Dog mounting and Scoble impressions are just two of the oddball antics that start up TWiST #13 this week. As a Graphic Designer I was interested to hear what Matt Mickiewicz, founder of 99designs and champion of spec work, had to say about his site.
If you're a fan of Jason Calacanis(Mahalo & Weblogs, Inc. founder) you'll instantly be lured in with his Vaynerchuk up-frontess yet invaluable industry insight which all comes out in engaging stories and personal examples. Everything any tech junky could ask for. This Week in Startups has some great segments, but this podcast is balls long.
The only blaring downside to TWiST is its length. It's brutally long. Weighing in at almost 2 and a half hours, TWiST is ridiculously lengthy. It's really four shows mashed together. They're kick ass shows, but it's like a Halo marathon... eventually you have to get up and take a break.
Where My Pitches at?
The first show is pitch hour where people call in and literally pitch their ideas to Jason, which is awesome. These guys get some honest feedback about their ideas and pitch methods. Jason will call your methods donkey.
During the second show we finally get to the guest, Matt Mickiewicz, who explains his success with hosting a forum for Graphic Design spec work.
The Obligatory Anti-Spec Rant
A large portion of the Design community sees services like Mickiewicz's degrading the value of professional Graphic Design. I agree completely, but the AIGA can explain that issue much better than I can.
I'll just say you get what you pay for with services like 99Designs. If nothing else, it groups the 80% of the 80/20 rule clients into one nicely avoidable area.
With that said, Mickiewicz is a smart guy with several successful startups under his belt. One of which includes SitePiont which he started when he was only 15. And Jason Calacanis did a good job of looking at both sides of the spec issue.
Show four, the news segment, brings out a lot of Jason's insight into why he is the master of marketing. In one segment he can unmercifully bash the Apple fan boys and then magically turn around and sell you on an Apple Computer all in about a 2 minute span. Andrew Warner is a bit stiff. It would be interesting to see someone as loose as Jason delivering the news.
The final of the four shows actually runs at the beginning of the podcast as 20 minutes of sponsors and Mahalo promos. This is fine and we all love Audible and the others. In fact, the sponsorship level of the show in just 13 episodes is rather impressive.
In the End
TWiST hits on about 7 of 8 cylinders in terms of concept and content. It's classic Calacanis with his money knot and marketing mastery. He'll call you out but keep you reeled in just enough to keep you on the line. A few more episodes under their belts and trimming out a bit of excess fat should make This Week in Startups a truly must-listen podcast for any tech fiend.