Notes from the PandoMonthly with Jason Calicanis

I’m quickly becoming a fan of the PandoMonthly fireside chat series. I love how the interviews mix useful information with casual conversation. It gives the viewer a good feeling for the personality and past experiences of each interviewee.

(Photo credit: Rebecca Aranda for PandoDaily)

(Photo credit: Rebecca Aranda for PandoDaily)

Last week I watched the PandoMonthly with Jason Calicanis, angel investor and founder of Weblogs (sold to AOL),, and an upcoming venture at The interview is almost 2.5 hours, and has lots of great nuggets of advice in it.

Here were a few of my favorites (partially in his words and partially in mine).

  • On his past: Many great entrepreneurs have a complex relationship w/ their parents in their past. Jason saw his dad lose his business, and it changed him as a child, giving him a tremendous drive on succeed.
  • Entrepreneurship now: It has never been this easy to start a startup off of the ground, and it has never been easier to get angel funding. Finishing is much harder.
  • Focus on skills: If you can’t get traction, you don’t have your stuff together yet. Focus on building your skills and honing your craft. It has never been easier to et traction, but you have to know what you are doing. It’s not about tricks and tactics. It is about having a true vision, and knowing how to get users that truly believe in it.
  • Talking to investors: Be succinct when talking to investors. When you are at a restaurant, the chef doesn’t tell you everything about making the food. The chef only gives you the food, and lets you enjoy it. Do the same: create a simple and elegant product which solves a real problem. When you get things down, simply show your simple product and make it succinct.
  • Don’t diss unicorns. Entrepreneurs often put down existing big companies. Don’t do it! These companies are unicorns: they are one of the few that have made it big and provided big value to the world. Don’t diss the unicorn — respect them and then go out and find your own.
  • Only person stopping you is yourself. Many people don’t understand this. Don’t worry about everyone else. Shut up, believe in yourself, and get your skill level up.
  • Everyone is optimizing for wasting the user’s time. So many websites are optimizing their headlines and websites for user clicks. This cannot end well. It will result in a public that is diseased and diabetic from their information diet.

In particular, I love the last point and agree with it 100%. I wrote a blog post on how headlines are shitty these days. There has to be a better way to get information to the general public without resorting to these tactics. The current solution cannot be the long term solution.

P.S. This is post number #65 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

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