My "Jason’s List 2.0?" email

Seems my email server is in GMAIL/GOOGLE spam filter hell and only 10%
of my peeps are getting the newsletter.

ugh… i think i need to move from listsrv to or

best j

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jason Calacanis
Date: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 4:57 PM
Subject: Jason’s List 2.0?


Hope everyone is having an epic summer. I’ve been having the time of
my life with our daughter London, whom I’ve been taking swimming every
weekend. (photo of London I took today: ).

Swimming in the pool every weekend has given me time to think about
what I love doing, and the thing I love doing most is…. wait for
it… writing! The days after I send you guys an email are the most
exciting days of the month for me. I love your long responses,
challenges and the public debates that emanate from the list (even the
almost career-ending Facebook ones).

It’s a rush.

Writing is my drug and the send key is my needle–my true aspiration
is to be a junkie (aka full-time writer).

Last month, I asked if you guys would take the time to answer a couple
of questions regarding the list and over 1,000 of you took the time to
do so.



*** Survey Results here: ***

We captured the results with the epic SurveyMonkey (which, at $200 a
year for the professional version, is an absurd deal). The company is
being run by one of my oldest friends in the industry, Dave Goldberg.
Dave sold to Yahoo back in the day and is a fantastic
entrepreneur–and a great card player as well. (now if only he could
help me get the domain from Yahoo for my new conference!).

Based on these results, I’m considering investing in a “supporting
cast” that would help me consistently publish pieces twice a month
(perhaps weekly some day). These pieces would have fact checking and
additional research with them–but maintain my voice. Imagine if I had
two people to work with me on the pieces about Apple, Facebook, and
Comscore, not to mention the service/how-to stuff.

It would be killer in my mind.

Imagine a forum for list members who wanted to privately discuss the
issues raised in the newsletter (as folks did when the list
inadvertently went into discussion mode)! Imagine further that the
community was private, moderated and limited in terms who could become
a member. Killer I know–I’m excited about this (and I’m a cynical
bastard when it comes to community).

Big picture: I’m not looking to build a business, but rather refine
the editorial product I’m sending to you already.

[ Side note: none of this ‘expansion’ or desire to become a full-time
writers means I’m leaving my post as CEO of Mahalo. 🙂 ]

I want to provide you with more value, and give you a forum for you to
build more value for me (and other list members). The feedback I get
from the list is the reason I do it. You guys send me back 20x the
information and value I send back–but you can’t see it because it’s
in one-to-one emails.

Here is my 1st draft of the list expansion plan–which is subject to
your approval and feedback dear reader!

1. Hire a full-time researcher/junior writer
This person would do research, fact-check, proof and contribute to the
list. She would work with another vet so we could publish the list
more consistently (i.e. every two weeks). This person would also
moderate the Jason’s List Discussion Group (#3 below). This job would
pay $30-50,000 a year (with benefits starting in Month Three) and
would ideally require one to five years experience in some combination
of business or technology research, blogging, writing, fact-checking
and editing. Or they would just be brilliant and have no experience.

This position would be located in Santa Monica, CA (non-negotiable),
and would need to be in the office every day. (Mahalo has a killer,
organic chef. You want to be in the office every day–trust me). If
you want this job and you’re willing to work absurdly hard with a
maniac like myself email me an epic cover letter/email of why you are
perfect for the job. Feel free to include links and a resume. Subject
line = research, email: jason@

2. Hire one of the top 25 analysts/writers in the tech/business world
I’d love to have a partner in crime for the list. You know, a Shaq to
my Kobe, a Scottie Pippen to my Michael Jordan, or perhaps a LeBron to
my Dwayne Wade (wait, what?). This person would collaborate with me on
my pieces as well as writing pieces of their own (to which I could
contribute). The basic idea is to help me get the newsletter out every
two weeks (or about 20+ times a year).

