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  • jasoncalacanis 00:22:32 on 2019-01-23 Permalink
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    How to find a co-founder for your startup 


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    If you’re a first-time founder, you probably want to have a co-founder or two to lean on.

    The second most frequent question I get from new founders, after “will you give me $250,000?” is, “do you know a technical co-founder?”

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): https://ctt.ac/178_d ]

    If you can’t find a co-founder for your startup, you’ve disqualified yourself as a fundable entrepreneur, because who in their right mind would back someone who can’t convince just once talented person to join them on a crazy journey?

    Finding a co-founder isn’t easy, but it’s not the hardest thing you’ll do as a founder, and recruiting for your startup is going to be a lifelong practice.

    It. Never. Ends.

    I’m 30 years into my career in technology and I’m still spending a significant portion of my time building my teams.

    That being said, there is a simple three-step process to recruiting a co-founder:

    1. Identify what skills you don’t have & that your startup needs.
    2. Find people you know with those skills.
    3. Have coffee with those people & let them know how enormous you think this opportunity is and that you can’t do it without them. Ask them for their feedback on the idea, and tell them they would be crazy not to join you on this adventure because this problem needs to be solved (alternatively, “this product needs to exist in the world”).  

    When I give this advice to folks they give me the following excuses:

    1. “But I don’t know anyone”
    2. “But I don’t have any money to pay them and they have kids and a mortgage and won’t leave Google to do this!”
    3. “I’m not good at networking.”

    If you throw up these kinds of roadblocks for yourself you’re simply too weak — at this time — to found a company. You should go work for someone who isn’t as meek and milktoast as you are. Someone who is so passionate about their idea that they will find 100 people who are qualified, and relentlessly explain to them to come on the journey until they’re told, “stop asking me to do this with you — I’m out and you’re annoying as heck!”

    This is what it takes to find a co-founder and if you have any complaints about this being unfair or unjust or too hard, well, guess what: startups are really f@#$#@ing hard and life is not fair.

    Either do the work or don’t, but don’t complain about how hard it is to change the world. If you’re not up for this simple task, then go work for someone who is and take notes.

    Comments are open, but if you complain in the comments I reserve the right to savage you.

    The post How to find a co-founder for your startup appeared first on Jason Calacanis.

     
  • jasoncalacanis 20:56:12 on 2019-01-20 Permalink
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    Spreading the Gospel of Angel Investing (Hong Kong next week) 


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    As many of you know from reading (or listening) to my book, I’ve taken on the challenge of educating and inspiring rich people to angel invest in startups.

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): https://ctt.ac/1Qe3j ]

    Rich people are sitting on large hoards of zombie capital, be it bonds, index funds or cash, that sit passively in the cloud, allowing the rich to stay rich, beating inflation and sometimes a bit better.

    Sure, some of these bonds and index funds are backing interesting projects, but the truth is, this capital doesn’t change the world in the way startups do. I’m trying to inspire 10,000 rich people to become half- to full-time angel investors, moving a small percentage of their zombie capital, on an individual basis, into startups.

    If 10,000 individuals worth $10m each put 5% of their net worth — $500,000 — into angel investing over the next five years, that’s a billion dollars into seed stage startups.

    In order to do this, my friend Mike Savino and I, along with the LAUNCH team, created Angel.University, a half- to full-day course on the basics of angel investing. We’ve done them a half dozen times already, including in Sydney and now Hong Kong.

    [ Angel Summit will take place on Friday the 25th in Hong Kong at the Startup Impact Summit: https://whub.io/startup-impact-summit and is put on by WHUB ]

    The likely scenario I’ve seen in angel investing is that people who do it as a career and who do it with discipline, which most do not, will likely lose half of their money, or double it, with an outside chance of doing much better.

    However, most folks don’t angel invest with discipline. They meet their first startup, dump $250,000 of their $500,000 angel investing capital into it, and watch it burn.

