E311: Shark Tank Takeover -TWiST



about this episode

Never miss an episode! Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (http://bit.ly/TwiStA) || Video (http://bit.ly/TwiStV)

With GoToMeeting, “meeting is believing”. Visit http://www.gotomeeting.com and use the promo code START to begin your free 30 day trial.Visit http://www.sourcebits.com to begin your web app development journey. Take a meeting with Sourcebits and you’ll also get a 15-minute meeting with Jason Calacanis! Email sourcebits@thisweekin.com for more info.

Read the full transcript

It’s a special Shark Tank Takeover edition of TWiST! Five companies pitch their ideas to Jason and Tyler, will Jason invest in one of these companies? Also, Tyler drops a very insightful insight.

0:30 Welcome to this special Shark Tank Takeover edition on This Week in Startups
3:30 If you want to hire Tyler email Jason and jason@calacanis.com
4:00 December 14, we are doing a live filming of TWiST with Jeff Cavalier. Go to twistlive.com/eventbrite
5:50 Explain the concept of your crowdfunding SourceBits app
9:25 Thanks to GoToMeeting for sponsoring the program, now you can present from your iPad. Use promo code “Start” for a 30 day free trial
12:15 Our first company, ActivityHero pitch!
13:30 Tyler what do you think of the pitch?
15:10 Why was that pitch only a 7?
16:40 What do you think of the idea?
18:00 Are you actually collecting the money and then giving it to the business?
18:45 What does a subscription fee cost?
19:25 VendorStack pitch, Go!
20:35 So this is Yelp for SaaS?
21:10 What is the Quora piece?
22:30 Tyler what do you think of the pitch?
23:45 What do you give the idea?
24:35 What do you make on your average lead?
25:30 What is the poster child effect?
26:10 What do you give the business?
27:15 FanDonkey pitch Go!
28:50 What is a wedge strategy?
30:55 Tyler what do you give the idea?
32:20 AskYourUsers.com Go!
34:05 Tyler what do you think of the pitch?
39:20 Amelia could you get in trouble for insider trading for this/
39:40 This is in the marketplace correct?
41:00 Does this break employment agreements at users’ companies?
43:05 What is the “risk of ruin”?
44:30 Amelia, what is your rebuttal?
44:55 Are you reviewing each engagement?
45:20 Why don’t you make this completely anonymous to protect yourselves?
46:45 Spikes pitch, GO!
50:30 What do you give the pitch Tyler?
54:20 Do you guys record everything that happens in the browser?
58:00 Tyler who is your number one and number two?
59:25 Winner Announced.
61:00 Let’s welcome the SourceBits Team
62:40 What is design lead engineering?
66:30 How will someone know to click on the product name and access more information?
75:00 Thanks to SourceBits for helping us change the world. Thanks to GoToMeeting! Great to have you back Tyler! We’ll see you next time.


Full Transcript

Distribution provided by CoudSigma. The cloud that adapts to you. Visit CloudSigma.com/This WeekIn, for a free $200 credit.ThisWeekIn Startups is brought to you by, GoTo Meeting. Sign up for GoTo Meeting, using, promo code: START, to begin your free trial.

And by SourceBits. Visit Sourcebits.com. To begin your mobile app development journey.

Jason: Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. It’s ThisWeekIn Startups. This is our Shark Tank, Takeover Edition. Just, like the television show, Shark Tank. We’re going to have 5 different people, pitch us, on their ideas. Tyler Crowley, is back, from Stockholm Syndrome. He’s going to help me evaluate these 5 amazing ideas. Your going to learn, a lot, about: how to pitch, what makes for a great idea, what makes for great branding, and, what get’s an angel investor, to sign that check. All, today, on ThisWeekIn Startups, Shark Tank, Takeover Edition. Stick with us.

TWiST title sequence.

Jason: Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. Thank you, for tuning in to ThisWeekIn Startups. This is, our Shark Tank, Takeover Edition. What is this? This is the episode, where, Tyler and I, pretend we were cast on the Mark Burnett TV show, Shark Tank. Which, by the way…

Tyler: Not that that, almost happened.

Jason: Not that that, almost, happened. They called me three times. Then, what happens. They didn’t… Can you fix your microphone. What’s going on, with this microphone?

Tyler: Nothing is wrong, with the microphone.

Jason: I don’t like this. Brandis, is that microphone going to be O.K., the way he’s doing it?

Tyler: It’s lovely, the way I’m doing it.

Jason: Brandis, confirm, please. Just make sure you talk into the mic, Tyler.

Tyler: I will. Believe me. I will talk, into the microphone.

Jason: I know, you will. Hey, Tyler. Welcome, back. This is the Shark Tank Takeover episode. Yes. I was invited to be on Shark Tank. No. We never got the deal done. Well, they just called. They were interested. I shouldn’t say that, they made an offer or anything, like that. They were pitching me, on being on Shark Tank.

Tyler: You know what’s amazing? Hollywood has been sniffing around for a startup related show.

Jason: I got the contract, upstairs. Literally, I have to read the contract. I have a major reality television, group, that wants me to do a show. I would say, it would be, somewhere between, Shark Tank and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Tyler: You have a humdinger, of an idea.

Jason: I do have a humdinger, of an idea. We’ll see, if it works. I’m literally going to get off the show, go upstairs, read the contract, then, sign the contract, today.

Tyler: Not to give it away. It, basically, takes over, where Shark Tank, leaves off.

Jason: DA, da, da, da, da. Not to give the idea, away. Da, da, da. Tyler, welcome, back from Stockholm Syndrome. You’ve been traveling.

Tyler: For another 24 hours, at least.

Jason: Exactly. Listen. You’re doing, very, well. Everybody knows, that, Tyler Crowley, has been with me, 5 or 6 years. He’s become, very, famous because of the show, ThisWeekIn Startups. Now, he’s leveraging that fame, to get huge contracts, with different countries, around the world. To help them build ecosystems. Everybody wants to build, their own Silicon Alley, their own Digital Coast, their own Boulder, their own Silicon Valley, and you are taking advantage, of this. By, providing the service, of how to do it, to different countries. Cities. These cities, need it. It’s an easy thing.

Tyler: Basically. Everyone, knows they need it, right now. Technology’s where it’s going. If you’re not at the front of that train, you’re going to get left behind.

Jason: If you want to hire, Tyler, to make your city competitive, or, if you know someone, who works in city government, just, email jason@calacanis.com, and, I will evaluate it, and, take my vig. Do I get paid any percentage, of your earnings, for life?

Tyler: You can come over to Stockholm. You should come over.

Jason: They’ll fly me over? Business, first.

Tyler: We’ll see.

Jason: Four-star hotel? Companion ticket. You have to talk to my agent. Oh, wait. You are my agent.

Tyler: That’s right. I’m negotiating with myself, here.

Jason: Exactly. Hey, listen. We’re going to do a live episode of ThisWeekIn Startups. I’m not announcing it, on my Twitter, or my email. I don’t want those tickets to go away. I want them for the true fans. We’re gong to do a fireside chat, with Jeff Clavier. He is an amazing angel investor.

Tyler: Jeff’s awesome.

Jason: He’s been in the game for a long time. December 14, if you happen to be in San Francisco, it’s, kind of, expensive to go. It’s a full, $1. That’s what it’s worth. That’s what my interview are worth, $1. I’m going to make a full $75, doing this. Hey, 75 bucks. That’s about what you get paid, right? By the minute, for your service. Jeff is great. I’m just doing this as a way to say, thank you, to the community. I’ve got the support of my friends, at RocketSpace. They’re buying, everybody, drinks. Listen, Demant. I called him out live, on the program, twice, now, on the program. This better be damned good food. You know I’m a foodie. It better be top-shelf alcohol and beverages. Don’t cheap out, RocketSpace. Get me the good stuff. There better be a bottle of Macallan 18, there. Demant, a bottle of Macallan 18, is required, for this event. I want, everyone, to have a nice scotch. It’s going to be fun. 4-5 PM, there’s going to be, appetizers and drinks. 5-6 PM, you all, shut up and sit down, listen to the interview. At 6 PM, everybody, gets up, have a couple of drinks. Boom, boom. Then, it’s post-networking, till 7. After this, there might be an after-party. Maybe, we’ll go get some wagyu beef, at 5A5. That’s all happening. If you want to go and be my guest, for $1, twistlive.eventbrite. Eventbrite. Great service for tickets. Not that they’re sponsoring. At the end of the show, Sourcebits, is going to be on, again. To show the Launch app, where we’re going to do, live crowd-funding.

Tyler: How cool, is that?

Jason: It’s a, pretty, innovative idea.

Tyler: That’s groundbreaking. It’s innovative. It’s, straight up, groundbreaking.

Jason: It’s straight up, groundbreaking. Thank you, Tyler. Explain, what the concept is, Tyler.

Tyler: You don’t have to be humble, about it. This is the first time, ever.

Jason: It’s the first time, ever. It’s a clever idea.

Tyler: You’re being, very, humble about it. You’ve innovated, multiple times, on the TC50/Launch Conference platform. There’s been many innovations. First, it was not charging the startups.

Jason: That was innovative.

Tyler: That’s, now, sticking.

