broke, no one
cared about my work, and my life really sucked.

… and that was just the start.

Then, the stock market crashed and the accounting scandals set in.
Enron, Adelpia, Worldcom, and Arthur Andersen made the fallout from
the dotcom bust look like nothing.

… and that was still just the start.

While lying in bed listening to the radio, I heard that a private
pilot in a small plane had accidentally crashed into the World Trade
Center. Then, I watched the second one hit. Then, I watched them come
down.

To say things went from bad to worse would be a gross understatement.
As I started in disbelief with my fellow New Yorkers, I wondered where
my brother, a NYC Firefighter, was. Then it hit me: he was probably
dead.

Due to a simple twist of fate, he wasn’t dead–but many of his friends
were. It was at that time I really took a deep look inside and found
meaning in what happened that day and what happened to me when my
first business collapsed.

In my mind, I was being tested. Horrible things happen in life and I
was faced with several at the same time. From that point forward, my
goal was to not only get back to the level I was at when I was at the
top of my game, but to exceed it.

My goal was to be truly happy every day doing what I loved: running a
startup company. A year later, we started Weblogs, Inc., and 18 months
after that, we sold it. The darkest hour became the dawn, and it was
glorious.

If you’re failing right now, and if you’re suffering, you need to take
Kurnit’s test. You need to access where you’re at and you need to
fight on. You can give up, sure, but the truth is that when you give
up, you have to live with that fact for the rest of your life. For me,
living with having given up in tough times is a much worse fate than
certain failure.

If you fail, then by definition you have tried. But if you give up,
you didn’t.

Step One: How are you executing
————————————
It’s fairly easy to tell how well you’re executing, so let’s tackle
that up front. First, take a look at your plan and see where you are
in executing against it. Are you ahead, behind or on schedule? Second,
you can have everyone in your organization rank your product and its
various features on a scale of one to ten. Third, you have an outsider
rank your product and features.

If you’re executing at an seven or eight or above, then you know
you’re doing well, but could be doing a little bit better. If you’re
executing under a seven, your problems could be execution-based. You
just may not be delivering the goods. If you were a restaurant, the
analogy would be that you’ve got the right ingredients and product,
but you’re just not preparing them well. This means you need to focus
on making the product better.

Another way to get a handle on how you’re executing is to take your
product and put it up against your two top competitors and do the
one-to-ten rating process. Rate yourself and your competitors on the
top 10 features of all three offerings. How many are you winning? If
you’re winning more than three, you’re ahead of the game. If you’re
three or behind, then you’re average or losing.

Execution is the easiest thing to fix, and you can do it one of two
ways: get the people in your organization to perform at a higher
level, or get higher-level folks into your organization.

It really is that simple: folks can either step up or step out.

Step Two: How good is your idea
————————————
Determining if you have the right idea is a little more complicated
since most great businesses do not finish where they start. Google
started as a search engine but bought Applied Semantics in order to
create their real business: text-based advertising.

Microsoft started by building programming software (Altair Basic), but
went on to make it’s business in operating systems, Microsoft Office
and servers.

If you’re idea is wrong, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is if
the original ideas allows you to evolve into your big idea.

In order to evolve, you must think like Darwin. Ask yourself: have you
adapted to your market? Have your customers asked you for something
different than you’re currently providing? Have you given it to them?
After you give them what they want, can you anticipate what they’ll
ask for next? Are those items following a theme?

At Silicon Alley Reporter, we started with a magazine and people loved
it. However, they wanted to get more frequent updates and asked us to
make it weekly. We reflected on this “ask” and came back with
something they didn’t even know they wanted: “the Silicon Alley Daily”
email newsletter. 40,000 folks subscribed to it in the first year and
it was a much more usable product than the magazine or the requested
weekly print newsletter that we passed on doing.

The market will tell you what it wants.  You just have to really
listen. Clearly, there was a market for the DEMO conference since it’s
being going on for years. However, they never listened to the “ask” of
the market: let the companies be selected based on merit, not their
ability to pay almost $20,000. Yes, I know it’s a self-serving
example, but those are the best ones. :-)

When Mike Arrington and I founded the TechCrunch50 event, we didn’t
think it would grow to be 2-3x as large as DEMO after only one
year–but it did. The market had MASSIVE pent up demand for a
merit-based show and we tapped it. We evolved DEMO’s business model,
not our own.

Now, I’m left asking myself, “if I was trying to evolve TechCrunch50,
what would I do?”

Another example from personal experience with start up evolution has
been with Mahalo. When we started, we were just doing hand-curated
links. The pages had very little actual content on them. In our user
lab, folks told us they loved the links, but they kept asking for more
content.

We studied the situation and realized that we could evolve and help
our customers more by writing more content on each page. To do this,
we studied what were the 10-15 things people wanted to know when they
did a search–then we put them on the page. Doing this drove our
traffic from 300k monthly users last year to 4.6m uniques in August (a
record month).

Bottom line: Your first idea is rarely your best.

The first step in a journey is never the best either! Most folks hit
their stride two hours into the marathon. Don’t be afraid to nuke your
first idea and run with your second–or third, forth or fifth.

Evolution is the revolution.

Step Three: Outside Factors
————————————
Outside factors are the toughest to deal with because, by definition,
they are outside of your control. Despite our deepest wishes, we can’t
reverse the housing bubble, put the Towers back up or reverse the
accounting scandals.

All we can do is deal with outside factors, and knowing how to deal
with them is critical.

When the market is in the middle of correcting, as I believe it is
currently doing, people tend to underestimate everything including:

a) how bad it will be
b) how quickly it will get worse
c) how long it will take to recover

Chances are the market will get worse and that will happen sooner
rather than later. Watching folks on CNBC last month talking about a
two or three quarters of down market was just sad. It takes just as
long to clean up a mess as it does to make it–typically longer.

The housing mess took two or three years to develop (2004-2006). It
will take three years to unravel (2008-2010) from what I can see.
We’re gonna be dealing with a bad market for at least two years.

10 Specific things you can do
——————————————
Since the outside market is out of your control, the best you can do
is focus your energy inward. Here are some things you can do after
you’ve assessed where you company is at.

1. Execute better: This is fairly simple, as I describe above. Rank
yourself and your performance and improve it.

2. Grow the talent you have: When the market is down, it’s a great
time to get your team educated and to the next level. Invest in
training and education of your top people, because they are the ones
who will lead your company through this mess.

3. Firing the average people: Again, it’s totally politically
incorrect, but I highly recommend firing anyone who is good or
average. Startups are an Olympic sport and every slot on your team is
critical. You wouldn’t put a “good” swimmer in a relay, would you?
Don’t have one in your startup. Fire the good and replace them with
the great.

4. Cut spending every where you can: Recurring costs like
connectivity, phones, rent and insurance are things that you can
easily cut. Go to each of your providers and ask for 20% relief
immediately or you’re leaving. Most, not all, will give it to you.

5. Find a revenue stream and ride it: If you don’t have a revenue
stream right now, you’d better find one on Monday. Seriously, by the
end of the day. Once you find this revenue stream, ride it. Put at
least 25% of your effort into bringing in revenue.

6. Focus on your profitable clients: If you have revenue, start
focusing on which clients are most profitable. Take them to lunch and
figure out how you can over-service them and sell them another product
(or more of your current product). You’re gonna want to protect these
accounts because the folks reading Point Five are going to be calling
them!

7. Make your top ten 10% better: Look at the top ten aspects of your
business and come up with a plan to make each 10% better in the next
30 days. Ask everyone in your company to make suggestions for the 10%
better program and execute on the ones that will provide the most bang
for the buck. Sometimes, there are things you can do today that will
make something 10% better for free–you just haven’t brainstormed
enough.

