– Startups – Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital Pt. 2- TWiST #295

– Startups – Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital Pt. 2- TWiST #295


NARRATOR: Distribution provided by CloudSigma. The cloud that adapts to you. Visit http://cloudsigma.com/thisweekin/ for a free $200 credit. Today’s episode of “This Week in Startups” is brought to you by Hiscox. Go to http://www.hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz/ for your business insurance needs. And, by “Stamps.com.” Why go to the post office? Use “Stamps.com” instead. For a no-risk trial, and a $110 bonus offer, use the promo code TWIST. HISCOX AD: You know whatĺs right for your small business. “I pick the right tools to click with my clients. When itĺs game time, I have the right answer, no matter the playing field.” Your small business is unique, so is our coverage. Hiscox, get the right insurance, right now. NARRATOR: The conversation between Jason and Chris was too amazing for just one episode. Here is a highly anticipated part 2, today, on “This Week in Startups.” INTRO MUSIC INTRO MUSIC INTRO MUSIC INTRO MUSIC JASON: It’s unbelievable. CHRIS: So here is the thing. If you just go by that stuff, that is called “lowercase.” You are never gonna find it. JASON: Yeah. Now you know how to do this stuff. We understand that you have Larry. But what’s Larry Page like? What’s, what’sů What’s Sergey Brin like? I mean, we just had Google hit an all-time high in the seven hundreds, I believe. Or, maybe, it hit eight hundred. And this company was supposed to be killed by Facebook. CHRIS: If you plug it right now, it’ll hit eight hundred. I’ve no doubt. JASON: Absolutely. CHRIS: If you put a “buy” rating on Google! JASON: I wanna go ahead and put a “buy” rating officially, on Google, and set a target of eight hundred and twenty-five dollars by the end of this broadcast. CHRIS: Did you just pull a “blodget” [from Henry Blodget]? JASON: I think I did. I think I did. When I think I make people money, and then, I just insist that you sell and profit-take. CHRIS: If somebody goes back and, actually, looks, if that ticker is going up about that stock. JASON: I think the market is closed. CHRIS: You move markets. JASON: The market is closed. The market is closed. CHRIS: I’ve been here for a while. That’s a good point. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: There’s after-hours [trading]. JASON: There is after-hours [trading]. Yes. Whatever happens after this, it stays on this broadcast. JASON’S AD: Hey, everybody. This amazing, amazing interview with mister Chris Sacca is just f**king unbelievable. It’s just such a f**king great episode and the swear jar is just really (bleep). It’s exploding with all the curse words and the goodness of the “charity: water”. Uhů We’d be actuallyů I almost spoil for youů Uhů You’re enjoying this great episode, because of my friends at “Stamps.com.” They produced a really great product, that I’ve been using for years sincerely. And, you know, the only way to be an advertiser on this very sold-out program, [that’s] sold-out three, four, five months in advance, is to make a product that I, Jason Calacanis, actually love and use. That is how you become a partner of the program, and “Stamps.com” is one of our great partners. Going to the post office is a waste of time, but the post office provides great service. And “Stamps.com” is the place, where you can buy and print official US postage for any letter or package. Or, as we’re saying, “packa-a-age.” uhů and uhů If you want to get a great deal, you just go to “Stamps.com.” You click on the microphone up here on the top right end of the screen. Boom! I want you click on that. You put in the code TWIST. T-W-I-S-T. And you will get a no-risk four-week trial. That’s right. No-risk, four weeks, great trial, and you get a free digital scale, and up to fifty-five dollars in free postage. If you’re running a small business, this is a no-brainer. You have to have to have “Stamps.com” in your arsenal of small business tools. I do! You should as well. And again, it’s a four-week trial and no-risk. Use the promo code TWIST. And I can tell you, the post office has a lot of really, uhů the U.S. Postal Service, really great uhů services like, Priority [Mail], Overnight/[Express Mail], like Media Mail, like Bulk Mail. It just has tons of really innovative products, and they compete really well against uhů some of those uhů higher price, fancier, dancier services. That really is just a waste of money, and you’ve gotta save your money. You’ve gotta conserve your capital as a startup, and put it into your product. Just like “Stamps.com” does. They make a great product. Okay. Listen. Thank you “stamps.com.” I love you, guys, uhů first of all, for making a great product, and I love you even more for supporting this program and amazing interviews like this one. If you’re really enjoyed this interview, just, please, uhů stop what you’re doing. If you’re driving on 405, just keep driving, and then, I want you to tweet, while you’re driving on 405, [say] thanks “Stamps.com” @stampscom [on Twitter]. Don’t do that, while you’re driving, don’t be silly. You do that, when you get home. All right, thanks again “Stamps.com.” Let’s get back to Chris Sacca. It’s f**king unbelievable. JASON: Larry Page. CHRIS: Larry has been sent to us from the future. He is uhů is some alien being, uhů who has been to the future, was sent here. He is uhů subtly trying to tell us. I think he was sent into the future, but he has a pact, that he can’t explicitly tell us about it. He has to subtly guide us there. He has a preternatural ability to know how things are going to turn out uhů on the biggest, biggest questions, so I don’t think he ever gave a s**t about social. uhů You know like, people kind of make fun of Google for failing in social, and I think they did. I think they continue to. I don’t think he cares, likeů uhů I think he cares about real science. I think that’s one of the reasons why Google was never really taking Twitter seriously, as it should. That’s why they didn’t take Blogger seriously. JASON: Right. CHRIS: I mean, you’ve been friends with Evan [Williams], Biz [Stone], and those guys for a long time. They were like the red-headed step children of Google, right? JASON: They didn’t really give them enough love. CHRIS: On their own footing, they were the ninth largest site in the world, and they couldn’t get an engineer, any machines, any allocation process. JASON: It makes no sense. CHRIS: We struggle without that for a long time, trying to figure out why. When I sit down with them, I like, what’sů, “Is it because you’re hipsters and live in the city? Is [it] because not all of you went to college? Is it likeů? What is it?” JASON: Yeah, you, guys, aren’t engineers. CHRIS: And one day Eric Schmidt goes on stage at uhů a banker conference in San Francisco, and calls Twitter the poor man’s email. And a light bulb went off in my head, and I called up Evan. I was like, “I get it; I get it. I get what just happened.” Twitter and Blogger aren’t hard science problems. They are human problems. JASON: Communication problems. CHRIS: And what happens is, like, Eric sees Blogger as a front-end on FTP. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: Like, an artist, a humanist sees Blogger as a canvas, thatů that lowered the barrier toů toů to a self-expression to level never before seen on the planet. You know, like you start from stone tablets to papyrus, to Gutenberg, to newspapers and books, where you still needed a big access to a lot of technology. Now, back then, if you had an inexpensive laptop and Internet connection, you’re suddenly a publisher. You’re an author, you can write. JASON: A revolution, based on creativity. CHRIS: Twitter lowered the bar even more. I mean, between Jack [Dorsey], and Ev [Williams], and Biz [Stone], and [Jason] Goldman, and all these guys, who put it. Like, they lowered the bar even more. All you needed to do is to have the cell phone. If you could type T9, or if you had a full keyboard, and had an SMS coverage, like, you were suddenly an author. You were a publisher. “Even the weakest signals are amplified,” as Biz [Stone] likes to say. And soů Both of those are so simple, that it’s hard to take them seriously. JASON: Right. It’s not a big algorithmic problem. And so when they look at something like that, they’re just immediately dismissed it, because it wasn’t hard to do, to execute on, but, in fact, those simple ideas are very hard to execute on. CHRIS: Yeah. In fact, like, so, I think, for instance, those were the reasons. There were two companies called uhů Aardvark and umů Oh, what the hell was Ben Finkel’s [company] called? Fluther. JASON: Yes. CHRIS: So two companies are both trying to do, like, crowdsourced Question Answering. So Aardvark was ex-Google guys, who had an amazing science background. And they built the platform, that Google ultimately bought and paid handsomely for it. And the guys, who built that, were friends of mine, I was not an investor, butů but they’ve built an amazing engine for finding the person, who probably has the right answer for your question, right? But it was predicated on a lot of science, that somebody out there has the one right answer. That was attractive to Google. Fluther was built by this guy, Ben Finkel, now [he] works for Twitter, and another guy, I forget his name, but it used to be on cast of Veronica Mars. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: You know, like, he’s not a massive computer scientist. JASON: There’s no algorithm. CHRIS: Their premiseů That was a little bit of technology, but their premise was mostly like, surface to the right people. There are a lot of people, who have an answer for this question. and uhů The right answer might be a bunch of answers. So if you type-in: “Where should I go in Napa this weekend?” You don’t necessarily just want one person to say, “Go to Calistoga.” You know, like, “Go visit uhů Cartograph [Wines] up in Healdsburg.” What you may want is what people say, you know, with a bunch of answers, and you say, “Oh! These are occurred more than once, like, maybe, I should check those places out.” Right? JASON: A range of opinions. CHRIS: Yes, and soů And so it was funny likeů That was what was unique about. So Fluther, actually, was acquired by Twitter at the end. Aardvark was acquired by Google. JASON: Right. CHRIS: I think it showed the difference in that approach. JASON: Right. CHRIS: Google was really good at finding the right answer. Twitter is good at servicing a bunch of stuff. JASON: Yeah, letting the thousand flowers bloom. CHRIS: Yeah, I’ll never forget uhů in the early days of theů of the search deal, that Google did with Twitter. So I was negotiating that deal, even I wasn’t a uhů JASON: For Twitter! CHRIS: For Twitter. Even I wasn’t an employee at Twitter, but I was a shareholder. I was like the only man thatů JASON: I hear that bill is like five or ten million dollars a year for a couple of years. CHRIS: We don’t talk about it. JASON: It was tens of millions of dollars. That was the money that funded Twitter early on. CHRIS: It was real money. Yeah. Soů You know, when Marissa [Mayer] came in, and first talked about why she wanted to do that deal, she provided one of the first insights, that I think was obvious. That Facebooků It hadn’t necessarily occurred to me or, maybe, some other folks, and she’s likeů When Iů Everything at Google is about trying to get the right answer up in that first top three results, right? JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: On Twitter, everything is about seeing more and more answers, just more and more responses, because, like, you want a diversity of replies, you want a diversity of insights, you want a diversity of expressions. JASON: It’s not about efficiency. It’s about experience, [right]? CHRIS: I wanna see how everybody reacted to last Monday night football game. JASON: Right. CHRIS: Not just one person. JASON: Not just the most important person’s opinion. CHRIS: Right. Soů And some of the best opinions came from fans, not ESPN. JASON: Right. CHRIS: And soů That’sů andů And it’s fun that Marissa had that insight early on. Uhů Andů And that’s why she was always a person kind of pushing to do more Twitter, butů So, anywayů I think that Larry has an amazing ability to see the future of energy, to see the future of hard science, the future uhů of infrastructure, JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: That kinda stuff, but I think, generally, it’s hard for that company to wrap their head around social, because it’s just a different problem set. It’s a humanistů It’sů It’s a humanist, artistic problem set, and they’re not here for it. JASON: Interesting. And Sergey? CHRIS: Sergey is one of the quickestů one of the quickest wits. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: One of the best storytellers of salespeople ever. JASON: A funny guy. CHRIS: And I think umů What the two of them do, is they play off each other very well. I think one of the greatest skills, [which] they have, is to uhů see the questions that you, and I, and other people skip over, that we assume in the model, as well as play devil’s advocate. So we were a big force for net neutrality, while I worked at Twiů while I worked at Google, right? And I ran a group that mess around wireless spectrum, to try to create more openness on phones, we got Verizonů JASON: You, guys, made that huge, hugeů CHRIS: Spectrum bid. JASON: ůspectrum bid. CHRIS: Yeah. That’s the biggest hand of poker I’ve ever played. 