Jason: Demo. Eric Shinfeld, ironically, from TechCrunch 50, or, from TechCrunch, who’s a great editor. Who, Mike Arrington, basically, railroaded, out of TechCrunch, from what I understand. He’s, now, running the Demo Conference. Now, he’s there, and he fought, with us, alongside us, to stop those evil practices, of charging $25 thousand, toe on stage. I wonder if Demo is going to stop, doing that? Break the model.

Tyler: Great question.

Jason: If you’re a startup, by the way, and you pay to be on stage. You’re an idiot. You’re, just, dumb. Just, don’t do it. What happens is, if you take that bait, if you pay that $20 thousand, it keeps these companies, in business. Then, other young startups, think they should pay. Don’t be involved, in payola. Please, as a startup company. Even if you’re rich.

Tyler: That’s not good for the ecosystem.

Jason: It’s not good, for the ecosystem. It’s like… You know what it’s like? It’s like, Greg Lemond… The first person to start paying, to get on stage, like that, then, everybody starts paying. Then, it turns into, Barry Bonds. Everybody’s on steroids, in baseball. Everybody’s doping. Lance Armstrong…

Tyler: It’s like, a ballerina, using steroids. Is what you’re trying to say.

“Insights, from Tyler.”

Jason: Yes. It is, like, a ballerina, using steroids, Tyler. That’s, exactly, what I was thinking. It’s inappropriate. It’s bizarre. It’s stupid. It’s stupid, is what you’re saying. It’s bizarre.

Tyler: It’s not necessary.

Jason: It’s not necessary. Don’t do it.

Tyler: It sets a bad precedent, for everybody.

Jason: At the end of the program, we’re going to show the crowd-funding. Just, a sneak peak, for everyone watching, in the video stream. The wireframes, that Sourcebits are making, are just incredible. We can see them, here, on my screen. Just pull them up.

Tyler: We got off track.

Jason: We’re going to show, a ton of innovative stuff, about how crowd-funding, is going to work, live. Explain the concept.

Tyler: This has been the dream, all along.

Jason: It is. The dream is to be the best platform for launching your company or idea. Each year, we try to push that.

Tyler: Right.

Jason: What are the things. 1. Not charging. 2. Having a big audience. 3. Getting paid.

Tyler: Training the startups, before they get on stage. On, how to make the most of it. I don’t know that other conferences, really do that. Maybe Ted.

Jason: Ted, does that. They were the first people to do it. We copied them. From, like, having rehearsals. Anyway. At the end, we’re going to show you this wireframing for live crowd-funding.

Tyler: Last year, the big innovation was, making the commitments, in advance. To see how much funding…

Jason: Ah, yes. Last year, we had $2 or $3M, in funding. This year, will probably be, $10M, in funding.

Tyler: By the way. I see other conferences, are doing similar things, now.

Jason: Of course, people will do that.

Tyler: Now, Launch, again, innovates, on doing the mobile app, to give real-time, crowdsourcing, from the audience. Maybe, even the people watching at home, right. There’s no reason, they can’t participate.

Jason: People, at home, will be able to take out there phone, or, go to a website, thanks, to Sourcebits.

Tyler: There will be startups, raising tens of thousands of dollars, in real time, on stage.

Jason: Absolutely. It may be a simulation. It may be real dollars.

Tyler: For the first time. Mark that on your calendar. That will be copied, very, regularly, gong forward.

Jason: Of course. Everything, I do. Tyler, you know my history. March 4, 5, & 6. When, you see that at the end of the program, you’ll see exclusive screen shots. GoTo Meeting, thank you. Meeting is Believing. I love you guys, at GoTo Meeting. I use it, literally, everyday. I was on a GoTo Meeting, this morning. I was on 2 or 3 GoTo Meetings, yesterday. Now, you can present, with your iPad. That’s right.

Tyler: How cool, is that?

Jason: It’s, very, cool. You’re not, just, going to be able to listen to a presentation. You’re going to be able to present, from your iPad. Of course, they have the HD Faces, which, we’ll be using, today, for the Shark Tank Takeover. The HD features, work on Mac, PC, or, on the go. You can start your, 30 day free trial, by going to GoTo Meeting. Clicking on the, “Try it Free” button, and, using the promo code: START. As in, ThisWeekIn Startups. Go to, GoTo Meeting, Click the, “Try it Free” button, and, use the promo code: START. GoTo Meeting. Meeting is Believing. Ron Finberg, congratulations, on winning our contest. Here’s his tweet. Tell us where you want to hold a meeting, this holiday season. Ron Finberg, had a clever one. He said, “I want to do a GoTo Meeting, in Jason’s Tesla, Model S, going 70mph, down the 405, tethered to his iPhone 5 LTE. Which, is pretty funny. Cause, his reference is to my car, that’s funny. And, the fact that I’ve been talking about, how much I love LTE. How fast it is.

Tyler: The funny thing about that is, going 70, on the 405. That’s funny.

Jason: Very good. Here’s the iPad. It’s, just, fresh out of the box. Also, I’m supposed to autograph, this. Why someone would want me to autograph their iPad, makes no sense, to me. But, I will autograph it, here. @jason. Here you go. Now, you’ve got your autographed iPad. Tyler, you do it. Put, Insights, from Tyler, or, whatever.

Tyler: How about, It’s like signing an iPad.

Jason: It’s like signing an iPad. @steepdecline. or @tyler. It’s like signing an iPad. There you go. Meeting is Believing. Meeting is Believing. Meeting is Believing. I love you, guys, at GoTo Meeting. O.K. Let’s go. We’re going to go on, Shark Tank, here, now. Please, don’t sue me, Mark Burnett. This is parody of blah, blah, blah. You owe me a phone call. For, not putting me on that show. Listen, actually, Shark Tank, I’m very happy for them. They put Mark Cuban on. It saved the show. The show was unwatchable, before, Cuban. Then, sometimes, they don’t have him on. He’s busy. He’s a busy guy. The show is terrible, when, he’s not on it. It’s unwatchable, without him. When he’s on, at least, you know you got a serious business guy.

Tyler: He keeps the other folks, in check.

Jason: Yeah. Exactly. Let’s go. This is our first person. She is from, ActivityHero. Her name is Chandini. I think, I got it right. Chandini, did I get it, right?

Chandini: Yes. You did, get it right, Jason. how are you?

Jason: I’m good. I’m good. Where are you calling from, by the way?

Chandini: I’m calling from, Palo Alto. Mountain View.

Jason: Palo Alto, very good. You know the rules. You have 60 seconds. 3, 2, Go.

Chandini: Hi, my name is, Chandini. My company, Activity Hero, helps parents find, plan, and book, kid’s after school activities and summer camps. Like, the ballet class. Hopefully, without the ballerina, on steroids. The karate class, basketball camps, and lego camps. We’ve made, about, $1.4M, in bookings, since, our launch, last September. We have revenue. The class and camp providers, pay us for these new students. It’s a massive market. Parents spend, about, $30B, every year, on kid’s classes and camps. The company was started by, my co-founders, who are moms and, also, engineers. They built this product, to solve their own problems. We, actually, just won, at the Women Toronto Pitch Conference, in New York, a couple of weeks, ago. We are, very, excited about that. We are, currently, raising a seed round. Our, current, investors include, Dave McClure, Christine Tsai, we were part of the 500 Startups accelerator. Mike Greenfield, who, is the founder of, Circle of Moms, is invested in us. Ex C.E.O. of Baby Center, is an advisor to our company. We’d be happy to have you on board, Jason.

Jason: O.K. You’re done. There, you go. Very, well done. Tyler, what do you think of the pitch? What do you think of the idea? Activity Hero.

Tyler: She did a very… what do you call that pitch? Conventional.

Jason: Conventional. Efficient.

Tyler: Right? Smart. She’s a smart girl. Very, efficient. Very, straight forward.

Jason: She’s a, very, smart woman.

Tyler: Very smart.

Jason: Woman. She’s a woman. You said, girl. Did you say, girl?

Tyler: Did I? Chandini, did I say, girl? Maybe, I did.

Jason: Some people, just, refer to women, as girls. I’m trying to correct people. Stop doing that.

Tyler: I meant girl, as in, opposite of guy.

Jason: I’ve got a daughter, now. I have a vested interest, in this.

Tyler: O.K.

Jason: Keep going. You thought, it was a conventional pitch?

Tyler: Yes. Right down the middle. Very, clean and efficient. I wanted, a little more, emotion. As part of it. Especially, being that you have a kid. You’re an ideal person, to use this.

Jason: Right.

Tyler: So, why not “tailorize” it, to you?

Jason: Correct. That would have been a higher level of pitch. I agree.

Tyler: That would have been higher level. Then, what about… You could have showcased, some cool features, that you, probably have, and didn’t touch on. Like, Jason, wouldn’t it be awful, if you signed up for this, and then, get screwed?

Jason: Ah! What could go wrong…

Tyler: Right. We take care of that. We make it super simple. What happens is, you feel safe, as you’re watching this pitch and you’re going, “Woo. I know my kid is safe on, this thing.”

Jason: That is the relief of tension.

Tyler: Yes. Correct.

Jason: You’re presenting something scary. I agree, with you, Tyler. I felt this pitch was…

Tyler: Vanilla. A, very, nice vanilla.

Jason: It was vanilla. I give it a 7.5. What do you give it? On a pitch basis.

Tyler: It’s a 7.

Jason: Why is it, only, a 7? Some people might say that was a very clear pitch. It was a very clear pitch.