8. Hold an optional off-site breakfast meeting on a Sunday and see who
shows up: If folks don’t show up for you to grow/save the company on a
Sunday for a two hour breakfast, they probably aren’t going to step up
when the sh#$%t really hits the fan. You need to know who the real
killers on your team are and you need to get close with them now.
Again, it’s fine to have 9-5ers on your team–if you’re the Post
Office. You can’t have them at a startup company. Note: if you reading
this and saying I’m anti-family, save it. Folks don’t have to work at
startups and some of the hardest working folks I’ve met have families
and figure out how to balance things.

9. Build marketshare: One of the best things to do in the down market
is build marketshare. Look for competitors that are going out of
business and buy them or just “steal” their clients and talent (i.e.
pick them up).

10. Raise money: I know I said above most folks won’t be able to raise
money in the down market, but that’s not because the money isn’t out
there–clearly it is. The issue is that the big money out there
doesn’t want to fund small ideas that are in the death spiral. Build a
plan based on revenue and taking market share and folks will consider
funding you.

What ideas do you have for winning in a down market?

How do you stay inspired in bad times?

Send me your response and if you would like it quoted in a follow up
email, attributed or not.

all the best

Jason

  • http://timelliott.us/2008/09/29/preparing-for-the-worst/ Preparing For The Worst | /timelliott

    [...] my first email which Michael Arrington also posted over at TechCrunch but later took down, so Jason could post it on his own blog (a return?). This email really came at a good time for me as I have been mulling over future plans [...]

  • http://ventanazul.com/webzine Alexis Bellido

    Hi Jason, interesting analysis of the current situation and good tips.

    I liked the Darwin reference and fire the average people advice. I’ve always tried to apply evolution to how I run my business.

    I agree on focusing our energy inwards, solid well thought and executed ventures will
    survive the hard times to come.

    Regards!

  • http://www.calacanis.com Jason Calacanis

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  • http://alanhoskins.com/2008/09/28/jason-calacanis-newsletter-the-startup-depression/ Jason Calacanis Newsletter: (The) Startup Depression | Alan Hoskins

    [...] Edit: Jason has given up and posted the email on his blog to. You can now comment directly to him there if wanted. (The) Startup Depression ———————————— Since stock market gyrations and the elections seem to be making everyone rightfully nauseous and depressed, I thought I would take this email to discuss the biggest ramifications of these challenging times: depression. [...]

  • Heather

    Firing average to good people sounds very harsh.
    I opt for more sympathy and respect.

    Further: Training for top dogs only? I disagree.
    10 managers and 1 code monkey won’t get you trough
    dark times. It’s 1 manager and 10 code monkeys.

  • http://noneyet Stanley Suan

    Hey, thanks Jason for posting this email on your blog.
    (I tried a few times to get on your email list, but, a invalid
    confirmation number error kept appearing.) This was a post
    that got back to the bare essentials, of what being a startup
    company means irregardless of the economic conditions.
    Maholo nui loa

    Stan.

  • http://www.maxconnects.com Maxine Stephenson

    Great advice Jason. My mother used to say “when the going get’s tough, the tough get going”.

    We are living in exciting and challenging times.

    Regards
    Maxine

  • http://www.matthiassuess.de/blog/archives/137-Wirtschaftskrise.html Ansichtssachen

    Wirtschaftskrise…

    Wirtschaftskrise

    Gestern habe ich auf diesem Blog angefangen, meine Meinung vorsichtig zu revidieren: die aktuelle Wirtschaftslage hat nur noch begrenzt etwas mit der .COM-Blase zu tun, vielmehr zeigen sich die gleichen Symptome wie in der großen …

  • BillJ

    This was a great read. I took this from the angle of someone who is in a changing business (newspapers), but the same things ring true. Execute better, ride rev. streams, cut expenses, growing talent in-house. Ironically, the old giants now must follow these same steps now because they were not nimble enough to follow the steps for growth during the good times.

  • http://www.blogherald.com/2008/09/30/calacanis-calls-the-startup-depression-still-not-blogging/ Calacanis Calls the Startup Depression, Still Not Blogging | The Blog Herald

    [...] Thord Daniel Hedengren And he does it on his blog, which he incidentally still won’t be use to do any blogging, despite it having numerous [...]

  • http://andrewfielding.me/blog Andrew Fielding

    As I said in reply to the mailing list, this is definitely the best email of the e-mail nenewsletter (turned into a blog for this one post) and it is extremely insiguhtful…and on a side note…I hope that everyone else is preparing for nuclear winter along with me.

  • http://mediapundit.net/ Paul William Tenny

    If you’re not blogging, just what is the rest of us are not doing?

  • http://marius.sigheti.eu/?p=132 Marius Sigheti » Calacanis despre startup-uri – must read

    [...] la Bobby Voicu am aflat acum cateva zeci de minute despre articolul (The) Startup Depression, scris de Jason Calacanis. Trebuia sa il citesc, erau prea multe elemente care m-au convins in [...]

  • http://alexbrie.net Alex

    a really inspiring reading in these hard times.
    Thanks Jason, you might just have made my day

  • Ben

    On the subject of not spreading fear, this was the biggest point drop in history, but far from the biggest drop percentage wise. The Dow lost 7% today versus the 22.6% it lost on Black Monday.

  • http://techwag.com dan

    thank you for reposting this, this is part of the debate, and needs to be here.

  • http://test.com test

    test

  • http://stephanezibi.blog.lemonde.fr/2008/09/30/internet-est-peut-etre-pret-face-a-la-crise/ Internet est (peut être) prêt face à la crise – blAblAwEb – le blog de Stephane Zibi – Blog LeMonde.fr

    [...] vous laisserai lire aussi la note de la mailing list de Jason Calacanis qui évoque ce sujet. Même si je ne suis pas d’accord sur tout ce qu’il a écrit les [...]

  • http://www.bobbyvoicu.ro/internet-lynx-vlad-stan-despre-seedmoney-la-radiolynx.html Internet Lynx: Vlad Stan, despre SeedMoney, la RadioLynx | Blogul lui Bobby Voicu – alpha beta version

    [...] foarte interesant zic eu este ultimul post al lui Jason Calacanis, despre start-up-uri si problemele economice mondiale. De [...]

  • http://www.connectedgeek.net Larry Miller

    As I have said before and I will say again, this man is brilliant!!

    I really don’t understand why people give him such grief??

    The man is passionate and he is sharing his “knowledge” wealth. I just wish I had the 1/10th of 1% of his passion. He built a company where their motto is “We’re here to help”. I truly think that is what he is doing… he is helping.

    I think most people “Can’t Handle the Truth” as Jack said :)

    Thanks Jason!

  • http://jasonkinner.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/ringside-lessons/ Ringside Lessons « Jason Kinner

    [...] of the way, first. Failing is not fun. Jason Calacanis recently wrote about startup conditions in (The) Startup Depression. That write-up really resonated with me. As a parent, I understand there are some things that can [...]

  • http://laughingmeme.org/2008/09/30/nostalgia/ Nostalgia – Laughing Meme

    [...] least thats what reading [Fred]{http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/09/my-thoughts-on.html) and Jason on “startup depression” reminded me [...]

  • http://www.servosity.com Damien Stevens

    Jason,
    Great article. I agree with all of your points, except:

    5) “Put at least 25% of your effort into bringing in revenue.”

    I’d say put at least 75% of your effort into bringing in revenue.
    That’s what Great businesses do.
    8) I agree. Make it Saturday so you don’t waste a day and
    you can still attend church.

  • http://nextyearinthevalley.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/launch/ Launch! « Next Year in The Valley

    [...] Fred Wilson’s post about startup funding being the first to go, or Jason Calacanis’ post about startups facing dismal prospects discouraging.   Probably because we’ve been at this [...]

  • http://fr.techcrunch.com/2008/09/30/fr-lettre-aux-entrepreneurs-inquiets/ TechCrunch en français » [fr] Lettre aux entrepreneurs inquiets

    [...] du darwinisme économique ou les meilleurs restent et la majorité disparait. Jasons Calacanis déclare que 80% des startups vont disparaître dans les prochains mois par manque de financement. A mon sens ce sera plutôt 50% max mais à [...]

