Jason Calacanis Anthony Pompliano

Jason Calacanis – The World’s Most Successful Angel Investor?

Check out The Pomp Podcast Podcast Page

Key Takeaways

  • Build things before raising funds for a startup
  • Prioritize having the best investors on your team
    • “You want the smartest people and the most experienced people running into the fire with you” – Pomp
  • Companies studying how to massively lower prices is good for consumers
    • Problems arise when big tech unfairly promote their products against competition
  • Bitcoin is a money evolution before being technology innovation, there is no such thing as “the next Bitcoin”
  • “Don’t go put 100% of your assets into Bitcoin, but also don’t get caught having 0% exposure” – Anthony Pompliano
  • The key to gain confidence is to consistently show up and do the work
  • “What you don’t know about business you can learn, but being able to create a great product is the true gift and skill in the world” – Jason Calacanis
  • “He who holds the audience has all the power now” – Anthony Pompliano

Intro

  • Jason Calacanis (@Jason) is an internet entrepreneur, investor, and author of Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups
  • Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano (@APompliano) is an entrepreneur, investor, and Co-founder at Morgan Creek Digital
  • The conversation is a crossover episode between The Pomp Podcast and This Week in Startups Podcast

Crypto ICO Craze

  • Tampered down by regulatory pressure, the crypto ICO craze (Initial Coin Offering) seems to have mostly ended
    • Regulators consider ICO to be raising capital, and is regulated by securities laws
      • Ethereum is an exception, possibly because the network was operational before the ICO
  • In the traditional world, raising tens of millions would mean having products, employees, users
    • We are not seeing that yet in the ICO space, there is no measurable success for nearly all ICOs
    • Many investors were just rolling over profits from Bitcoin’s bull run, or missed out and playing catch-up
  • Some founders wanted the decentralization of having people own a product, rather than venture capitalists
  • Good regulation takes time
    • One suggestion: A simple registration website with the SEC to allow bounded funding before a project has to be registered as a security
    • That said, founders with great products find it easier to pitch VCs than to go through alternatives
      • Going through alternatives like ICOs probably means an inferior product

Build Before Seeking Funding

  • Getting big funding separates the team from the product and the customer
    • They are drowned in opportunity and start arguing over meaningless things and facilities
  • Tools are available to create products quickly and cheaply

Fundraising for Startups

  • New entrepreneurs aim to squeeze out the highest valuations whereas serial founders prioritize who they partner with – here is why:
    • Smart investors are worth their money, founders gain value by having them on their team
    • “You want the smartest people and the most experienced people running into the fire with you” – Pomp
  • Investor tip: To figure out if a startup is genuine, talk to its customers

Crazy Speculation is Chasing Easy Money

  • We are witnessing the gamification of finance through platforms like Robinhood
  • Young speculators have no strategy and will lose their money
    • Silver lining: They end up learning about finance and stocks

Unfair Competition with Big Tech

  • Big tech like Google or Amazon can copy successful products and create their own competing versions
    • This becomes problematic if they unfairly promote their competing products, or compromise your distribution in favor of their own
    • Ideally, better-reviewed products should get fair placement, and rating data made publicly available
  • Keep in mind: companies studying how to massively lower prices is good for consumers
    • In his book, The Price of Tomorrow, author Jeff Booth describes how deflation in technology is great and has driven automation, lower prices, and created abundance
      • Read the Podcast Notes from Jeff’s appearance on Tales From the Crypt Bitcoin Podcast
    • One example: getting a private car with a driver used to signal elite status, but now everyone can request an Uber

Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin protocol has never been hacked despite having so much at stake
    • Owning bitcoins is the way to gain financial exposure to this un-hackable technology
  • There is no such thing as “the next Bitcoin” – here is why:
    • Bitcoin is a money evolution before being technology innovation
      • It’s the one shot to separate state and money, people will cease to believe if it fails
  • Safe haven assets are the first to be sold during a crisis
    • That said, even with sharp swings, Bitcoin remains the best performing asset of 2020
    • Additionally, with central banks printing trillions of Dollars, Paul Tudor Johns described Bitcoin as “The fastest horse” that he wants to own
      • Bitcoin’s advantage: The ability to 100% verify how many bitcoins exist, and how many are issued as new daily supply
  • Bitcoin has more on chain transaction volume than Paypal, Venmo, and Apple Pay, based on Adjusted On-chain Volume (excludes exchange volume)
    • Additionally, it serves as a store of value in countries with capital controls and where local currencies collapse
  • In short, “Don’t go put 100% of your assets into Bitcoin, but also don’t get caught having 0% exposure” – Pomp

Podcasting during Lock Downs

  • Remote interviews make it easier to get quality guests consistently
    • Moreover, you don’t lose much of the conversation quality
  • Jason ships a tech box to his guests; it contains a microphone, headset, and an Ethernet dongle
    • Additionally, they run an audio quality check, speed test, etc…
    • Result: Very few technical issues

Gaining Confidence

  • The key to gain confidence is to consistently show up and do the work
    • Additionally, it makes you aware of your own limitations
  • “What you don’t know about business you can learn, but being able to create a great product is the true gift and skill in the world” – Jason Calacanis
  • “He who holds the audience has all the power now” – Anthony Pompliano

Additional Notes

  • If Jason were president for 3 days, he would:
    • Get rid of unions (teachers, police, etc…)
    • Reset the relationship with and reduce US dependency on China
    • Decrease military spending and increase trade education spending
    • Work on cracking the 2 party system
  • If Pomp were president for 3 days, he would:
    • Reform the criminal justice system
    • Address income inequality by reforming federal reserve
  • Startup IPOs Pomp is excited about: Draft Kings and eToro
  • The pandemic could reset smart people congregating in areas like San Francisco

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Notes By Mostafa Khaled

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