4.7 billion dollars. JASON: 4.7 billion dollars for spectrum, and everybody said, Google doesn’t want that spectrum. They’ll take it, if they get it, but they don’t actually want it. They want to influence the auction. CHRIS: We wereů we were ready to build it out, if we won it. So and umů JASON: And what would that spectrum have been? What would you have done? CHRIS: Anything we wanted to be it. You know, Verizon’s using for LTE now, which is why you get your phone unlocked. [Sic! http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/25/3405610/verizon-iphone-5-unlocked-open-access-fcc ] And so they’re stuck with these openness rules. JASON: Explain that. CHRIS: Well, you know, carriers buy this spectrum to operate theirů[services]. You know, they buy slices of digital frequency airwaves in order to operate their services. And soů These are kind of virtual real estate rights to operate within specific frequencies. There is an oligopoly of carriers. AT&T and Verizon have all this money to gobble up all the spectrum and keep it out of the hands of Sprint, and T-Mobile [USA], and Leap [Wireless International], and all these guys down the way. And so uhů and soů We were worried that these guys can collude to keep the phone environment lockdown, to keep the mobile desktop, the mobile deck lockdown, and not accessible to independent developers. JASON: And this is 2008, [or] 2007, [or] 2006? CHRIS: 2006 and 2007. And we were gettingů Actually, the closest I ever came to be fired, which was probably like six times at Google. JASON: Six times in two years? CHRIS: Uhů I was there for four years, and uhů butů but the closest I ever came [to be fired] was, [when] I was doing Q&A once, and somebody said, “Hey, how come I can’t download Google’s maps to my phone?” And I said, “Because your carrier won’t let you. We get letters from guys, like you, all the time, who want uhů to download an app and your carrier is in between us and you, and I think that it has very dangerous consequences.” And the head of the mobile business at that time called Larry and Sergey, like,ů JASON: Fire him. CHRIS: “I need to serve up Sacca’s head on a platter to the entire mobile industry, or we’ll never do another deal again.” And uhů folks let me know I should start looking for work outside of the company, et cetera. Luckily, Larry Page, when I was called in, basically, to be, you know, sacrificed uhů in this meeting, Larry Page said, “Actually, Saccaů what Sacca said is true. Like, we all know it, and we needed not to back away from this. We need to be truthful.” And so, I, actually, came out of that meeting with a new job. I would, like, go make this happen. [He said,] “And we might have to tie you to the axle of the bus at some point, but go shake this space up.” And let’s be realistic about it. JASON: So you make the bid, but youů you force the winner to adopt these rules. CHRIS: We said to FCCů we said to FCC, “You need to attach rules to that spectrum, to make it open, to make sure that anybody with a handset, with a device [has access to the spectrum].” JASON: This is before Julius [Genachowski] was in charge. CHRIS: Soů Yeah, yes, exactly. Uhů andů No, Julius was in charge, I think. He came in the 2008 election, [didn’t he]? JASON: Right after. CHRIS: Sorry, it was before Julius, sorry, sorry, sorry. Yetů uhů JASON: Genachowski. CHRIS: I lost track, because I was working as an adviser on the Obama campaign on thisů on these issues and stuff, butů but this wasů this was before then. And uhů The FCC is definitely very political body. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, everybody, [who] works at the FCC, ultimately, ends up working for the big telecoms, for the big TV stations. It’s a (bleep), but uhů but, instead of, what we’re saying is, “Tie openness restrictions on whoever buys that spectrum.” And Verizon saidů Verizon, AT&T, and incumbents [were saying], like, “Here, you’ve got the Silicon Valley [company], pain in the ass, which is here trying toů trying to tell us how to do our business. Building out the spectrum is really expensive. This is not a child’s play, like. They shouldn’t have the ability to interfere with the actions, et cetera.” There’s a guy in our office, named Rick Whitt, uhů who’s having a posse, who came up with the idea, that I’m often given credit for, but he came up with the idea ofů of saying, “(Bleep). Why we not just tell them, we’ll bid on it then.” And we had been ready to partner with other people to bid on it. We had been modeling a network. We had a bunch of engineers working on this stuff, butů umů He came up with that idea, and I and a bunch of other folks on our team, including Rick, convinced Larry to do it. I mean, multibillion-dollar bets get Larry to smile, right? JASON: Yeah. I’d get a sense he likes to f**k with people a little bit. He’s got a little bit of that, likeů he withů he likes to put a dent in the universe, to use a job, to f**k with the people, who are on the wrong side of the history. CHRIS: To f**k with the right people. I mean, it’s the same thing. Travis Kalanick likes up to f**k with the right people,ů JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: ůtreachňrous, corrupt [people], like politicians in pockets of taxi drivers, that kind of stuff. JASON: Taxiů Let’s f**k with them. CHRIS: So, Larry Page, you know, he doesn’t want to f**k with Facebook, right? JASON: No. Who cares? CHRIS: It doesn’tů He doesn’t get excited about f**king with Apple. Like, he wantsů He wants to deal with these industries, which make no sense. Where people are pocketing money at the expense of users. Likeů He wantsů He loves breaking that (bleep) up, and so. JASON: How come Twitter doesn’t own Instagram right now? I meanů When you talk to people about Facebook, you ask any ten kids, any ten people under the age of twenty, you say,” What do you think about Facebook?” Their faces get torn, like they ate a lemon. And they [are saying], “I hate Facebook, I love Instagram, or I love Twitter,” you know. They just hate it. It seems to everybody that the better home for Instagram, which you were an investor in, I guess? CHRIS: Yeah, I was an investor in Instagram. JASON: Instagram, it feels like it belongs in the Twitter ecosystem, not the Facebook ecosystem. Twitter just not willing to pay that price. How come they don’t own it? CHRIS: I thinků JASON: And I’ve heard from people, that think that’s the biggest mistake, they made. CHRIS: Uhů I mean, I can’t speak for Dick [Costolo]. JASON: I know you can’t. I’m just putting that information out there. CHRIS: Thereů There’s no way Dick [Costolo] said that. umů JASON: Somebody told me! I cannotů I’dů I wouldn’t make it up, you know. CEO-kind-of-guy said that Dick really wanted that, and he thought it was a mistake, that they couldn’t get. And I don’t know why they didn’t get it. But why is it there? It should have been there. CHRIS: Look, here’s the thing. If Twitter did that deal, it would’ve beenů it’s playing offense. Facebook had to do that deal out of defense. JASON: It was desperate. CHRIS: Well, why do even people use Facebook? [Because of] pictures, man. JASON: Yeah, it about a third of the traffic. CHRIS: You’ve gotten this company that is taking off in pictures. JASON: Right. CHRIS: Blowing up. Right? I meanů Thatů Look what Kevin [Systrom] and Mike [Krieger] achieved over there withů I think at the time, they were acquired, they have nine employees, maybe. JASON: Yeah, absurd. I think, it was like twenty at the time. Yes. CHRIS: I don’t think they have twenty employees. JASON: It was definitely over 15. He had fifteen when he was on the program. CHRIS: Yeah? JASON: Yeah. I think he has to hire an android team. CHRIS: Someone, go look at the picture of them all starting at Facebook on the starting day, there aren’t twenty people on that picture. JASON: Butů Let’s say it fifteen. Cut the difference. Fifteen people and forty-five million users means three million users per employee. It’s insane. CHRIS: It’s outrageous. Right? And soů JASON: [It’s] demented. CHRIS: Uhů And so you see that, at Facebook, you’re like, “This is the reason people use our company still.” We can’t let somebody else win photos. JASON: [I] got it. CHRIS: Again, as an outside investor, uhů it would have been great to have Kevin Systrom and the team working over at Twitter, and having that, you know, photos, integrating in that product. Yeah, but they’re still going to have that. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: They are going to have uhů video experience, [which] is done by other companies. They’re going to have media experiences, and, you know, news, et cetera, and it’s all going to happen by the people, who were most qualified to do that. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: That’s a platform thing by the way. As developers are talking about, “Hey, why not you let me build a client.” JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: Likeů Today’s developers on the Twitter platform are a lot of the media creators. JASON: [I] got it. CHRIS: The platform, they’re building that media, and the content creators are building that, right? I mean, the platforms, the developers are the New York Times, you know, who are building symbiotic relationships with Twitter. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: The platforms are the Emmys, who are building symbiotic relationships to co-broadcasting. JASON: Yeah. I mean, they’re integrating Twitter into the broadcast. CHRIS: There are a lot of developers. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: Andů And the developers are Crimson Hexagon, who are building, you know, the ways to understand that data. The platforms are FanBridge, who areů who are realizing all that data on multi platform basis. JASON’S AD: Hey, everybody uhů It’s Jason, again. What a great interview this is turning out to be. Everybody says that this Chris Sacca two-part interview is, and you are listening second part of two, is the best interview ever in the history of “This Week in Startups” 295 episodes, or so. And I can’t disagree with them. It’s definitely in the top five for me. What an amazing interview with Chris Sacca, and, you know, it’s brought to you by my friends at Hiscox. They provide small business insurance. And if you wanna buy a small-business insurance quickly and easily, you just buy it directly from Hiscox. And you go right to www.hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz www.hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz That’s it www.hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz. And you will get tailored coverage. 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All kinds of things can happen. You need to have insurance, to back you up and give you the confidence to go out and build that great startup, that is gonna change the world. And Hiscox is the company, that’s gonna give you that confidence. I use it. You use it. Chris Sacca uses it. [It has] tailored coverage, simple process. And the documents are emailed to you immediately. And the coverage is really affordable. And we’re talking about tens of dollars a month, 10-20-30-40-50 bucks. It’s very affordable, very, very, very affordable, and very, very, very necessary. Please, go to hiscoxusa.com, and, please, protect your business. hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz Thanks so much to my friends at Hiscox for making a great product and for supporting “This Week in Startups.” Independent media, like this, is not easy to produce. Well, unless you have a great guest, and that is pretty easy, actually. Push the button and let Chris Sacca talk. So let’s get back to that. Thank you Hiscox. JASON: What about Klout? Are you an investor in that? CHRIS: No. I think Klout actuallyů JASON: You opted out, [didn’t you]? CHRIS: Yeah. I’m notů I don’t have a Klout profile. JASON: You saidů CHRIS: Neither my ten month-old daughter, who theyů theyů they built a profile on one day. It kinda pissed me off. uhů JASON: Oh, she has a Twitter account. CHRIS: Yes. Yeah. JASON: And they made it Klout for her. And was her Klout high or low? CHRIS: It was extremely high, because I thinků I think her first tweet got retweeted by Lance Armstrong. So on per tweet basis, she has a really high Klout. JASON: So, basically, that means she’s gonna get a Volvo for a week, and then, a Windows Mobile phone. CHRIS: I worryů Here’s what I worry about Klout, and I’ve talked to Joe Fernandez, and I think he is an amazing person, I think he’s a very genuine person. I like a lot of the investors they have there. I think Klout means well. Unfortunately, I think Klout leads to a very strange [Werner] Heisenberg behavior. JASON: What does that mean Heisenberg? I do not know the reference. CHRIS: Uhů Heisenberg principle is, umů you know, that, basically, theů the results of an experiment [in Quantum Mechanics] change, when people [electrons] know they’re being watched. JASON: All right, I do know that. [http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle#Uncertainty_principle_versus_observer_effect] CHRIS: And soů And so what happens in this case, is that people start tweeting for their score. JASON: Yes. CHRIS: They tweet out aphorisms, because they know, they got retweets, something like that. JASON: A Winston Churchill’s quote will give you a couple of points on your Klout. CHRIS: [They’ll] be much more engaging, than, you know, what’s really on their minds. JASON: So maybe having Klout score would be fine, if people just could not see them. And Twitter has that. CHRIS: I’ve actually said, if Klout scores were private, and available only to the people, who wanted some insight into who to work with, the influencers, to help them reach the audience, they want to reach, which I think is actually a value-add to their business. Soů If you want to know, “Hey! Is Gary V. for real? Can Gary V. actually get me in front of some people? Will they react to the message, he says?” You know, I just need a real personality, “Should I talk to Jason about reaching this audience?” Like, the insights that drive that, I think, are valuable information. And if that company comes to you and does a partnership, and you tweet on a promoted basis, umů transparently, and impact the audience, that, you know, they came to you for, I think, that everybody wins there. The advertiser wins, you win, and so do the people, who saw that tweet from you, because we have the data, to show they are the people giving a s**t about the tweet, you sent them. And soů And so everybody wins. JASON: I supposeů I suppose Twitter got that themselves and is giving that to the advertisers already. CHRIS: Uhů In the roughest sense, yes. I meanů JASON: Maybe Klout is a little further along. CHRIS: I mean, we’ve never, in the history of advertising, had this kind of engagement happen on a platform before. What’s happening on Twitter is just off-scale. And the ability to actually watch that stuff impact real-life is amazing. I had a small team of engineers, I backed, called BackType, that Twitter acquired. And uhů those guys could actually track the impact of a tweet not only on Facebook, blogs, et cetera, but they can actually track the impact of that tweet on Foursquare check-ins. So they could watch the entire stream of commerce, all the way through toů JASON: So you check-in at theů you know, whatever sushi bar. They could see that, “Hey, a couple of your friends then checked in uhů a month later.” CHRIS: They could actually see [that] a tweet from the Gap [store] led to a bunch of Foursquare check-ins at the Gap. And we can actually draw relationship there. That a tweetů If somebody was exposed to a tweet from Audi, it created a check-in at an Audi dealership. [They track] like that chain in commerce. You know, if you want to know my grand theory on the continuum of advertising? JASON: Yes, I do. CHRIS: Draw this line, I forget how your audience uses now, let’s go from this side to this side, up here, we have the worst ads, here, we have the best. Right? Up here, it’s like not targeted billboards on the side of the road. So going up and down on I-405 or US-101 up there, and, literally, somebody, like CBS [Outdoor], and these companies, like, hire people to stand underneath of those billboards and look to see, how many eyeballs of drivers look up. And that’s the only metric they have on how many people actually look at that stuff, right? JASON: Disaster. CHRIS: So that stuff is just bought out of inertia, out of history, like, “We would probably need some billboards.” JASON: Yeah, 10% to billboards, go [get it]! CHRIS: The same is with the bus ads, stuff like