  • http://www.swissstartups.com/blog/2008/09/start-up-marathon-1-die-analyse-cash-is-king/ SwissStartups.com – » Start-up Marathon #1: Die Analyse (Cash is King)!

    [...] Der Post wurde von Jason Calacanis letztem Newsletter beeinflusst, den ihr hier lesen [...]

  • http://www.startupspark.com/startup-depression/ Startup depression?

    [...] Calacanis recently wrote about Startup Depression in an email and on his blog. And I think many of his points are spot [...]

  • http://thecornice.com/2008/09/30/upside-of-the-downturn/ Upside of the Downturn « the cornice

    [...] has been a great deal of doom and gloom written about the impact of the current financial crisis’ impact on start-up [...]

  • http://ontechnology.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/on-turmoil/ On turmoil « On Technology

    [...] business it’s probably game over. Jason Calacanis has got into some trouble merely from stating the obvious fact that 50-80% of startups will go to the wall. If you are doing something genuinely distinctive [...]

  • http://tradermike.net/ Trader Mike

    ditto to what Ben already said about yesterday being the biggest “stock market” (read: Dow, which is NOT a good market measure) drop ever — http://bit.ly/4mNU7x On a percentage basis the Dow’s drop was about #18 all time

  • http://www.lee-graham.com/?p=87 Is it possible to raising funding a Startup in a sucky economy? | Lee Graham

    [...] then this week rolls around and the bottom falls out of the market and then @JasonCalacanis (Jason’s blog post) & @fredwilson (Fred’s blog post) about startups having issues getting financed cause of [...]

  • http://techvibes.com/blog/global/post/the-startup-depression Techvibes|Blog|Calgary,Edmonton,Kitchener-Waterloo,Montréal,Ottawa,Portland,Seattle,Toronto,Vancouver,Victoria

    [...] past weekend Jason Calacanis – CEO of Mahalo and Founder of Weblogs Inc. – sent out a note titled (The) Startup Depression to his email list. Interest in this ‘wake-up call’ email is growing thanks no doubt to the single [...]

  • Josh

    One can always find success and I’m reminded of the sentiment adversity builds character:
    Startups continue to excel, even in troubled times.

  • http://www.dominicson.com Dominic Son

    Excellent and my first time here, so it’s a pleasure. There’s always going to be problems – big or small, outside of your world. You’ve just got to worry about your own life sometimes.

  • http://venturebeat.com/2008/09/30/how-start-ups-can-navigate-through-the-falling-dominoes-of-the-economic-crisis/ How start-ups can navigate through the falling dominoes of the economic crisis » VentureBeat

    [...] cease. You could say this might be a cleansing fire that makes the quality start-ups stand out. Jason Calacanis has suggested in his post dubbed “start-up depression” that 50 percent to 80 percent of current start-ups may fail. The strong ones who survive will be [...]

  • Andrew

    The “balance” that the hardworking people have found is that they have a spouse who is willing to basically be a single parent. But you are right about one thing, people don’t have to choose to work at a startup, especially not ones that pull daft stunts like loyalty tests. The problem is that time and time again people will fall for get rich quick schemes and technology workers are not exempt from that.

  • http://www.theredpost.com/blog/2008/09/30/economic-downturn-good-cover-for-your-derriere/ RedPost/Blog

    [...] this post was LocalVision + a post on Fred Wilson’s blog called Startup Depression based on a post by Jason Calacanis of the same title. From Fred’s post: The tools and services that are made in the web [...]

  • http://siliconflorist.com/2008/09/30/silicon-florists-links-arrangement-for-september-30/ Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for September 30 » Silicon Florist

    [...] (The) Startup Depression « The Jason Calacanis Weblog Jason Calacanis writes “the goal of this post was not to spread fear, but rather inspire folks at startup companies to get focused and to save as many as possible from hitting the wall. Myself? We’ll I funded Mahalo for the long-term and while the market down turn isn’t good for anyone, we’re largely immune from it because we are building on a five year plan that we’re only 18 months into.” [...]

  • redsoxmaniac

    “They go to work seven days a week and the breakout when other folks check out. ”

    - I think you meant they instead of the breakout.

    You have a very good article, but this is by no means something
    that I was preparing for. If anything, this doesn’t really
    help me or my position. Not saying that you haven’t motivated
    me, but it is the fact that you assume a lot of people are
    beginning with a lot of resources for a start-up that has me
    baffled.

    I just don’t have enough money to be in the position of firing
    anyone, never been in a position that I fell to 27 employees,
    never been in a position that when our country is falling
    apart, that I would make a blog posts ordering up the
    movement of becoming a have and disposing of the have-nots.

    It isn’t that I don’t understand your speech. It is that it
    has three negative connotations that made me a little upset.

    1) A lot of what you said had to do with self. If anything,
    the reason this country is in this position is that we
    are constantly playing the “Olympic” game and trying to move
    ahead. I would feel the best thing to relieve stress is to
    try and comfort everyone around, and maybe even contribute
    to someone else’s project, instead of racing head-first into
    the financial recession. But that is just me, and I know
    nothing of business. I do know that I cannot mollify my
    sadness by trying to make my business work during a very hard
    time for all Americans, and not just the poor, or the rich. I
    feel that a more emotional approach to the matter would’ve
    been better, and more respectful to our country’s current
    situation. I know you speak of business, and that these are
    hard times for entrepreneurs, but I was hoping for some
    emotional bark.

    2)That you pose a question correlating one’s suffering and loss
    of their business upon a simplistic 10 step plan. And although
    it sounds motivating, you simultaneously point out that some
    are barred from living your dream if we don’t pass this
    “test”. I understand that some make and some do not, but is
    it plausible, or even fair, that someone will fall away from
    their dream because of a motivational essay that gave them
    a reason to give up? I find it a little negative, and
    somewhat betraying to the article’s title. I was at least
    hoping for an article that didn’t sound like so many other
    blog lists that saturate the web.

    3) I know that you are very successful, and I know that you
    are gifted, but you have reached a fallacy in your perception
    of knowledge. You believe when you write that if you compare
    your examples of starting-up ( firing people, Sunday meetings)
    that people will understand. But there are many, maybe almost
    80% of us who don’t have a workforce, or who started with
    less than $30, or who doesn’t have that cushion to prevent
    the wrath of outside economic forces. Also, you go so far
    into the business aspect that you totally overlook the trust
    and friendship aspect that may help businesses survive in the
    long run.

    Dropping not as lucrative clients? Firing workers? These all
    have their positive merit, but not narrowly based on the
    bottom line. If I was to leave half my clients, and the
    economy came back strong, I would lose them for good. Not
    only as business partners, but in some cases as good friends.
    If I am going through tough times, I would heavily prefer a
    good friend and/or trustworthy acquaintance over solid revenue
    stream.

    I am not here to bash you. My critique is harsh because I only
    expected something more from what you wrote. I think that your
    last two questions can be answered by:

    1. Winning in a down market. Make connections with all types
    of people. Write down these connections and constantly keep
    in touch. Friendship and bonding will catalyze your business,
    or remove your depression, which I feel is a no-lose situation.

    2. Watch sports. And remember that in professional sports,
    there are only a handful out of the millions that make it. Try
    to become that handful, but don’t carry with it any arrogance
    or exclusivity. Use your power and place for good, and make
    sure your ends are good, regardless whether your business
    endeavors survive. Once you feel you can help others and make
    the world a better place, you won’t feel depression because
    of finances. Emotions should be what you control, and not
    your money controlling you.

    You can erase this, I just wanted to send this to you. you
    can email me at info@juuble.com to reply.