Tyler: It’s hard to get excited, about vanilla ice cream.

Jason: It’s hard to get excited about vanilla ice cream. I wanted a cherry, on top. I wanted some chocolate sauce. Maybe some butterscotch. How about some mochi? I agree with you. what are those things, that could have been added. You could have added, Jason, you have a 3-year old daughter. How many times have you woken up, on a saturday, looking for something to do, that’s physically awesome and interesting, and, you have nowhere to go? With the signing up. How do you know, if this is a, really, great summer camp, or not? Wouldn’t you like to read reviews, only, from people who have purchased and closed a transaction? There are all of these, advanced, techniques, that you can use. This pitch, didn’t use any advanced techniques. It lacked an advanced technique. It lacked, also, a great example. You did have the one number of, $1.4M, in booking. That was good. As you can see, I remember that exact number. When, you use an exact number… But, what they should have said was, who’s made the most? Who runs that company? Susan, who runs, Penny Lane Dance Academy, was on the verge of going out of business. She had the best program, ever. We brought in three times, as many students. Now, her business, is sustainable.

Tyler: This is a platform. You’ve got to show both sides. The benefits of the parent and the benefits of the business.

Jason: Let’s talk about the idea, here. What do you think about the idea? Sort of, a directory.

Tyler: The idea is great. It’s a fine platform. It’s a novel platform.

Jason: What would you give that on a scale of 1 to 10?

Tyler: This is the stuff, that people like Dave, like to invest in. I call it an 8, of an idea.

Jason: I gave it an 8.5. It’s a great idea. In fact, I just invested in something called, Red Tricycle, which, is slightly different. Not camps, but, it’s activities. So, it’s in the same kid’s activities for the weekend.

Tyler: It’s a great site.

Jason: Which site? Activity Hero or Red Tricycle?

Tyler: Activity Hero.

Jason: This one here. Yeah. It looks great. It could use a little bit of work. I think, it looks, a little web 2.0, as opposed to the web 3.0 feel. I would have liked to see big, bold photos, as opposed to little tiny photos. I think that’s a transition, that is easily made. Chandini, you’ve heard our feedback. Any thoughts?

Chandini: Yes. I think, when you go pitching to different people, it’s very interesting. After you finish the pitch, you figure out, this would have been a better pitch for this person. I’ve been to places, where, “I know the problem, because, I’m a parent. Just tell me about your business. How you’re going to scale this?” It’s always one of those, that, you do your research, ahead, and, you do your best. I guess.

Jason: Yeah. You did well. Are you actually closing the transaction, then. I’ll sign up, for the camp. You will, actually, collect the money, then, give it to them and take 10%, or something.

Chandini: Yes.

Jason: What kind of fees do you get for booking something. Is it per booking? Is it different, for each thing?

Chandini: Yeah. The ticket prices are, around $300. We do charge, 10% of it. So, about, $30 is what we make, per transaction.

Jason: That’s great for, like, a camp.

Chandini: We, also, charge them a listing fee. Because, we help them with discovery, as well. We help them find new students. So, we charge them a listing fee, which is a yearly subscription fee they pay and a part of the transaction.

Jason: What does that cost? The yearly subscription fee.

Chandini: It depends on the size. If they have multiple locations, it’s about, $250. If they have a single location, it’s about $100.

Jason: It’s sort of like, VRBO. You pay to be listed and you pay a transaction fee. I think, by charging that fee, you make the database, better. It’s like a forcing function.

Chandini: Exactly. They keep it fresh and updated.

Jason: Well done. I think, you did a great job and continued success.

Chandini: Thank you.

Jason: Cheers. Let’s go to David Cheng. David, are you there?

David: Yeah. I’m here, Jason, Tyler, great to meet you guys.

Jason: Great to meet you, as well. You’re from VendorStack. You know the rules. You have 60 seconds. 3, 2, Go.

David: VendorStack is like a Yelp plus Quora for enterprises vendors. Starting with vendors, used most, by SMEs. We launched the Yelp portions, in private beta, to a couple hundred users, two months, ago. We’re launching the Quora portion, in about a week. The premise of VendorStack, is simple. If you work for a startup or a large company, you have to use vendors. You try Googling for them, it’s a lot of noise. What we’re trying to do is, build a platform for enterprise consumers, to rate, review and ask questions, about their vendors. 15Five, for example, is a vendor that you just invested in. They do employee performance management. If you try Googling that, you’re going to be really disappointed. You can come on VendorStack, for example, looking for employee performance, as a tag. You’ll find a list of vendors, like, 15Five. You click on 15Five profile, you see a list of their customers. We know who their customers are, because, we scrape their customer list. We’ve done that for hundreds of vendors, on VendorStack. You do that enough times, you get some, real, interesting insights on, who’s using what. We monetize, by selling leads, and selling data for market research. That’s VendorStack.

Jason: It’s Yelp for software as a service. Vendors for small to medium sized businesses. I heard you say, “Hmmm.” I said, “Hmmm.” I went to 15Five. There’s zero reviews. That’s, pretty, terrible experience. But, I see how this becomes a great service. I use this service, obviously. I click we use this. We use Harvest. I see, they have Harvest, in here. We use Harvest to do time tracking. This is like Yelp, for these services. It’s would be interesting to see, how these things are rated.

Tyler: You mentioned the Quora piece. What is the Quora piece?

David: That’s, actually, interesting. It’s a pivot, we did, in the summer. We talked to over 100 startup founders. We found that people don’t, generally, like to rate their enterprise vendors. It was a surprise. It not like, you sit in your office, and you go, ” Oh, man. I really, want to rate my lawyer.” What people do is they answer questions and they respond to questions. People readily track whatever path it is, like Reddit, StackOverFlow, or Quora. Implicit in those answers, were reviews of those vendors, they mentioned. The thing that we’re launching, next week, which, I’d love for you guys to see, unfortunately, it’s a week, from now. Is a way for incorporating some of those answers and the questions, into the reviews of those vendors, themselves. That’s how we’re, really, going to start generating high quality content.

Tyler: It’s a, real, clever concept.

Jason: I think, it’s a clever concept. For example, I don’t know anything about SEO and optimization, or what people are using, these days. I gave up on that. I do know HubSpot. Someone, I know, was just talking about that. I’m looking at this, and, I’m like, “Wow. What is the latest thing people use for SEO?” I see, GoSquared, here, for sales and marketing. There’s 3 users, of that. SEOmoz, of course, I know. That’s an old school one, that’s pretty popular. I’m just looking, like, “Which, ones are out there?” What is this GoSquared one. I think, it’s pretty cool for discovery, of these things. I can see this making money. I think, people will pay for this, like, Angie’s List. I know that these services have great bounty fees. What do you think, of the pitch? What do you think, of the idea?

Tyler: He didn’t, really, get into the business side of it. Like, you said. A lot of those apps, will pay a nice bounty. A beak wettener.

Jason: A beak wettener? Yes.

Tyler: I like the idea. The pitch, again, nothing special. No pizzazz. No sauce.

Jason: It was a bad pitch. I gave it a 7. What do you give it?

Tyler: 6.5.

Jason: It, just, lacked any passion or enthusiasm. It, almost, feels like, David was tired, or something. Not, a great pitch. Undersold. I gave the business a 9. It’s great that someone would do a directory, of the vendor stack. I love the name. VendorStack is a great name.

Tyler: It’s a great name.

Jason: It’s a great name. I think, the design of the site, is O.K. I don’t think it’s killer. It looks like AngelList, to me. It’s O.K. It feels like it’s a copy of, AngelList, frankly. I think, a good one, in that way. It’s like a comfortable UI. Look, at this, SendGrid, Pivotal Tracker, MailChimp. All, with all these users. KISSmetrics. it’s really good when you look at everything. This is a, very, valuable site. I’m going to go to my desk, and, look at this, for ways to make my company, more efficient. This is going to drive usage of SaaS products. This is a great idea. What do you give the idea?

Tyler: I really like the idea. Idea-wise. I’d love to talk about the business side, of it.

Jason: Let’s ask him about the business side. What’s the story with the business, David?

David: We’ve talked to dozens of vendors, about how they acquire customer leads, right now. What they pay for it. Where they do marketing. The easiest way to monetize, is to sell leads. Over time, as we hit scale, the other thing can do, because, we’re sitting on a treasure trove of data, is sell market research. Have that be ad driven. The two markets we want to disrupt is, lead gen, and, market research.

Jason: Forget abut market research. It’s a waste of time. Everybody wants to do market research. It’s just so much, goddamned work to do that. Just drop that part of the business, David. Just, focus, strictly, on getting bounties, and, negotiating the highest fee possible for the leads. What do you get on an average lead, from one of these SaaS services?

David: We’re looking at a percentage point of view, or, a flat fee, depending on the vertical. Obviously, if you’re using a service that costs $30, a month, you want to pay less for that lead, than, one that would cost $1,000, per month.

Jason: O.K. So, what is it going to cost? Do you have a specific thing, right now, or, are you, just, listing everybody?

David: We’re just listing everybody, right now. We’re talking to vendors. We plan on engaging them, some time, next year. Once, we go open beta.

Jason: Hmm. Interesting. O.K. You gotta work on your pitch skills. You’re, incredibly, boring, at pitching. But, you got an, incredibly, exciting thing. You gotta get, a little, more up for this, David. We’re more excited, than, you, David.