that. You move down the continuum into TV, radio, print, and, now, you got some semblance of measure, like, I know what the circulation isů JASON: Subscribers. CHRIS: ůon thatů on that newspaper, or that magazine. I don’t know how many people actually got to page seventeen, but I have a general sense of how many people get into,ů you know, get exposed to that kind of thing. Uhů With radio, we’ve got Arbitron data, which is worthless. Like, as a data scientist [myself], it’s worthless, right? uhů You know, for our world. Uhů And yet, so many dollars are still spent with this s**tty data. JASON: The same with television. CHRIS: Likeů I remember seeing somebody at the D Conference years ago, talking. She was thereů was uhů one of the women, who led Nielsen [Holdings N.V.] Nielsen-online at the time, and she admitted, that they didn’t have any Nielsen nodes on college campuses anywhere in the country. You know, like, how the hell do you measure the impact of “One Tree Hill” [TV series] without a single box anywhere on a college campus? That’s insane, right? JASON: Right. That’s important group of people. CHRIS: So crappy, crappy data. [It has] crappy data. And soů So you’ve got people, kind of, take a flyer on the stuff, because they know, there’s some impact of being in front of that audience, butů but these things are built on momentum and hand waving bulls**t, not math. As you get into digital CPM [Cost per mille], now, at least, we have a more concrete measure of exposure, so we can actuallyů The denominator is more concrete. This is [the number of] how many people actually got exposed to that page. It’s for the first time we know that number. We don’t know whether they cared about the ad, we can make guesses about whether their eyes went over to that side, whether they scroll. JASON: Eye-tracker, whatever. CHRIS: Yeah, we can do that, but at least, we have a firm denominator, this [is the number of] how many people are exposed. JASON: Yeah, it maybe has a 5-10 percent failed track-record, but it’s pretty cool. CHRIS: Soů Keep moving down [on the imaginary scale], finally, we get toů well, we get to CPE, actually. That’s, kinda like, this hybrid cost per engagement. Somebody saw your ad, maybe, mouthed it over, some crazy s**t happened. JASON: [He/she] went to the domain later. CHRIS: Yeah, and so,ů but we don’t necessarily know. We realize, that if someone mouthed over your ad, it’s more valuable than CPM, but we don’t know how to really measure that. So that’s kind of surreal, still hand waving for the guys, who sell that stuff. When you finally get to CPC. JASON: Cost per click. CHRIS: This is the first time, that ads are sold on a math basis. Soů JASON: This is a Google’s innovation. CHRIS: Yeah, this is the first time, where you really get a sense of, like, “Is this actually driving people to a site?” At that point, you’re handing it over to the advertisers to say, “Hey, do you have good analytics, to cover where that click goes for a cross-reference site. When I got to Google in 2003, we, basicallyů we, Google, dropped you off at the front door. If you were looking for Zappos, we’d drop you off at “Zappos.com” and said, “Good luck,” right? JASON: Right. CHRIS: And Zappos [says], “We’ll take it from here.” JASON: Whatever happens happens. CHRIS: That goes inside. As we bought Urchin [Software], the company, that became Google Analytics, finally, we can tie that click through the rest of your site. We could just see, like, “Hey, that actually was a worthwhile click.” JASON: Yeah, they converted it. CHRIS: I had a mů Eric [Schmidt] once brought me to solve a guy’s problem. He was an executive from a satellite television company. He was pissed off, because he was spending too much money, like, too much f**king money, actually. And uhů So Eric was like, “Hey, will you just talk to this guy and figure out what we can do, and so?” I sat down. We pull up his Adword’s account, and umů and it said,ů it said,ů we look at all the prices for all the keywords, and they were all even numbers. Dollars, fifty cents, you know, ten cents for this keyword. And it was like somebody just, kind of, randomly assembled all of those [numbers], instead of putting any math behind it. And they had a very concrete online conversion event. They hadů They were selling satellite television subscriptions. JASON: They got their dish, and they were done. CHRIS: So we said, give us thirty days to track conversions for all your words. I will find out what these words are actually worth. He came back in thirty days, andů JASON: That was 10x. CHRIS: He was actually wining some money on the table, because, on the one hand, they were advertising word “sports.” It converted one a gazillion times, and uhů they should have not been advertising that word, [because] it didn’t perform. On the other hand, there was a word, like, “high-definition satellite sport.” It wasů it was a bit infrequent query, but it was a query, that converted one in four times. JASON: Exactly, yeah. CHRIS: And soů I remember asking him “What’s aů. What the customer is worth to you, guys?” I was like, “Whatů” He was like, “We pay our affiliates a $160 spiff, when they bring us a new customer.” OK, if we plug in 160 and we work backwards through the math, on word “sports,” it is not even worth a penny for you to advertise, so don’t advertise on that word. “Satellite,” “sports,” you know, converts to X, but on “high-definition satellite sports,” you can convert on in four times. 160 divide by 4 equals 40. You should be paying us up to forty dollars for that click. And heů he kinda looks atů He wasn’t an idiot at all. He looks at the math and he is like, “Son, if you come in here and try to convince me to pay forty dollars for doing this, [clicking], I would punch you in your mouth.” But the math made sense, you know. And so the company transformed itself into a math company. As you continue to move down, we get to ad formats, like, CPA [Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition], where the math is even clear. JASON: That’s Cost Per Acquisition. CHRIS: Yeah, not just when somebody clicked on that ad, but, now, somebody clicked and bought some s**t, right? JASON: Right. CHRIS: So, you know, when you say, “Hey, type-in TWIST,” as the referred code, like, they can actually see the impact of your advertising on their real business. And that stuff converts, and that’s real. So instead of you have to convince people, like, “Oh, man, a lot of guys watch our show.” JASON: Yeah, you’ve got five clientsů CHRIS: This is exactly how much revenue I generated. That is really how much you are going to f**king pay me, right? JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: As we keep moving down the chain, we see stuff, like,ů uhů we see stuff like Cost per Location. The door swing ad. That’s what Foursquare is doing, right? JASON: Really? CHRIS: Foursquare is like, “I’m getting people to your location. I don’t know what they’re spending, once they get there. You know what they are spending, once they get there.” JASON: It’s Groupon, sort of, but not quite yet. CHRIS: I have a company called Pathintelligence, that watches how cell phones move around a mall. uhů And they can show, actually, here’s the traffic that a store normally gets at a normal day, let’s say it gets a thousand people. They can show, if an ad goes up in this corner of a mall, telling you to go over here, they can actually see that on the day that ad shows, there’s this much more traffic. JASON: These people with the cell phones move from one side to another. Are you concerned about privacy on that? Or is it all anonymous? How does that work? I got a pitch on the company like that. CHRIS: It’s very anonymous. I mean, they are in the UK, where the privacy restrictions are even tougher. JASON: What’s the name of that one? CHRIS: It’s called Pathintelligence. JASON: I got a pitch on that, I passed, because of the privacy issue, but it couldn’t get me over like, I don’t know if that data should be recorded. CHRIS: It’s not recorded. It justů They can just show the trend, right? JASON: It just made me nervous at that, because it felt to me like, the EU would stop something like that, because they are so crazy over there with the privacy. CHRIS: They are copacetic with the EU. I mean, that’s the tough place to do privacy, so when a company starts there natively and has been working, operating well, for years, and years, and years. JASON: Do you trust Mark Zuckerberg? I’m justů I’m bringing privacy and stuff [into conversation], you know, likeů You see somebody like that, who put inů You see the train of lawsuits, and the settlement with the SEC [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] government. It’s already getting into privacy. Do you trust Mark Zuckerberg with your data? Do you trust that company with your data? I would like an honest answer. CHRIS: Did you see that? Did you see the new revelations? Likeů didn’t uhů A new guy came out and posted conversations that he had with Mark back in the day. JASON: Unbelievable. CHRIS: Yet another founder kind of guy. JASON: A founder guy, who was likeů He was just absolutely decimated and destroyed. It just moralů The behaviors of a nineteen or twenty-year-old do they represent the behavior of twenty-six or twenty-seven-year-old in your mind? Because you said before about loyalty, like, how you grow up, and how you behave. For you, it does seem to be consistent to call back to how we started the conversation. CHRIS: Iů I mean, looků Iů I don’t want to be held accountable for everything I did in my twenties. Likeů I thinků I don’t want to be held accountable for everything I did last year. Uhů I think we all agree on evolve uhů I think there’s a different attitude about users at that company. And there are a lot of companies, we consider great. I thinků JASON: What is thatů CHRIS: I’ve got the impression sometimes, that uhů Facebook operates with the [motto], “Hey, get over, you learn to love it.” And uhů And that the user impact isn’t uhů a big part of their equation there. And I think they play short-term ball, instead of the long-term ball. JASON: And soů CHRIS: And you see it in the turnover of their employees, you see it in the turnover of their management, uhů you see it in the turnover of their users. JASON: Is that what we’re seeing in their stock? CHRIS: Uhů The stocků So first off all, I have uhů JASON: You have [their] shares. CHRIS: I have a lot of shares, I have a nine figure position in that stock uhů JASON: Nine figure [position]? Over a hundred million dollar position in Facebook. CHRIS: Well, I should actually say, maybe it’s not, anymore. JASON: [That’s] kind of brutal. CHRIS: Not personal money, but it was a bucket of one of the things I did. And uhů JASON: Yeah, clearly, Instagram or other things. Yes, Gowalla, a lot of things. CHRIS: Gowalla did not produce nine figures worth of Facebook stock. JASON: No, he didn’t, but, hey, Josh Williams, what a great entrepreneur! CHRIS: He is the great guy uhů You know what, you have to remember about Facebook, that they didn’t want to go public, ever. Like, Zuckerberg never wanted to do this thing. He was forced to. JASON: Because of SEC. CHRIS: They lost control of their cap table. And so they were forced to file [IPO]. And so, what happens, they were forced to file so late, that their growth curve is flat, right? And they hadn’t actually done enough innovation yet on what’s gonna ramp and accelerate their growth. So they are weirdů There’sů They are stuck. JASON: Like a tweener. CHRIS: They are a tweener right now. Like, they are stuck on display ads, which are underperforming. It’s hard to grow that stuff without crushing user experience. They are copying Twitter’s model by “Sponsored Stories.” JASON: Right. CHRIS: And uhů And they haven’t done enough on commerce, and coins, and all that stuff yet to make up for it. And soů JASON: So they try to find the revenue model. CHRIS: I think, yes. That’s the funny thing, everyone’s looking at Twitter, like, “How are you gonna make money?” And Twitter has got a very healthy, obvious way to make money, that’s user-friendly, advertiser-friendly, that leaves everybody feeling very confident and trustworthy. uhů But Facebook, I think, is struggling with a shift from display ads, that theyů they turned all out, they could. And it’s a big business, a five-billion-dollar business, but it’s not big enough, and it’s not growing fast enough. And so I think you have to wait for chapter two there. JASON: And chapter two, in the history of these things, could take five years to emerge. CHRIS: It might. I mean, they’ve got a huge loyal audience. It’s very engaged. JASON: 500 [million] monthly active users. CHRIS: It’sů something like that. 500 million. It’s something like that. Facebook is a tab, that people leave open, all-day, right? JASON: Yeah, it’s an operating system. CHRIS: And they’ve earned that. And soů You gotta give them credit for that. The monetization moves have just been a disappointment, and, I think, they try to rely upon what is always work for everybody, and it was easy money, but it’s not the big money, and it’s not the innovative money. Uhů and soů JASON: Zuckerberg, at his core, is a great product developer, or is he a great copier and executors of other people’s ideas? CHRIS: I don’t know the answer to that. I mean, Iů I don’t know theyů JASON: I mean, it does seem like they build a better Facebook, a better Friendster, a tighter version of it, but the social network was not their innovation. It is a long history of almost every feature they have, which is just iterated on version of somebody else’s [idea], with the exception of the platform, I guess, which seems like, it was a unique idea. CHRIS: I mean, look, Iů JASON: I don’t want to mean a beat up on Facebook, but it is interesting that the company, that everybody thought would kill Google. That was unstoppable. And that was going to take over the universe. Now, everybody believes, it is stalled, and is potentially going drop from the sky. And it has peaked! People believe it peaked. CHRIS: I mean, look! We are in a perception business. And it’s particularlyů you knowů It is funny, I hadů I had lunch recently with the head of one of the big town agencies, here in town, like a big super agent, a household name in Hollywood kind of guy. JASON: Like a William Morris Endeavor typeů CHRIS: He said that we areů we areů uhů we were in the perception business. If people get the perception, [that] we are weak, all of our clients go away. Andů It’s funny, because Silicon Valley is the same way. If people get the perception that a company is weak, it’s not going in right direction,ů JASON: Or even individual! CHRIS: Uhů ůthen talent doesn’t show up. And that’s the thing. If Facebook is going to enter this next phase, and really drive this evolution of the next phase of advertising, the next phase of monetization, it needs the talent. And right now, they lost their mojo. That’s why Marissa [Mayer] is smart. Marissa knows, that, at Yahoo, she’s gotta bring the mojo back. So how you bring the mojo back? I mean, she’s probably