Jason Calacanis is Right about Start ups.


lot’s of people like to hate on Jason and he loves it. If you haven’t figured it out yet Jason is a master of link baiting and this latest post is another classic example. I have only met Jason three times in very short and casual conversations. I have seen him give three keynotes. Two were fantastic and his talk at Gnomedex got derailed before it ever got started by Dave Winer.

I understood immediately that he likes to say controversial things to get peoples attention and at the end of the day he really doesn’t care what any of us think about him. With that in mind the main theme of his post is valid and 100% accurate.

If you want your start up company to succeed you need to spend wisely, save money where you can, make smart decisions and hire excellent people. You need to ideally not make bad hires to begin with but if you do, you need to cut that deadwood right away.

Following his advice will help you succeed. It doesn’t guarantee success, ignoring it doesn’t guarantee failure but I will be any of the wise men slamming Jason a year’s salary that most companies that succeed adhere to Jason’s philosophy rather than do the kumbaya lets all love each other and have perfect 9 – 5 jobs and take vacations BS. That stuff is all important but it all comes after you have a strong foundation for your company not before.

Mike Arrington gets it. Robert Scoble gets it. Mark Evans gets it.

Dave Winer responds today with a very valid point. Hot products are what makes a company succeed. That is fundamental. Some times crap succeeds but more often than not a quality product is a requirement to success not a gaurantee of it. Lots of companies with hot products fail for many of the reasons Jason listed in his posts, and some just have plain old bad luck, bad timing, etc.

While I agree with Dave that leaders should lead by example and be a model for their employees and inspire instead of intimidate; more than anything employees particularly in a start up need to believe in their product, company and leader more than they need to love their leader.

Taking Jason’s controversial style into account his main theme was you need to be driven to succeed. That drive needs to extend beyond the owner and founder, every employee needs to believe in that dream and be driven to see it succeed to have a realistic chance of succeeding.

Those aren’t new words of wisdom. They have been said and followed since the beginning of the entrepreneur and for people to dispute them is really just silly, or more likely the latest excuse to hate on Jason Calacanis.

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