Tyler: One way to make it more exciting, is…

Jason: Give him a tip, Tyler. This was, so, flat for me, this pitch. I love the name.

Tyler: Yes. It’s a great name. Congrats, on that name. One way to make it more exciting, right away, is to use the poster child effect, on this pitch. You have a platform.

Jason: Poster child effect. Which is?

Tyler: The poster child effect is, take MailChimp and talk about how, through this service, you were able to figure out, that MailChimp is better than the other ones. Give a case scenario. Give me one use case and really drill down on it and show the payoff, of it, from start to finish.

Jason: Right. Or, maybe, you have somebody, who uses this. They use MailChimp. They use Pivotal Tracker, but, they didn’t know about KissMetrics. They found out about KissMetrics and it really helped, their business.

Tyler: In that story, you reveal the nuances, of the feature of the site.

Jason: A little, more narrative, could have worked.

Tyler: Yes. Narrative. That’s what it needed, was a narrative.

Jason: Alright, David. You gotta get a little more excited, and, a little more specific, in your pitch, to get a higher score. What do you give the business?

Tyler: I like the idea. I’m tempted to do an 8.5.

Jason: I’ll put 8.5. I put 9. David, any feedback, on our feedback? Any rebuttal?

David: This was, extremely, helpful. I thought, I was enthusiastic. Looks like I’ve got to be more, enthusiastic. It is enterprise, after all. So, it’s not really sexy. One thing I look at is, what are your backgrounds? Where you guys made investments. Where you guys come from. Tyler, for example, I know, you’re part of the company, called, Skweal. The way I look at it is, this is a part of the market, that is not going away. Individuals have to make purchase decisions. People are going to talk about companies, left and right. You have to manage that. We ant to get in front of these vendors, and, say, “People are talking about you, now, let us help you manage it. Let’s get you some of those leads.”

Jason: Well, done, David.

Tyler: It’s a brilliant concept.

Jason: Let’s move over to, Jim Shute, CEO, of FanDonkey. Jim, are you, there?

Jim: Yeah. How you doing?

Jason: Did I get your last name right? How do you pronounce your last name?

Jim: You got it right.

Jason: You know the rules. 3, 2, Go.

Jim: Hi, I’m Jim Shute, the CEO, and, owner, of FanDonkey. Jason, you’ve gone to Stockholm, with Tyler, to meet a couple of startups. Unfortunately, that trip coincided with, the New York Giants, playing in the NFC Championship. Don’t sit in the quiet hotel bar and watch the game, with strangers. Use FanDonkey. You pull up FanDonkey, on your device, FanDonkey detects your location, and knowing you’re a Giants fan, pulls up a map of Giants-friendly venues. FanDonkey gives sports fans the ability to make their own groups, events, or, tailgates, at an existing venue, or, at any user-specified location. There are four revenue streams, in the product pipeline. An ad supported free version. An ad free premium version, for $1.99. In app purchases, to pay to use your team logo, as the map marker, for example. And, a Groupon and Living Social, local advertising model. The mvp is available for Android, iOS, within the next two weeks, and, the web version is in development. We’re seeking angel investment, or, VC funding for $75K, to take the app to the next level. FanDonkey. Sports. Fans. Unite.

Jason: Alright. Very, good, Jim.

Tyler: Shoot, Shute. He Shutes, he scores.

Jason: I’ll go first. The pitch had energy. You made it personal. The pitch was very good. I give the pitch an 8.5. You understand, from the previous notes, we gave, you gotta make it personal. You gotta have, a little, passion in it. Yes. I go to see, Tyler. I’m a Giants fan. On the product, listen, it’s a very niche product. I think, it needs, a lot, more. It could be, what we call, in the business, a wedge strategy. What do I mean, by wedge strategy? You solve one problem, then, you wedge yourself in, then, you build off of that. I like the name, FanDonkey. It’s pretty funny. Is this the most pressing issue. Is this the biggest problem, in the world. No. But, I have been, in this issue, where, I want to go watch the Giants game, at a bar. Or, I want to watch the Nicks, in the playoff. Which, doesn’t happen, anymore. Sadly. They don’t seem to make the playoffs. This year is going to be different. I want to go watch the Nick game, with a crowd of people. I wind up going to Hooter’s or some general sports bar, one of 25 games. I would like to know, if there is a Nicks bar, in L.A. If there was a bar, where, people watch the Nicks and talk about the Nicks, I would, actually, go to it. How do I, ever, find that? I gotta go to Yelp. I type in Nicks bar. I know, there’s some Boston bars, in L.A. I hate people, from Boston. I hate the Celtics. I hate the RedSox. I want to avoid those bars. I think there is something to the idea of, where people go to watch sports. Is this a Boston bar or New York bar. That is a niche thing. I think, it is a very small idea, currently. It could get bigger. I’m going to give the idea a 7. I’m going to give the pitch an 8.5. I think, there’s a lot, of things, you can build, on this. You need to start thinking about that. Which is, maybe it’s better to aggregate the people, and, say, “I’m going to create meetups.” Make it more like a meet-up, than, a Yelp.

Tyler: Then, you have a business model.

Jason: Your driving people to say, “Nicks fans, where do you want to watch the game?” “Giants fans, where do you want to watch the game?” Let’s pick a bar. Let’s go there. How many Nicks fans will go there?” Make it meetup for sports. Where, people become the coordinator. I’m the guy whose going to set up. I’m going to invite my friends. We’re all going to go watch, this soccer game. Or, whatever. I think, that you’re on the road. That’s why I gave it such a low score, on the idea. I think, it’s a 7, right now. Starting with a 7… 6 or 7 ideas are a fine places, to start. 2 out of 3 successful startups, wind up in a different business, than, what they started. Tyler, what did you give it? Let’s keep the train moving.

Tyler: I’ll give it a 7.5, on the idea. Just, to be nice. He’s actually done some of the hard part of the branding.

Jason: The branding’s great.

Tyler: Which, is why, I give him the 7.5.

Jason: Hee-Haw. You should make that noise. Do a sound recording, of this. HeeHaww. I’m Jason Calacanis, and, I officially give you permission to use HeeHaww. Use that. Save yourself, 50 cents on a sound file. You could, actually, get a donkey to do it, but, you have me.

Tyler: You can have that, whenever, the opposing team scores, you can have that.

Jason: Go ahead, Tyler.

Tyler: The pitch is great. 8.5.

Jason: Very good. Jim, any feedback, on our feedback? Any rebuttal?

Jim: No. I really appreciate the feedback. I’m happy to get this, in front of you guys. I appreciate the donkey sound clip, there. I may have to steal that. FanDonkey was kind of my own play on the MailChimp, SurveyMonkey thing. I appreciate that feedback.

Jason: Listen. Owner? Don’t ever say… by the way, in your introduction, you said, “I’m the founder and the owner.” It’s redundant. Don’t say owner. It makes you look like your not in the industry. It’s, a little, bit of a tell. Like, “I’m the owner, of the business.” People who own businesses, is like, my dad “owned” a bar. You’re not the owner. You’re a founder. It’s a higher level. You’re founding a movement. You’re not the “owner” of an asset. Take that out of your vocabulary.

Jim: Got it. I appreciate the feedback. Thanks, a lot, guys.

Jason: Amelia Dunne. AskYourUsers. Are you there?

Amelia: I’m here.

Jason: Is it Amelie or Emily?


Jason: Amelia Earhart. There you go. AskYourUsers. You know the rules. You have 60 seconds. 3, 2, Go.

Amelia: Alright. AskYourUsers.com is a market place that makes it easy, affordable, and fast, for businesses to connect to targeted, LinkedIn professionals, for 15 minute, online, consulting jobs. Now, Jason, you just told, David, in his pitch, that, he shouldn’t conduct market research, because it was, too hard, and, too time consuming.

Jason: Correct.

Amelia: That’s because, believe it, or not, before we launched, there was no efficient way to reach, targeted professionals, for quick answers, in market research, and, for expertise requests. A business can go to our site and, simply, write out a couple of questions, write the requirements that they need for professionals, pay, per engagement. We do all the recruiting and vetting and deliver, fast responses, via, written feedback, or, screencast. Anyone with a LinkedIn account can sign up on our site, set their hourly rate and get paid to complete jobs, in their spare time. Entrepreneurs, investors, marketing teams, and decision makers, on every level, are, already, using our site. Saving time, saving money, and, reducing the risks, of their business.

Jason: Alright. You did good. I’m signing up, right now. Tyler, what do you think of the pitch? What do you think of the idea? I’m signing up, while you do this.

Tyler: Quick disclosure. I’m a real good friend, loosely connected to, Clarity FM. Which, has similarities.

Jason: Oh. Clarity does, yeah?

Tyler: They just raised, what was it, today, $1.6 million.

Jason: Did they, really? This is related, to Clarity? Expert exchange.

Tyler: They’re immediately, tapped into LinkedIn. Keeping the web, it’s different.

Jason: You’re an advisor to this company? Is that what you’re saying?

Tyler: No. Not an advisor.

Jason: Just, friendly.

Tyler: I’m listed, as one of the experts. I did advise, early on.

Jason: Oh. I see.

Tyler: We didn’t make it official. I love this space, actually. It’s just tapping into the knowledge, out there. Making it simple. Whoever, makes it the simplest, and, removes the friction, is going to win. What did you think of the pitch? What did you think of the idea? Give it a score. Come on, now.