giving a presentation to employees about it right now, but first step is, like, to paint over the graffiti and repair the broken windows, like Leone[?] did to the city, like, get everyone iPhone, get everyone some food, make it a nice place to be again. Like, restore some mojo that way. JASON: Clean the piss out of the subway stations. CHRIS: I expected her probably to do some good acquisitions of, you know, not huge, but bring in some nice, driven, exciting entrepreneurs to bring back that some of that energy. And kind of rediscover that energy that’s in the existing employee base. There are really smart people, who work there, have been beaten up on for a long time. I think she understands that mojo drive so much of this, and she has such a huge audience, that I’m actually a believer. I own the stock. I’m long on that stock. JASON: You were in at 14-15 dollars. When did you get in? What’s your entry? CHRIS: I bought the day after she took the job. JASON: So 16, 15-16. And that isů Is that the most challenging jobs of Silicon Valley right now? CHRIS: Yeah. JASON: You’re laughing. CHRIS: That’s the hard job, man. JASON: Why is it hard? CHRIS: Uhů Because they’ve been going nowhere for so long. Just multiple CEOs. You know, Iů They’re not MySpace. Users are still like them. Users still use them as a homepage. Their email product is awesome. It might be better than Gmail. They have a leg up in media, and audience, and that kind of stuff. They justů JASON: They have a great content business. You’ve just said, “sucks.” CHRIS: Yeah, and I think aů JASON: It goes back to the mojo. CHRIS: I think a lot of the dynamic, awesome, entrepreneurial people left that company long time ago. And I think Marissa has the ability get those people back there. JASON: Do you think she’s the real deal, and you put your money behind it? CHRIS: Yeah, I’ve been a believer in Marissa. And to be clear, like, Marissa can be difficult sometimes, I bumped heads with her, I’m a friend of hers. Andů You know, she can be really tough, but I also think, one other thing, she was known for, rightly, at Google, was, that she invested in her people, in her team, more than anybody [did]. She would take her young product managers, tour them around the world, so they can understand, how Koreans use technology, and what was going on in Israel and Russia, et cetera. Invest, invest, invest in their skills development, show them a lot of responsibility. And uhů you know it wasů It took a lot of energy to work in her group, but she groomed a lot of amazing people over there, and I think she will do the same thing at Yahoo. JASON: Interesting, CHRIS: Uhů I’m bullish on her. JASON: If you were her, who would you buy? CHRIS: Well, you’re going to ask, “Who would you buy if I were her?” JASON: Yeah, but I want to hear, what you were going to go for first. CHRIS: I’m going to say that the Zuckerberg thing is real. Umů I wrote down a list of thirteen things, that I thought they did wrong with their IPO. I don’t know where that list is, butů JASON: Thirteen! Give me a couple. CHRIS: Uhů The first, they let every one of the world buy their stock before it could go public. So when they went on the road show, which they didn’t really participate in actively, like, Zuckerberg did not show up for a lot of them, when they were on the road show, who were they selling to? Everybody who wanted already owned it. JASON: At forty dollars on second market! CHRIS: So all they were doing is updating the existing shareholders, rather than selling it to a new crowd of buyers, and so, you knowů JASON: So that was the secondary market was working against them in a way. CHRIS: Yeah. I think, that raising the pricing, when you know there’s just a lot of sellers, like, uhů letting the insiders sell that much more, like doubling the size of the offering within a couple of days. You know, likeů uhů not reallyů I mean, here’s a funny thing, like, Iů Larry and Sergey, and Zuckerberg both learn the same lesson, which is, like, you can’t talk down to Wall Street. There is room to innovate on Wall Street, there is room to change the way the business done there, but you can’t disrespect those guys. JASON: And he was disrespectful, somebody said on CNBC, he didn’t wear a tie, he didn’t show up, he didn’t spend time with them, they felt jest. CHRIS: I think you can get past the wearing a tie, if you show, that you care about that audience. JASON: So if he could be more present, and more active, and engaging, and, maybe, even charmingů CHRIS: Yeah, I don’t doubt that. I think he could have had a real impact on buying interest. JASON: Then the hoodie would have been immaterial. CHRIS: Yeah, I think, you know, it just the attitude, “Hey. Our investor’s our partner.” Like, Kevin Systrom at Instagram had always made me feel like a partner in the business. He would make me earn that spot by doing work, right? JASON: Right. CHRIS: I mean, just like, “Help us hire this person, help us figure this out, help us keep these people away, so we can focus on doing work, help me think through this thing, like, help manage this celebrity, or see how to get them to use the product better.” That kind of thing. Like, each entrepreneur, you work with, will treat you like a partner, and so uhů you knowů That’s how the guys at Twitter think about the folks who invested up to this point, Bijan [Sabet] at Spark [Capital], Fred Wilson at Union Square [Ventures], uhů Peter Fenton at Benchmark. Like, all these guys feel like partners there, right? Andů And so they, and the founders, and the management of that team, of that company show the respect to those investors. Like, when you just show up, and you say, “Hey, everybody,” umů you know, like, “Consider a privilege, that we decided to let you into this game at all,” you know. It just sends the wrong message, right? JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: It doesn’t say, like, “Hey, this is a stock you should buy and get on with for the long run, because we are going to build something great.” JASON: Hold it forever. It’s going to be Disney, it’s going to be Google, it’s going to be FedEx, we are going to crush this together. It did not feel “together.” It felt like, he was using Wall Street in a way. Like, they were just a tool. CHRIS: That might have been the case. And I think that was the perception, andů JASON: That was the perception, and also the reality. CHRIS: I think, like, ultimately, some of the biggest f**k-ups in history are the results of underestimating people, right? Like, you canů JASON: Explain. CHRIS: Like, I think Mitt Romney underestimates voters, right? So, I think Mitt Romney speaks in such aů in such pedantic terms, thatů you know. They know that swingů They know that the swing voters are generally low-information voters. And I think the Romney campaign is equated that with low-intelligence voters, but voters aren’t stupid really. I mean, it’s funny, as much as we see, how they sometimes reacted to this statement or the other statement, they’re not actually that, like, [stupid]. They’re smart people, even if they are low-information [ones]. And they don’t want to talk down to. Likeů JASON: Certainly, that forty-seven-percent comment. CHRIS: It’s (bleep) unbelievable. JASON: It’s just unreal. CHRIS: Yeah, and soů But at the same time, like, I think sometimes thatů I think sometimes guys, like Mark, might underestimate their users. Users might be moms in the Midwest, et cetera, but they’re not stupid, and you can’t talk down to them, and you can’t take advantage of them. JASON: Right, and they will take the business to other places. CHRIS: And the guys on Wall Street might be like rough-and-tumble guys from Long Island, who have strong accents, and, at the end of the day, they are traders, but they’re not idiots, and you can’t talk down to them. Andů And there are a lot of people from whom we can learn a lot, and I think, like, you know, the one piece of advice is, “Don’t underestimate anyone you come across ever.” Whether they’re, you know, uhů uhů a blue-collar worker waiting for the bus, or they’re helping you at your bar, the server bartender at the restaurant, or they’re a lower-ranking employee. The smartest leaders, I’ve ever seen, have always gone around a room and ask everybody’s opinion. Our President Barack Obama uhů will go around the room and ask for the opinion directly from the aids, who were sitting behind Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, et cetera, the Secretary of Defense will be like, “What do you think? What should we do?” I mean, they are s**tting their pants, you know, because the President just asks them, what they should do about Saddam Hussein, aboutů uhů Osama bin-Laden, or something like that, but, at the same time, he asks! And umů I think really smart leaders do that. They ask for their opinion by people who might otherwise be underestimated. and umů I think Zuckerberg and team underestimated Wall Street. Like that, they may not be coders, you know, the same kind of people, who get hired at Facebook, but they’re smart, and they are good in doing what they do, and they have to be a partner. And if you want to influence with them, if you want to change the way, they do business, influence the way they do business, you have to be at the table with them. You can’t just do it by dropping them over the head and tell them, “There’s a better way to do it. Hey, I don’t have time to spend with you.” And uhů I think it’s even a larger lesson for life, [which] is just to engage with those kinds of folks. Butů So I’mů Iů On the one hand, I’m kinda glad what happened at Facebook’s offering, because I think it’s bringing valuations back down to reasonable levels, and it’s reminding us all, [that] there’s an ecosystem, where we mutually depend upon each other, and let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but, at the same time, uhů I worry that it’s giving tech [industry] a black-eye. We don’t all operate like that. That we have real businesses out here, that went off. JASON: And Facebook is a real business. They didn’t have to take that approach. CHRIS: They didn’t have to, at all. It’s a real business, they should be generally proud of. I don’t like the way they do with privacy. I don’t like the way they reset all your defaults to show all your s**t all over again. But uhů But, generally, it’s a big business. They created a lot of joy in the world. I think they should be proud of it. I think there is a second chapter of that company, where they are going to monetize in a smarter way. And so, you knowů If you’re looking for a five-year investment, I think it’s a good five-year investment. If you are looking over one-year investment, I don’t think it is. JASON: What do you think about theů Since we tipped over into politics, what do you think about the prospects for America, employment? And we see, you know, the Democrats have their spin on employment, and you see the Republicans with their spin on employment, is there something that a Democrat or a Republican can do to change the deleveraging of jobs to other places in the world, and the efficiency, that is making small companies, like Instagram, produce a product for fifty million or a hundred million people with just fifteen [employees], or are we going to be in a permanent employment reset? How do you view that? CHRIS: I mean, looků I think the last administration fed this country a ton of laxative, until it s**t all over itself. Then, they handed it over to Obama and complain, that the diaper stinks, you know. I mean thisů this administrationů JASON: I’m taking this home in writing. CHRIS: This administration inherited the worst of the worst. Massive unemployment, housing was a disaster, and the economy was coming to complete halt, complete halt. JASON: Like, depression level. CHRIS: Watch any documentary, and you understand, that we were about to go to zero. No liquidity in the economy [left], whatsoever. And drastic measures need to be taking to keep any heart beat back in this economy, right? JASON: Right. CHRIS: And soů I’m glad that we had the President, who was willing to do that. I’m glad that he had advisors around, who are willing to do that. Do I wish that we had more controls on the bankers, who got bonuses after all that s**t happened? Yes. It drives me crazy, that we got bankers, who are now like tea-partiers, who talk about no government interventions, but their banks were actually given TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program] money, and stuff like that. I think only JPMorgan has the right to b*tch, I think, you know, everybody else needed that money. JASON: Yes, umů CHRIS: and uhů I’m very glad, that we have the President, who was willing to save the auto manufacturers, right? JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: Uhů It’s very easy for us to academically say, “Hey, look, it’s Darwinism, let strong companies [survive].” But there are just so many actual people, who depend upon not just working on those plants, but everything else. JASON: Darwin could be a b*tch. CHRIS: And here’s what I come out. Like, I mean, so, let’s be clear, like, I make s**t load of money, I will pay just, sort of, like, ungodly amount more in taxes, if the Republicansů if the Democrats get their way. You know, I stand to benefit a lot from the Republicans being uhů uhů elected, uhů on self-interest viewpoint. And yet, I’m a very active campaigner for the President. JASON: One of the top [campaigners]. CHRIS: Uhů I’m a big fundraiser for the President. JASON: You are in the top 50 fundraisers, 100 fundraisers. And this is pretty well-documented online, and you have been [a fundraiser] for a while. CHRIS: And so, why do I do that? Likeů JASON: Why do you pay more taxes and support the guy, who is taxing the rich? Whether it’s appropriate taxation of the rich or inappropriate, we can debate, but his platform is a little bit redistribution, and the tax, and the rich need to pay even more taxes. CHRIS: I deeply believe, that if we don’t go for it together as a country, we don’t go forward. Likeů Andů And I worry about the polarization that’s happening here. I worry about the blue state — red state, coastal polarization. In 2009, I rode my bike across the country starting in California, ending in South Carolina. And I saw uhů real people, who I met along the way, people, who no longer own their home, no longer own their farm. Their small businesses boarded up and have gone away. Their downtowns have been deserted. I mean, I literally saw a place in Oklahoma, where the city hall front had collapsed in the street, and they put two columns to be, like, “Don’t drive over the bricks.” And yet, in each of those towns, I saw a Walmart on the edge of town. I’d ask kids, “Where you hang out?” They [answer], like, “Walmart.” I [ask], like, “No, no, where do you go on Friday night to be with your friends?” They [answer], like “We go to Walmart.” And it was, like, Walmart, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Holiday Inn Express had wiped out the actual town itself. And I realize that, these people didn’t actually, like, have