Entrepreneur-turned-angel-investor Jason Calacanis doesn’t mince words, and this week’s Too Embarrassed to Ask podcast is no exception: Asked by one of our listeners if he regretted selling his shares of Facebook when they were going for only $110-120 (versus $174 at the time of this writing), he had a one-sentence answer ready.
“I just don’t like Mark Zuckerberg, or that company,” Calacanis said.
But there’s more to it than that: Partly, he doesn’t like to trade individual stocks, thinking he’s going to get out-maneuvered by “Wall Street quant people who are smarter than me.” And although he likes COO Sheryl Sandberg, Calacanis says he considers Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be “completely immoral.”
“Every time he has to make a decision, he makes the decision that is in his own best interest, to make the company grow faster, without regard for the impact on the people who have built the system for him,” he said.
Example: Facebook allowed users to add other users to Facebook Groups without their consent. This may have been a great call if the goal was to increase the number of people using Groups, but ignored possible side effects such as a gay person being outed against their will by being added to an LGBTQ group by someone else, Calacanis said.
“The second piece is, I think he’s incredibly anti-competitive, with the way he copied Snapchat, and steals everybody’s innovations, including people like Dave Morin from Path, who used to work for him,” he added. “He’s not even loyal to him.”
As a result of that “lack of regard and lack of creativity,” the Launch Incubator boss offered this advice: “No founder should ever sell a company to him [Zuckerberg].”
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On the new podcast, Calacanis also talked about tech companies that he says inflate diversity statistics (“completely fugazi”), how to fix San Francisco (basically, it’s the housing, stupid) and why Tesla is “going to be fine,” despite its record losses in Q1 2018.
“I don’t understand why this is so controversial,” he said. “Maybe it’s people on the east coast, they’re looking at ‘Oh my god, he needs another billion dollars to change the world!’ It’s like, ‘A billion dollars? That’s it?’ Look at Amazon: 20 years of not being profitable and then just — boop! — all of a sudden they flip a switch and they’re massively profitable. That’s how all of these companies work.”
Plus: He argued that Lyft missed a crucial opportunity to pounce when its larger U.S. rival Uber stumbled; worth noting, of course, is that Calacanis was an early Uber investor and is a personal friend of its ex-CEO Travis Kalanick.
“Ha ha, Lyft,” he said. “One of the crazy things about this is, never has a company had such an amazing opportunity to capitalize on unforced errors.”
“Your competitor literally flips the car over, is in the ditch, and you just sit there and watch it,” Calacanis added. “And then the car gets back on the road and starts going 100 miles an hour again. Lyft is just completely incompetent and they couldn’t capitalize on Uber’s mistakes. The window has closed.”
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