Jason Calacanis on saving money in startups

This post by Jason Calacanis on “How to save money running a startup” has been making the rounds and drawing a lot of criticism as well as some praise.

My feeling is that he has it mostly right, and some of the points really resonated with me. If you are going to build a startup, you should read his tips, and have a good reason if you choose to ignore any of them.

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2 Responses to Jason Calacanis on saving money in startups

  1. noel says:

    I have to say I’m pretty outraged by the attitude that only the workaholics are worth hiring. What kind of bar raising bullshit is that? This is just another way of saying ‘minimize the hourly rate that you pay your staff’. If my salary is 100k, but I’m working 60 hours a week, then I’m only making a little over $30/hr (assuming 2 weeks vacation). That’s pretty poor wages relative to other professionals in a place like the bay area anyway. Laywers make $200/hr or more. Accountants too. I think my time is worth more than a hair stylist…

    And 90% of all stock options expire worthless. That number was completely fabricated, but you know what I mean.

    I think I’m a productive worker. I obsess over problems which I find myself thinking about as I wake up and go to bed. But I’m not going to give my life over to a job at the expense of my health and my relationships. France has mandatory 35 hour work weeks, yet one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. Productivity and efficiency stem from a balanced lifestyle.

  2. I think that startups are special and need workaholics, but you cant have everyone be a workaholic, just a core few. That being said it is important to know when you are being productive as an individual and when you are “just grinding metal” as I call it, just cranking stuff that will be tossed out the next day. The upside for people who work in startups is the stock options, if the startup succeeds those will be worth far more than a salary. That being said startups are not for everybody.

    As for France, I think the comparison is flawed in many respects. They have a very high unemployment rate, a high cost of employment, and very protective employment laws. If you have a job great, if you don’t good luck to you getting one. It is also very hard to set up a new company, I would never be able to do there what I have been able to do in the US. There is also a very suspecting attitude to making money, if you have a lot or make a lot, people assume that you are doing something illegal or fiddling the system, or both. And there is a wealth tax which starts hitting you once your net worth is around $750,000. The upshot is that if you are French and want to make money, you need to leave France. Just ask Philippe Kahn, Jean-Louis Gasse and Jeff Clavier amongst others. I am just amazed at the size of the French diaspora in the US (and in the UK for that matter.) While there are many things wrong with the US system, I think there are many more things wrong with the French system.

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