There’s a new web series out that entrepreneurs, investors, and venture capitalists need to follow. Yes, I’m talking about This Week in Startups, a clever podcast that provides a little look inside how entrepreneurship works.
For those who don’t know, TWiST is produced and hosted by veteran Internet entrepreneur and startup-wizard Jason Calacanis, the man behind Mahalo.com and formerly Weblogs, Inc. and Silicon Alley Reporter.
The show is a simple, easy watch that delivers compelling interviews without dumbing it down for the audience. For the guest portion, TWiST uses a Q&A format instead of the more common, round-table style that similar video podcasts use. This makes for a clear discussion that stays on topic, something that podcasts like This Week in Tech have struggled with recently. For some reason, many podcasts seem to forget that the human brain can handle only so many voices at one time.
TWiST comes off professional. It isn’t a bunch of fanboys sitting around with slack mouths. Neither are the guests industry neophytes. We’re talking notables like Seth Sternberg, the guy who started the defacto Web 2.0 instant-message app, Meebo.com. Calacanis’s successful background gives him both the ability and the authority to ask guests the right questions. And ask the right questions he does. In the first episode of TWiST, Calacanis brings on Brian Alvey, CEO of Crowd Fusion, a new content management system.
They cover the gamut — everything from company origins and inspirations to funding and dirty secrets. For entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, listening to guests and Calacanis hamper out history could yield some interesting nuggets of wisdom. As for the future, Calacanis often gives his own industry-specific predictions, and I would listen to him.
In episode two (above), Calacanis gave some of that good old-fashioned know-how to VCs who want young entrepreneurs to take in experienced professionals before the product.
“Don’t fracking say that. It really pisses off entrepreneurs. You can think it, but don’t you say it. Wait until the performance is down,” said Calacanis.
Technically, the web series is all about quality. Voices and video come through loud and clear. There were a few hiccups but those didn’t last long. Just in case, show producers are watching Twitter hashtag #TWiST so let them know if there is a problem. One thing that was distracting: whoever does the lighting makes Calacanis look like some divine being, but hey, that could be intentional.
Overall, TWiST does a good job making itself a valuable resource and a good source of entertainment. Ironically, TWiST is its own startup of sorts. Calacanis and guests often add humor to the show and incoming tweets provide some comical breaks. The last thing the Interwebs needs is another the stereotypical, dry, business podcast and TWiST makes money-making much more interesting.
The podcast is offered up in both audio and video flavors, depending on your mode of consumption. The live show tapes on Friday afernoons and is beamed up to UStream for real-time viewing. The live-show experiment is something Mahalo has been playing around in, having tried its first This Week in YouTube live show last month. To keep track, TWiST publishes a schedule that shows upcoming guests, which by the way is open for viewer suggestions.