My ideal writer would be someone data-driven, hard-working,
old-school, with five to 20 years in the business. Someone who is
willing to share their opinion and–gasp!–actually have a point of

My dream team list would include folks who are not available, like the
killer Om Malik (no chance, entrepreneur), the disciplined Rafe
Needleman (CNET), the insightful Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch), the
savvy Declan McCullagh (WIRED), Rafat Ali, who worked for me at
Silicon Alley Reporter (no chance, entrepreneur), the legendary John
Markoff (NYT), the up-and-coming MG Siegler (TechCrunch), the brutal
and wonderful Kara Swisher (no chance, entrepreneur), the diligent
Peter Kafka (AllThingsD), the promising Jessica Vascellaro (WSJ),
VentureBeat’s prolific Dean Takahashi, and perhaps one of my all-time
favorites, Steven Levy (WIRED). I’ve left off 20 more writers, but you
know who you are.

The chances of us landing any of those folks is, on average, less than
2%, I know. Long odds, however, are my specialty

2% would fall into these type of situations:

a) their boss is a total a-hole who doesn’t appreciate them (let’s not
name names) and treats them like crap
b) they want to own a chunk of stock in something valuable
c) they’re tired of filing 20 times a week and would rather file once
every two weeks (from home in their underwear)
d) they’re tired of the very broken “fair and balanced” formula that
is eroding American journalism, and they want to speak the truth

This gig would pay “what it takes,” which for the level of person I’m
talking about above would be $60-100k (or more) depending on the
equity mix (i.e. 5% on the low end, 10% on the high-end).

Offering up to double-digit equity is exactly what I’ve done in the
past to take journalists from “rice-pickers to samurai” in the past.
For the right person, it will be life and career changing. Sadly, most
people are scared to leave the comforts of the paddy field.

Question: Who do you think I should target?

Confidential suggestions and introductions are appreciated: jason@

3. Create a members-only forum
Services like Yammer, SocialCast, Google Groups, etc. would be perfect
for a web-based forum/social network for list members who want a
serious, private discussion forum. The comments on TechCrunch and
BusinessInsider are so anonymous, sad and pathetic that they’re
comical and depressing at once. Frankly, it’s an embarrassment for
Arrington and Blodget that their comments suck so badly. The losers
who live in this
e co
mment sections are precisely the reason I moved to

Nothing important is discussed in public any more.

In order to make this work, I’d need someone (perhaps two someones) in
the forum, curating it, every day. I’m going to see if Yammer,
SocialCast or another firm with solid software would sponsor the list
for $5,000 a month. (If they get one client, they would make their
money back–so I’m hopeful one of them will email me and say “deal”
when they read this).

I’d also charge list members a nominal fee in order to reduce the
number of people in the forum ($25-100 a year). Of course, I’d give
VIP invites to the top 250 CEOs, angel investors and VCs, so the forum
had critical mass day one.

So, that’s my plan:

1. Hire a researcher
2. Hire a superstar
3. Start a forum

You can help with this by doing the following:

1. Email this to a killer researcher/writer in Los Angeles who wants
to work in our office.
2. Lobby one of the big name superstars in our industry to join my dream team.
3. Continued Feedback on how to make the email better.

All the best,


Join me at these amazing events at which I’m speaking!
August 3rd: Speaking with Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX in the Valley
at Adeo’s wonderful Founders Showcase.

August 14th: Speaking with the Mike Arrington puppet at Loren’s epic
(and affordable) Audience Conference in New York City.

September 30th-October 3rd: WPP’s Stream Conference in Athens, Greece.
(private event, can’t bring you with me…. wish I could!).

October 4th-6th: Speaking at Carson’s amazing Future of Web Apps in London

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Sent with love from Santa Monica:

Calacanis LLC
902 Colorado
Santa Monica, CA 90401

One thought on “My "Jason’s List 2.0?" email

  1. I like the passion, I just don’t like the execution.

    The absolute biggest reasons for my love of this list is that it’s not obtrusive, and at the same time provides a huge thought resource from a big player.

    Some of your insights have been direction altering for me.

    But having your voice diluted with two other folks, and as with any forum it will be another thing that I feel compelled to read each day.

    I rely on folks like you in the industry to be my BS filter, and I think I’m going to be losing that with this no format.

    As always I wish the new venture well and look forward to trying out the new list style.

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