E048: Ask Jason

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Jason Calacanis takes your questions on a special Ask Jason edition of This Week in Startups.

00:30  Mark your calenders in 2 weeks (April 30th) Episode #50 in SFO at Microsoft

02:00  Fan Bi asks, what is your formula for marketing?  make a good product and you will get a good up tick from social marketing.

03:40  Seth Godin, Purple Cow element may work as a strategy, do something unique in marketing and attach your product

04:30  Zappos created excellent customer service with shoes

05:30  TWiST Challenge, call Zappos (1-800-927-7671) and do a funny prank call, be outrageously, ridiculous, add a timer and let’s see how long you can keep them on the phone.  We’ll play them in show.

06:20  How would you market / distribute Blank-Label?  call in to podcasts like this one, have a great site, try connect with influencers (give them a free shirt) and get them to endorse your product.

09:20 Marketing vs Distribution, marketing is for creative types and distribution is a bizdev solution ie. revenue share deals

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10:15  Example, Virgin America and the flight attendant attire (Banana Republic) and sunglasses giveaway

11:00  Create specialty lines like the Forbes line

11:30  Tyler Crowley he’s the man

12:30  John Humphrey (DomainNoob) asks about the ThisWeekIn controversy with Leo Laporte and his TWiT network

13:00 Jason is disappointed in Leo’s change in position, he bought the domain for $18-20K and has invested $100k so far in the ThisWeekIn network

13:30  His goal was not to compete with Leo he believes their is plenty of room for both networks

13:50  He originally offered the domain to Leo

14:50   He will offer future show ideas to Leo before moving forward

15:10  Leo doesn’t use This Week In … for all his shows

15:30  Jason’s very saddened by the situation

15:50 This is not a fight

16:30  If someone has a This week In show and would like it listed on the ThisWeekIn network contact us

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17:30  The goal is in 3 or 4 years the network will be bought

20:00  What is a good VC firm for a medical device?  Jason doesn’t know but suggests you work backward from another product that was funded and see where it leads

21:00 Interactive TV will be for set top boxes

21:30  A lot of group purchasing sites (Groupon) are popping up is their a future?  The first to market sites will probably win because they have funding, an alternative would be to go very niche.  The more interesting idea is would this work for Google?  It would work better for Yahoo or AOL, pretty good idea

23:45  Pat Kenneally asks, how do you value a business?  we operate a small web development business, we need a salable price.  Bankers can easily look as past transactions and analyze your business and give you an idea.  A service based business has complications because usually the talent is included, you may want to spin up the new idea and while you spin down the existing business. Gowalla did something similar

27:30  Will one big client help with Goodwill and the valuation?  Ask the bankers it depends

29:00  When dealing with bankers remember to incentive the deal

31:25  Jamie asks, how live video services such as Ustream will affect conferences

32:30  People will always want to attend to network

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33:15  Start with small conferences, limit your expectation, go very niche, do a 1 day show for 75 people and sell out and strive for extremely high quality then grow

34:50  Their maybe a way to monetize, Ustream does provide value to sponsors

36:20 For the attendee, events help identify industry trends

37:30 Jason comments on going to the Laker game and being invited to the private area for execs, he chatted with Phil Jackson for 30 minutes

38:00  Chatroom asks if you were to do a startup right now what would it be?  He comments their are a lot he likes but will angel invest because he feels he has value to offer, however, he is focused on Mahalo.

39:30  Dan, dropped out of college to pursue his startup and will soon get an exit, should he go back to school and get a degree?  No, once you have an exit under your belt the worlds perception of you will change, Jason describes it a a game changer.

41:30  He wouldn’t leave if this is your best idea, for example if you created Facebook then that is different.

42:20 Charles calls in and compares VC funding to rocket fuel and asks how do you know when to raise capital?  First off VCs expect you to burn through some not all startups succeed but once you have a great team in place, an excellent product and traction and at least an idea on how you will monetize start seeking funding

44:40  All startups will take a few years to build out and VC money helps

45:30  Andrew Hurst launched a very niche search engine of sorts, what is the best way to monetize?  Don’t try recreate the wheel the current model works, cost per click and consider working in lead generation

47:45  Ads are looked at as content, it works for a reason

49:00 Tyler’s new favorite show is next This Week In Venture Capital

49:30 End Of Show

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That was an extremely fast show and on top of that a lot of content if I missed anything, add it to the comments and I’ll insert it in the appropriate spot.

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