    The truth is, you want to start very slow, investing tiny amounts of capital, say $5,000, into each of your first 30 investments in year one and two, tracking which ones hit revenue, significant user growth and/or follow on investment from known investors. Then you need to double or triple — or 10x — your investment in those breakouts.

    Of course, the advent of syndicates allows for the participation in angel investing without the massive, time-consuming search for deals and the extensive due diligence required to avoid costly mistakes.

    That’s where the book, the course, and the podcast come in, which all urge new angel investors to take their time, study the craft and take the work seriously.

    Right now our syndicate at Jasonssyndicate.com has ~2,900 members, making it the largest syndicate in the world (by far). We think we can get to 10,000 over the next five years by adding three or four people a day.

    If we can hit 10,000 members we will be able to syndicate a qualified startup deal every week, perhaps even two deals a week eventually.  

    And who knows, in another year or two, we will likely see the definition of accredited investors in the United States expanded to include people taking a course or having related work experience, qualifying them to do startup investing.

    PS – Anyone interesting I should meet in Hong Kong? Email me jason AT calacanis.com

     
  • jasoncalacanis 21:46:09 on 2019-01-19 Permalink
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    Will an Amazon.com come out of the crypto collapse? 


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    Yesterday I had Anthony Pompliano on my podcast to discuss crypto. He runs a crypto fund, and we’ve had a great time debating ICO scams, Bitcoin Zero and token-based equity on Twitter for the past couple of months.

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): https://ctt.ac/3i4oO ]

    He was a fantastic guest, and despite our Twitter debates, it turns out that we agree on about 90% of what’s happening in crypto right now.

    The big question I tried to figure out on the podcast, and that I’ve been trying to figure out personally as an investor is, will a killer use case and $100b startup come out of the crypto and ICO crater of 2018 — which saw most ICOs and imaginary digital currencies lose 90-99% of their value.

    In other words, will an Amazon.com, led by a visionary founder, come out of this global, anonymous gaggle of grifters and cryptodipshits.com.

    We also talked about why so many people think Ripple/XRP is a scam (and why Anthony won’t hold the #3 crypto project), wash trading and how much crypto folks should own.  

    https://youtu.be/v7fSARKYCKA

    We also had my old friend Mick Liubinskas on the podcast, he’s a consultant to startups I met over a decade ago in Sydney. He just launched a cool book called, She’s Building a Robot. Please go buy 10 copies of his book, it’s something we need to see more of in the world: content that inspires girls to get into tech — as opposed to much of media which shames them about being geeks and praises them for being part of the Industrial Princess Complex.

    Show notes:

    0:48 – Jason introduces Mick Liubinskas. The two talk about the Australian startup environment and Mick’s book “She’s Building a Robot.”

    5:40 – Jason introduces Anthony Pompliano. The two talk about what Anthony is working on and the current situation of bitcoin.

    10:34 – Mick shares his thoughts on the rise and fall of bitcoin.

    14:07 – Jason thanks sponsor LinkedIn. Claim a $50 credit toward your first job posting: linkedin.com/twist.

    16:18 – Why hasn’t there been a killer use case for crypto after so many crypto ICOs?

    24:22 – Jason thanks sponsor Kruze Consulting. Visit kruzeconsulting.com/twist to receive a free tax consultation and tax credit white paper.

    26:08 – Backstory of bitcoin and cryptocurrency, ideal crypto use cases to come, and crypto bans around the world.

    35:58 – Thoughts and speculation on what the outcome of bitcoin will be in the United States.

    40:59 – Jason thanks sponsor Capterra. Visit capterra.com/twist to find the right business software for you.

    42:59 – Ripple: how it works, the issues around it, and why some people consider it a scam.

    55:23 – Crypto as an alternative for venture capital, and crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo.

    58:04 – Problems with accreditation laws in the United States and Australia, and smart investment strategies.

    1:05:33 – Global Black Swan rankings: higher education, aliens, China, and impeachment.

    1:18:44 – Anthony talks about how his index fund works, gives bitcoin advice and shares thoughts on Masayoshi Son.