  • http://www.pehub.com/19101/pehub-first-read-229/ peHUB » peHUB First Read

    [...] Calcanis on startup depression. Wilson chimes [...]

  • Beth

    Good post, but I don’t understand why it’s in this really light grey tiny font that is almost impossible to read?

  • http://bub.blicio.us/startups-and-the-economic-doldrums/ Startups and the Economic Doldrums — bub.blicio.us

    [...] Jason Calacanis, who gave up blogging, had a large amount of requests for him to share, with the world, the contents of his latest newsletter. So he has one more blog post. It’s not short, but I think it’s worth your time to read through and ponder. Jason spends a bit of time on the psychology of it all, which is important right now, as well as the philosophy. Based on my own experience in a startup all those years ago, I’d say Jason’s ideas and advice apply to the very art of being a startup, regardless of how much our economy is slumping. [...]

  • http://www.atelier-us.com/e-business-and-it/article/calacanis-50-to-80-percent-of-startups-will-fail-in-next-18-months Calacanis: 50 to 80 Percent of Startups Will Fail in Next 18 Months

    [...] the Valley, recently retired from blogging, but has posted a missive from his newsgroup called “(The) Startup Depression.” Due to great demand, he posted the essay; as it has some salient points, I thought I’d pass [...]

  • Sam

    Excellent post Jason. Certainly a reality check is in order as we look to 2009. The only other thing I’d like to understand is why you make people read your posts in hard to adjust gray.

  • http://www.ltlprints.com/blog/ideas-execution/ Ideas & Execution | LTLprints – Larger Than Life Prints Blog

    [...] I read a post from Jason Calacanis today. As a general advise for start-ups on how to survive the coming economic downturn and the [...]

  • http://www.markoandashley.com Marko Nikolic

    Great post. The coming times will be a true test to start ups and will further separate the ones that can adopt to bad economic situations and the ones that cant. The money is still out there and everyone will either have to work harder or smarter for it.

  • http://www.visionaryblogging.com/ Easton Ellsworth

    This is genius. Thanks for posting it, Jason.

    I wrote a post recently on overcoming fear, geared especially to the tech/blog crowd:
    http://www.visionaryblogging.com/overcome-fear/

    Wouldn’t mind if you shared that with your readers.

    These are scary times but the worst kinds of fear involve a decision, not a gut reaction. It’s up to to decide not to hold on to those kinds of fear.

  • http://rodgerv.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/nuclear-winter-how-startups-should-deal-with-it/ Nuclear Winter, How Startups Should Deal With It « Rodger Visitacion’s Blog: Life in the San Francisco Startup Lane

    [...] lot has been said about Jason Calacanis’ e-mail, then blog post, about (The) Startup Depression.  At the risk of seeming too diplomatic, I happen to generally agree with Jason’s assertions [...]

  • http://botd.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/top-posts-888/ Top Posts « WordPress.com

    [...] (The) Startup Depression I wrote this to my email list on Saturday the 27th of 2008. Two days before the single largest drop in the history of [...] [...]

  • http://smeira.blog.terra.com.br/2008/10/02/nasdaq-e-tics-em-tempo-de-crise/ dia a dia, bit a bit… por Silvio Meira » nasdaq [e TICs] em tempo de crise

    [...] das companhias nas bolsas, tá fechada. e que vamos ter uma start-up depression, ou seja, quem tem investidor vai provavelmente perder se não estiver muito perto de se tornar [...]

  • http://www.faol-inc.com/2008/10/tips-and-the-outlook-for-startups/ Faol-Inc.Com – Business Company » Tips, and the Outlook, for Startups

    [...] Calacanis wrote recently about his startup successes and failures, offering 10 tips to help entrepreneurs weather tough financial times.  He also suggested that startups backed by [...]

  • http://philcrissman.com/2008/10/02/acts_as_monetized acts_as_monetized at philcrissman.com

    [...] Well, Jason Calcanis has written something about startups and the economy. [...]

  • http://www.aafter.com Subhankar Ray

    Good analysis and advices. However,
    I think,
    Great people = good people + passion + motivation.

    Hence, I would be very careful to let any
    good one go.

    Best Wishes for all..
    Subhankar Ray

  • http://www.blogcity.ro/investitii/criza-economica-si-industria-online.html Criza economica si industria online | Blogging tips, SEO, monetizing

    [...] Criza americanilor a ajuns sa afecteze si industria online. Jason Calacanis, a postat un articol foarte interesant despre perioada de recesiune economica si industria online. [...]

  • http://www.codebelay.com/blog/?p=263 The Codebelay Blog » Dear Management, If You’ve Doubted Our Future, Fire Me Now!

    [...] signs point to the fact that there’s economic peril, that 50 – 80 percent of the startups out there won’t be there in 18 months, so as a favor to us, your workers, and to you, fire us, if you have any doubts in your mind about [...]

  • http://www.saragoepel.com/?p=26 Sara Goepel » Blog Archive » Taking Inventory

    [...] relating the future of Web start-ups in this time of economic turmoil. Half the commentators are doom and gloom and others trying to  remain positive and offer advice on [...]

  • http://www.techstartups.com/2008/10/tech-startup-top-3-october-2-2008/ TechStartups.com is a blog aimed to bring you more than just internet products or internet related companies.

    [...] starters (no pun intended), the networking opportunities are tremendous. In the startup depression of ‘08-’10 (tentative schedule, mind you), it will pay more than ever to know and make [...]

  • http://www.arcticstartup.com/successful-and-buzzing-arcticevening/ Successful And Buzzing ArcticEvening | ArcticStartup

    [...] much happening. It is great to see that regardless of the tougher times for the global economy and Jason Calacanis’ darker prediction on things to come, the enthusiasm and spirit is high in the Arctic [...]

  • http://www.alice.com Mark McGuire

    You bring up some excellent points here Jason, but they shouldn’t be limited to times of economic downturn. As entrepreneuers, we should always be relentlessly focused on staying lean, executing and finding that winning value proposition. We are raising money for our latest start up now (Alice.com) and I’m pleased to say that the economic downturn hasn’t killed our round.

  • http://www.codebelay.com/blog/?p=272 The Codebelay Blog » Jason Calacanis Wants Startups to do 10 Things NOW

    [...] Jason Calacanis Lists 10 things startups need to do now given the economic climate. [...]

  • http://aliciadaniel.com Alicia Daniel

    So why don’t you run on the Independent ticket? Sounds like you have more ideas and a lot of them better than what I’ve been hearing lately. We really need some new blood in Washington I think because the old stuff is just the same old stuff. If the country was run more like a business than the playground of some of those old guys that have been up there too long, then we might have a better chance, maybe???

  • http://www.techstartups.com/2008/10/tech-startup-top-5-october-1-2008/ TechStartups.com is a blog aimed to bring you more than just internet products or internet related companies.

    [...] 2.0 maven Jason Calacanis (hat tip to L’Atelier) has a 3,000-word-plus essay on the near future of the tech startup [...]

  • http://nystartup.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/angels-vcs-speak/ Angels & VCs Speak… « Startup World: Musings of a NYC Entrepreneur

    [...] Calacanis: here. [...]

  • http://topspinmedia.com/2008/10/oktoberfest/ Topspin » Oktoberfest

    [...] and SXSW early in 2009 and could use your help. Because we’re a small startup and trying to conserve our cash we try to couch surf when we go to these sorts of things. We’re sorted for NYC and London, [...]

  • http://azeemazhar.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/revisiting-the-recession-for-start-ups/ Revisiting the recession for start-ups « azeem.azhar

    [...] was in sombre mood and Techcrunch has argued that firms with less than $25m will probably [...]

  • http://www.businessopportunitystartup.com/blog/angel-investor-roger-ehrenberg-want-my-money-heres-my-criteria/ Angel Investor Roger Ehrenberg: Want My Money? Here’s My Criteria | Latest Technology News – Business News And Expert Advice

    [...] has been written recently about VC and start-up angst in the wake to today’s – and likely tomorrow’s – poor market conditions. Some [...]

