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  • Jacqui 22:21:34 on 2017-06-28 Permalink
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    I wrote a book 

    Friends,

    I wrote a book about angel investing, starting companies and the future.

    It’s called ANGEL and it’s coming out July 18th.

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/N6o9W ]

    They offered me a ghost writer, but I decided to write it myself. It took 19 long days, but I think it came out great. If you’re a founder, investor or in any way involved in technology you’re going to get a lot out of it.

    If you’re not in the industry, but you’re interested in breaking in and understanding how it works, well, ANGEL is a candid look at how it works and how you can break in.

    I wrote the book because I believe that the best way to generate outsized results is to own stock in high-growth, private, early-stage technology companies.

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

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

    Barnes and Noble:
    goo.gl/ZUw9k2

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

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

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

    All the best, @jason calacanis

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

     
  • Jacqui 20:20:06 on 2016-09-13 Permalink  

    The Six Reasons Smart Folks are Worried About Apple 

    There are two huge topics of discussion in Silicon Valley right now. The first is “Who will win the level 4 autonomy race, Tesla vs. Uber?,” and the second is “Is Apple in trouble?”

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/1132X ]

    One of the greatest parts of my life, and boy do I lead a charmed life, is that, for some crazy reason, the smartest kids in the class have decided they like to hang out with me.

    I’ve been asking my investor, founder and journalist friends what worries them about Apple, and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought myself. Here are the top six (valid) reasons I’ve compiled:

    1. iPhone 7 announcement fell flat
    2. Project Titan is anything but
    3. The Underwhelming Watch
    4. How is Apple MIA on VR & AR?
    5. Machine Learning & AI
    6. Jobs said he solved TV, but we can’t see it

    iPhone 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Project Titan

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

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

    The Underwhelming Watch

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

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

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

    How is Apple MIA on VR & AR?

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

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

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

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

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

    Machine Learning and AI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Big Question People Aren’t Asking Publicly — Yet

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

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

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

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

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

    All the best, @jason

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

     

     
  • Jacqui 19:54:54 on 2016-09-13 Permalink  

    Scale v4.0 

    Founders, friends & investors,

    On November 14-15 we will invite 2,000 of you to join us for the 4th edition of our SCALE conference.

    The SCALE conference has two tracks featuring 26 speakers each, and we focus on the two most important aspects of running a startup:

    1. Growth
    2. Raising Money

    This year we are also introducing “Founder | Investor: Speed Dating,” which will be 12-minute sessions between the 100 startups we’ve determined are the “most likely to scale” in the next 18 months and the 50 investors we think are the most active and helpful in the industry (both VCs & angels). Founders & investors apply for speed dating here.

    There are seven ways you can participate in the event:

    1. FREE TICKETS FOR FOUNDERS: Founders can come for free by clicking to tweet this message (limited to the first 1,000 folks): http://ctt.ec/lt362

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

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

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

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

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

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

    WHY OUR EVENTS HAVE THE BEST CONTENT

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

    All the best, @jason

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Top 10 Rules for Customer Success, Mei Siauw, LeadIQ

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

     
  • Jacqui 17:45:41 on 2016-08-17 Permalink  

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

    Hi everyone, Producer Jacqui here. We were honored to have Ed Catmull in the studio with Jason last week for an epic conversation we had no choice but to split into two parts. :-) But you can watch them both here. Enjoy!

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/cG45S ]

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

    Ed Catmull President of Pixar-Disney and author of “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” is one of the greatest startup founders in the history of Silicon Valley. Today he joins Jason on This Week in Startups to share his own personal story, perhaps the best that has come out of Pixar. We learn about Ed’s journey from his early days as a pioneer of computer animation, being hired by George Lucas to run the computer division at Lucasfilm, working with Steve Jobs to form Pixar (ultimately Pixar-Disney) and leading it to meteoric success. Ed takes us into his existential crisis after Toy Story’s explosive success, behind the storytelling scenes of The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Inside Out, and around the risks, triumphs and failures that led to his development of a massively successful and sustainable creative culture.

    PART 1

    PART 1 – Timestamps

    00:20-09:17: Jason introduces his guest, Ed Catmull, and starts off by asking him about his early inspirations of being an animator.

    09:38-11:28: Ed shares an early model he made of his hand and explains how he wrote the programming language to make it move.

    13:10-16:05: Alexander Schure, President of the New York Institute of Technology, hires Ed to start an R&D lab in Long Island, NY.

    16:40-17:30: At 25 years of age, Ed says No to working on the Space Mountain ride for Disney, because it didn’t line up with his goal of making a film

    17:51-22:51: Ed explains why he thinks Star Wars is the single most impactful film in the history of the motion pictures industry.

    26:57-30:26: Ed describes what it was like working with George Lucas, and the birth of Pixar.

    30:58-34:27: The journey of Steve Jobs, and how it changed him.

    35:02-36:06: Despite the difficult times of failure at Pixar, Ed recounts how everyone stayed together and became a cohesive group of people who shared hard times, trusted each other, and had each others’ backs.

    40:00-41:35: Jason and Ed talk about the history of Ed’s short films, and how Luxo was the transformational piece.

    43:48-48:35: The making of Toy Story, the risks & negotiations behind it.

    48:56-49:58: Jason asks Ed what the main “switch” in the Toy Story story line and when he knew it would be a great film.

    50:51-53:20: After the release of Toy Story, Ed found that reviews were mostly about the story, and not about computer graphics. Pixar goes public.

    PART 2

    PART 2 – Timestamps

    1:16-6:16 Ed reveals the two big questions he faced following Toy Story’s success and Pixar going public.

    6:17-9:52: Ed explains why “candid” is a powerful word.

    13:30-14:52: Jason talks about why Ratatouille is his favorite Pixar film and asks Ed about the origin of the Anton Ego speech.

    14:53-18:36: Brad Bird’s influence in Ratatouille, and why they had to fight to get The Incredibles made.

    18:37-20:08: Ed explains the research that goes into their films in order to achieve the feeling of authenticity.  

    23:35-24:42: Why Inside Out is the single most impactful film.

    25:12-26:05: Ed breaks down the 3 phases of risks.

    27:27-29:32: Jason asks Ed what his favorite moment from a Pixar film is.

    33:38-36:27: Ed reveals the flaw that Disney caught in Inside Out.

    37:56-43:08: Ed describes the merging with Disney, how they removed the barriers, and the challenges of keeping a culture safe.

    43:39-46:02: The two discuss the human condition in Toy Story, and what makes good filmmaking.

    46:27-50:04: Ed imparts advice on how to build a safe culture.

    51:29-53:10: Jason asks Ed about his thoughts on virtual reality.

    53:11-54:25: Ed expresses his thoughts on using skepticism as a tool.

    57:32-58:20: Lucasfilm and Disney/Pixar are different entities and have different working models, but the teams all still communicate with each other.

    01:01:04-01:02:25: Ed talks about his father.

    01:02:26-01:08:06: Ed describes how we are living in a time that feels surreal, and the two explore what’s wrong with today’s times.

     
  • Jacqui 14:58:22 on 2016-08-10 Permalink  

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

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

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

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

    And watch here! :-)

    Some key discussions
    M&A

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

    Politics & Google

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

    Debt in economy

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

    Bad behavior

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

    Elon Musk & the future

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

     
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