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June 29, 2005

VV Show #4 - Joe Kraus of JotSpot (part 1 of 2)

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Joe Kraus

Conventional wisdom tells us to go get a job out of college to learn the ropes, not to take on friends as business partners, and to accept defeat gracefully. Joe Kraus's business war stories are anything but conventional. Before graduating college, he convinced five of his friends to pass on blue chip job offers to start a business of their own. What would that business be? They didn't know yet, but met at a burrito shop to come up with something. The rest is Internet history.

Joe was the founding president of Excite, one of the first well-known Internet search and content sites. After a merger, Joe left Excite@Home in 2000 and tried his hand at world travel, angel investing and politics. Unable to break the entrepreneurship addiction, Joe is now starting JotSpot, the first application-wiki company. More on his newest venture in the next show.

Show notes:

1:05 Starting a business out of college

2:00 Catching the entrepreneurship bug

4:45 Working with friends

9:20 Developing business ideas

12:10 Raising capital

12:45 Power of persistence

15:15 Excite's merger

19:20 Decompressing, angel investing and entrepreneurial addiction

Joe Kraus official bio:

Joe Kraus is co-founder and CEO of JotSpot, the first application-wiki company. A long time entrepreneur, Joe has been involved with early-stage technology development and starting companies for more than twelve years. Upon graduation from Stanford University in 1993, he joined with five engineering friends to found the highly successful Internet company, Excite, Inc. The original president of Excite, Joe was deeply involved in product strategy, direction and vision as the company grew. He also held senior operational roles in business development, international development and content.

After leaving Excite@Home in 2000, Joe was a co-founder of, a non-profit grassroots consumer organization with more than 50,000 members dedicated to protecting consumers fair-use rights to digital media. Joe, along with other co-founder Graham Spencer, continues to work on these important issues. In addition to his non-profit focus, he has also spent many years as an angel investor, working with numerous early-stage technology companies.

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June 23, 2005

VV Show #3 - Philip Kaplan of AdBrite

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Philip Kaplan

This Internet bad boy doesn't think he's so bad, and one of the top venture capital firms agrees to the tune of $4 million. Don't know who Philip Kaplan of AdBrite is? Well if you were doing anything remotely dot com related in the late 90's you probably know who Philip Kaplan of (FC for short) is. His site grew famous, if not infamous, for posting the latest additions to the 'dot com dead pool.' Now with his current prize business, AdBrite, he intends never to join the businesses that FC featured.

Philip was not nearly covered as much for AdBrite as he was for FC, so we decided to catch up with him on the phone. He didn't sound as eccentric you might expect of someone with his resume, but he still has the attitude and smarts needed to be a dot com muckraker.

Watch that language: We try to keep our podcast pretty clean, but there's no getting around the F-word when talking about Philip's past (and Philip doesn't say 'the F-word'), so don't blast this podcast in your office if it's bring your child to work day.

Show notes:

2:35 The LA Times dubbed Philip Kaplan 'Internet Bad Boy'

3:10 Origin of FC

5:30 Birth of AdBrite

7:30 Funding from Sequoia Capital

10:00 FC today

11:15 New York to San Francisco

13:15 AdBrite growth

18:35 Profanity in Web sites

19:10 AdBrite blog

19:30 Blog industry

19:55 Media matters

21:40 Reading and watching habits

24:05 Philip's book, F'd Companies

24:30 New opportunities on the Web

25:25 FastCompany

25:50 AdBrite in three years

Philip Kaplan official bio:

Philip J. Kaplan is a 29-year-old entrepreneur based in New York City and San Francisco, USA. He has founded and manages a number of web-based properties. Philip is also the bestselling author of F'd Companies, and founded PK Interactive, an Internet consultancy that was sold in 2001. Philip's sites have been named "Site of the Year" by Yahoo!, Rolling Stone, and TIME Magazine.

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June 20, 2005

VV Show #2 - Dick Costolo of FeedBurner (part 2 of 2)

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Sick of potential investors not taking your phone calls? Pitch a venture capitalist on his iPod. Dick Costolo of FeedBurner tells us how his CTO did just that in the second and final part of our conversation. (Be sure to check out the first half too if you haven't already).

Show notes:

0:35 Team building

1:25 How FeedBurner communicates internally

2:40 Communicating with investors

3:15 Customer support

9:35 No blog policy (or vacation policy) for employees

11:25 Making money by blogging and podcasting

13:20 Reading and listening habits

14:30 iPod pitches to venture capitalists

17:15 Business plan vs. elevator pitch podcast

17:50 FeedBurner's growth opportunities

20:30 Web 2.0 or bubble 2.0

22:00 Process for picking new business ideas

27:20 Costolo's elevator pitch for using FeedBurner

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June 15, 2005

VV Show #1 - Dick Costolo of FeedBurner (part 1 of 2)

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Dick Costolo of FeedBurner joins us for our first show. FeedBurner provides services for publishers of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS is an interface that allows users to access data from blogs, traditional media, podcasts and other sources in the way they want to view it. Dick's service is widely used and well funded.

Show notes:

1:25 FeedBurner is company number four for Dick

2:45 Got interested in RSS

7:30 Exciting new areas in RSS technology

9:00 Bloggers as investors

9:55 Blog vs. business plan

11:15 Raising the first round of capital

12:45 The FeedBurner Founding Fathers

14:00 Life at the executive suite 'flat desk'

16:35 Phone answering and delegation

19:05 Entrepreneurs as CEOs

21:25 Focus for serial entrepreneurs

24:10 Chicago blues
25:55 Chicago talent

The next show (part 2 of this interview) will discuss team building, how to pitch a venture capitalist through his iPod and the biggest threat to FeedBurner. To be notified of our next show, add us to your RSS or podcast client, or enter your e-mail address in the box at the top right hand side.

Please send in your critiques, complements and suggestions.

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June 8, 2005

Welcome to the Podcast

What does it take to start a successful business? We're working the phone to find the answers by calling entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and their friends and foes. This podcast (or, for the uninitiated, Internet radio show on demand) features our conversations. Listen to the voices of those living the entrepreneurial life. The excitement, trepidation and ambition heard in their tones gives us a feel for what they're going through.

We're interested in people in all types of industries -- those who've already made it big and those who will soon. We want to hear about failures as well as successes. Start-ups have effects on personal lives in addition to professional lives; we explore both. If you would like to suggest someone to be interviewed, or have feedback for the show, please contact us.

Gregory Galant produces Venture Voice and conducts the interviews. Aaron Quint does the creative work for the Web site and helps with sound engineering.

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