  • http://leolambertini.com/2008/10/07/when-business-becomes-business/ leolambertini.com » When business becomes business

    [...] now the opportunity to evolve this idea into something much stronger. As Jason talked about in his Startup Depression essay/mail/post:  “Your first idea is rarely your [...]

  • http://www.47hats.com/index.php/2008/10/06/microisv-digest-7/ 47 Hats – MicroISV Digest

    [...] Calacanis does too, but expects to see 80% of the VC-funded startups die in the next 18 months. (the) Startup Depression. This is not a post for faint of heart – but Jason has earned the right by what he’s [...]

  • http://hyperbio.net/2008/10/07/startup-depression/ Hyperbio » Blog Archive » Startup depression

    [...] your clients, focus on your team, focus on profit. It is all right there FOCUS. Now more than ever. Jason Calanacis and Fred Wilson have different takes on the startup depression, but both are worth reading when you [...]

  • http://www.franckperrier.com/2008/10/07/damages-and-opportunities-for-tech-companies-in-tough-times/ Damages and opportunities for tech companies in tough times | franck perrier

    [...] Calacanis on start up depression. A must read Tom Foremski on hundreds of upcoming startups Fred Wilson, a NY VC on funding and [...]

  • Nico

    Here’s a healthy lesson from the field of stock market investment: a company with debt cannot go bankrupt. If you don’t owe anyone anything, the WORST thing that can happen is that you are forced to put the company on ice and take a job in the mean time. Remember that.

  • Nico

    Oops, that should have been “a company WITHOUT debt” of course :)

  • http://socialsofties.net/recessie-en-de-impact-op-web-20/ SocialSofties » Blog Archive » Recessie en de impact op web 2.0

    [...] Calacanis die een erg uitgebreid verhaal geschreven over de Start-up [...]

  • http://www.bigwinner.org/2008/10/08/jason-calacanis-discusses-how-to-survive-the-startup-depression/ The Big Winner » Jason Calacanis Discusses How to Survive the Startup Depression
  • http://technosailor.com/2008/10/08/its-the-economy-stupid/ It’s the Economy, Stupid | Technosailor.com

    [...] get better. I like Jason Calacanis’ point in in one of his most recent newsletters entitles (The) Startup Depression: Depending on your DNA, getting your ass kicked is either complete torture or deviantly rewarding. [...]

  • http://briantroy.com/blog/2008/10/08/more-bad-news-for-startups/ More bad news for Startups. | Brian Roy’s Blog

    [...] paints is far from rosy – I think she understates the issue in some ways. With others calling for a startup depression I think we need to be [...]

  • http://twilightshadows.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/jason-calacanis-at-open-coffee-athens-xv/ Jason Calacanis at Open Coffee Athens XV « The TwilightShadows

    [...] Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://blog.firstmedia.de/?p=1689 Media-Blog » Blog Archive » Startup Depression? Jason Calacanis, jetzt erst recht!

    [...] ist es wirklich Zeit für eine Startup Depression? Nein, sage ich, Jason Calacanis, jetzt erst recht! Denn nun trennt sich die Spreu vom [...]

  • M Holman

    You Blob might really be interesting if I could read it.
    The light gray print makes it impossible to concentrate.
    You might want to change that!!

  • http://www.voodooventures.com/2008/10/10/sequoia-capitals-take-on-the-economy-and-impact-for-startups/ Voodoo Ventures – Idea Fuel Blog : Blog Archive : Sequoia Capital’s Take on the Economy and Impact for Startups

    [...] our own businesses.  In the web world, some have felt insulated from the downturn, but warning signs are coming in from VC’s loud and [...]

  • http://venturebeat.com/2008/10/10/expect-to-see-start-ups-and-vcs-hit-standoff-over-valuations/ Expect to see start-ups and VCs hit standoff over valuations » VentureBeat

    [...] Third quarter statistics on valuations won’t be out for another couple of months. And even then, those stats won’t reflect what happened in the current fourth quarter, which is when the real pain will be felt.  It may be next year before we can give a serious assessment of the true fallout for start-ups. Expect to see more companies go out of business too, as VCs in some cases decide not to invest at all. [...]

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/10/during-tough-times-the-echo-chamber-can-be-your-best-friend/ During Tough Times, The Echo Chamber Can Be Your Best Friend

    [...] Usually, when the economy slides, the first natural reaction is to cut expenses, conserve cash, and hunker-down to weather the storm. Any savvy and seasoned marketing and business veteran will advise you to do the opposite. This is your time to shine, albeit, strategically and intelligently. Great entrepreneurs build value and market-share in down markets. They go to work seven days a week and the(y) breakout when other folks check out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • Tim

    What’s with the super-light font color? It’s a strain to read. Why put hurdles in front of your readers?

  • http://thenextweb.org/2008/10/11/loic-le-meur-seesmic-let-go-7-employees/ Harsh economy is biting: Loic Le Meur’s Seesmic let go 7 employees

    [...] Jason Calacanis warn us that 50%-80% of the venture-backed companies will not make it or be on life support in the next 18 months. [...]

  • http://lalanews.com/internet_startups/internet-startup-news/during-tough-times-the-echo-chamber-can-be-your-best-friend-start-up-news/ During Tough Times, The Echo Chamber Can Be Your Best Friend – Start-Up News | Internet Startups

    [...] Usually, when the economy slides, the first natural reaction is to cut expenses, conserve cash, and hunker-down to weather the storm.  All good advice.  But don’t forget also that this could be your time to shine, albeit, in a strategic and intelligent way. Great entrepreneurs build value and market-share in down markets. They go to work seven days a week and the(y) breakout when other folks check out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://www.epn-ressources.be/adieu-web-2-le-monde-a-change-et-les-epn-la-dedans Centre de Ressources des Espaces Publics Numériques de Wallonie : Adieu Web 2… Le monde a changé… Et les EPN là-dedans ?

    [...] Web occidental qui depuis 2003/2004 n’a pas cru à une deuxième bulle internet. L’expert Jason Calacanis prédit la fin de 50 à 80 % des startups d’ici 18 mois. Le mouvement est d’ailleurs [...]

  • http://blog.nalpeiron.com/raising-money-from-vc-q4-2008watch-out/ Raising money from VC Q4 2008…watch out!

    [...] Third quarter statistics on valuations won’t be out for another couple of months. And even then, those stats won’t reflect what happened in the current fourth quarter, which is when the real pain will be felt.  It may be next year before we can give a serious assessment of the true fallout for start-ups. Expect to see more companies go out of business too, as VCs in some cases decide not to invest at all. [...]

  • http://arnoldit.com/wordpress/2008/10/12/smart-money-versus-start-ups/ Smart Money versus Start Ups : Beyond Search

    [...] For me, the most interest comment in the article was this passage: It may be next year before we can give a serious assessment of the true fallout for start-ups. Expect to see more companies go out of business too, as VCs in some cases decide not to invest at all. [...]

  • http://thenextweb.org/2008/10/12/best-useless-iphone-app-ever-sound-recording-rjdj/ Best useless iPhone app ever: sound-recording RjDj

    [...] it’s Sunday, but that doesn’t mean much for Internet entrepreneurs. Just like Jason Calacanis wants, we spend too much time in our office. But there’s room for fun too. Just now, for [...]

  • http://www.top-20-songs.com Dimitri Korkou

    Spoken like a true Spartan! Your Greek roots run deep :)
    Never giving up is in the genetic make up of the selected few who will always succeed!

    The darkest hour is–in fact–right before the dawn. From personal experience, I can say you’ve got that one spot on! The most difficult time in my life was realizing that I was studying the wrong thing and dropping out Civil Engineering, and it’s at that moment where I decided to give the online world another a chance, and what a great new dawn on my life it was!

