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This Week in Startups

Jason Calacanis

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Jason Calacanis covers startups, tech, markets, media, and all the hottest topics in business and technology. He also interviews the world’s greatest founders, operators, investors, and innovators. Join our community on Twitter to discuss the show:


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0:55 Jason intros Balaji Srinivasan and tees up his incident with Recode's piece: “No handshakes, please”: The tech industry is terrified of the coronavirus
4:28 Balaji shares his experience with the story and his issues with corporate journalism
15:16 Balaji explains why he reacted the way he did to Shirin Ghaffary's request for an interview
19:52 History of techlash: 1995-2020, when things turned from positivity to overwhelming negativity
26:26 Balaji brings up a sentiment analysis chart published by Recode
31:25 Did both sides of the political spectrum fail in their coverage of the virus? Is citizen journalism the answer?
39:40 Balaji envisions for a new kind of journalism
41:43 Are corporate journalists too like-minded in their approach because of not being representative of the demographics of the US?
48:16 What is modern journalism's biggest blind spot?
51:22 Tips on how to start decentralizing media
54:34 Are modern journalists uncomfortable with subjects playing an active role in the reporting of the story? Did Recode & other outlets fail their readers?
1:01:55 Will the US "let it rip" strategy of dealing with COVID prove catastrophic?
1:05:53 Endgame scenarios: Bull, Bear & Base
1:10:08 Should we be experimenting with "Challenge Trials"?
1:18:52 How culpable is China for the spread of COVID-19? Should wet markets be shut down for good?
1:23:39 Why is the US still behind on mass testing? More on endgame scenarios
1:31:03 Possibility of COVID-19 being a biological weapon?
1:36:27 What should we learn from this crisis? What societal changes will happen?

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0:41 Jason intros "Edge" Author Laura Huang
3:00 How do Harvard MBA students compare with Stanford MBA students?
7:17 Why did Laura write "Edge" at this time?
8:55 Overcoming disadvantages based on race, ethnicity & gender
14:56 Laura's experience reading her own audiobook
17:23 What does her research show about structural bias against Female entrepreneurs?
23:33 How can a founder turn adversity into an advantage when asked a question with a negative bias?
28:01 How being underestimated inhibits the opportunity to enrich & provide value? What is an example of delight in p2p interaction?
36:39 How should we look at intent when discussing bias & privilege?
44:35 How to deal with being bitter vs. getting better and controlling emotions while still allowing ourselves to feel?
1:00:17 Laura & Jason share personal stories about bitter vs. better & explain how she converted her energy
1:05:09 What is Laura's hope for the lasting impact "Edge" has on its readers?

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0:50 Jason intros Coatue Management's Dan Rose
1:52 Dan takes Jason through getting his internship at Amazon in 1999 and meeting Jeff Bezos
6:55 What was Amazon's core business in 1999? What was it like incubating the Kindle in the mid-2000s?
10:04 How did Bezos grow as a leader and businessman during Dan's tenure at Amazon?
18:21 How does Bezos' ability to turn Amazon around in the eyes of public investors relate to Uber, Lyft and other large & unprofitable companies? How does Bezos inspire so much loyalty?
23:27 What was Amazon's company culture during Dan's tenure? How was AWS developed?
26:08 How did Dan wind up at Facebook as employee ~130? What did he see in a young Mark Zuckerberg?
32:13 Who created the original Facebook News Feed?
35:34 How did they get the ad-network to work at scale?
42:50 Where do Elon, Bezos & Zuckerberg rank in the Pantheon of Entrepreneurs?
44:06 How did the billion-dollar acquisition offer from Yahoo! fall apart?
46:42 Why launching open registration led to the billion-dollar investment by Microsoft
48:30 Insights on the Instagram deal
51:00 How Facebook bounced back from the stock dropping from $31 to $17 shortly after IPO & how Dan's experience at Amazon helped him rally the troops?
58:44 Zuckerberg's response to mistakes
1:03:01 How did Dan wind up at Coatue Management leading a $700M early-stage fund?
1:08:01 What is Coatue's strategy around data science?
1:11:20 Dan had over 100 Angel investments before joining Coatue
1:13:18 What is Coatue's new fund strategy?
1:16:09 How does Dan think of diligence in regards to early-stage companies?
1:20:25 What does Dan want to see in an ideal founder?