Amelia: Can I add something about the idea?

Jason: No. You used your 15 minutes. You used your 60 seconds. Don’t break the rules.

Tyler: She did a, real, high-level, kung-fu maneuver, in there, which was, reference the earlier pitch, in her pitch.

Jason: Right. If you’re at a tech conference, and, you reference what happened on the panel, before you, that is high, high level. I do that.

Tyler: Yeah. You do that.

Jason: This is what, I do. If you want to know high level kung-fu stuff. When, Tyler, and I, used to roll to conferences, together, Tyler, would take notes, as to what was going on, at the event. He would come to breakfast. I would stumble out to breakfast. He would be like, “This person mentioned this, yesterday. This person mentioned that, yesterday.” I would get on stage and I would reference, what other people are saying, in the conference. Then, I would be the person, who threaded the themes of the conference, together. It’s like you’re taking over the goddamned conference.

Tyler: That’s right.

Jason: It’s like, I’m the guy… Not only am I going to give you my perspective, I’m going to co-opt, everybody else’s opinion. Then, I’m going to tell you what the entire event’s about. That’s as obnoxious, as you get. That’s like, “I am, now, in charge.” Talk about a megalomaniac move. I would say stuff like, ” There was keynote, yesterday. I think, they made some interesting points, especially, about this and this. On the panel, in the afternoon, we had, this and this. Here’s what’s, really, going on in the industry, in relation to those things. They’re right, in a way. But, they’re, absolutely, wrong, in terms of this and this.” Then, it’s like, “Jason, just called the other panelists, wrong about this. He called out that guy.” All of a sudden, you’re creating massive buzz. That’s what you did. That’s high-level kung-fu. It’s like an instant bonus point. What else?

Tyler: Very rare maneuver.

Jason: Very sophisticated. Put that in the playbook. Put that in the pitch playbook, and, smoke it. Run that up the flagpole, see if anyone salutes. Put that in the toaster,and, see if it tastes delicious. Go ahead, Tyler.

Tyler: I do. I really like that idea.

Jason: You didn’t give a pitch score or an idea score. Come on.

Tyler: Let’s say, for that wonderful maneuver, we’ll throw it at an 8.

Jason: That’s what I gave it. What’d you give the idea?

Tyler: I give the idea, also an 8.

Jason: It’s 8s, across the board. Here’s the thing. I’m trying to figure out, if a micro-consultant, is an expert network-type person.

Tyler: Here’s the thing. When, you create a new term, like that, micro-consultant. No one knows, what that means.

Jason: Right.

Tyler: There’s a positive and negative of doing that. If you do it successfully, you can own that space and the word…

Jason: I’ve never heard, micro-consultant.

Tyler: No. No one, ever has. She invented that. It’s a neologism.

Jason: Neologasm? Look at you.

Tyler: Neologism: a new word.

Jason: Neologasm. Yes. Neologism. Did you have a neologasm, on the show? People are laughing, outside. Neologasm. That’s when you have a complete orgasmic experience, with a new word. Neologasm. I made a neologism.

Tyler: Neologasm, is your neologism.

Jason: Right. Good space.

Tyler: So, if she’s able to run with that word and give it enough oomph. Micro-consultant. You’ll create a new buzz word, in the space and a whole new genre, and, everything else.

Jason: I’ll tell you what.

Tyler: However. There’s a danger in that.

Jason: It confuses people.

Tyler: It confuses people, initially. Yeah.

Jason: So, it can intrigue or confusion. Here’s what’s happening. She’ll tell me, if I’m right or wrong, in a minute. I think this is like those expert networks, where everybody went to jail, for insider trading. What you do is… I put myself, in there, for $500. Say, I work at Cisco. Now, somebody wants to get 100 pieces of information, on Cisco. They come in here, they pay people $125 for, 15 minutes for anonymous information on Cisco. Only, if they’re, currently, working at Cisco, according to their LinkedIn. Then, they trade the stock. For $10K, they’ve got work 100 people working at Cisco. They can do, certainly, illegal activity, CIA, is involved. Amelia, are you going to get arrested, for insider trading, with this idea? Respond.

Amelia: No. The other piece of this business, that’s really, interesting is, we allow the micro-consultants and the businesses, to have anonymity. When, the business get their responses back, they get a redacted profile view, of the micro-consultant. We take out any personally identifiable information.

Jason: This is an expert network? Correct. Micro-consultant is a way of saying expert network.

Amelia: Yep.

Jason: This is in the market place, correct?

Amelia: Yes.

Jason: People are picking and selecting, based on where people work, correct?

Amelia: They’re selecting by job title and industry.

Jason: So, I can’t pick Google people?

Amelia: Absolutely not.

Jason: I can pick Java developers, but, I can’t pick Googlers?

Amelia: Exactly.

Jason: But, I can pick people, in the search engine business.

Amelia: Yep.

Jason: If I pick 100 people, from the search engine business, there’s a chance, I’m going to get some Google people. Why can’t I pick Googlers? Is that because of the issue of insider trading, that’s emerged, because of, expert networks? Are you trying to defend, yourself, by that? Is that a safety net?

Amelia: We’re offering the micro-consultants, anonymity, for another reason, actually. So, that they can give objective feedback. They’re not talking, on behalf of their company. They not talking on behalf of, and, using their name, publicly. They can share their knowledge, based on the expertise that they have. That’s what’s most valuable to the businesses.

Jason: Does this break employee contracts, to give anonymous feedback, for this stuff? You’re not allowed to talk about what’s going on, inside your company. I think, this will give people, because, it’s anonymous, the feeling that they’re not breaking their employment agreements at, MicroSoft, Intel, Facebook, which, clearly have agreements that say, you cannot give your information to expert networks.

Amelia: They don’t have to sign up. Legally, we’ve been through, everything. We’re all in the clear.

Jason: This is interesting. I think, these ideas, Tyler, are… you, just, have to be careful, with them. I’m not saying, Amelia, is doing anything, illegal, obviously. But, I was giving her the hard questions, like, an angel investor should.

Tyler: And they do.

Jason: Which is, you are in an area, where these expert networks, have been involved in SEC insider trader networks, and people have abused the expert networks.

Tyler: This brings up a great point.

Jason: Which is?

Tyler: Which is, a lot of startups, flirt on the precipice of being, possibly, illegal. Like, Uber. Things that…

Jason: Listen. In every revolution. There are revolutionaries. Sometimes, you have to break the law, to change the law.

Tyler: Right. That’s a plus and a minus, there.

Jason: Sometimes, you have to push the law, in order to change the law.

Tyler: This is what I’m saying.

Jason: There was a time, when, it was illegal to sit on a certain part of the bus. Drink from a certain water fountain, or, vote. Sometimes, people have to push the envelope. I’m not saying that startups are doing this. Certainly, in Uber’s case, they are cracking some 100 year old laws. I don’t speak for the company, although, I am an angel investor. From, what I’ve read, some of the laws, don’t apply to this kind of technology, so, depending on how you interpret the law, there could be things, that feel, to certain people, that you’re pushing the envelope.

Tyler: Once, in a while, you come across startups, that are trying to push that boundary. Sean Parker’s notorious, for this. Right? He’s not interested, unless, it is pushing a boundary. God bless him. There are those types of ideas, if you position it right, the investors, go crazy, for it. If you position it wrong…

Jason: What’s the difference?

Tyler: How do you appeal to the hope to gain versus, the fear of loss.

Jason: There is the risk of ruin, is how you say it, in gambling.

Tyler: Yes.

Jason: There’s the risk of ruin, that this will be a, certainly, illegal activity, CIA, and, you will be destroyed. Then, there is, if you’re going to do something, innovative, you might bump into, people. Investors like taking that risk, anyway, because, they’re protected. There’s insurance. They probably have Hiscox.

Tyler: Her’s falls into this category, a little bit. Flirts with it. That being the case, you need to be conscious of that fact. You’re going to run into investors, who are going to try to push you, on this. What about this worse case scenario. Doomsday.

Jason: How did she do? Did she do a good job? She said, we’re in the clear. They don’t have to sign up for the service.

Tyler: Not exactly.

Jason: Those were two good answers.

Tyler: They weren’t bad answers. You can’t leave any doubt, in the mind, of the person, you’re talking to.

Jason: This can be subpoenaed. They can be subpoenaed. If Google thinks, that their secrets are being released, by these micro-consultants…

Tyler: There’s also, insurance, for this kind of thing, yeah?

Jason: You could get Hiscox.

Tyler: That’s what I was just about to say.

Jason: Use the promo code: thisweekinstartups. I don’t even know what a promo code is. You go to Hiscox and they’ll probably, cover you. You gave it 8s, across the board.

Tyler: Yes, I did.

Jason: Amelia, well done. Any rebuttal, to our rebuttals, or debate about stuff?

Amelia: A common use case for this to get the information, that all entrepreneurs need, in order to validate their idea. All of that is safe. It always has been safe, in all of the engagements, we’ve been involved in.

Jason: Are you reviewing, each engagement? Are the engagements anonymous? That’s a good question. If I do say so.

Amelia: They’re not anonymous, to us. Because, any micro-consultants connect with their LinkedIn account. We, my co-founder, and I, have access to that. Then, for the responses, we do have an approval process, that is manual.