    As I move forward in the next few years, the advice you’ve given here will definitely stay in the back of my mind! When I start getting onto serious stuff. Thanks for the inspiring post at the start of these rough times.

    “The darkest hour is–in fact–right before the dawn” == Ultimate Truth!

  • http://rooreynolds.com/2008/10/13/crunch-startups-and-optimism/ Roo Reynolds – The credit crunch, startups and optimism

    [...] Calcanis recently wrote about (The) Startup Depression. As you may know Jason is (still) retired from blogging in order to concentrate on a smaller, [...]

  • http://www.shamoneymaker.com/mailing-list/jason-calacanis I’m On A Mailing List | Sha Money Maker

    [...] for daily expenses. I hate such times but we all have to live through it and although the article (The) Startup Depression was written for startups in mind, there a little something in there, us small time publishers can [...]

  • http://ericgonzalez.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/brace-for-impact/ Brace for Impact « Eric Gonzalez

    [...] but bracing for a slowdown tends to put such talk on the back burner. Others have made lists of things you can do right now, so I’ll simply add the tactical moves I’ve observed others making out there to outlast [...]

  • http://bretagne20.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/brest-adieu-web-2%e2%80%a6-le-monde-a-change%e2%80%a6-et-les-epn-la-dedans/ @ Brest – Adieu Web 2… Le monde a changé… Et les EPN là-dedans ? « Veille de la MINUM

    [...] d’un Web occidental qui depuis 2003/2004 n’a pas cru à une deuxième bulle internet. L’expert Jason Calacanis prédit la fin de 50 à 80 % des startups d’ici 18 mois. Le mouvement est d’ailleurs mondial. [...]

  • http://alberttwong.com/2008/10/13/the-startup-depression-%c2%ab-the-jason-calacanis-weblog/ (The) Startup Depression « The Jason Calacanis Weblog | Albert T. Wong – 黃頌言

    [...] (The) Startup Depression « The Jason Calacanis Weblog Since stock market gyrations and the elections seem to be making everyone rightfully nauseous and depressed, I thought I would take this email to discuss the biggest ramifications of these challenging times: depression. [...]

  • http://www.blonde2dot0.com/blog/2008/10/13/is-all-the-paranoia-about-a-startup-depression-justified/ Blonde 2.0 » Blog Archive » » Is All the Paranoia About a Startup Depression Justified?

    [...] will bring and whether we are entering a startup depression. In his newsletter dated Sept 27th, Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://thenextweb.org/2008/10/13/is-all-this-paranoia-about-a-startup-depression-justified/ Is All This Paranoia About a Startup Depression Justified?

    [...] will bring and whether we are entering a startup depression. In his newsletter dated Sept 27th, Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/Foremski/?p=316 Tom Foremski: IMHO mobile edition

    [...] Killer of the Silicon Valley Entrepreneur (we must be Muad’Dib, not Clark Kent) Jason Calacanis on Silicon ValleyWatcher: We’ve been here before – boom and bust in Silicon Valley New York Times: “Credit Crisis Spreads a [...]

  • http://www.madelinejonesart.com Nick Schlumpf

    Note: The website is not my website, My business module doesn’trequire me to have one… :)

    Our business has strong market value. Once our software is deployed, through scripts we can manage your whole IT enterprise. We can work on Servers, PC’s and Notebooks and Apple. As our comapany grows, we could grow much faster with marketing money. This would allow Preset Solutions to work onsite with 400-500 sales reps, who could all resell this solution to its current client base of hundreds of thousands of businesses. This is a true, first to market solution to Corperate America to help promote spending using Tax Incentives for companies to implement Engery Saving Solutions.

    I’m Down, and Out. I’ve vested every penny I have into this company, and now live with family …Where is a good first-step to post/link with low capitol to hyper-grow this company?

    Thanks!

  • http://kylebunch.com/2008/business/seointelligence-officially-a-killer-startup/ SEOintelligence Officially a Killer Startup | kylebunch.com

    [...] as in the good kind — not the 80% that Calacanis has been talking about so much of [...]

  • http://hollyswanson.com/?p=10963 During Tough Times, The Echo Chamber Can Be Your Best Friend | Holly Swanson

    [...] Usually, when the economy slides, the first natural reaction is to cut expenses, conserve cash, and hunker-down to weather the storm.  All good advice.  But don’t forget also that this could be your time to shine, albeit, in a strategic and intelligent way. Great entrepreneurs build value and market-share in down markets. They go to work seven days a week and the(y) breakout when other folks check out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • kenji mori

    thanks for posting.
    appreciate just blog it whenever you feel like doing so.
    i believe thats what it is.

  • http://techcocktail.com/home/2008/10/14/redefining-the-echo-chamber-to-excel-in-an-economic-crisis/ Redefining the Echo Chamber to Excel in an Economic Crisis | TECH cocktail

    [...] Usually, when the economy slides, the first natural reaction is to cut expenses, conserve cash, and hunker-down to weather the storm. Any savvy and seasoned marketing and business veteran will advise you to do the opposite. This is your time to shine, albeit, strategically and intelligently. “Great entrepreneurs build value and market-share in down markets. They go to work seven days a week and the(y) breakout when other folks check out.” – Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://www.lee-graham.com/?p=89 Getting Back to the Basics (Garage Mode Tech Startups) | Lee Graham

    [...] of you have read articles on the “startup depression” by Jason Calacanis, Fred Wilson, etc… and they are right for the most [...]

  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/feeds/?p=265 Feeds mobile edition

    [...] to be an entrepreneur. TechCrunch is calling it the death of Web 2.0. Jason Calacanis wrote about (The) Startup Depression. The VCs are circling the wagons. The Angels are harkening back to the last bubble. There’s some [...]

  • http://www.consultsites.com/websites/ebay-turnkey-website-affiliate-cells-02/?p=504 JS-Kit raises $3.6M in series B funding

    [...] Jason Calacanis (who founded Weblogs Inc. and Download Squad) issued an e-mail missive (now posted here) predicting that 80% of all web 2.0 start-ups would fail to reach the next round of funding or [...]

  • Richard Morgan

    Great article, Jason. There are some things that I disagree
    with, but on the whole, I think that you bring up some really
    good points. The only thing that I find myself wondering about,
    though, is just who you are. At times, I think that you’re
    sincere in your beliefs, and then there are times when I think
    that you’re all about “the act.” I guess in the end that it
    doesn’t matter, though — you’ve given some good advice.

  • http://www.simpleentrepreneur.com/2008/10/16/revue-de-presse-63/ Revue de presse | Simple Entrepreneur

    [...] The startup depression L’explosion des marchés financiers va rendre la vie des entrepreneurs très difficile dans les mois à venir. Heureusement, l’auteur de cet essai – assez long – nous livre quelques stratégies pour rebondir. [...]

  • http://venturebeat.com/2008/10/16/announcing-venturebeats-roundtable-on-how-to-manage-the-downturn/ Announcing VentureBeat’s roundtable on “how to manage the downturn” » VentureBeat

    [...] Calacanis, the Sequoia-backed founder of Mahalo and writer of a controversial letter predicting doomsday for the vast majority of Web 2.0 start-ups. Shortly afterward, Sequoia stirred the valley by holding a mandatory meeting for the CEOs of its [...]

  • http://www.prestonsmalley.com/2008/10/recession/ Preston Smalley » Product Design and The Recession » Blog Archive

    [...] Jason Calacanis on The Startup Depression [...]

  • http://www.kikabink.com/news/488/are-we-in-a-startup-depression/ Are We In a Startup Depression?

    [...] Jason Calacanis, “(The) Startup Depression”, September 29, 2008, Calacanis.com Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and [...]

  • http://blog.genlighten.com/2008/10/18/genlightens-downturn-survival-plan/ Genlighten Blog — Genealogy Documented » Blog Archive » Genlighten’s Downturn Survival Plan

    [...] the gloomy prognostications of a potential startup apocalypse,  it’s been gratifying to hear a few voices quietly urging optimism, perserverance and [...]

