As some of you might have read, I’m going to be doing a reality TV show starting this week at the LAUNCH Festival. I thought I would share with you why I’m doing it and what it’s going to be all about.
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My goal for the show is to inspire people to start companies that solve big problems in the world.
Reality TV is perhaps the most powerful medium today, and I hope to leverage every ounce of its power to inspire people to start companies — while taking 5% ownership in those same companies for myself. 🙂
The show is going to take an inside look at my weekly accelerator, the LAUNCH Incubator, which happens every Thursday night, for three hours, here in San Francisco. We’ve graduated 27 startups from the program so far. Fourteen of them are debuting on stage this Wednesday, March 2nd, at the LAUNCH Festival.
I can’t get too much into the format, and I can’t say which network bought the show, but I can tell you that it will be the most authentic show ever created about Silicon Valley and startups, because, well, I came up with the concept of the show myself. “Film my incubator!” (Very original, I know).
For background, I’ve turned down a dozen offers to do a show over the past decade, but decided to do this one because I had a true partner in The Weinstein Company (they do Project Runway and all of Tarantino’s films), and we shared a vision to make it as authentic as possible.
As part of making it authentic, I insisted on a half dozen elements. I get to pick all the startups, the judges, the winner, and the location where the show will take place, San Francisco.
This ensures that the show won’t turn into some trite, insulting version of what we all do for a living.
Making the show authentic means we’re taking a little bit of a risk with the general audience, but everyone agrees that the risk in being genuine also brings the opportunity to create something unique and, perhaps even, great.
It would be simple to make this the “Real Housewives of Silicon Valley,” but I don’t want anything to do with that and neither does The Weinstein Company (nor our unnamed network partner).
The show will overlap with about 5% of what Shark Tank does (the critical investment process), but the majority of the show will focus on how startups are actually created. As an interesting aside, the Shark Tank team actually reached out to me in Season One to be a judge. I didn’t make the cut (which was fair. At the time, I had not invested in four unicorns, so I wasn’t qualified).
At this point no one knows if the show will succeed, but I promise all of you that it’s going to be 100% realistic, highly entertaining, and a quality production.
I’m really excited about it, and hope you all watch it when it comes out.
Special thanks to Executive Producer Carmella Casinelli, who put in more effort than anyone to get us to day one.
I’m going to start picking the companies to be on the show beginning this week at the LAUNCH Festival. If you want to get more information about joining the incubator (and casting for the show), sign up with your email here: http://www.launchincubator.co