any control over their own lives anymore. They didn’t have any control over their destiny. Our parents’ generation, our grandparents’ generation felt like, they had some input in what they would be in life. They felt like, there was a correlation between how hard they worked and what the outcome would be. This generation right now has lost those levers. They don’t own homes, businesses, et cetera, so the only “local business,” that’s thriving inside of those communities, is the local evangelical church. It’s the only thing still locally owned. You kind of see the rise of these churches, and it makes sense to me, and then, you start to understand the frustration, and I understand why there are so many angry voters in this country. Likeů These people don’t own their destiny anymore. Likeů Working at Walmart is not a career. Working at Walmart might possibly help you make ends meet. There is an interesting book called “Nickel and Dimed,” uhů where a woman tried to work at jobs like that, and actually sustained a lifestyle, and she could not pull together. And uhů and so itů that’sů That’s not really a substitute. Since, we kind of obliterate life, as we know it, replace it with big-box stores, like, retailers go away, and uhů we change the finance game, when it comes to home, so it’s predatory. And we let the mega farms takeover, and block the little farms, and so, everybody’s a unit, now, in this big equation. Nobody actually owns their outcome. uhů It’s funny to me, that we haven’t had a revolution, you know. JASON: It sounds pretty dystopian, when you say it. CHRIS: That the thing is, likeů I don’t like that America, and I don’t think any of us really does. JASON: No. CHRIS: I think that America, that we all would like to see, is America, where people own their future again, where people say, if I’m going to get up and do some work, I can own a home, I can put my kid in college, that, if one of us get sick, it’s not gonna wipe my family off the map, we will have some insurance to cover the catastrophe there. And that’s not, that’s, itů That’s not the America I grew up in. I grew up in a town, Lockport, New York, [where] the biggest employer was General Motors. They build radiators and air conditioners for GM cars. Most of my buddies’ dads worked on the assembly line, and were union employees. Most of my buddies’ dads, and most of my buddies grew up in reasonably sized houses, and they could take a vacation for a couple of weeks a year, and they showed to work every day, and they had like reasonable lives, they could, you know, leave work and go see their kids play baseball, that kind of stuff. It wasů it was idyllic. It was American. JASON: It seems idyllic now, and, at the time, we were bitching and moaning about, “Oh. We work so hard.” Now you look back, and that people would kill to have that 18-25 dollar-an-hour salary, and to have security, career, pensions. CHRIS: We just don’t have the career jobs anymore, right? JASON: No. CHRIS: We have been fluid, moving pieces around, and people as factors of production are wiped out like that. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: Andů And I just believe fundamentally, the President believes in the vision of what America could be. And, and Iů And I’d justů I don’t actually even blame Mitt Romney, because I think he’s just looked at so many spreadsheets, and so many companies, that he just doesn’t get any more. I think he’s been so isolated from real people, and I was hoping that all these bus trips, et cetera, would soften him up by exposing real people. I think he’s so single-mindedly, opportunistically focused on being the President. I mean, whatů Did you look at his taxes the other day? He releases taxes, and when he did them, he actually didn’t take as much charitable contribution deduction as he could, because it would have put him below the thirteen percent tax rate, and he didn’t want to go back on his promise, or look like he paid too little on taxes. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: That’s obsessive. That’s not being charitable to the country, that’s obsessively saying, “Jesus, my tax rates are going to be like 10-11%, and that’s gonna make me look like a douche. I’d better not claim these deductions, I’m totally entitled to, because I don’t want to look like a douche, because it might get in my way of holding the highest office in the land.” I think about that kind of obsession. JASON: And also having all those offshore accounts. I mean, I don’t understand, how you have a quarter billion dollars, or he may be worth a billion dollars, and he might be hiding it. But if he’s worth all that, and I don’t begrudge anybody who makes the money, but I do think it’sů I’ve never considered putting my money offshore. That to me seems low. CHRIS: I think the guy was elected out of a very weak field of candidates. I think the Republicans are incredible at staying on message, incredible in bringing people together, but they run the worst candidates. JASON: Is it amazing? Wasn’t the Democrats just a couple of elections cycles ago? People would say the same. The Democrats couldn’t find a candidate. They couldn’t pull together. They were a bunch of wimps. They couldn’t fight hard. And now, you have Obama, who’s a bit of a gangster. CHRIS: He’s an amazing candidate. He still has the party behind him that can’t stay on message. The Democrats, in their nature, are just scattered all over the place. So he can’t always count on his own party, to have his back, but he’s an amazing person. He’s a remarkable candidate. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with him, and to see himů JASON: What’s he really like? What do you think? CHRIS: So, the kind of event, that Mitt Romney said of classic 47%. I’ve helped the President host a bunch of events like that. Uhů JASON: Which is an event, where what? Twenty people pay thirty-five grand. CHRIS: [They] pay a lot of money to sit there. JASON: I got asked to go to one of those, not by you, but somebody else we know, and it’s thirty five grand, you pay to the super packs, and you got to sit in the room. CHRIS: They are not superpacks. It’s the party and the candidate. There are lots of events that happen like this. JASON: 20, 10 people? CHRIS: It’s like 20-25 people. Uhů And you get to have a candid conversation with the President. It’s the format, that’s never existed before in those fundraisers. You know, they’ve always been like, you have a dinner, they deliver prepared remarks, shake hands, and you go. This President [said] like, “Look, I wanna have legitimate conversations with really interesting people.” So the bar is, I don’t only have to give the money, but they have to be interesting. They are not always powerful, there’ve just beenů there’ve been some really interesting people in these rooms. And uhů And I will tell you, the President has no qualms about looking someone in an eye and being like, “You’ll pay more under my administration. You need to pay your fair share. In order to get where we need to go, like, you can afford it, you need to pay for it.” JASON: Yeah CHRIS: He’s just not a pussy. He’s not afraid to tell how it is. JASON: Massive integrity. CHRIS: He doesn’t sugarcoat it, et cetera. uhů You know, Bijan Sabet, on his blog, I don’t know what domain is, wrote a post about one of these meetings recently, and how the President was willing to be very directů JASON: Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital, a great VC from Boston. CHRIS: [He] wrote this post about what that experience is like. And it’s, itsů It’s very genuine, authentic, candid. That’s who this guy is. Uhů I think this guy too uhů rustles with really tough decisions umů JASON: Guantanamo. CHRIS: Guantanamo is interestingů JASON: Health care. CHRIS: I’ll actually share something, that umů I have to think how to share this, because this happened in a don’t-share-conversation, but I would take a chance there. I think it speaks volumes about this President. Butů I have pounded the table about Guantanamo. I have pounded the table, “Hey, look, if America stands for anything, it’s our rights. It’s that we would rather uhů set ten guilty people free, then imprison one innocent person. That’sů When I travel abroad, that’s what I always [stood for]. JASON: Human rights. CHRIS: And I lived abroad for a lot of my life, that’s what we’ve always stood for. Habeas corpus, justice, uhů and accessible, uhů you know, justice system. JASON: Justice for all. CHRIS: The data are clear, people of color don’t get same access to justice that white people do, poor people don’t get same access, than rich do. JASON: The DNA is proven that. The Exoneration Project. CHRIS: We’ve lost sight of that. It’s a massive injustice. JASON: Domestically, we have. Yes. CHRIS: Butů Iů You knowů I pounded the table with the President like, “If we don’tů, Guantanamo is an example, if we don’tů umů if we don’t stand for itů What is the United States stand for, if we don’t stand for justice? JASON: Wow! CHRIS: And umů And the President in a very cool, non-dickish, straight-up way said, “Here’s the thing. If you knew that 25 of the guys, that were in Guantanamo, were some of the most dangerous, evil, capable of destroying thousands and thousands of American type guysů Theyů And they could do it. And that, you have all the intelligence, that shows you that, if released, they would do it. What would you do?” And he just asking me that without going to his conclusion on the problem. I think it’s a problem he continues to wrestle with, and I expect him for it to be back on the agenda in this next administration, when he is reelected, but he just asked it straight up. “What do you do?” And in doing so, I was like dumbstruck, right? I was just like, God, it’s really easy for me to (bleep) while watching TV and be like, “What the f**k? Why do we still have those guys down on Cuba? This is really f**ked up, it not for America stands for? On the other hand, if someone looks you in the eye and says, ů Imagine him in a briefing and someone straight up says, “I think if we let a couple of these guys go, they will destroy thousands of American lives.” JASON: Yeah, like these are 9/11 level people. CHRIS: What do you do? What do you do? That’s not black and white, it’s grey, right? JASON: Right. CHRIS: And so, the President said like, “People, the news stations report on politics, not government.” And likeů That’s true. If you start with that mind, if you start watching what happens in newspapers, and on TV, and stuff like that, it’s all politics, right? But government is f**king hard. It is messy. It is grey. It is nasty. I don’t know how that guy sleeps at night. The decisions he has to make are f**king hard. And the more exposure I’ve got at him, the more I realized that guy is up for it, he takes it really seriously, and tries to do the best thing for America in the greatest sense of that tradition. Sometimes it means ignoring his own party. Sometimes it means compromising with people he probably doesn’t want to compromise with. He really does take doing the right thing for the country in the grandest sense of the word, and that’s why I’ve lined up behind him. That’s why I feel good about raising a bunch money for him. And that’s why Mitt Romney f**ks up every time, he underestimates Americans, because they see that, they’re not stupid, they have a visceral sense, that this guy is looking out for them. And he can spreadů Mitt Romney can spread as much disinformation as he wants, and they’re really good at that. They’re really good at bulls**t. Paul Ryan is the f**king master of bulls**tting, but at the end of the day this President really connects with truth, and voters get that. JASON: He cuts through it. uhů It seems like, every time they throw the smoke bombs, he just rises above it. CHRIS: What turns out, when truth is in your favor, that luckily, in America, that still works. Like, truth still works. It’s teetering on the brink of not working, uhů and that’s something I think we all need to wrestle with, but, for right now, truth still works, and this is why this President will win this election. JASON: He’s gonna win. CHRIS: Yeah. JASON: Hands down. CHRIS: Yeah. JASON: He should win. Mitt Romney is a complete disaster, and I can’t trust the guy, I mean. If the just evenů After I heard the way he canů His ideas about, if I was born Mexican, it could have been easy. You just get the sense, like, wow! This is confirming, this is an evil, private-equity douche bag, who, if given the reins, is going to do more damage than Bush. It feels like this guy could do more damage than Bush, and we have been there. We’ve seen what destruction can occur, when one of these people gets into the Office. CHRIS: No doubt. I mean, looků JASON: It’s not worth the downside risk. CHRIS: Not so long ago, the Republican party was a totally reasonable legit party, that had a different view on how to govern, but it was a legitimate reasonable thoughtful view. It was not that long ago. I mean, myů myů my dad was a Republican in our county. He was a very thoughtful person. JASON: Reagan, Bush I. CHRIS: What happened was, they sold themselves to the extreme. Uhů And so, John McCain, a very reasonable personů Look back at his voting record, like, campaign finance reform. That’s the number one, biggest issue. If we fix campaign finance, so much of the other stuff would sort (bleep) out. He took a bold stand. He is braking from the party orthodoxy multiple times. He is done things, I disagree with, but he’s done it for the right reasons, right? JASON: He is a hero. Yeah. CHRIS: He would have been a perfectly reasonable President, not my preferred President, but he would have been a perfectly reasonable President, had he not sold himself down the river to extreme right. JASON: Sarah Palin? CHRIS: That was just a disaster. That was a cartoonish and horribly cynical move to sell themselves out to that side of the party. JASON: We are gonna go with the dumbest, you know, most redneck, just out-there person, who doesn’t know who the leaders are of the free world. CHRIS: She’s really disgraced. And that again, I think they underestimatedů JASON: Was that the moment? Was that the moment that they just jump the shark? CHRIS: I thinků I think they underestimated the voter again. I think they thought they were playing a TV, and voters actually see through that s**t, right? JASON: So the pandering to the right, religious, nut cases, it actually imploded on them. CHRIS: It leaves behind the real people. It leaves behind the majority. Not even intelligent and book smart, not even talking college grads, it just leaves behind America. It leaves behind all these people in the middle, right? I mean you can say the same about too much of the extreme left. Although, I just don’t think they are active, and I don’t think they have as much traction, and they don’t own any television stations right now. I think the greatest thing, that could happen to the Republican party, is that they’re gonna get spanked in this election, and I think they’re gonna have to reboot. Uhů I think they’re gonna have to look around and be like, “Do you know why we lost? Because we are a bunch of the nut cases right now, because we’ve lost sight of what we stand for.” JASON: Gun control, you know, uhů repealing Roe vs. Wade, anti choice, pro automatic weapons. CHRIS: They’ve made thisů They’ve made their government about making this President fail. That was the entire thing. This entire administration wasů JASON: He is trying to ankle him. CHRIS: ůwhat can we do to make this President fail? And so, and it’s funny, I meanů JASON: By the way, we are at $1200. Are you s**tting me? CHRIS: Somebody’s keeping the tally. JASON: $1300. CHRIS: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. JASON: I’m giving $1300 for charity. By the way, $1300 goes in here. And I’m going to throw the party for my team. CHRIS: That’s $2600. If we keep this going, we can buy a whole well. I might make you $5000. JASON: How much is the well? CHRIS: $5000. Here you go. JASON: (Bleep) Oh, God. CHRIS: We can get a well going. By the way, I was out to visit those wells in Ethiopia. It’s an amazing impact that Scott Harrison and “charitywater.org” have. JASON: I love that s**t. F**k it now, if we are in for this much, I don’t give a s**t. CHRIS: We are gonna buy well. Let’s just call it a well. $2500 each. JASON: Set a (bleep) goal. CHRIS: $2500 each. JASON: No, we have to be legit to get there. CHRIS: OK. Is the tally still there? JASON: I think we are right nowů The tally seems to be around 1300. Could you scroll down, guys, in the chat room? It’s f**king unbelievable. 