Startup L. Jackson

Startup L. Jackson

Silicon Valley's anonymous, unfiltered tech pundit

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 23, 2016

Discussion

Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
I used to tweet a lot about startups. Now my iPhone battery lasts much longer.
- Kim Pham -
- Kim Pham -@kimpham404 · Growth Engineer
It's awesome that you're vocal about diversity and gender equality in tech, both as @StartupLJackson and @pt. You once said in a ProductHunt interview: "If you don’t have [women] on your team, that’s because you haven’t prioritized it. // If you get to 20 people, and 18 are white dudes, you’re going to have some problems. That’s cultural debt." I can't help but notice that 39 of 44* AngelList team members are men. How have you prioritized diversity at AngelList since joining as a Partner?
- Kim Pham -
- Kim Pham -@kimpham404 · Growth Engineer
*Total Includes founders + you. Reference: https://angel.co/angellist
Huong Tran
Huong Tran@huongtdt · Founder, Magpie
@kimpham404 @startupljackson @pt great question, thanks Kim! can't wait to hear your thoughts SLJ/PT
Tam Pham
Tam Pham@mrtampham · Community at Mixergy
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@kimpham404 @pt awesome question. It was a big topic of discussion at our last offsite and it's something we're actively working on. We're hiring now for sales and engineering roles and we'd love to hear from folks who aren't the usual suspects. You can email me parker @ angel.co. Beyond what we can do for ourselves, we have one of the top startup jobs products. The team working on that has been discussing ways we can help companies hire better. I don't have any products to pre-announce, but I hope we see the tools get better for finding diverse talent and reducing bias in the hiring process. There's work do be done there across the industry.
Djames
Djames@jamesthesnake · freelance
How does twitter get fixed?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@jamesthesnake twitter's macro problem is that it's "only" 300M users and 1B users have tried the product. Those 700M probably aren't coming back. As absurd as it is to say, that's sub-scale for advertisers and that has been the cause of their sliding valuation. In terms of what they do, if I were CEO — and this is 100% backseat driving — I'd make Moments a standalone app and take a portfolio approach. That need to mint 1-3 more 300M user apps in the next couple years. I do not believe the core property can be grown, but I do believe it's an asset as part of a broader portfolio strategy. I might consider taking the company private. There's been talk of this. Depending on how that were to go, it could be a good thing. Again though, it's easy to criticize. I wish the team well over there and trust that they aren't stupid. They're in a tough spot and I'm not sure anyone else could navigate it better.
Nathan A. Cleveland
Nathan A. Cleveland@tweededcleve · Field Access Specialist, Xcenda
When can we expect a "The Best of SLJ" coffee table book (Obviously with a kindle version for the coffee tables of the future)?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@tweededcleve I have nothing to pre-announce. I've received a few offers. I have committed to nothing, but if I can find a way to do it without it being a huge project, I'm in. I've got too much to do at my real job to spend a ton of time on media.
Adam Marx
Adam Marx@adammarx13 · Freelance writer/editor and music addict
@startupljackson @tweededcleve I think this is a fun little idea, and need not be such an intense process. I envision more of a @pmarca-style SLJ archives ebook that people can just download. Could be kinda fun. Thanks for the good material @pt :D
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
If being @startupljackson all this time has taught you one thing, what would you say that is?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@ems_hodge This may be the hardest question here. I don't think it was one thing. I learned some interesting things about how to make content go viral, what people find funny, how people interact on the internet given social cues and power structures, and what I myself think of certain aspects of the industry or kinds of businesses.
Osman Ahmed
Osman Ahmed@ozzie · Maker for the web
What led you to becoming inactive on Twitter?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@leafbomb It was no one thing. Reasons included: the secret was getting out, the account was becoming big enough that it was "the man" vs a satire of "the man," I was a bit bored with the schtick after four years, and I have a ton of other stuff to think about and 80k followers are a lot of people to entertain.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
From all the advice Startup L Jackson gave over his time on Twitter which are the most crucial pieces that you'd like the persona to be remembered for?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@bentossell my meta-issue, which I tweet a lot about, is thinking for yourself. In practice though, I think the nature of these things is that different tweets will resonate with different people depending on their situation.
Ennio
Ennio@enniodybeli · Product Designer @Typeform
If you would be a startup, what startup would you be ?
Drew Reynolds
Drew Reynolds@nydrewreynolds · Software Developer at Gramercy Tech
How did you keep your identity a secret for 4 years? There were people who claimed to have known all along, it had to be tough not letting it get out in the open. A few have gone very far trying to find your identity. Can you remember the closest anyone got to discovering you?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@nydrewreynolds There were a lot of people who knew. Many were close friends. Folks I told really just loved being in on the secret, I think. It was only in the last 6-9 months that it started really getting out there to people I did't know well. That was, for me, kinda the beginning of the end. I think the closest it got to getting out was tweets from the wrong account, like when there was an iOS client bug where I responded from the lock screen to a friend in Seattle about scheduling coffee and it sent from SLJ instead of pt. At that time my follower account was low enough that deleting it quickly avoided disaster.
Abe Storey
Abe Storey@abe_storey · Entrepreneur & Growth Marketer
What was the first time you realized, jeez, startup L Jackson is going to gain a huge audience? In other words, what was the tipping point?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@abe_storey Good question. There was probably a big viral tweet early, but I think for me the influence was more about the core following. Follower count was a vanity metric. So, I knew I was getting traction when I'd get people I respected following/engaging. As silly as it sounds, when Techmeme followed the account pretty recently, that was a big milestone. For me, that was a clear sign the account had become to some extent the official parody account of SV.
