E051: with Joel Spolsky



about this episode

Jason’s guest this week is Joel Spolsky, Co-Founder and CEO of Stack Overflow, Founder of Fog Creek Software

00:00:38  Ask Jason – Craig MuirReloom – Should I consider a co-founder that can only do part time work?

00:02:00  Generally speaking in the speculative stage yes but once money starts to be invested you need 100% effort.  Part time businesses are “Dude Businesses”.  You need to be very open and upfront and discuss the a vesting and equity fit.

00:03:50  (Tyler) From the macroscopic perspective their is little precedent for it working, YouTube maybe on example

00:05:00  Jason had to vest 4 years for his own campany Mahalo, let your partners know you vest in the same manner as they do

00:06:00  What if the part-timer has clout and prior success?  You may want to consider him as an advisor not a founder

00:08:30  Reloom will be an augmented reality site

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00:10:45  Shark Tank – Shane Snow (blog) – Dino.sr – social site like GDGT for gamers and the site itself is a game with features such as game boss, beta keys, etc. monetized through affiliate programs, data, hosting events, special virtual game items

00:16:30  (Tyler) spoke too fast, pick your word battle carefully pitch a 5-6

00:17:00  Don’t say you are like everything

00:17:50  (Jason) pitch 7 -7.5, the idea can be huge, execution will be hard

00:19:00  How are you going to market the site?  Leverage his experience as a Journalist (Mashable, Gizmodo, the Next Web, Fast Company), they will recruit a young group to seed the community

00:20:00  How many people do you have right now?  Just Shane and one other, they both code and the other co-founder is also a designer

00:21:15  Shane has already turned down jobs to do this fulltime

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00:23:20  Joel Spolsky Program Manager on Microsoft Excel team, Founder of Fog Creek Software, Jason has always thought they were kindred spirits

00:24:15  Raised $6 million for Stack Overflow

00:25:30  He took Jason’s advice (Ask Jason call) and tlaked to 20 VCs in 2 weeks

00:28:30  New vs. Old generation venture capital firms

00:29:30  Yahoo Answers has good numbers but it is just a chatroom that doesn’t monetize well

00:30:00  Virtual currency an interesting driver

00:30:30  Getting good questions is the most important thing for an answer site

00:31:15  They have pivoted away from a whitelabe model to letting the community decide which answer site should be built next, To discuss and submit a vertical go to Meta Stack Exchange

00:35:00  What do you think of routing a question to the right user?  VC’s used the term liquidity (when the market clears, all questions are answered) they have never worried about that because all questions do get answered, it works because it is a niche site

00:37:10  Pitch Sandhill Road what was it like?  Joel wasn’t nervous and he wasn’t completely prepared, he told his story but many already knew about him through the back channel, he did at time want to laugh at tier 4 VC’s who asked for financial projections

00:39:45  They should be looking at the team not some made up numbers

00:40:15  Worked on Stack OverFlow for one and a half years before looking for money

00:41:50  Joel will be CEO and Jeff Atwood will be CTO one team will work remotely will the other will be in NY and have a total of 15-20 people

00:43:50  How do they deal with working remotely?  Campfire solved that problem along with Skype and email, the best senario would be to have everyone in one place but working remotely allows them to get the best programmers, they will have the team all head to NY multiple times a year

00:46:10  iPad thoughts (Joel) heavier than expected, prefers the Kindle for reading, it feels like iPhone 1.0 but he is very bullish on the product

00:49:00  Thoughts on Adobe and Steve Jobs? Adobe is being punished and most people will move toward html 5

00:51:20  What is the point od creating an App when we have html 5?  Connectivity issues with phones, html5 version will be slower than the native app

00:52:50  News with Lon Harris

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00:54:15  DIGG LAYOFFS – Is Kevin doing a good job as CEO?  Too early to tell, the business has gone sideways a bit, the news now comes to you, he is pivoting

00:56:00  (Joel) Young companies tend to hire the wrong people and this is a good time to clean house

00:57:30  (Tyler) Will he still have to appeal to the publishers?  it’s a demographic site, they will need to decide if they should do something similar to IGN and buy other sites

00:59:50  DUELING LOCATION / CHECK-INSERVICES – privacy & stealing issues will be Facebook’s downfall, brands need to be specific, if you have too many you won’t be known for any

01:01:00  Insight From Tyler

01:02:00  Joel doesn’t “get” the location based sites, Foursuqare and Gowalla are doing great though

01:03:55  ZYNGA VS. FACEBOOK – Will Zynga get out of Facebook?  Yes, Twitter and Zynga could tag team to kill FB, make an instant messenger that brings gamers together

01:06:10  (Joel) reminds him of cable contract negotiations

01:09:45  STOCK MARKET CRAZINESS – Stories tend to break on the web and create a magnitude of traffic, people are still learning how to write highly scalable sites.  However, the people who need the real time news are paying for it and getting it

01:15:15  KWEDIT SEEMS TO BE WORKING – is it sustainable?  the absurdity is rediculous

01:17:50  Lon is leaving Mahalo and will be working fulltime at ThisWeekIn

01:19:00  Jason participated in a TV Poker game that will air Jume 14th

01:19:30  End

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