Dustin's Career Advice

  • Jason Calacanis hosts a live Q&A session called "Ask Jason" where founders, investors, and career seekers can ask him questions.
  • Dustin, the first guest, shares his background and asks for advice on finding roles that fit his generalist skill set and how to market himself effectively.
  • Jason suggests that Dustin maximize his revenue to build up his financial stability and learn from experienced founders before starting another company.
  • Dustin reveals that he has low personal burn and student loan debt, making him well-positioned to accept a job offer or even become a co-founder.
  • Jason advises against being a solo founder and emphasizes the importance of having a team to increase the chances of success.
  • Dustin discusses his experience as a solo founder and later a co-founder, highlighting the benefits of having a co-founder to share the responsibilities and workload.
  • Jason asks Dustin about the marketable skills and expertise he gained during his startup journey.
  • Dustin mentions that he became proficient at translating complex products to customers and ensuring their successful adoption.
  • Initially fearful of customer interactions, Dustin overcame his fear and found joy in building relationships and understanding customer needs.
  • The speaker suggests that Dustin should focus on branding himself as a "Customer Discovery Engineer" and create content related to customer discovery on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Substack.
  • Dustin should establish himself as a credible expert in customer discovery by sharing his knowledge, insights, and experiences.
  • After building his personal brand, Dustin should reach out to startups in the seed stage and offer his services as a customer discovery consultant.
  • If successful, Dustin could potentially earn a substantial income by consulting for multiple startups and eventually become a co-founder of a promising company.
  • This approach allows Dustin to leverage his expertise, passion, and discipline to create a unique and marketable skill set.

Job Searching Strategy

  • The speaker suggests an alternative approach to job searching by targeting high-paying consulting gigs instead of traditional job applications.
  • The strategy involves identifying potential customers, raising prices, and firing non-lucrative clients to build a successful consulting business.
  • The speaker recommends attending Founder Fridays in Denver to network with founders, find customers, and potentially secure a co-founder role.
  • Aggressive outreach, such as directly contacting business owners and bypassing traditional channels, is encouraged to secure consulting opportunities.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of being persistent and assertive in reaching out to potential clients and not being discouraged by rejections.

Venture Capital Investment Strategy

  • The speaker defines "definitive winners" in the context of venture capital as startups that have a known VC leading the round, pricing the round, joining the board, and ensuring proper governance.
  • "Likely winners" are startups that have a convertible note round with specific terms set by the founder, but lack a definitive lead investor or board representation.
  • The speaker shares examples of definitive winners from their own portfolio, such as Robinhood and Superhuman, which had strong lead investors and experienced significant growth.
  • The speaker describes their investment strategy for seed-stage companies.
  • They aim to invest in 200 companies, with 20 of those being "definitive winners" and the rest being "likely winners."
  • Definitive winners receive an average of $1 million in funding, while likely winners receive an average of $100,000.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of having enough capital in reserve to follow up on promising investments.
  • They suggest that funds should aim to have around 40% of their capital in reserve.
  • The speaker also discusses the importance of being thoughtful about investment strategy and getting feedback from others.
  • They mention that they have a course called Angel University where they teach people about angel investing.

Podcast Sponsorship Strategy

  • The host discusses how to choose sponsors for a podcast.
  • The host suggests that podcasters should focus on brand alignment and value for the audience rather than solely on ROI.
  • The host recommends that podcasters set a minimum ad buy to ensure that advertisers get a good return on their investment.
  • The host advises podcasters to be selective about which advertisers they accept and to avoid advertisers who are not a good fit for the podcast's audience.
  • The host suggests that podcasters consider using a tiered pricing system for ads, with different levels of investment corresponding to different levels of exposure and value.
  • The host cautions against taking on too many sponsorships, as this can lead to audience burnout.
  • The host emphasizes the importance of maintaining objectivity and transparency when reading ads on a podcast.

Growing a Podcast Audience

  • Focus on content and connecting with the audience.
  • Pair the podcast with a newsletter to provide value between episodes and grow the audience.
  • Consider subscriptions for professionals.
  • Send personalized emails to potential listeners and invite them to subscribe to the podcast.
  • Organize in-person meetups to connect with the audience and attract sponsorships.
  • Prioritize sound quality by investing in good microphones and earphones.
  • For growth, consider raising a seed round if the value proposition to customers justifies the investment in advertising and customer acquisition.

Evaluating a Potential Investment Opportunity

  • Arbitrage businesses like the described gym network can be profitable if the business model is figured out.
  • Determine the profitability of the radio ad campaigns by analyzing the number of website visitors and the revenue generated from those visits.
  • Consider bringing in a CMO with founder status to implement a world-class marketing and advertising campaign for the independent gym owners.
  • The business model presented seems more like a money-printing LLC than a venture-scale, defensible business.
  • The current approach resembles an agency-style business rather than a scalable platform.
  • To be perceived as a platform, the business needs to shift towards a self-service model where users can sign in and participate without the need for a salesperson.
  • The business should focus on determining if it has a highly fragmented market and if it can achieve consistency in its offerings.
  • The company should prioritize customer feedback and success metrics such as customer retention and churn rate.
  • Letters of intent (LOIs) should not be relied upon as they indicate a lack of commitment from potential customers.

Customer Discovery and Membership Model

  • The business has achieved solid traction with 31 paying customers, generating an average revenue of $900 per customer, with the company capturing $10,000 per customer.
  • The business model involves offering a membership product to loyal customers of restaurants, cafes, and other establishments.
  • One successful example is a restaurant that increased its revenue by converting 4% of its customers into members who paid a $100 monthly fee for perks like priority seating and special offers.
  • The key to success is understanding the needs and preferences of the target customers and offering them valuable benefits that enhance their experience.
  • The business has not raised any funding and is currently focused on customer discovery and experimentation to identify the most effective strategies for growth.
  • The founder suggests expanding the customer base beyond restaurants and bars to include cafes, bakeries, delis, and other types of establishments.
  • Running experiments and gathering customer feedback is crucial to refining the membership model and determining its potential for generating revenue and covering costs.
  • Hiring an extroverted and passionate individual to engage with local businesses and promote the membership program could be beneficial.
  • The business has potential and the founder is encouraged to explore opportunities with incubators or accelerators for further growth and support.

Overwhelmed by Endless Content?