  • http://www.thecoils.com/2008/10/19/the-situation/ the.co.ils » ארכיון הבלוג » לא נעים, לא נורא

    [...] ה-Web2.0 מת ?: רק בשבוע שעבר קראתי ציטוט של Jason Calacanis (שלא מעט גופי תקשורת שרק מחפשים את אותן הכותרות [...]

  • http://www.tobeanentrepreneur.com/blog/raising-money-from-vc-q4-2008watch-out-2/ Raising money from VC Q4 2008…watch out!

    [...] Third quarter statistics on valuations won’t be out for another couple of months. And even then, those stats won’t reflect what happened in the current fourth quarter, which is when the real pain will be felt.  It may be next year before we can give a serious assessment of the true fallout for start-ups. Expect to see more companies go out of business too, as VC’s in some cases decide not to invest at all. [...]

  • http://blog.beenverified.com/what-to-look-for-in-2009or-what-companies-will-survive-the-coming-economic-storm/2008/10/20/ What to Look For In 2009…or What Companies Will Survive the Coming “Economic Storm” | The BeenVerified.com Blog

    [...] and running successful startups or businesses. Jason Calacanis seemed to be the first to tip with this, and then we had this, this, this, and the one I made our whole team read, this. Then even more [...]

  • http://www.jediwright.com/blog/2008/10/21/struggling-and-startups/ Struggling and Startups | JediWright.com | Number One In Tribal Entertainment

    [...] Going to the Mattresses: Weathering Uncertain Times at a Startup and Jason Calacanis’ “Startup Depression“. While others, like Paul Graham, suggest this: Why To Start A Startup In A Bad Economy. [...]

  • http://incsub.org/soulsoup/?p=1045 Sub-Prime, Credit Crisis, Impact on SMEs in Simple English | SoulSoup: Always fresh new new things

    [...] Good Times”! Jason Calacanis, a veteran serial entrepreneur, calling this situation as (The) Startup Depression. In the same article, Jason shared some useful survival tips for startups and SME’s during [...]

  • http://bigbangbong.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/sub-prime-credit-crisis-impact-on-smes-in-simple-english/ Sub-Prime, Credit Crisis, Impact on SMEs in Simple English « Big Bang Bong

    [...] Good Times”! Jason Calacanis, a veteran serial entrepreneur, calling this situation as (The) Startup Depression. In the same article, Jason shared some useful survival tips for startups and SME’s during [...]

  • http://calacanis.com/2008/10/22/tough-times-hard-decisions/ Tough times, hard decisions. « The Jason Calacanis Weblog

    [...] ‘internet winter’ we’re now facing (you’ve read my posts and e-mails about the startup depression I’m sure), I failed to realize how bad the situation would get. It’s much worse than I [...]

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/22/internet-winter-hits-mahalo-cuts-10-of-staff/ Internet Winter Hits Mahalo; Cuts 10% Of Staff

    [...] for the ‘internet winter’ we’re now facing (you’ve read my posts and e-mails about the startup depression I’m sure), I failed to realize how bad the situation would get. It’s much worse than I thought [...]

  • http://watchmojo.com/web/blog/index.php/2008/10/22/mahalo-in-english-suddenly-its-2001/ HipMojo.com » Mahalo in English: Suddenly, it’s 2001

    [...] from one project to another, the cynicism grew.  Last month founder Jason Calacanis penned a post calling for 80% of Web 2.0 to shutter.  Knowing that Jason is a master of PR, you knew he was [...]

  • J. Khan

    Exactly what I needed at this point and time.

  • http://venturebeat.com/2008/10/22/startup-depression-brings-job-cuts-to-mahalo/ Startup depression brings job cuts to Mahalo » VentureBeat

    [...] at our roundtable on surviving the downturn) published a much-discussed article about “(the) startup depression,” in which he predicted that 50 to 80 percent of venture-backed startups will either shut [...]

  • http://closertech.wordpress.com/2008/10/23/economy-crisis-and-effects/ Economy Crisis and Effects « Tech Buzz

    [...] on visual search.) who anticipated this situation a couple of days earlier to the market shut down. http://calacanis.com/2008/09/29/the-startup-depression/ how to survive as a startup during this crisis by an indian [...]

  • http://www.drama20show.com/2008/10/22/mahalo-joins-the-layoff-list/ Mahalo Joins the Layoff List : The Drama 2.0 Show

    [...] fan – “two days before the single largest drop in the history of the stock market” as he likes to point out. Well, it’s a lifetime in Robert Scoble’s [...]

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work/2008/10/22/mahalo-now-means-goodbye/ Mahalo now means “goodbye” — mathewingram.com/work

    [...] Mahalo aren’t really that surprising, given Jason’s widely-circulated email newsletter about how the downturn is going to hit startups hard (something Ashkan of WatchMojo thinks was a clear sign [...]

  • http://www.machinima.com/blog/2008/10/22/when-life-gives-you-lemons-you-make-machinima/ Machinima Blog

    [...] read a really inspiring blog entry, by Jason Calacanis, tonight. He sent out a newsletter two days before the largest stock market [...]

  • http://www.qualitynonsense.com/1040/web-20-lesson-from-history/ Web 2.0: A Lesson From History

    [...] the lessons of the dot.com boom and bust. My advice? Read widely – start with Jason Calacanis on The Startup Depression – and be ready to capitalise on the stupidity of [...]

  • http://blog.wildfirepr.co.uk/2008/10/24/weekly-links-241008/ The Wildfire Blog – Wildfire PR & Marketing – Business and Consumer Technology Public Relations : Blog Archive : Weekly Links – 24/10/08

    [...] Loic Le Meur on the day he was forced to sack 1/3 of his staff. Elsewhere, Jason Calacanis with his musings on the financial situation and how start-ups can take measures to boost [...]

  • http://www.problognews.com/2008/10/automattic-ceo-schneider-joins-startup-downturn-roundable/ Automattic CEO Schneider Joins Startup Downturn Roundable

    [...] capitalists at the Venture Beat-sponsored conference. Other participants include Jason Calcanis of Mahalo, who wrote 50-80 percent of venture-backed startups will “shut down or go on life-support [...]

  • http://scobleizer.com/2008/10/29/live-video-from-venturebeat-recession-impact-on-startup-event/ Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Live video from VentureBeat recession impact on startup event «

    [...] Calacanis, the Sequoia-backed founder of Mahalo and writer of a controversial letter predicting doomsday for the vast majority of Web 2.0 start-ups. Shortly afterward, Sequoia stirred the valley by holding a mandatory meeting for the CEOs of its [...]

  • http://blog.workhound.co.uk/2008/10/29/online-recruitment-post-crunch/ Online Recruitment – Post Crunch

    [...] quarters. This speculation seems to be on solid footing and individuals/orgs like Fred Wilson, Jason Calacanis, and Sequoia have offered thoughts on the shifting economic landscape and how start-ups need to [...]

  • http://www.gustdoit.com/ Elliot K

    Great read, Jason. The one word that will continue to separate the winners from the non-winners will be “perserverance”. Not particularly profound, but a law that always sustains. Great ideas that bring great value coupled with great execution and management will continue to get funded.

  • http://www.gustdoit.com/ Elliot K

    Enjoyed the read, Jason, but I can tell you as a cancer survivor, “depression” kills. The one word that will continue to separate the winners from the non-winners will be “perserverance”. Not particularly profound, but a law that always sustains. Great ideas that bring great value coupled with great execution and management will continue to get funded.

