Sunday, April 29, 2012

Education Startup Seeks Managing/Executive Editor

Anyone out there interesting changing the world, or at least trying to put a dent in it? :-) 
best @jason

Education Startup Seeks Managing/Executive Editor

Hey, I'm the founder and CEO of a startup named Mahalo. My name is Jason Calacanis.

I've built some solid brand in the past, like Engadget, Silicon Alley Reporter, TechCrunch50, LAUNCH, Cinematical, Open Angel Forum and TVSquad. You might have heard of one or two of them. Or not. They're kind of niche products.

Anyway, we're a venture-backed startup with really cool offices in Culver City. Our mission is to help people "learn anything," and we do that by providing courses primarily in the form of apps on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

Additionally we publish our content on YouTube, the web and Apple's iBook platform.

Here's our “Learn Guitar” iBook, which has been getting amazing reviews:

It's also available as an app for iPhone, iPad and Android:

And you can see this course on the web:

Finally, here's a video on YouTube where our guitar instructor, Jen Trani, teaches you how to play an A minor chord:

Yes, the same course available in five different place. Someday we'll probably have these courses on Samsung, Apple and Sony TVs. Right about now you're probably saying, "Wow, this is a really neat idea: Mahalo makes awesome courses available everywhere, and they only charge a couple of bucks for the app while providing it free with advertising. Genius!"

Yes, it's a good idea, and it's working. But we're just getting started.  

In the past six months alone we've had 950,000+ downloads of our apps and 200M views on YouTube. In fact, we've probably broken 1M app downloads while you were reading this.

The big opportunities right now are mobile, social, education and video. We're three of those four, and we're going to try to figure out the "social" part of education next year.

Our courses have grown from "7s and 8s" on my internal scoring system to "9s and 10s." This awesome leap has occurred thanks to a really hard-working team that regularly puts in 50- and 60-hour weeks.

We have an awesome team right now. Just smart, creative and fun people who really bring it every day. We have no bozos at the company. Zero.

We've become absurdly obsessed with quality, and in the last month, Apple has featured our products three times—without us asking. They just did it. We think that means we're ready to scale our business and make many, many more courses.

Right now I'm the CEO of the company, and I'm running all of the product department (both features of apps and the content within them). I could really use the help of a  managing/executive editor type (to use a magazine term). This will allow me to focus more on CEO-type activities.

So, I'm looking for a hard-working, passionate individual who can manage and improve the following functions:

a) managing a team of 15 internal writers, producers, video editors and group leaders, as well as 25 freelancers.
b) managing the production process from start to finish. This means idea generation, casting, pre-production, shooting, post-production and product release.  
c) researching what courses we should produce next.
d) maintaining our "8 or better" rule, and over the coming months, helping to develop a "9 or better" benchmark.
e) hiring awesome video editors, writers and producers—most of which will have under five years of experience and need to be developed.

From my perspective, getting featured in the App Store and having almost a million downloads in four months means we're doing something right. We're ready for your talents!

I recently wrote an article on the subject of excellence, and I think it would be a good idea to read it if you're thinking of working with me:

Since what we're doing is a new product (interactive video books) for a new medium (tablets and smartphones), there is little chance you'll have five years experience making "interactive vooks." Well, maybe if you worked for Voyager back in the 1990s, but I think there are about 12 people who worked there and most are retired. Who knows, maybe you worked on the Blender or LAUNCH interactive CD-ROMs.

The proverbial "ideal candidate" for this job is someone who has managed a team of 15 creatives producing dozens of products a year. Those products might have been magazines, books or DVDs.

You should have a superhuman ability to tell the difference between a good and great product.

You should be able to communicate exactly what would make a product that's an eight, nine or 10—and lead a team to execute your advice.

You should know what makes one photo brilliant and another. Why one illustration is instructive and another is banal. Why one blurb is clever and another is trying too hard. Why one video is brilliantly entertaining and another is cheesy.

Bottom line: you should want to do great work with a great team—no matter the cost.

