This Week In Startups is a weekly live show about startups, entrepreneurship and tech industry insights with host Jason Calacanis, co-pilot Tyler Crowley, standing news anchor Lon Harris, and a guest. The show just summed up its first year with the total of 50 episodes, so it’s come to my turn to share some key takeways of total 5 478 minutes I’ve been spending with #TWiST

Why I Haven’t Missed An Episode

It’s sincere, personal, and including. There’s no attitude in sight. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lifetime entrepreneur or going for the next Google, everybody’s included. And for the newbies, Jason makes sure that all the specific industry terms are explained. The same goes for all the guests, who have been nothing but humble and engaged in giving their two cents.

Despite of hardly ever get to join in live due to the time difference, and sometimes the show running over two hours, it’s never been boring. It’s still like joining a conversation, and as with any conversations among friends, besides from juicy insights, off topics occur. The show simply creates tremendous value by having the guest of the week to participate and give his or her thoughts and insights both on the news, questions asked, and ideas pitched. The insights are considered so valuable now, that prominent tech blogs are required to follow the show to look for scoops.

I find the following two clips to catch the essence of the show: Helping out and sharing experiences

“How to recover a failing (PC) business”, also chosen as the best “Ask Jason” question of the year.

#14 with Garry Tan Co-founder of Posterous, recorded in the middle of the TechCrunch50 preparations. Instead of skipping the weekly episode, due to everybody clearly being busy and all worn out, on top of TechCrunch Editor Mike Arrington making a highly entertaining appearance and messing up with the camera settings, Jason was determined to focus on the entrepreneurial issues and delivering a show.

Great Example Of Social Media Marketing

Whenever people ask me about good examples in social media marketing, I recommend them to watch the show. It’s a live tutorial on how to engage, interact and build relationships with ones audience in a sincere way, for example superfans Michael Troy designed the Open Angel Forum logotype, and Scott Simko has joined the team running This Week in Startups. The show demonstrates how contributing back to the community is far more powerful than talking about oneself, and how to leverage social media channels fo r the benefit of sponsors and advertisers.

Key Messages To Entrepreneurs

  • “Don’t get high on your own supply.”
  • “The common precursor to success is failure.”
  • “Being ethical is part of being successful.”
  • “Starting is easy, finishing is hard.”
  • “Is it a feature or is it a product? Is it a product that can be turned into business?”
  • “Building a business on someone else’s platform is not a business.”
  • “If you’re not embarrased about your site when you first launch, you’ve been spending too much time on it.”
  • “You don’t pay to pitch”. See Open Angel Forum, inspired by Keiretsu Forum 😉

My Favorite Insights From Tyler, also turned into awesome TwistShirts by superfan Charles Goffnett

The List Of Five

This is merely an attempt to highlight few of the episodes to get you started if you’re new to the show. I’ve chosen these five because they’re great examples on how to survive a downturn, as do they showcase how solving a real problem out of frustration and recognizing an underserved market are the common denominators to a great business.

#05 with David Sacks, CEO of Yammer and Geni, and one of the people behind PayPal. Mastering the fraud period of Internet payments. Special episode for us who concurred Palm Graffiti.

#13 with Matt Mickiewicz founder of Sitepoint and 99designs, an entrepreneur since high school. Apart from Jason’s dating tips, I found Matt’s story on how they survived by recognizing a user demand for printed versions of the coding examples absolutely brilliant. (My previous review)

#27 with Matt Coffin Angel investor and founder of LowerMyBills. “Not now-list. Good idea, but not now.”

#42 with Michael Robertson, CEO and Founder of MP3Tunes with incredible insights and interesting predictions for the music industry, and how got started. To get more great stories from the complex music industry, as running a hardware business, you should also listen to #22 with John MacFarlane, CEO of Sonos. Both episodes include discussions around Swedish music startup Spotify and its future.

#46 with David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals. “The only thing that matters in the end, is profit. Market share doesn’t matter. It matters if it leads to profits, otherwise it doesn’t matter.” Fired up discussions and arguments about business models and venture capital when building up businesses.

Particularly Motivational Episodes

#21 with Dr. Mark Goulston, author of “Just Listen”, talking about how to get through to someone, and the fear of being a “One trick pony”.

#24 with “Get off the bitch train” Gary Vaynerchuck of VaynerMedia, author of “Crush it!”. Takeaway: The importance of support: Gary pointed out how he necessarily might not have succeeded as well if his mother hadn’t empowered him with great self confidence.

#40 with Jason talking to students working on the of Penn State University’s “Idea Pitch” contest. Full of takeaways.

Venture Capital

#15 with Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital, Key takeaway: Focus! Great example of how to improve a pitch. 

#25 with Mark Suster of GRP Partners and #mustread blog Both Sides of The Table, now also hosting This Week In Venture Capitalweekly news and commentary on the top 10 recent venture deals and exits. Don’t be a fool to miss it!


#47 with Neil Robertson, Founder and CEO of Trada, recently launched PPC marketplace with crowdsourced PPC expertise. Absolutely great episode on how to manage a crowd for a crowdsourcing business.

Open Source Companies And Hiring

#26 with Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress. See my previous summary.

#49 with Sky Dayton, Founder of Earthlink and Boingo. Besides from a great entrepreneur story, Job hopping and Gen Y Throphy

Long story short: I’ve only managed to mention 17 of 50 great shows you should look into!

Thanks for great and entertaining first year, nicely sponsored by Bing, DNAmail, PowerVPS, Ustream, and WebSpy!

Paula is Digital Product Advisor and Top 100 Women in Tech in Europe, focusing on Product, Go-to-market, and Internationalization strategies. She has to date mentored over 150 digital technology companies on product, marketing and growth, and rated as one of the very best startup mentors in Europe. Contact Paula to to build engaging digital products and cooperate on #Startups #WomenInTech #GenderEquality #ClimateChange and #OpenWeb. Read more about her work and connect @Twitter, @LinkedIn. “You never learn anything when you speak, only when you listen”Roelof Botha / Douglas Leone, Sequoia Capital