  • http://www.oregonstartupblog.com/2008/10/01/silicon-florist%e2%80%99s-links-arrangement-for-september-30/ Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for September 30 : Oregon Startup Blog

    [...] (The) Startup Depression « The Jason Calacanis Weblog Jason Calacanis writes “the goal of this post was not to spread fear, but rather inspire folks at startup companies to get focused and to save as many as possible from hitting the wall. Myself? We’ll I funded Mahalo for the long-term and while the market down turn isn’t good for anyone, we’re largely immune from it because we are building on a five year plan that we’re only 18 months into.” [...]

  • http://www.16thletter.com/2008/11/04/10-ways-to-stay-positive-when-times-are-tough/ 10 ways to stay positive when times are tough » 16th letter » Blog Archive

    [...] recession is a good idea, internalizing all the reasons that owning a business in a recession is a very difficult prospect. It’s emotionally [...]

  • http://blog.jinni.com/2008/11/why-a-bad-economy-is-good-for-creativity/ Jinni Blog » Blog Archive » Why a bad economy is good for creativity

    [...] is likely to continue for a while, even with a new president. But despite widespread concern (e.g. Jason Calacanis’s much-talked about post on the lookout for startups) I think artists and entrepreneurs have reason [...]

  • http://hessiej.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/adapt-or-die-the-current-economic-crisis-creates-a-much-harsher-picture-of-what-lies-ahead-in-2009/ Adapt or Die: The current economic crisis creates a much harsher picture of what lies ahead in 2009. « HessieJ.com

    [...] albeit morbid, email the other week from Jason Calcanis, founder of Mahalo.  He spoke about “The Start-up Depression” in the wake of current economic conditions in the US. He followed up with an equally forceful [...]

  • http://www.elearning30.com/2008/11/14/%e2%80%9craising-capital-for-a-startup-in-a-sucky-economy%e2%80%9d/ “Raising Capital for a startup in a sucky economy?” | eLearning 3.0

    [...] then this week rolls around and the bottom falls out of the market and then @JasonCalacanis (Jason’s blog post) & @fredwilson (Fred’s blog post) about startups having issues getting financed cause of [...]

  • http://www.elearning30.com/2008/11/14/getting-back-to-the-basics-garage-mode-tech-startups/ Getting Back to the Basics (Garage Mode Tech Startups) | eLearning 3.0

    [...] of you have read articles on the “startup depression” by Jason Calacanis, Fred Wilson, etc… and they are right for the most [...]

  • http://calacaniswatch.com/?p=13 CalacanisWatch » Blog Archive » [Jason] The Startup Death Spiral + Feedback from (The) Startup Depression

    [...] A selection of feedback from “The Startup Depression” http://calacanis.com/2008/09/29/the-startup-depression/ [...]

  • http://www.tobeanentrepreneur.com/blog/my-wife-reminded-me-the-darkest-hour-isin-factright-before-the-dawn/ My wife reminded me: "The darkest hour is–in fact–right before the dawn…"
  • http://isobarcanada.com/2008/12/06/adapt-or-die-the-economic-crisis-and-the-harsh-reality-for-2009/ Adapt or Die: The economic crisis and the harsh reality for 2009

    [...] albeit morbid, email the other week from Jason Calcanis, founder of Mahalo. He spoke about “The Start-up Depression” in the wake of current economic conditions in the US. He followed up with an equally forceful [...]

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/21/fear-kills-businesses-dead/ Fear Kills Businesses, Dead

    [...] Development vs. Revenue Generation As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can’t count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://vcsandangels.com/blog/?p=29992 Fear Kills Businesses, Dead : VCsAndAngels – Venture Capital / VCs, Angel Investors, Startup News, Etc

    [...] Development vs. Revenue Generation As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can’t count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://tech.thundi.com/?p=12914 Fear Kills Businesses, Dead | ThunDi Technology Blog

    [...] on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis If your company is guided by a board of advisors or group of investors that are not actively in [...]

  • http://opensystemsjournal.net/?p=943 Open Systems Journal » Blog Archive » Fear Kills Businesses, Dead

    [...] Development vs. Revenue Generation As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can’t count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://www.fidicaro.net/?p=1597 Fear Kills Businesses, Dead | Fidicaro.net

    [...] Development vs. Revenue Generation As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can’t count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://www.thescriptszone.com/fear-kills-businesses-dead/ The Scripts Zone » Fear Kills Businesses, Dead

    [...] Development vs. Revenue Generation As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can’t count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://maveron.info/168/fear-kills-businesses-dead/ Fear Kills Businesses, Dead

    [...] As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can’t count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://news.tubefilter.tv/2008/12/30/web-series-creators-its-time-to-step-it-up/ Web Series Creators: It’s Time To Step It Up – Tubefilter News

    [...] founder of Mahalo (along with Weblogs Inc, and Silicon Alley Reporter) who literally hands over his playbook (in the middle of the game) on how he builds rockstar businesses. And then there’s Kevin Rose [...]

  • http://fundrazr.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/during-tough-times-the-echo-chamber-can-be-your-best-friend/ During Tough Times, The Echo Chamber Can Be Your Best Friend « Friends of FundRazr

    [...] Great entrepreneurs build value and market-share in down markets. They go to work seven days a week and the(y) breakout when other folks check out. — Jason Calacanis [...]

  • http://www.altamirano.org/marketing-tools/startup-weekend-sf-and-the-shifting-economy Startup Weekend and the Shifting Economy. | re > engineering antonio

    [...] an earlier post I wrote about the process of innovation and recession partly inspired by the Jason Calacanis email letter (now posted in his blog) and what I have quoted above. That is one of the most authentic and [...]

  • http://sf2.startupweekend.com/?p=41 Why to attend Startup Weekend?

    [...] an earlier post I wrote about the process of innovation and recession partly inspired by the Jason Calacanis email letter (now posted in his blog) and what I have quoted above. That is one of the most authentic and [...]

  • http://edsussman.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/why-start-up-now-102408/ Why Start (Up) Now — 10/24/08 « Publish or Perish

    [...] he expects 80% of the start ups already funded would collapse because of the down, part of a “start up depression.” And legendary VC Fred Wilson said companies without angel or VC funding in place would [...]

  • http://remodelservices.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/runway-a-new-definition-for-an-old-word/ Runway – a new definition for an old word! « Remodel Services

    [...] Read more Jason Calacanis at http://calacanis.com/2008/09/29/the-startup-depression/ [...]

  • http://viralogy.com/blog/hot-topics/startup-philosophies-loic-le-meur-vs-jason-calacanis/ Startup Philosophies: Loic Le Meur vs Jason Calacanis | Viralogy Blog

    [...] Calacanis also believes that there are few things in the world are as exhilarating as starting a new company. He says that running a startup is like a big video game, where you can obtain glorious victory, or [...]

  • http://www.oracle.cc/2009/07/10/start-ups-in-a-down-market-absolutely/ Start-ups in a Down Market? Absolutely… | Oracle

    [...] I read with great interest Jason Calacanis’s email (and blog post) discussing how startups can better survive an economic downturn. Given that he too started his [...]

  • http://www.xyshop.co.uk Tania

    long but good article.

  • http://sitesourcepro.com/articles/75/ Richard

    I don’t know if the stock market is truly the sign if the economy is doing good or bad. Since most are corrupt and are just pushing money around. I think it’s what got us into this problem. I think the web is better place to determine how americans are feeling lately.

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English Bulldog

Hello, my name is Jason. Welcome to my blog on the interwebs. You can reach me on twitter @jason and by email at jason@inside.com. My Skype is jasoncalacanis, and my mobile phone is 310-456-4900.

I only pick up numbers I recognize, and in terms of emailing me, the best strategy is to write short, blunt and to the point requests. I can quickly respond to short messages, and many times I simply don't have the time to read five page pitches. In terms of taking meetings, I only do that after reviewing an actual product (not a business plan). So, the best time to ping me is when you have mockups or an alpha site. I don't read business plans, and I've never written one.

Other twitter accounts you can follow: Inside.com, Ticker, This Week in Startups and LAUNCH Festival

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