1380? Yeah, we are twelve hundred something. CHRIS: Wait. Was there a racial slur? JASON: No. OK. No. CHRIS: Somebody is saying, if you racial slur that cost $10. JASON: We are at $2500 combined, what DomainNoob is [reporting]. DomainNoob is, like, my ultimate super fan. I love DomainNoob. Can we get DomainNoob on the program? I need him to be on the program. He is the major superfan. He thanks every sponsor. We have superfans. CHRIS: I love that, dude. That’s the best. JASON: It’s unbelievable. I mean I have uhů I want to have a dinner for my superfans. Can we set up a superfan dinner in Vegas at the World Series. CHRIS: Give me a spot at that table. JASON: These peopleů You may not want to be at that table. These are some cocky people. CHRIS: I met some of Kevin Rose’s superfans. It’s a religion. It’s a cult. JASON: It is. I’m thinking about starting actually a religion. I saw “The Master.” And I’m really getting obsessed with Ron Hubbard. I think the Republicans areů And I’m gonna make a religion based on entrepreneurship. Read from “The Book of Jobs.” CHRIS: What is the principal tenet? Book of jobs? JASON: The book of Steve Jobs [“Steve Jobs” or “iSteve: The Book of Jobs”]. uhů I think the principal tenet is that, in order to be part of the religion you have toů uhů you have to believe wholeheartedly, that things can change, and that you can iterate uhů to make the human condition better. That’s going to be the core tenet. [It] is that through creativity and through hard work and implementation, we can make everybody on the planet’s lives better, and that we can create more prosperity for ourselves and for our teams. And that not everybody is suited for this religion. It is for those people, whatever percentage it is, who want to make better. It’s to be better. Better as individuals, better microphone, better swear jar, better President, just to be better. It’s an aspirational religion, not a control religion. Anything that you can do to increase your skill, or, you know, dexterity, or the products around us, the services around us, you know, the friendship we have, whatever it is, just to want to be better, and to put our energy towards being better. CHRIS: That seems accessible to anybody. It is just not everyone is a founder, right? JASON: Not everybody’s gonnaů Yeah. Yes. I think it could be some peopleů CHRIS: There are people who are great at being second fiddle, third fiddle, who embody that entrepreneurial spirit, butů JASON: Yeah, inside of companies. In a way, investor is that. CHRIS: Companies don’t succeed, when there’s a lot of chiefs and no Indians, right? JASON: But you have entrepreneurial Indians, who, when they get caught behind enemy lines, they figure out how to get back. CHRIS: There are a lot of people, who don’t want to take credit, you know, who just wanna be there, who want toů who are taking the risk by joining the startup company, [who] wanna drive, wanna keep those hours. JASON: Those guys are my heroes. Brandis is out here, who works for me. I love this girl, Brandis, Lady Brandis. CHRIS: I met your whole team. JASON: She justů She cares. She cares about the microphones. She cares about the cable. Caroline, who’s been working with me, she just cares. I like people who care. CHRIS: They own it. JASON: They just care, and they just want to get own it, they want to make it a little bit better. CHRIS: That might be a part of the prayer: “They own it.” Just “Own it.” JASON: “Own it, make it better. Ummm” CHRIS: What are the major feast days in your religion? What itů What are the major festivals? JASON: We have to have one for, when Steve Jobsů I think it has to be around people who have done this. One for [Sir Ernest Henry] Shackleton uhů you know, when he got to the north pole or something. CHRIS: That’s amazingů JASON: We have to get one for Shackleton, I think we gotta give one up for Steve Jobs. It’s gotta be around people, who dented the universe in some way. You know, Gandhi. CHRIS: These are the saints. JASON: The saints would be people, who have dented the universe in some way, to make it better, you know, [e.g.] the guy who cured polio and made it open-source. That kind of stuff. CHRIS: You can still break bread too. I mean. you can stillů JASON: We’ll have something like that. I’m trying to do the low-carb thing, but, yes, I think we could. CHRIS: I’m gluten-free. JASON: I’m trying to stay gluten free. But listening to weed bellyů. Hey, listen, we are two hours and twelve minutes, and this is the greatest [episode] literally. I think this might be the best episode of the program. CHRIS: Can I say? I have one gripe, I want to get on. JASON: Get on! Let’s do it. Umů I think it would be a two-parter, by the way. CHRIS: I think there’s an epidemic in Silicon Valley right now. JASON: Okay, let’s hear it. CHRIS: And it is uhů It’s taking credit. I think a new number one problem in this entire business among investors, among founders is taking credit. JASON: Who takes credit? CHRIS: I see too many people, uhů in their tweets, et cetera, are taking credit for the success of their portfolio companies. And I thought that could (bleep) stop right now. JASON: It’s so f**king annoying. CHRIS: I think that’s the number one, likeů It’s easy for investors to project out, like, VCs got too many companies, prices are too high, et cetera, et cetera, and those are all worthy topics to talk about, but at the end of the day, likeů It took me awhile to figure this out, and so I’m not on a high horse now, like, I think I was uhů an exhibit ‘A’ in uhů in the self-promotional department, but there it’s way too many investors, who are out front of their companies try to take credit, trying toů JASON: I do feel that, and, you know, because I’m an entrepreneurial investor, I’m particularly attuned to this issue, and when I see an investor talking about a portfolio company more than the founder, mů[I disapprove of that]. And you really have to be careful, because I love Uber, and I’m the tiniest of investors, and I have nothing to do with their success. uhů And I’d justů When I tweet about it, I just tweet about “I love Uber.” That’s it. I know as an investor, I have zero impact on the company, maybe, a couple of people will find out about. CHRIS: Maybe, you could. Maybe, Travis [Kalanick] says, “Hey, look, I need to get the word out about all the bulls**t is happening in DC,” so you are in service business, as an investor, you are a service provider. JASON: Yes, not the credit business. CHRIS: That’s the problem. JASON: People are high on their own supply. CHRIS: Yeah and so what’s happened is we are in the cult of personality investor phase. And what’s funny, you got guys like Bill Gurley, who add value all f**king day long. JASON: Nobody knows who Bill Gurley is. CHRIS: He writes really good blog posts at http://abovethecrowd.com/. JASON: When he does CNBC, [when] they brought him on CNBC, and the IQ of CNBC went up like a hundred-points immediately. CHRIS: But you’ll never see that guy talk about all the stuff, he’s done for a company, like Uber. I mean, my jobů JASON: And people don’t even know, he’s an Uber investor. CHRIS: It was Josh Kopelman, who taught me this lesson. My job is to obsolete myself. JASON: [Josh Kopelman from] First Round Capital. CHRIS: My job is to obsolete myself by series B. The company should be at a point, where the magnitude, gravitas, the investors, who are there, solve problems, [which] I don’t. Like, I was involved in a company, where, uhů you know, Bill Gurley is there, and the company was thinking about hiring CFO, and Bill opens up his, you know, folder, and he’s got, like, six CFOs, ready to go. Like guys of public company quality. I was, “I don’t know six guys. I don’t know six public companies’ CFOs in the world.” Right? But when you’re just getting started, like, I’m the guy you want in your room to help design your product, build the funnel to convert, help you recruit your first couple of employees, get that s**t done. And so, but the guy, like Bill Burley, will never (bleep) take credit for that. But we are in environment, where I see too many investors taking credit for their companies. JASON: It’s so f**king annoying to me. CHRIS: I think we got a call people out. The same way we call people on Humble Brags, and we got to call people out on taking credit. JASON: A credit brag, it’s just like, you know what, you justů And with so much money around, do you think these f**king shmos would get the f**king message, that it’s notů If Yuri Milner comes in and says, “YCombinator? I’ll take all of them.” And then, they say, “Seriously, here’s the menu,” and he says, “Yes. I’ll take the menu. And I take the menu for the next five years.” If he comes in and does some gangster s**t, like that, what the f**k does some investor, who is making five investments a year, think that they’re so gangster for writing a hundred thousand dollar check? That guy came in and was like, “Oh, Silicon Valley? Yes.” He literally came in and said, “Silicon Valley? Yes.” – “Which one?” – “Yes, all of them.” I have to applaud the guy. I think it’s weird. What do you think of that, when you saw that? CHRIS: IůI meanů That happened around the same time that uhů Ron Conway threw the grenade in a room full of angel investors. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelgate] The five families were gathered and blown up. I actually wasn’t even at that meeting, but I ended up getting up for the fullů JASON: You got some shrap [shrapnel]. CHRIS: I’dů I was on the other coast and got some shrapnel from that meeting. But that saidů JASON: The Angelgate meeting. CHRIS: But despite that going down, I respect the move. I do think it’s a gangster move. I think those guys did some math and said, “Look. We’re gonna be run most of the time, but when we are right, we are really, really right, it’s gonna pay off.” JASON: Airbnb, Dropbox – boom! CHRIS: I mean, you and I, as investors, are wrong more often, than we are right. That’s the other thing that goes with taking credit, is like, “Dude, uhů you never take credit for all the s**t that f**ked up.” In fact, most people remove it from their website. As these things are out of business, I don’t want to admit that I have anything to do with that. JASON: I use that as mineů as myů I talk about, for example, Gowalla, which, I thought, was a tremendous success in terms of building an awesome product, but just, you know, didn’t work for a number of reasons. I talk about that as one of the things I’m most proud of in working with Josh Williams, and trying to make the product work. And I tell peopleů That’s the first person, I tell them, to call, when they ask me should I be an angel investor. CHRIS: Yeah. I just think, generally speaking, it’s funů it’s fun, when people listen to investors and take everything they say, you know, as Bible, because those investors usually got where they were, because they had one or two data points, that tend to pay out, right? JASON: Broken clock works twice the day. CHRIS: They built a company that worked really, really well, now, they’re rich, and so, suddenly, they must have the right answer to everything. And then, across their portfolio, most of these s**tty investing goes nowhere. Right? And this applies to anyone equally. And they ask us to come on panel discussions, and spat all this wisdom, that people write f**king down and see it retweeted all the time. And yet, we are wrong. We are in the business of being wrong. It’s just, when we are right, we are really f**king right. JASON: You’ll need one Twitter, or Instagram to beů to make up for the other nineteen failures. CHRIS: Heroku, Photobucket. You know, we thought a few more out there. But on a percentage basis, I’m wrong more than I’m right. JASON: I know, but your rights have been pretty f**king amazing. CHRIS: But again, like, I don’t take credits for those. Look, Kevin Systrom pulled me intoů Kevin Systrom pulled me into Instagram. I didn’tů I did not seek him out. He pitched me, and in that pitch, I was,ů I was just drawn magnetically to him. And heů He thought I could be helpful in some ways, that we worked on together. But I ů butů That isů That is me, admitting [that] I would not have chosen Instagram, right? There’s a lot of s**t in my portfolio, that I chose for what I thought were all the right reasons, and are all the wrong f**king reasons. JASON: And they are clunkers. That’s when an expert pulls you in. CHRIS: And my money never came back, it went away, right? And so, it’s kind of funny, like uhů Heroku, like I kind of got it. I thought I could be helpful. James Lindenbaum knew I could be helpful in certain ways. He drew me into that company. JASON: I need to have him on the program. Karin, take a note. CHRIS: He’s amazing. JASON: I’ve got to get that Heroku guy. CHRIS: He’s amazing. JASON: What do you think about him? CHRIS: And talk about uhů I don’t wanna steal the thunder of his story, but you got to talk about the negotiation, when he had the opportunityů He had an opportunity to sell that company multiple times. JASON: Yeah, Mydesign, Google. Everybody wants that company. CHRIS: That guy has the same thing that Systrom had. You just look that guy in eye, and he knows he’s building something huge. It’s just not time to step off the elevator yet. He is likeů JASON: He is like, “I’m good.” CHRIS: Months before he sold that thing for 220 million dollars, somebody offered 85 million. 