Jason Meeks
Jason Meeks@jasonkristofor · Making vision a reality @ISMConnect
What was your favorite SLJ moment or experience? Thanks for all the fun @pt
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@jasonkristofor @pt I can't recall a specific moment, but putting out a "totally fucking true" idea and seeing it resonate with people is pretty fun.
Jason Meeks
Jason Meeks@jasonkristofor · Making vision a reality @ISMConnect
@startupljackson @pt Right on, good luck with your next adventure. I'll miss SLJ, but am glad we got to witness.
Noah Buscher
Noah Buscher@nhbschr · 18 / lincoln / 🏳️‍🌈
Where are ya? You're missed! 😘
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey @pt Thanks for joining us! What are some of your favourite questions to ask founders?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@bentossell @pt When I talk to founders in a person context, I like to ask them how they're feeling; how it's going. When I meet with companies I've invested in, we talk a lot about team, product, customers. We talk a lot about their emotional state. As an early-stage investor, you can be tough love, but mostly it's being a utility player, a cheerleader, and a therapist. When I'm taking to companies for investments, I ask them about different aspects of their business to see how they think about the world. Questions differ by stage/market. Generally though, I'm looking to understand what their special insight is, how fast they learn, and how they know their product matters (i.e. delivers value). It's more an art than a science.
Djames
Djames@jamesthesnake · freelance
Would you trust jack to run two companies at once
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@jamesthesnake That's not my job. I'm not a shareholder in either company, though I have a bunch of friends at Square and am bullish. What I will say about Jack is that I have never seen a CEO build a more passionate and loyal team than he did at Square. A number of Pivotal employees followed him there early after working with Twitter, and they are more loyal than any team I've ever seen beyond a tiny startup. That's an impressive feat. If people are the most important thing, he's great at the most important thing.
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Has the revelation of your true identify helped or hurt your personal brand and career?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@tomstocklein My suspicion is that it will help.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What 3 things should every new founder constantly be thinking?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@ems_hodge - How much value am I delivering to my customers, how do I know, and how can we improve it? - How is my team doing and how can we do better? - How much money do I have left in the bank and then will I run out? Most startups die because nobody wants what they're making. This is the existential thereat early. If they get past this, they die from lack of execution, so team matters big time. I add the money thing because I see founders screw themselves by running out of money all the time. It sucks and is totally self inflicted. My theory is that it's a result of founders being irrationally optimistic by nature, so they end up thinking things are going to happen that don't and call me with three weeks of runway. For early startups, this is a surprisingly common problem and pretty easy to avoid.
Nik Sharma
Nik Sharma@mrsharma · Director of Performance Marketing, hint
Hey Parker, thanks for doing a PH LIVE! If you could be "Startup L. Jackson" in real life, what 5 startups today would you want to sit on the board of? Thanks!
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@mrsharma FWIW, I haven't taken any board seats because I love the idea to Series A stage and at this stage people don't need a board. They need advisors to help them focus on the right stuff. I call it horizontal expertise. They provide the vertical expertise. I'm not opposed to taking a board seat, but I suspect I'm much more valuable when the questions are around finding product-market fit, hiring an early team, selling your vision to seed investors, etc.
Sadie Warburg
Sadie Warburg@sadie_warburg · DevOp
What is your favorite drink on the rocks?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@sadie_warburg Whiskey. Always Whiskey. Though, when it's Scotch it's all about room temperature with a little water.
Virginia Barnett
Virginia Barnett@vbarnett323 · Serial Entrepreneur
@startupljackson Thank you for doing this chat today(it's my bday)! What is the one tweet that you either deleted or just didn't post that now, hindsight being 20/20, you wish you had? If none, who has been the most fun to have a Twitter "discussion" aka rant with? Feel free to answer both 🍷
Chris Marin
Chris Marin@_chrismarin · Founder at Convertist
Hey PT/SLJ! Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and operators? What's your take on the business development landscape right now, and where do think it might be headed? I run a startup and I feel like I have an opportunity to teach the hustle to others who weren't parceled out the advantages of private mentors, SAT prep school, and the traditional cushy grad school track. Any advice on doing this? What one piece of advice you would give your younger, fresh-out-of-university-self about running and scaling a startup into a formidable company? You're funny AF. Do you have any comedic influences?
Startup L. Jackson
Startup L. Jackson@startupljackson · Social Media Expert
@_chrismarin So many questions. I'll take a few of them. First, comedic influences: the late 1970s SNL crew and the movies they made in the 80s were what I was raised on, pretty much a result of my dad's influence. Caddy Shack, The Jerk, Spies Like Us, etc. Kinda absurdist humor. So great. On my fav startup people, I tend to be most inspired by the people I've worked with because I get to see the insides of how they work and treat people. I love this industry because I think it's mostly good people working their asses off, and that's an inspiring thing to be involved with in any capacity. In terms of teaching, I don't think hustlers need much pushing. They need help when they ask for stuff. They need your network and a bit of your advice/time. But in my experience, hustlers learn quick and drive themselves forward. I try to ask the cliche VC question, "how can I help?" It's a good place to start. My advice to fresh out of school people is to surround yourself with people you admire, and can learn from. I think for folks coming out of university, if you're hard working and smart and can find a good peer group, good things will happen. Trying to over plan, for example thinking about the job after the one you're looking for, is usually a bad idea.