Jason: So, you have to approve, what they say. You’re, actually, taking ownership, of this. Doesn’t that expose you? Why not make it, completely, anonymous. Where, you can’t see what they’re asking. You can’t see what the answers are. Why don’t you double blind it. Be like, “Hey, we’re just connecting people.” That’s what I would do. What’s that thinking there?

Amelia: Right now, it’s really a quality control. The responses that we’ve had, from parties on both sides, is incredible. I don’t think we could have predicted the high quality responses, that we’re getting, now. That’s really, what we’re looking for, in this. We’ve got 30%, of our micro-consultants, right now, already make, $110K, a year, in their jobs.

Tyler: You should have mentioned that, in the pitch, no?

Jason: That would have been good, for the pitch.

Amelia: 25% are director and executive-level professionals. The quality is meaningful, here. It’s meaningful to the businesses. There is a natural instinct, for the professionals to give great feedback and share their knowledge.

Jason: Well done. Let’s hear it for, Amelia Dunne. Next up, Brandon Spikes, CEO, of Spikes, Inc. He owns spikes.com.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s right.

Jason: Whoa. Ask Your Users, by the way, is a great, great name. Here, we go. Spikes. Imagine the web. Safe. Really. 3, 2, Go.

Brandon: Hey, guys. I’ve created Spikes to develop the world’s most secure browsing. To help corporations address, the biggest security threat, facing their networks, today. Their browsers. In the past 15 years, I’ve built and secured the networks of PayPal and SpaceX. Which, to my knowledge, have never been hacked. But, companies are getting hacked, all the time. Today’s web security products, perpetuate, a false sense of security. As Hacker Nation states, wage a cyber war, against U.S. corporations. There’s, a lot of, mediocre solutions, out there, but none of them are 100% effective. So, introducing Spikes. Which, makes, getting hacked, through the browser, impossible. We’re virtualizing the browser, into the cloud. Even, if it got compromised, your computer, remains, untouched. Malware is contained. It gets wiped between uses. On any computer or mobile device this approach protects, against, all sorts of unknown threats. Not, only, the known threats. Our secret sauce, makes this solution possible. With, the highest levels of scalability, ease of use, and, performance. We can provide, all of the security, with none of the compromise. We’ve received great feedback, from our customer demos. We’re focusing our seed efforts, right now, to launch our pilot, with a few companies, and, reach a thousand seats. Thanks.

Jason: Genius. Alright. Very, well done. I know of, Brandon Spikes, because, somebody, just the other day, said, they were investing in his company. I reached out, to some people, and said, can you get me an introduction, to Brandon? I have no idea, how he wound up on the show. How did you wind up, on the show?

Brandon: I was, actually, in an incubator program, called, The Founder’s Institute.

Jason: Ah. So, you know, Adeo?

Brandon: I know, Adeo, and, through him, found out about the show.

Jason: This is kismet. I found out, by somebody, who is investing in his company, last week. I said, “What’s hot?” He said, “Spikes.” I said, “Who is Spikes?” He said, “Ah. Spikes, is this guy, who is a mad-genius, for doing security.” I said, “Where does he work?” He said, “PayPal and SpaceX.” I said, “I think, I know the guy. He must have worked for Elon Musk, or something.” I love this idea. I’m an investor, in Disconnect. Disconnect is trying to keep people secure, from privacy issues. This is a, very, similar concept, idea, genre, . I think, it’s going to get, more and more, important. People, in your company, should not have browsers. They should be going through a virtual browser, that is contained in a window, that is another instance, so that, it doesn’t take over your desktop and take your documents. This is a great, great idea. Virtualization of the browser. I know it won Founder’s Institute. It was a good pitch. I give the pitch an 8. I give the idea a 10. It’s literally, like, a groundbreaking idea. I don’t know the particulars, The pitch, lacked the particulars. Perhaps, for competitive reasons, he didn’t want to get into it, too much. The pitch was, actually, a 7.5, I’d give it. i’m going to downgrade it, because, it didn’t have an example of malware. You could have had the scary example, in there.

Tyler: Drove the fear point, a little more.

Jason: Right. It did explain virtualization. I’m filling in the blanks, here. You open your browser, through a virtualized windowed. It’s an instance, like, an EC2 instance, or something. Then, if anything happens, every time you fire up your browser, you fire up an instance, in the cloud. They can’t hack into your desktop, then, slave your desktop. The typical way people get into desktops. It’s, pretty, brilliant. This idea is somewhere, between, a 9 and a 10. It’s going to be a binary one. Either, it’s going to be brilliant or it’s going to be zero. People are going to care or they’re not. What do you think, Tyler?

Tyler: Pitch-wise, it had the scent of an infomercial, to it. In terms of delivery.

Jason: What do you mean, by that? Like, Oh, Wow. Gee wiz?

Tyler: Not in that sense. He was disconnected, from the listener. It felt like a scripted, kind of, vibe to it. Be conscious of that.

Jason: It needs to be, a little, more personal. He was reading from a script. Idea-wise?

Tyler: But, he had a nice pace to it. It just felt detached. Idea-wise, like you said, it is very binary. This will become very useful, and, the fact that PayPal and SpaceX…

Jason: We don’t know that PayPal and SpaceX, use the solution, but, we do know that he worked at those places.

Tyler: I would have got into, again, a use case. I want to feel the pain and see the fear. Paint worse case scenario, for me, then, show me how you solve that. The score, on the pitch, call it a 7. The idea, I would say, is a 9.

Jason: A n,n,nine?

Tyler: Yes.

Jason: Not a u,u,eight? I’m so used to doing this now, because, I’m trying to teach my daughter phonetics. So, everything we say, we say, like, m,m,monkey. Then, I say, give me the “m” word. m,m,mouse. You know. We go back and forth. Alright, listen. Brandon, any rebuttal, to our feedback, Mr. Spikes?

Brandon: Yeah. You guys nailed it. You have the idea down. That came across. I would say that finding a great example, is tough to do. Companies are often criticized, for being overly secretive, about, when, or how they got hacked. But, my experience shows, that it’s coming all through, the web. If you take a look at the recent hacks, that are out there, there’s quite a few. Adobe and GoDaddy, are a couple of the big ones, recently. I’d be willing to bet, that, our solution would have prevented that.

Jason: I think, what you have to do is find out, C.I.A., F.B.I., being hacked. You know. Some big organizations. You know, which ones, have been hacked, by the web browser. If you include that, you just say, what do these organizations… Brandon, this is how you do the high-level kung-fu pitch. What do the organizations, C.I.A., Martha Stewart, Dow Jones, Nike, and Google, have in common? They’ve all been hacked, in the last year.

Tyler: Great. That’s a good one.

Jason: What do those same companies, have in common? How they were hacked. They were hacked, because, their computers, were slaved. What else do they have in common? Their computers were slaved, through their browser. They loaded malware. This is how it’s done. Loading software, over the internet. The fact that browsers allow the loading of software, is an incredible innovation, that lets you load, all kinds of interesting stuff, all kinds of interesting toolbars. However, toolbars and an open platform, like, Safari, Chrome, or, IE, plus as the power and customizability of browsers, increases, so do the vulnerabilities. The average employee spends, 3.5 hours, a day, in their browser. That means, they’re exposing your network, 40% of the time, they’re at work, by using that browser. The browser, should be in the cloud, monitored through a simulator, or, whatever.

Tyler: I’m sure, there’s a gem of a stat, in there, somewhere, around the percentage of browsers, that have some form of virus.

Jason: What I love about this, too, is then, everything an employee does, in the browser, is recorded. The browser is their outlook, to the world. What that means is, people are not going to be F’ing around, in their browser, anymore. It’s like, “By the way, your browser is in the cloud, the whole thing could be recorded.” Will it be recorded, as well? Is that an option, Brandon?

Brandon: It’s not on the roadmap, right now, Jason. But, that’s a neat idea. I do want to offer, a lot, of privacy, with this. That may go to odds, with the privacy idea.

Jason: What privacy do you get, when your at work? You don’t have any privacy in your browser, when, you’re at work, Brandon.

Brandon: Think of it, in terms of corporate privacy. If you protect, the tracking data, from being shared, those marketers, may not have inside knowledge of your company’s thoughts and doings, because of the search activity of its employees.

Jason: See. That’s critical. Right now, a lot of people would say, “Oh, my God. SpaceX, was on the N.A.S.A. site, for this many minutes. N.A.S.A., SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, they might be looking at their log file, seeing how long people, from those companies, were on their site. Now, this just, totally, anatomizes it, which is genius. What I’m talking about is, you know somebody’s screwing around, at work. You say, let’s click a button and record, everything that they do, in their browser. Make it a movie file. The C.E.O. can go and play the movie, anytime, they want. I know that sounds crazy, and everything, whatever. There are instances, where, people do really dumb things, at work. I’ve had people who’ve worked, for me, who’ve done incredibly, stupid things. Incredibly stupid things, in their browser. If that fear is out there. Not fear, but… the fear should be out there, to employees… the understanding that the covenant is, you’re not going to do anything stupid, at work. Your browser, at work, although, you’re allowed to tweet, at work, or, hit your Facebook, every once in a while, or, maybe, shop, at Amazon, you should understand, that your employer has the right to know what’s going on, on their computers, at work. I think, there’s a blurring of the lines. There needs to be a new equilibrium, that’s reached. Which is, employers are asking people to tweet and Facebook stuff, and, be socially active. They have to let people play, on their social networks, a little bit. But, employees have to realize, it’s well within an employers rights, to know how long somebody is on Facebook, a day. If your job is not to be on Facebook, all day, you’re not the social media consultant, and, you’re on Facebook, all day, guess what. You’re going to get fired. You should get fired. You need to be aware of this. What they need to do is, provide feedback, back to the employees. They should let the employees know. “You spent 18 hours, this month, on Facebook.” It would be great, if the software did this. If somebody spends X amount of time on news sites and Facebook, it should, just, report back to them. “The maximum allowed Facebook time, at this corporation is, 3 hours. You did 7 hours. You may want to think about, how much time, you’re spending on Facebook.” Almost like, self-monitoring. You can measure it, you can manage it. That would be a great thing. I would love to know, how much time I’m spending on each site. Just so I can have an idea. Almost, optimizing, myself. There’s all kinds of interesting ideas, that come out of this. What do you think, Tyler?

