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6 tips from Jason Calacanis to get your startup started

Jason Calacanis is a true American internet pioneer. The 43-year-old's first company was part of the dawning New York dot-com boom and paved a golden path for him: Weblogs, Inc.,, Sequoia Capital,,, LAUNCH and Dyn are only the best known of his always successful projects. On his blog, the entrepreneur with a degree in psychology reports on current trends, his latest projects and developments in the American online industry.

Jason Calacanis recently reported on LinkedIn about the start-up phase of his new project and gave six valuable tips that can also help other entrepreneurs on their way to success:


Many of you already know that I'm currently working on my new startup project will be launching soon - and I love it!

You can follow the project at and

The beta phase starts this summer and the final start date is (hopefully) this fall. It's going great and it feels like everything I've ever built in my entire life has - from "Silicon Alley Reporter" above "Engadget" up to "TechCrunch50 / LAUNCH" and "This Week in Startups" - led me to this one point.

If you would like to find out more about my startups, you can sign up for the newsletter here:

In the past two weeks, five of the most important and smartest industry experts have looked at my designs. And it not only knocked them off their feet, but all but one person offered to invest in my project here and now! That feeling of getting a real hit is great.

Do you know the feeling when you have the best hand ever in poker and can't wait to toss your cards on the table and blow everyone away? That's exactly how I feel right now. If you've never played poker before: It feels like you've fought really hard for something and now the trophy is right in front of you - you just have to grab it.

The best hand, baby!

There is no better feeling when building a startup! And that's why I have six important rules for you here so that you can soon feel the same way:

1. Sell the promise: There are two ideal times to raise money for a startup: before launch and during the strongest growth phase. Before starting, you sell your vision, but it cannot be measured. Therefore, this variant is the best for you as a founder, after all, your investor cannot fault any numbers that do not exist!
And after the start? Better not, then the potential investor might look at the numbers and think, "This is not going well." On the other hand, I have to say that I am not looking for investors myself.

2. Do not look for money, but for advice: If you ask for money, you will get good advice, so look for good advice to get money. I myself stick to the fact that I don't collect any money, but let's be honest: in one way or another we all try to get money from people who add real value to our project.

3. Gather all advice and write it down: On my desk are stacks of notes from meetings with very intelligent people. I ask them very short questions and write down the answers: “What do you think about this?”, “What (about my concept) do you like best?”, “What do you like the least?”, “Would you use this product? If yes how?" and “Who do you think can give me qualified feedback?”. This last point is particularly helpful because it is a very good way of building relationships: “Oh, so you mean Michael Moritz would mark this on Digg? Maybe you can introduce us to each other? " And the good advice turns into real progress.

4. Do a double-blind study on your design: The world is design driven, especially right now. That is why the best products are those that have the best design and solve a problem at the same time. That's why I recommend a double-blind test before your website goes online. Give your product requirements to two independent designers and let them test your site so that you have two differentiated opinions in the end. I've already done that and am currently looking for more design ideas on and It will cost about $ 2,000 to $ 10,000, but the money is definitely worth it.

5. Take your time: We gave ourselves a lot of time to extensively test and finalize the product. We do not adhere to the well-known “Lean Startup” principle [to concentrate only on the core of the project and go online as quickly as possible]. No, we know we have a killer product and we do all of these “hidden” MVPs [Minimum Viable Product] like buying Facebook traffic from a Midwestern city and sending thousands of users to a hidden page . We want everything to be perfect. Of course it will never be, but we would like it that way - that's why we take all the time in the world.

6. Plan the big start: You only have one chance to start your project with a lot of noise, so do it right! Right now I'm getting a lot of emails and Twitter followers without even speaking to the press once. As we are getting closer and closer to the release date, I now give you a few pointers about the status and appearance of the project in order to then ask who would like to take part in the closed beta phase. Need best practice? Then take a look at how the “MailBox” app handled its reservation system. Alternatively, you can also try LaunchRock.

Those were all the tips I currently have for Statups in the start-up phase. [...]

All the best @jason


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