85 million is a lot of money for a company, that he still owns a ton of, because they hadn’t raised much money. And it was an employer, he would have been happy to work for, et cetera. And he was just like, “We got a lot of work left to do,” this is justů We’re gonna go, and, likeů The guy is a legend, legend! Like, I remember being with him once, right before the Salesforce deal got done. and umů The original Salesforce offer was lower. And he said, “What should we do?” And I was like, “I don’t know. Maybe, you know, if it’s X, maybe, I can get like X plus ten or fifteen percent. Maybe, I can help you do that, umů butů but like, uhů “I think you should take it!” And he was like, “You know what, thanks for your advice.” And then, he called me 72 hours later, like, “I got X+80%,” or something like that. I mean, that’s holy-s**t! This is supposed to be the other way around. As the investor, I’m supposed to be like, “Go, go, f**k it! Go to a billion dollars.” As the founder is supposed to be, “That’s a lot of money to me.” But that guy’s a legend, but he justů You look in his eyes, and he has no doubt, that that thing is going to work out. And that’s the hallmark of a great entrepreneur. But, if you look at everything amazing in my portfolio, like, there has been a symbiotic, like I’m drawn in, and, at the same time, I might have an inkling of what that thing could be. Butů And that’s the thing, that’s funny about investors kind of sitting back, and taking credit, and trumpeting the things, they were great about. Like, rarely, rarely, rarelyů First of all, they didn’t found s**t. I think the founders have every right to take credit, investors shouldn’t. JASON: What do you think of AngelList. I mean, Naval [Ravikant] seems to be helping entrepreneurs tremendously. What’s your take on that? I talk to one group of people, they say, this is transformative, then I talked to some VCs, and they just [say] like, they don’t like it. And they don’t like the idea that all these angels have bonded together in a little group. They feel like it could be disruptive. Is it or not? CHRIS: Nobody likes when the market renders them [useless]. Nobody likes being an emperor with no cloth. It is justů There’s a lot of expensive real-estate up-and-down Sand Hill Road with no cars in the parking lots right now, because nobody gives the f**k these names. There’s that top tier of Benchmark [Capital ],and Accel [Partners],and Sequoia [Capital], and KP [Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers], and these names that still has some resonance, even though some of them are struggling with being relevant to a twenty-something entrepreneur. JASON: Yeah, nobody cares about Kleiner. CHRIS: But below that, there’s a bunch of names, that have just been like riding out the tail on a ten-year fund, and are having trouble raising any money, et cetera. They don’t like the democratization of fundraising. There used to be access to uhů a special club, that’s what allowed you to get access to capital, and now it’s much more democratic. So I applaud AngelList for what they are doing. I think Naval is amazing. uhů One of the things, I worry about though, is that, if it tips too far in the other direction, we end up with these rounds, that don’t have any leader. Money gets raised without any actual professional investor stepping up and being like, “I’m gonna be your counterpart.” JASON: And why is that important? Why is that dangerous here? CHRIS: It’s important, because the founder needs someone to bring their A-game to, I think. I did the analysis across my portfolio actually, and uhů and the companies I have, that had leaderless seed-rounds uhů have underperformed. I think it’s important for anybody. Anybody! To have to sit down, put together a deck, and bring their A game to somebody else, who’s gonna [listen], you know, to [somebody], even if they are not on a board [of directors]. JASON: A coach. CHRIS: A coach, somebody, you feel accountable to. Like, I do shadow board meetings with few of my companies, where I’m not [on a board]. I don’t really take board seats, I’m an observer at Uber, that’s it. And so, with most of these companies, I think, uhů you know. What we see is umů is that, if they are left to leaderless rounds, they just have this money in the bank, and then they kind of look inward, and none of the angels really feel like owners there, and so, they’re not constantly pinging in, et cetera, and sometimes, like, the entrepreneurs are slower and afraid to ask for help from the outside, and so, the result is this thing, where, umů you know, they kind of go sideways. Whereas if you’re the founder, and you gotta sit down with me every month, whether I have an official vote or not, you put together the deck, and we talk about this company. Every founder, I do this with, finds it relieving, finds it awesome, they get a little excited about the night before, like, they are going to exam it the next day, and they bring it, it’s not interviewing for their job, it’s not worrying about whether, you know, the board is going to fire them, instead it’s like, “Let me defend, where we are this month, let me share with you this vision, you know, let me talk outside the company for the first time to a trusted collaborator, and see, if this is something, that’s going to go somewhere.” And umů And that’s an important part in the development of company, so I worried about is, there still has to be a lead, there still has to be an owner, it’s something, I’ve been saying to the companies recently, like, “I will commit to your round, but only if there’s an actual natural lead. And it’s not about owners’ terms, not about somebody busting your balls and documents, but it’s about somebody feeling, like, they wake up in the morning and think about that company. JASON: Somebody invested enough. If anybody is there for $25k, everybody is then for zero. CHRIS: I mean, on the one hand, I know a couple of VCs, who call their portfolio companies every day. That’s going to be f**king crazy. If your investors called you every single day, you wouldn’t get s**t done on it. On the other hand, there are angels, who have, you know, 75 companies and don’t call any of them ever, right? And so, I think a founder has responsibility to take advantage of the investors they have, to use them well, to communicate effectively. You and I [are investors] in Backupify. JASON: Yeah. CHRIS: I think Rob [May] writes the best investors update email, I’ve ever seen. JASON: Oh! The best! CHRIS: Like, Rob, every month, gives us the information we need to know, gives us an update on the company, and says right there, how you can help. These are your action items, go get f**king s**t done. And so, if they’re in your wheelhouse, go get them done, if they’re not, at least you know where he is. And what it does too, checking with your investors and using investors that way, also keeps Backupify in mind, so that I talk about Backupify at show like this. I mentioned it to another investor, I mentioned it to a user, I tweeted about them. They are in front of mind, I have stuff on my list, that I hadn’t thought about in a while, because I don’t hear from those founders, we don’t engage, and I don’t know enough of that company, that the first thing on my mind to go dive in and get deep with them. JASON: And you don’t want to be, like, overbearing with any investors, if they are notů in any investment, if they are not pinging you, and they’re not engaging you. You don’t want to be like, “I’m checking in like daddy.” CHRIS: Yeah, but I’ve got like uhů uhů I work with Melody McCloskey at StyleSeat. Right? One of the most gifted founders everywhere, just anywhere, like, she’s amazing. uhů I thinků To be candid, I think, because she’s a woman, and because she’s dealing with a space that men don’t get s**t about, which is, you know, beauty professionals, I think she’s underestimated. JASON: Yeah, another underestimation. CHRIS: Her traffic is in the millions and millions of users, and she just (bleep) blowing it up. She has a clear commerce model, and Dan Levine, who does all the coding over there, is amazing. And two of them ship, like, multi platform with five people there. uhů Maybe it even four. Soů Butů When I sit down with her, like, she already has action items for me, like, “I’d need you to do this, I need you to help us with this, I need to review this deal with you, give me yourů[opinion], I’m doing a business development deal with a big partner, like, help me figure this s**t out.” Right? “Here’s the spreadsheet of investors I’m thinking of talking to for our next round, give me the insights you have on these guys, let’s build something here.” And so, that’s how you use an investor. And we do so, because I’m one of the biggest investors, that I feel like a real stakeholder. We actively work on that. JASON: It really is an attention in a way, like, how much ofů And I tried to explain this to some folks, like, “Don’t optimize for uhů terms or valuation, as much as, optimize for the attention of the important people in ecosystem and good people in the ecosystem.” CHRIS: And then, take advantage of it. JASON: Right. That’s not enough to optimize to get him. CHRIS: You are more than willing to send out a tweet, connect somebody with somebody, think of some partners, give them advice on the next round, connect them to an investor. JASON: Anytime. Anytime. CHRIS: But if they don’t ask you, they’re likely not going to get it. Right? JASON: No. CHRIS: Because it’s lower down on your list, and you like, “Oh! Wait. How this company is doing? I got toů” JASON: Yes, and you don’t want to feel like you are imposing upon them, because, you know, that entrepreneurs are sensitive. They don’t want to haveů They didn’t take you as an investor to have you be their daddy, or to be there an overbearing coach. You know, it’s, itsů We are there, if they need us. And you can’t be tooů CHRIS: You’re there to earn it. And like I said, the problems, they’re encountering, by the time we’ve got a few rounds in, I’m probably not the guy to help with that, right? JASON: Right. A couple of questions from the audience. CHRIS: What we got? JASON: Here we go. Give me a question from the audience. Who is thisů? Who is this, again? Look at theů “DOC,” at the DOC [directory]. Sorry, I’m looking in wrong place, sorry. In the DOC, questions for Chris Sacca. mů Where does the name Lowercase Capital come from? Good question. CHRIS: Uhů It comes from the same place my shirt comes from. It comes from justů I mean, “Lowercase Capital” is a pun obviously, right? umů I mean soů “Lowercase capital” is like “jumbo shrimp.” About ninety percent people don’t see that. But it comes from the place of, like, I don’t reallyů I think one of our biggest problems is that we take ourselves too seriously, right? If we start to uhů think our own s**t stinks like, you know, smells like roses, and I think that’s a real problem. JASON: So they don’t stink. CHRIS: Soů umů and so Iů You know, with the name, I wanted to show right of the bat, that I wasn’tů I wasn’t trying to be too institutional about it. What’s great is, when I talk to big institutional investors, it doesn’t even occur to them and they think my fancy flowery logo shows them, that I’m a big, you know, venerable institution, butů The same with the shirts. The first of these shirts, [which] I bought, I bought at Reno airport. A flight out of thereů You know, I live near there up in Truckee, California. A flight out of there was delayed, and I was in the gift shop, it was 80% off, I bought it. It’s the one on my profile, I picked the black one. I was there to give a speech, I gave no explanation for why I was wearing it, but people kind of chuckled, when I walked on the stage, and I was just like, you know what, this sets the right tone. This sets there like, I’m not gonna take myself too seriously, you should neither. And this just moves the whole conversation to a much nicer place. I also don’t have to waste time thinking what to wear in the morning, I just reach into my closet and put out the cowboy shirt. JASON: We already haveů We already answered about the Google’s Special Initiatives, your hands on, hands off, we answered that. We answered all this stuff already. Why doesn’t Obama put uhů Guantanamo prisoners on trial? We answered that already. uhů We gotta wrap this up. Two and a half hours in, it’s a record. You set the longest and most interesting [episode]. CHRIS: Somebody should have brought lunch half way through it, I think. JASON: I was thinking we should probably have a little sushi. CHRIS: We should order. We should “taskrabbit” some lunch in here. JASON: Are you investor in TaskRabbit? CHRIS: Do you want to filibuster this? We just go twenty-four hours. We just keep going. JASON: But that going to beů How much f**king money and how many wells we are going to (bleep)? Right now, we are combined twenty-nine (bleep) hundred dollars, which means we are $2000 out of f**king well. That I now (bleep) have to pay for, which I do not f**king mind, because I’ve done pretty f**king great. CHRIS: Grand total is only twenty nine hundred? JASON: Well, yeah, because, you know, I mean, think about it. $20 a pop. You are talking about how many curses. It’s like hundreds of curses. CHRIS: I’ll stop talking right now, if you agree to go halves on well with me, $2500 each. JASON: I’m fine, I’ll do it. CHRIS: OK, great. That I won’t filibuster your show anymore. JASON: I mean, but I had toů we had to cut into the two f**king episodes. CHRIS: And that is great. It’s more advertiser’s exposure. JASON: Now I have to. I have to at this point. CHRIS: You can take a week off. JASON: I can take a day. I do needů Oh, God, man. You could get to likeů If you have a good kid, you don’t have a hundred people working for you, right? CHRIS: No, in fact, I have one person working for me. JASON: A billion dollars and one person – that’s genius. CHRIS: I’m thinking hiring somebody. JASON: Do you hire a second person? A driver? CHRIS: Yeah, that’s why I need a business insurance, by the way. That something to go back to yourů [ad], I forget what is it? JASON: Hiscox. CHRIS: Hiscox, thank you, I wrote it down. JASON: Thank you @HiscoxSmallBiz. CHRIS: That’s why I need business insurance, I’m going to hire somebody. JASON: Hey, listen. If that is good enough for Chris Sacca, it’s good enough for you. Thank you so much @HiscoxSmallBiz. Everybody, thank them. And thank you so much to “Stamps.com,” [which is] also Chris Sacca’s favorite. He is going to get a complimentary Stamps.com’s uhů scale on the way out. Hey, that’s a good idea. Why don’t we have aů CHRIS: How do you doů? What do you do at “Stamps.com” again? JASON: If you ever go toů You are not going to go to the post office. Instead of going to the post office, you just print stamps from home. CHRIS: That’s awesome, you know. I mean, I work virtually. JASON: Yes, go to Stamps.com and print them, but you have your people for that. CHRIS: I want to mention it to my one employee. JASON: Hey, listen. uhů Thank you so much for being on the program, Chris Sacca. Everybody, follow @ChrisSacca, @sacca. Thanks @Hiscox, and thanks to my crew for crushing in another perfect episode. And we’ll see you next time on “This Week in Startups.” CHRIS: Right on.