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Geoff Lewis is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at Bedrock Capital. He joins to discuss lessons from entrepreneurship (1:25), why "vibe" is the critical way he assesses founders (11:44), his investment in Praxis, a city-state building company (23:15), his unique answer to the contrarian question (31:17), defense tech, AI and much more.

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First Jason covers Zoom's Q3 earnings and reflects on broader tech valuations (01:53). Then, Jason does a Startup Checklist episode on how to get your startup ready for an investment (16:10). The episode covers the basics like making sure you have the right structure (18:06), the ways you can fundraise (39:33) and more.

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Check out Transcend:

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Intercom CEO Des Traynor discusses why startups need to grow fast (7:44), how to execute at speed (10:48), build an effective culture (33:35) & more!

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0:50 Jason opens the show with some thoughts on livelihood, getting back to work as a lose-lose situation and approaching the situation with kindness and empathy
5:47 Jason intros Hustle Fund's Elizabeth Yin and they discuss the process of raising Hustle Fund I and targeting first-time LPs
10:25 Why high net worth individuals would look to become venture LPs
14:26 What's the deal with Elizabeth & hippos? Where can you find Jason as his alter-ego "CyberSurfer"
15:49 What is Hustle Fund's portfolio strategy?
18:55 When do you know if you have a 100x outlier? Why roll prior angel investments into the fund?
24:15 Thinking of venture funds from a gambling perspective
28:24 What is Hustle Fund's approach to pro-rata as a smaller fund?
34:49 Founders ability to "game" investors increasing in last 5 years
37:47 How does Elizabeth decide to make the follow-on second bet in a company?
42:01 How does Elizabeth advise her startups to raise from downstream Seed/Series A investors, importance of positive unit economics
47:41 Challenges of fundraising in today's climate
50:34 Reasons for optimism/pessimism, lockdown creating a necessity for innovation
56:55 What will COVID's permanent ramifications be on startups?

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0:56 Jason intros Keith Rabois and checks in on his quarantine, Zoom's heightened exhaustion factor & more
5:46 What will the lasting impact of COVID be on Silicon Valley & the startup funding landscape?
8:18 How the early 2000's dot-com bust paved way for a generation of new founders & why the PayPal mafia of outsiders thrived in chaos & became the establishment
14:23 What has happened to intellectual debate during COVID-19? What are first principle thinkers and why are they important to problem-solving?
20:53 Is domain expertise overrated?
22:39 Keith's on his pinned tweet about his perceived recipe for startup success
26:50 In which verticals did Keith find outliers using his low-NPS/fragmented/vertical solution strategy?
32:15 History on US relationship with China, has Trump been right on China threat, should US try and bring manufacturing back from China?
44:41 China's involvement with whistleblowers, benefits of litigation knowledge as a VC, world's reaction to China mishandling COVID info
50:40 Has Biden been soft on China? How will that play into the 2020 election?
1:00:51 Why is the stock market bouncing back so quickly with record-setting unemployment numbers? Will there be another correction?
1:03:59 What is Keith seeing across his portfolio? M&A opportunity for companies like Lyft?
1:09:34 Keith shares thoughts on the right time to go public
1:13:50 Impact of 20% unemployment on startups over the next year, mental impact of lockdown & social isolation
1:20:40 Keith's most positive outlook going forward

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1:04 Jason intros Alex Wilhelm & Sarah Cannon
5:00 COVID-19: Where are we now?
10:12 Have would Obama have handled this situation? What are the proper next steps?
15:29 Sarah lays out her economic stimulus plan
20:29 How much has the political landscape changed over the last few months?
22:08 How would a stimulus plan work in practice?
24:36 What will change about the gig economy and healthcare coverage?
28:35 Will the average American citizen's perspective on the world change?
33:23 Alex shares his thoughts on the media's handling of COVID-19, and what Twitter's role has been during the crisis
45:09 Jason's theory on what we should do differently next time around, and it is applicable in America?
50:08 What is the endgame of COVID-19? How long will it last and how bad will it get?
1:00:42 Chances of civil unrest/chaos? Are testing incentives the best way to bend the curve?
1:10:14 Thoughts on WeWork/SoftBank news & why Sarah didn't invest
1:13:22 How Sarah is advising her portfolio companies during COVID-19, benefits of overcapitalization
1:18:42 Durability of SaaS revenue during a recession

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out of 5

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3 Ratings

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