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Uber investor Jason Calacanis doesn’t want to hear about your idea: ‘Show me the thing you’ve made’

Calacanis, the author of a forthcoming book called “Angel,” only wants to invest in people who have built something.

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If you want angel investor Jason Calacanis to give you money, there’s one thing you absolutely should not do.

“I’m not going to invest in an idea of an unknown person, so asking me to have coffee to discuss your ideas is a massive turnoff and makes no sense,” he said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. “Show me the thing you’ve made, because I make my decision based on craftsmanship.”

Calacanis was an early investor in Uber and is the author of an upcoming book, “Angel.” He said that more than the product, he invests based on founders and how other investors react to them.

“The more outlandish the idea is and the less people who understand it, the greater the chances you should invest in it are,” he said. “In other words, you have to get very comfortable with the idea of losing seven, eight, nine out of ten bets.”

“I get a particular rush out of being the guy who believes in you when other people don’t,” he added. “I get a particular rush out of being part of a team that’s three or four people, and when I introduce it to other people, they don’t get it, and they pass on investing.”

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Calacanis said his bias for “craftsmanship” comes from a belief that founders in that category will make it sooner or later. He said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick first came to his attention when Kalanick was starting a Napster-esque company called Scour; the entertainment industry sued Scour for $250 billion, leading to its bankruptcy.

“People who are craftspersons and who have craftsmanship in their work, they will always happen, whether in the early stage or late stage,” Calacanis said. “When I see a particularly well-designed product, or somebody understands their metrics, I know that person cares.”

“You have to be able to build something and put it in the world,” he added. “People are in this wacky belief system that their idea matters, when it does not. All that matters is what you build.”

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