If you want to change the world, innovate, make a dent in the universe, get rich and build a huge company, email me. Worst case scenario we die trying!


Send a cover letter, resume and what you think of the Apps listed above. Thoughts on where education, mobile and content are going are awesome as well.

Jason on Twitter This Week in Startups

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Four more free apps from Mahalo!

Dave Goldberg of @surveymonkey on @TWISTartups #twist

Today, on This Week in Startups, Jason sat down with long-time friend, fellow angel investor and SurveyMonkey ( CEO Dave Goldberg ( Dave began working in digital music before that concept even existed and had some words of wisdom to share about launching in an uncharted space, being too early to market and persevering when nobody understands your idea. Oh, and did we mention that he’s also married to a pretty awesome woman in tech?

Watch the full interview here: 

Or, you can jump straight to some highlights:
       • 33 minutes in: Dave's path to SurveyMonkey. Watch:
       • 55 minutes in: Why companies need Gen X and Gen Y. Watch:
       • 1 hour, 5 minutes in: Dave's wife, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and her influence. Watch:

Jason on Twitter This Week in Startups

Friday, April 13, 2012

This Week in Startups @ 1PM w/ @traversdavid @_davidcarter

Today, on This Week in Startups, news roundtable panelists David Travers (, partner at the VC firm Rustic Canyon (, and David Carter (, a co-founder of the accelerator Amplify LA (, will join the program to offer their insight and analysis on some of the most buzzed about topics in tech news this week, including:

1. Facebook Buys Instagram for $1B
2. Apple Hits a $600B Market Cap
3. … And then Gets Slapped with an Anti-Trust Lawsuit
4. Google+ Debuts Revamped Navigation
5. Ex-Gowalla Employees Join Instagram Instead of Facebook, Get Acquired by Facebook
6. Yammer Makes its First Acquisition: OneDrum
7. Are Google and Amazon Eyeing Travelzoo?
8. Facebook Opens Up Access to User Data
9. Sony Launches Android-Powered Smart-Watch
10. Microsoft Buys Part of Netscape

Check out our Ranker page to read more and vote up your favorite story:

At 1pm PT, join us to watch and discuss in the chat right here: We'll also be in the chats on our live channels on ( and Ustream (, and we'd love to hear your feedback and discussion.

Today's episode is made possible with the help of our incredible sponsors Walker Corporate Law ( and GoToMeeting (! Be sure to thank @ScottEdWalker and @GoToMeeting for sponsoring @TWiStartups!

And, if you're not subscribed to our shows in iTunes, they're only a click away.

TWiST audio on iTunes:
TWiST video on iTunes:

Thanks for watching!
Carolyn, TWiST Producer

[Just hit 'reply' to reach our whole team.] 

Jason on Twitter This Week in Startups

Learn Pilates App iPhone & iPad free today!

Learn Pilates App iPhone & iPad free today! please help us get to the top 10! 

Jason on Twitter This Week in Startups

Friday, April 6, 2012

Support This Week in Startup by clicking our @amazon banner!


You can support This Week in Startups by clicking on this banner at before you buy anything at!

Seriously, producing independent media aint cheap--and clicking up here before
buying your next flatpanel or shirts will really add up! 

Thanks so much for considering it, @jason 

Jason on Twitter This Week in Startups

Mahalo's first iBook hits #1 in iBook store in 72 hours!

Mahalo's first iBook is #1 in the iBook store for *paid* Arts &
Entertainment! Mahalo is  producing world-class educational content at
distruptive prices. We are Zynga for education.

This is a message from the MailScanner E-Mail Virus Protection Service
The original e-mail attachment "Mahalo_s first.jpg"
is on the list of unacceptable attachments for this site and has been
replaced by this warning message.

Due to limitations placed on us by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers
Act 2000, we were unable to keep a copy of the original attachment.

At Fri Apr 6 10:00:25 2012 the virus scanner said:
Very long filenames are good signs of attacks against Microsoft e-mail packages (Mahalo_s first.jpg)

Jason on Twitter This Week in Startups