StartUp Podcast: Origin Story (Season 2 #1)
April 23, 2015 1:57 PM - Subscribe

First comes love...then comes equity StartUp is a podcast series about what it's really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company. The business is Dating Ring, a dating company that combines technology with old-fashioned matchmaking. The founders are women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. And over the 10 episodes, we'll take you inside that world. Some of the challenges they face are different from Alex's: founder disagreements, hellish fundraising, and sexism. But just like Gimlet's story, theirs is also a transparent account of something that happens everyday in America, but we rarely get to see firsthand: starting a business.
posted by Tevin (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Great episode, excited for this new season.

Also, holy shit, Ford sponsorship. I hope it pays off for them. That could be really big.
posted by Tevin at 1:58 PM on April 23, 2015

Not sure how I felt about this episode. It was interesting, but I think because they are still looking backwards, we aren't getting all the insidery "in the moment" recording that we got about Gimlet. I'll definitely stick it out, however. I'm also pleased that they're featuring female entrepreneurs, and a female host, because we need more women in tech and radio.

I noticed Caitlin Kenney's name in the credits. Is he poaching *everyone* from NPR and its affiliates?
posted by radioamy at 10:02 AM on April 24, 2015

I think there was some telescoping of time in S1 also -- it felt to me like a lot of the episodes were "so here's what happened at this stage of the process", where that stage happened to have been a while ago, rather than "here's what happened in the last two weeks".

But agreed, the intro to this made S2 sound a lot more pre-planned -- in terms of a Serial-esque "we recorded all this interesting stuff, and then we arranged it into a season's worth of episodes" -- rather than in-the-moment.

(I'm also a lot more skeptical about yet-another-dating-site and a whole lot unconvinced by the "personal matchmaking, scaled up" proposition.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:51 AM on April 24, 2015

I was underwhelmed, largely for the same reasons radioamy listed. I understand why they're looking backwards over the past four months - it makes for a better-produced story and less-insane production schedule - but it's also less exciting. It doesn't feel like 'appointment listening' like S1 (or indeed, Serial). I know it's hard for S2 to live up to two of the biggest breakout successes of 2014, but them's the breaks when you've raised bags of cash.

I fear that we'll retread too much of the same procedural 'here's how a startup works' ground as S1. Take the equity discussion. I'm sure the producers were overjoyed that the founders recorded that call, but the fact is, we already heard this happen in S1, and in an even more intimate and dramatic fashion.

Now, if you haven't heard S1, that's not a problem. And I assume Gimlet are hoping they can grow the audience with S2, hence them explaining the equity thing again, and why it sounds much smoother (and less raw); but at the same time they need to retain their existing audience, and that's a really tough job. I wonder if they should've picked a company at a different stage of development.

Finally, the sneak peek at how Gimlet is doing? Even more underwhelming. I expected more than Alex doing a 60s walk around the office, given the fact that he teased it at the top of the show.
posted by adrianhon at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I really wish they hadn't picked a tech/online company. I know it's shocking, but there are actually people in the world trying to start businesses that don't revolve around the internet. That world already gets sooooo much attention. It sounds like the people involved will make it worth listening to, but it would have been nice to go in a new direction.

And yeah, the update was a waste.

One point with respect to the actual content of the episode: what bullshit that the online equity calculator gives more weight to coding ability. You can hire anyone to code. Not everyone has the skills to work with people, and yet that is totally undervalued. I'm still learning their names, but the partner who does the matchmaking is getting screwed.
posted by dry white toast at 8:32 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

dry white toast, I agree with you that the equity calculator is bullshit. Yikes.
posted by radioamy at 10:27 AM on April 30, 2015

People who are great at coding are just as rare as people who are great at working with people. As someone who has been in a position to hire for both skillsets, I'd say the coders are almost harder to find. So "you can hire anyone to code" is incredibly inaccurate, and also offensive to people who spend their lives becoming great at it.

That said, I agree that the method for calculating equity sounds ridiculous.
posted by primethyme at 7:00 PM on April 30, 2015

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