53 thoughts on “– Startups – Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital Pt. 2- TWiST #295

  1. awesome!!

  2. been waiting for this one…the first part was extraordinary.. something for Mr. Sacca in spanish : Gacias por contar su historia y permitirnos conocer un poco sobre el mundo del venture capital y sobre sus primeros pasos como empresario, pura inspiracion mil gracias!!

  3. Y yo!

  4. Went a bit off the rails – talking about politics and religion….

  5. Truth Conquers

  6. the censor beep is annoying. only an idiot would censor dialog on the web.

  7. Chris Sacca is amazing. Very smart and down to earth guy, and makes everything seems easy and possible.

  8. wow amazing

  9. nice transition "Do you trust mark zuckerburg?!"

    hahaha

  10. Amazing interview! thank you 🙂

  11. I'm down for the religion shit!

  12. Best ep yet! Hands down! Thanks Jason & team

  13. where can I see the uncensored version?

  14. OBAMA KOOL-AID!!!!!

  15. I don't understand the comments that think is wrong for Sacca to talk about politics. They guy is heavily involved in that field, hence his opinion is interesting. Whether people agree or disagree with his view is another matter

  16. Sweet!

  17. Amazing episode / interview with Sacca. You were right Jason, the best episode yet!

  18. One of the top three episodes! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  19. This was interesting until they started talking politics, at which point I was reminded of why I left California.

  20. Missed a Fuck 🙂

  21. great interview! you guys rock.

  22. People are going to hate on the end of this video, but everything Chris is saying here is what a lot of us have been seeing for years. Big business is the real predator in this equation, why else have you been downsized? It's Profit at all costs, screw the workers. THAT's the ideology that some people want to buy into? They talk about Obama kool-aid, but the Republican Kool-aid – that is some lethal s**t right there. People are ready to cut their own throats to protect the rich while they laugh.

  23. I wish the host would stop interrupting Sacca when he's trying to make a point.

  24. Epic.

  25. I want to punch myself in the face for not seeing this long time ago

  26. Phenomenal Interview!

  27. epic

  28. Awesome!  But, Chris needs to forget about the left vs right political paradigm and that govt can solve our problems.  Jeez.  That was brutal listening to his breakdown of income inequality in America.  Please see Hayek, Mises and the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle.

  29. Be great if the host stopped interrupting the interviewee for a second. Stfu and let Chris speak.

  30. Walker texas ranger wants his shirt back!  But great interview, very insightful!

  31. Great information in the interview, but JEEZ, jason, STFU and let your guest speak.  stop injecting and interrupting them. It almost makes it unbearable to listen to

  32. Best episode I've seen so far!! Sacca's story is inspiring and entertaining. 

  33. Great interview.
    What is the name of the song over the end credits?

  34. Great stuff here.  10:25 Twitter is fresh light and divergent, Google is gives deeper,  more consistent and convergent — which means they fulfill the need / wants for info in different ways

  35. such an inspiring interview..

  36. It's amazing how people like Sacca can make cronyism sound like altruism.

  37. Amazing, fun, and entertaining.

  38. love it…two thumbs up

  39. #ChrisSacca*

  40. Outstanding interview, both parties: Jason and Chris have great rapport and the discussion is fast, smart and thorough. Excellent investment in your time to watch this 2+ hours interview from 3 years ago.

    Yahoo turnaround story as getting the piss out of the trough, describing facebook pre-mobile revenue explosion is gold. At least 10-20 different stories with good insights.

  41. oh God! This was superb!!

  42. The answer to Gitmo is you release 10 guilty people rather than jail one innocent man. Furthermore they can be held in the American gulag system.

  43. Fast forward 4 years Twitter down 50% from IPO still unprofitable and FB earnings surging with over 2B users

  44. Sacca is great. Loved the interview but I honestly had to stop watching after hearing all this stuff about Marisa Mayer and the bashing of Zuck, Not for my own opinions but it wasn't the right direction for this interview. I really wish Jason didn't take it that direction.

  45. Interesting! But why the host has a dildo standiong on his table? What´s the message? And: DOWN WITH FUCKING GITMO!

  46. My god. Things have changed. Marissa Mayer is a laughing stock and FB is king of all things social.

  47. #Trump2016

  48. Seriously this interview talks over everything. I'm trying to listen and every other word is interrupted. Very frustrating

  49. oh man, listening to them discuss the Republican party…

  50. Very useful vid! Free gifts on my channel

  51. Spot on with the question, do you trust mark zuckerburg 😂

  52. I'm bullish on Jesus.

  53. When you listen back to everything Chris Sacca said about politics.. virtually everything he said was absolutely wrong or at best hypocritical. Even today in 2018 he is 'lost' in the Twitter echo chamber parroting pro Democratic Party nonsense.. when if he wasn't so biased, he could see that both sides are as bad as each other.

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