     
  • jasoncalacanis 20:25:56 on 2019-01-19 Permalink
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    Founders: Watch the FYRE doc and learn what not to do 


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    At Fyre Festival, guests get cheese and bread instead of ...
    Founders: Watch the FYRE doc and learn what not to do

    Last night I watched the schadenfreudeful documentary FYRE on Netflix, which chronicles a sociopathic grifter named Billy McFarland and his greedy celebrity partner Ja Rule, as they bilk investors and music-festival-going Instagrammers out of their money.

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): https://ctt.ac/nUR97 ]

    The movie is a commentary on the power of social media models like Kylie Jenner, combined with a criminal disguising himself as a visionary founder.

    FYRE has flashes of the familiar startup and entrepreneurial struggle, with insane deadlines and a cash crunch being resolved with a combination of brilliant, world-class marketing and bold fundraising driven by RFID bracelets being loaded with cash and angel investors pouring money into an event that the founder knows is a multilayered fraud.

    McFarland’s enablers detail their journey from true believers in the original vision of Fyre, a completely reasonable concept to build a marketplace for booking talent, to the utter chaos of the weeks and days and hours leading up until all hell broke loose — and millennials were fed cold cheese sandwiches while fighting for shelter in leftover emergency tents.

    When everything collapses, you’re left with everyone around the far-from-mastermind criminal, McFarland, leaving pain and suffering in the worker bees who tried their hardest to make his vision reality.

    If you’re a founder, the important takeaway is that while grinding and hacking your way to success is what it’s all about, doing illegal things while selling your stock to investors is securities fraud.

    Our justice system in America might be inconsistent and slow, but it takes particular pride in its ability to take down people who commit crimes in combination with a cap table (see Theranos, the Zenefits settlement, ICO actions, etc.).

    When I started daily blogging for Calacanis.com, one of my first posts was one imploring founders to read biographies, which are an amazing way to unpack how success happens — and it’s often messy and far from a straight line.

    Documentary and dramatic films about founders are also a great way to unlock entrepreneurial lessons — what are your favorite startup films?

    Founder? Startup? Comments are open!

    Note: I’ve only watched the Netflix FYRE doc, I understand there is ANOTHER doc on Hulu. Will watch that one next.

     
  • Jason Calacanis 06:00:05 on 2019-01-18 Permalink
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    This is your Captain again, I’m canceling drink service 


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    In July I wrote a message to my founders, warning that things could get choppy, titled “This is your Captain speaking, I’m turning on the fasten seat belt sign.”

    Well, this is your captain again, and we’ve got turbulence ahead so I’m canceling drink service and asking everyone to check your seatbelts.

    [ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): https://ctt.ac/Bfrnm ]

    On the day I wrote the last piece the NASDAQ was at 7,932 (July 25th), and over the next couple of months, it crashed over 20% to 6,192.

    It’s since recovered to ~7,000.

    While no one can time the market, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    The Black Swans are hiding all around us in plain sight, while at the same time big tech companies have soaring sales, letting them build mountains and mountains of cash.

    When I look out there I see three things that make me cautious:

    1. The Russian investigation combined with the growing impeachment movement
    2. The Chinese trade war combined with the arrest of the Huawei CFO in Canada and another employee in Poland. A Canadian citizen in China has been sentenced to death for drug smuggling, as well — coincidence?
    3. The Corporate Debt bubble

    In the last piece, I explained to founders what happens when things collapse. In short, angels and VCs slow or stop investing, and the startups with under a year of revenue and no prospects of hitting breakeven go away.

    Will the market crash? No one knows, but I do know that the Boy Scout motto is as true today as it has ever been: be prepared!  

    Bottom line: For my founders, I want you all to check that you have 18 months of runway in your bank and a clear path to profitability — if you’re not profitable yet. Be. Pre. Pared.

    More:

    Corporate Debt

    Canadian citizen sentenced to death

    Huawei arrest in Poland

    The post This is your Captain again, I’m canceling drink service appeared first on Calacanis.com.

     
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