Tyler: That’s a whole different thing. It reminds me of WebSpy. Jack’s.

Jason: Oh. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jack’s WebSpy did that, too.

Tyler: Which, I understand, he’s involved in, again.

Jason: Oh good. We did the scores. Brandon, I want to catch up with you and see a demo, of this. O.K.?

Brandon: Sounds good.

Jason: Kirin, set up a call, for me and Brandon. I think, I want to invest, in this company. If he has me. I don’t know. Maybe, he doesn’t want to have me involved. What do you think, Brandon. You want to show me a demo? Maybe, I’ll invest?

Brandon: I think, it sounds like a great idea. I’ll be happy to show you the demo.

Jason: Good. We’ll set that up. We’re going through this, Tyler. I want you to pick, your number one and your number two. I’ll pick my number one and my number two. You guess my number one and my number two.

Tyler: Play the music.

Jason: (singing) Tyler Crowley. He’s going to make a decision. Help me out with the music, Brandis. I can’t hold a… Activity Hero was interesting. Mom selects the activities that are the right fit, for her kids. That’s very interesting, that’s why I invested, in Red Tricycle. I think, that space is going to be a big winner. Then, there’s Vendor Stack. Which, was like Yelp, for Saas services. I liked it, too. Keep going? FanDonkey, that’s got a wedge strategy. I did a rhyme in my little song. AskYourUsers can get you insider trader tips. Don’t wind up in jail, where you’ll be gang-ra… that’s inappropriate for the show. Let’s keep moving on to. Brandon Spikes, founder of Spikes, Inc. O.K. I’ve got my number one and I’ve got my number two. Yes, I do. What about you? Tyler, do you have yours?

Tyler: Yeah.

Jason: I think, this is going to be one of those instances, where we, both, pick the same number one and number two.

Tyler: Yes. Or, close to it.

Jason: I picked, as my… Do you have yours written, on a piece of paper?

Tyler: I do.

Jason: I believe that your going to have the pick as me. Your number two is, VendorStack?

Tyler: It is.

Jason: Then, I picked your number one as Spikes.

Tyler: It is.

Jason: You picked, for me?

Tyler: I didn’t try to guess what you would do. But, I’m guessing…

Jason: Those are mine. I picked my number one as Spikes.

Tyler: Obviously, your number one is Spikes. You just asked to do a call with the guy, afterwards.

Jason: Well, I also, really liked, Ask Your User. I also liked VendorStack. VendorStack, I would invest in, too.

Tyler: Here’s the thing. This is the hardest pick of number two, of this show. I could have given number two to any of them. It’s that close.

Jason: Any of those is in the number two position. Spikes just got this, Oh, my God. This is going to become more and more important. It’s going to be massive revenue for it, and everything. But, anyway. Thanks, to everyone, for pitching. Congratulations, to Brandon Spikes, Founder of spikes.com. To, David Cheng, an incredibly boring presenter, with an incredibly great idea, VendorStack, well done. Listen. Kirin, you out there? Somebody out there? Take a memo. I want to give everybody, here, a free table to Launch. All five. How about that? Is that a nice thing to do?

Tyler: Tables, for everybody.

Jason: Tables, for everybody. All five people get a table, on Jason. O.K.? You got it, Brandis?

Tyler: Christmas, came early.

Jason: That’s it. Everybody gets a free table. Let’s move on. Thank you, everybody. Now, we’re going to talk to my friends, over at Sourcebits, about my app. There we go. With us is, David Forgash. Is that you?

David: Correct. I’m, David.

Jason: Your, David. You are the U.S., Creative Director, at Sourcebits, is that correct?

David: Correct.

Jason: And, Rick, the senior designer, is he with us, as well, or, just you?

David: Rick, is with us, as well.

Jason: O.K. great. Hi, Rick.

Rick: Hello.

Jason: O.K. We’ve been making great progress, on the app. Let’s talk about design-led engineering. What is that? Why does it matter?

David: Why does it matter? Design-led engineering, takes human interface design, and, it implements it through development and the engineering process. We take a static design, and, we’re able to overlay that, over the functionality of engineering. What sets, Sourcebits, apart from, many other develop houses is, that, we take the time to learn the needs of the client, and, the needs of their target market. By, doing this and taking extra steps to clarify, and, making sure, we’re truly on task for, not only, what the client wants, and, what the end user is looking for, keeping that client tied to, their core values, you end up with an application, that, not only successful for the client, but, the end user, loves it. In the long run, is reduced costs, to keep up, and, to keep, in the market place.

Jason: Awesome. That, totally, makes sense. Here, we go. We have beautiful mock-ups, here, wireframes. We had seen some earlier designs, in the last episode. Now we’re, really, seeing comprehensive iPhone 5 mock-ups, here. Nice and tall. As, you guys can see, you have the history, there. That’s people, you’ve made commitments, to. You have, what’s going on, now. That is what is, currently, going on, at the event, live. Tyler. What’s coming, next, will launch, in eight minutes. A little preview, there, it says. I like the way you guys, did this. It, so, easy for me to understand what you guys are thinking. A lot, of clarity, with these, A, B, C, D, E, like, why you decided to do things. The next event is shown, as point E says, as the incoming, top-most item in the schedule timeline. Along with the estimated time until unlocking. This time may vary to more hazy wording, such as, in a moment, or, next up, if the presenter is behind. Then, items are gathered together by hour are used to generate whitespace for content. Great idea. That’s interesting. They’re, sort of, telling you why they put these things, together. That was a question, I had. They anticipated my question, as the client. I don’t have to ask them a question. They’ve anticipated it. Multiple items gathered together and goes to the event. There, you go. Paginated, of course. Then you can reveal the search field, if you, I guess, pull down, and, search for companies. I assume, they’ll have a drop down, so, it’ll fill in the search. What do they call that? Auto-complete. Will it have, auto-complete?

Tyler: Auto-suggest?

Jason: Auto-suggest, David?

David: Yes.

Jason: That’s key. Is that hard to do? Auto-complete, or is that just easy, now?

David: It’s fairly simple.

Jason: I know, that was a hard thing, for a while. Everybody was like, “Oh, my God, auto-complete. You gotta create a database and an index.” This is, like, real easy, to do. There you go. Ah. This is what I like. The company, like, page. Look, at this. They’ve got the product name, how much they’ve raised. E is, how much has been committed. You can commit, by hitting that B button, up there. You can slide through, number F. Which, is the product images. G, you have pagination. That’s a classic iTunes store. H, who’s presenting. That’s interesting. The product name, that you can scroll down to. Products, that’s the company’s product, right?

David: Yeah.

Jason: If, I click on E, you’re going to go to the valuation details. How does somebody know, you can click on letter E, there? 1.2M. Is there some indication, that, you can find more information, behind that?

Rick: There’s a variety of treatments we could to elements, like this. Throughout, we have to set the tone, and, give expectations of, what can interact, with the user. For, the commitments total, we can make that feel, like, a button. We can give it more playful tone. It can be a stack of money, that, you have on top of. There’s a few things, we can do there. i think, it’s going to be, pretty, natural that, there going to have the total there. They’re going to want to find out more, about this. They’ll want to drill down, essentially.

Jason: Do people shake things, still, move them, when, you first load a screen? Do you agree with that design convention, Rick?

Rick: You have to be, kind of, careful, with transitions. Transitions are, very much, flash bang, when, you start using an app. You have to be, very, careful that you don’t bore the user, essentially. You know, if something is going to be played, over and over, again, it’s going to lose it’s value. It’s going to be, “I just want to go, where, I want to go.” So, you have to be, very, careful about how they feel.

Jason: You can use them sparingly, or, use them for the first time, or, the first three times? Or, you can use it, until, somebody clicks on it. I, sort of, see that 1.2M, there, doing this, Tyler. A little shake. Almost, like, a salt shaker, for a second. Like that. Almost, like a little tingle, just in case I didn’t know that you can click it. That’s something I think these guys will get to. Wow, it’s starting to look good. If you click, into the commit screen, it says, I wish to make a commitment of $30,000 for Skweal, with a total valuation of $1.5M. What does this mean? D, will take people to the FAQ, I guess. Or, an explanation of that. Then, here, you pick the commitment and the valuation. I like that. Which, is two different scrollers. Sort of, like, picking a one bedroom, with this many Square feet, or something, when, you’re on a real estate app. That’s what it reminds me of. That’s very efficient. Wow. This whole thing feels super efficient. Well done. Yeah. This looks great. Good job guys. Anything you guys want to point out, or, you need to discuss? Do you have any questions, for me?

