E090: with Jamie Siminoff, Founder of PhoneTag and UnSubscribe.com



about this episode

This week, Jason sits down with Jamie Siminoff, the founder of PhoneTag and UnSubscribe.com. Lon fills in for Tyler to rate our Shark Tank caller, and in the news, we chat with special guest Neil Young of ngmoco.

Today on this week in startups we have Jamie Siminoff of PhoneTag and UnSubscribe.

Wow! Lon is leaving This Week In! Best of luck to Lon!


Jamie Siminoff of PhoneTag and UnSubscribe

Jamie and Jason talk about the funding for PhoneTag and Unsubscribe. They discuss the functionality of UnSubcribe and how it integrates with GMail and other products. They discuss the nuances of identifying different email types including spam, phishing, exceptions etc.

Jason and Jamie talk about the legalities of spam and unsubscribing by requiring login to the site (a la Facebook and LinkedIn).

The coin the term – ‘Pig’s Feet’ to describe emails that you signed up for in the past, but no longer need. It’s not illegal, nor unrequested, just no longer wanted. It’s not spam.

Domain name, domain name, domain name – Jason and Jamie talk about the importance of a good domain name. ‘A name is a key foundational block for making a great business’. Having a good name makes your marketing easier.

New term: a ‘Bag’ move–shortened version of d-bag or sh** bag.

Jason and Jamie discuss talk about PhoneTag and the value of the service. For $360 a year, you get an assistant! Jamie discusses how he started PhoneTag and the backstory on the original idea.

Grid was another business started by Jamie. Jamie discusses how he started Grid. Frictionless services was the idea for Grid. Jamie discusses the horror of waiting for the wire of the money. One of the limited partners had a problem with the idea, which delayed the funding. This was right at the time of the meltdown. They ended up not doing it. Jamie didn’t sue, although he had grounds. He personally believes suing is counterproductive. The company implodes. They sold the technology and domain name.

Provides fully hosted / managed Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps e-mail

5 people at random will receive a Mahalo pack for thanking the sponsors @DNAMail and @MailChimp

Jason and Jamie discuss the best thing about being an entrepreneur. Freedom. Schedule. Starting a family as an entrepreneur.

Jason and Jamie discuss the importance of strategy as part of the startup process. Working hard is not necessarily all there is to it.

@ramvas asks – why do you keep worrying when you’ve made a lot of money?

Jamie and Jason discuss their thoughts.

What does freedom mean to Jamie?

Jamie discusses his thoughts. He talks about getting a track record and swinging harder for your next idea.

Jamie discusses having many ideas but needing to focus on one at a time.

Shark Tank

Pete from VacationRelation.com

VacationRelation.com allows user to connect, plan and communicate with others who will be vacationing in the same area. They leverage users existing social media like Facebook to make connections.


Likes the name. Don’t know if the idea works in real life.

P: 9
I: 7


Is skeptical about this is something people want.

P: 9
I: 5-6


P: 7
I: 7

Social + Travel = Win

Jason discusses the importance of the use cases and making sure that everyone is clear on what you’re trying to accomplish.


This is Lon last reading of the TWiST news. Lon will still be on the network, but will no longer be the creative director at This Week In. Best of luck to Lon!

Facebook Launching Local Deals Product

Facebook recently launched its “Places” check-in feature, and now the company may be poised poised to take on Groupon directly with a new “deals” product. According to a post on the All Facebook blog, the concept is to provide incentives for people to not only check in at retail locations, but to check their friends in as well. Check in and tag three of your friends somewhere, and you unlock a special deal.

Facebook declined to comment on the story.

Is this going to be a significant competitor to Groupon? What can they do to counter this threat? How do you think Facebook will deal with the potential for fraud (as in, checking in people who aren’t there?)

Read Article

Jason talks about the new trend he’s recognized ‘Scale and Steal.’ Facebook deals is an example of this trend. The gentlemen’s rules are off. It will be difficult to keep up with all the different focuses.

Jamie discusses how fearless Facebook is.


Neil Young – The founder of Ngmoco

How long were you running the company before it sold. Started June 26th 2008. Launched in October 2008. Exit in October 2010. This was Google Ventures first exit, which took 3 months. 400 M dollar exit.

Neil discusses how difficult it was to sell the company, and what his motivation for selling was. He also discusses the process of being acquired.

Neil discusses what’s next for Ngmoco.


YouTube Passes 1 Billion Subscriptions

Video streaming site YouTube is now claiming that users have subscribed to channels over 1 billion times as of today. They are also celebrating the milestone on the YouTube logo and are releasing a “subscriber” widget that can be added to blogs hoping to encourage more subscriptions.

15 YouTube video producers have personally surpassed 1 million subscribers.

Is this destined to be Google’s big success in the “social” space? Isn’t YouTube really a social network tied to videos rather than posts?

Read Article

Jason discusses his thoughts on Google and their focus. How hard it is to find the correct resources. He discusses his belief that something bigger is coming.

Jamie discusses how Google is hitting their stride. He’s impressed with their strategy.


Yes on Prop 19

You debated this on Twitter the other day, and it’s my last show, so I’m bringing it up…

Paul Buchheit, creator of Gmail and Friendfeed and now a Facebook employee, has donated $100,000 to the Yes on Prop 19 campaign (the prop would essentially decriminalize marijuana in California). Buchheit is maybe most famous as the originator of the term “Don’t Be Evil” during his time at Google.

This surpasses the $70,000 donated by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz donated.

Think there’s any concern at Facebook with being so closely identified with the Pro-Prop 19 campaign? Particularly as the site rejected advertising from marijuana activists this summer?

Read Article

Jason discusses his thoughts on the state of California and the pot usage. He discusses the economics of marijuana sales in California.

Jamie discusses the economics of the drug trade and the impact of the culture on other countries.

Lon- Discusses the reasons why he’s leaving. Best of luck to Lon as he looks toward the future.

Jason discusses the Calacanis MBA program. The PhD is in the works!

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