Rick: I think, to fore-warn, this is just a glimpse into the wireframing process, that we go through. This is, just, a brief overview of the main screens, and, how we expect to lay some core functionalities out. Later on, we usually, support things, like, hot linking the screens. Writing the comments, so, that the developers and the client, can, quickly jump between, and, see how screens are going to interact, together. The reason for the comments to be, so, robust, is that, whilst we hope to lead you through the wireframes, in time, the client goes away, and, wants to digest them, on their own. When, we’re not together. We don’t want them to have to think back, “What did these guys say, about, this and that?” We want everything to be, explained out. Especially, developers, as well. So, they can start expecting, what level of complexity, for certain elements.

Jason: What I like about this narrative, that you’re putting alongside the wireframes, which, I haven’t seen somebody do. I’ve seen people use arrows, on it. But, I haven’t seen this level of complexity. What I, really, like about the narrative is, I feel like there’s a forcing function. For Sourcebits, as the consultant, here, to clarify their thinking. Then, it’s a forcing function, for me to understand, why they’re doing stuff. Then, challenge it, if I need to, as the client. It’s a real great way, like they’re saying, maybe not on a phone call, when, we’re in a meeting and somebody says, “Why are we doing this?” To have it, right there, super clear, it gives me a lot of confidence, that Sourcebits is going to make this correctly. I’m thinking about each of the elements. I think, you take that for granted, a lot, when, you work with a design firm, or a development firm, or, a design-led engineering firm, like, Sourcebits, is, you really want to understand their thinking. But, nobody takes the time to manifest that, in a sentence, or two. I really like that. Sometimes, they manifest that in a powerpoint, that can be too much. This feels like, just the right amount. One or two sentences, per item. Sometimes, it’s just a phrase, right. Sometimes, it means, a little bit. The scheduled timeline lists all events and is not paginated. The current commitment total is displayed on the right. If the user has committed the treatment may vary slightly, to indicate as such visually. That is a great point. I want to be able to scroll through it, and, see, a couple of coins, if I’ve committed. Right? That’s a great point. It’s a great debate point. Cause, he’s saying, here, it may vary slightly. They’re not presuming to tell me, that they want to do that. They’re saying, it may. Which, means it leads to a discussion. Like, at this very moment. I think, that’s a good idea. I think you should put coins, there, or something, if the person’s committed.

Rick: Right. Like, you say, a lot of design, is back and forth. We need to understand what you want, we’ll offer our opinion and experience. Design isn’t exact science. If it was, I’d be out of a job. So, it’s good that we have that flexibility, there.

Jason: What do you think about putting the Twitter avatars, of the top-most followed, or biggest commitments, underneath the company name? So, if we’re looking at this snapshot, here. It could put, like, 5 or 6 avatars that you might recognize. My avatar. Somebody else’s avatar. It would make a little more clutter, obviously, but, it might be interesting. What do you guys think of that idea?

Rick: Something akin to the avatar below somebody’s tweet. When, somebody retweeted this.

Jason: Yeah. Like, exactly, like a retweet. These are the people who’ve committed. Or, just an indication of how many. Have 5 of the people who retweeted, then said, 16 more, I can scroll through, here. I would get a little preview of that. Hey, this ones got 75 people, including, Kevin Rose. I better drill down, that, Kevin Rose is invested, in this. Right? In the simulation. So, this is great. What do you think, Tyler?

Tyler: It’s nice.

Jason: Alright, guys. Really, well done. I think this is going to be, tremendously, successful. This is all going to be done, HTML5, correct?

Rick: Yes.

Jason: Timeline-wise, we’ve got 90 some odd day. No problem in getting this done, in time, right?

David: Correct.

Jason: Feels like we’re on a good thing. Any questions, for me. Anything we need to discuss?

David: I don’t have anything. Do you, Rick?

Rick: All thumbs up.

Jason: Listen, guys. This is brilliant. update . I am thrilled, with the progress. I cannot wait, to have people, actually, using this. Just, a lot of excitement, around this concept. It’s going to be a lot of fun. People are, obviously, going to be logging in with, Twitter or Facebook, or something. So, we’re going to, actually, know who these people are. They’ll be able to retweet, their commitment, and stuff, like that. I’ve just committed, or, whatever. This should create, a lot of, excitement. Whether, this ides works, or not, become a sustainable part of the ecosystem, that people do live crowdfunding, I don’t know. I don’t know the answer, to that. It’s great having a partner, like, Sourcebits, to explore it. I just want to thank, once again, my friends @sourcebits, for helping me clarify my thinking. And, build, what could be, one of the most innovative thing, ever done, in the funding of startups. Well done, guys.

Rick: Thank you, Jason.

Jason: Thank you, David. Thank you, Rick. This has been a great episode, once again. It’s great to have you back, Tyler. Everybody, who wants to come to the live fireside chat with, Jeff Clavier, twistlive.eventbrite.com. It’s a week from friday, December 14. We’ll see everybody at RocketSpace. Thank you, @GoToMeeting. Did you see how smooth that went, today. With that beautiful HD video. That’s the power of GoTo Meeting. Meeting is Believing. Congratulations to, Ron Finberg, for his excellent tweet, and, getting an autographed iPad 3, or whatever the hell they call this. It’s a good iPad. Congratulations on that, Ron Finberg. We’ll go 70mph, down the 405, while you’re tethered to my iPhone 5. I’ll take you 70mph, down the 405. There’s no way I’m letting you tether, to my iPhone 5. No. That’s just, out of the question. Tyler, it’s great to have you back.

Tyler: It’s good to be back.

Jason: Kirin. good job, getting all of this set up. We’ll see you all, next time, on ThisWeekIn Startups.

Follow On Twitter

Jason: @jason
Tyler: @steepdecline
GoToMeeting: @gotomeeting
Sourcebits: @sourcebits 

Special thanks to the members of the TWiST Backchannel Program!

Executive Producers


Associate Producers

  • Brad Pineau
  • Kat Ganesan
  • Nicholas Christian
  • Mau Frontier
  • Kyle Braatz
  • Serena Ehrlich
  • JD
  • Alex Lotoczko
  • James Kennedy
  • Benoit Curdy
  • Asher Nevins
  • Mike Kaltschnee
  • William Doom
  • David Lee
  • Jake Kerber
  • Sarp Coskun
  • Giuseppe Taibi
  • Tyrone Rubin
  • Keno Vigil
  • Paul Peters
  • Jamal Waring
  • Nick Ostroff
  • Alex Binkley
  • John MP Knox
  • Bryan McCormick
  • Marcos Trinidad
  • Allen Cordrey
  • Daniel Mich
  • Joshua Rosen
  • Grant Carlile
  • James Smith
  • Christopher Rill
  • Elliot Myhre
  • Nihon Giga
  • Nathan Gielis
  • Greg Meadows
  • Rick Cartwright
  • Jacques Struwig
  • Robert Ward
  • Adam Gering
  • Shelley Gaskin
  • Jim Shute


  • Ryan Hoover
  • Michael Cranston
  • Josiah Thomas
  • João Fernandes
  • Petrus Theron
  • Michael Wild
  • Dale Emmons
  • Tim de Jardine
  • Alejandro Vasquez
  • Milan Babuskov
  • Chris Rowe
  • Nelson Melo
  • James Dawson
  • Toddy Mladenov
  • Daniel Torres
  • Chris Macke
  • Piotr Zuralski
  • Armand Konan
  • Brian Vogel
  • Paul D
  • Jennifer Sun
  • David Kolb
  • Sue Marrone
  • Eugene Granovksy
  • Will Blackton
  • Ryan Dodds
  • Brett Arp
  • Jason Cresswell
  • Edwin Orange
  • Daniel Bradley
  • Shawn Daniel
  • Priidu Kull
  • Patrick Desroches
  • Alex Lam
  • Paul Secor
  • Ryan Urabe
  • Madhu R.
  • Paul Ardeleanu
  • Ian Thomas
  • Manny Alarcon
  • Charlie Osmond
  • Christopher Smitley
  • Roshan H.
  • Barcy Cordrey
  • Matt Beaubien
  • Matthew Smith
  • Oscar Bueno
  • Tim Hoyt
  • Ian Gerstel
  • Taphon Maddison
  • John Bradley
  • Luigi Armogida
  • Dave Ferrara
  • Janus Lindau
  • Chris Mancil
  • TR Ludwig
  • Giles Thomas
  • Jason Cartwright
  • Michael Del Borrello
  • Joshua Rosen
  • David Karlberg
  • Marcus Schappi
  • Justin Furniss
  • Mike Hauck
  • Jess Bachman
  • Isaac Hill
  • Robert Haydock
  • Dan Sfera
  • Flaviu Simihaian
  • Kiko Cherman
  • Chandra Siva
  • Kasper Andkjaer
  • Zach Woodward
  • Chris Galasso
  • Chad Olsen
  • Michael Grabham
  • John Shiple
  • Gregory Hoffman
  • Chris Rickard
  • Eskil Steenberg
  • Jay Moran
  • Karim Sarkis
  • Michael Davidovich
  • Petru Marchidan
  • Sam Drzymala


more episodes