Good God, we have a sick line-up for PandoMonthly. I’m not sure how a tiny three-month-old blog has pulled this off exactly. But I’m not questioning it.
Check it out:
MAY 3: Dustin Moskovitz will be pulling up the cheap-Ikea-leatherette chair to talk about his experiences co-founding Facebook and Asana. Dustin is one of the most modest people I’ve met in fifteen years of covering entrepreneurs. He would never tell you these things, so I will.
Facebook as we know it wouldn’t exist without him, as reflected by his hefty ownership in the S-1. Like our March guest Dave Morin, Dustin decided to leave Facebook just as it was starting to become dominant to start his own company Asana with Justin Rosenstein.
Dustin is an entrepreneur of quiet vision. He has already been at the forefront of both the social and new enterprise revolutions, and he’s even younger than Mark Zuckerberg. And, as we discussed in passing with Morin, it’s Dustin — not Zuckerberg or Sean Parker — who is really the force behind the burgeoning Facebook mafia. He’s quietly building a killer angel portfolio, and is already putting together a foundation to focus on giving back before he has one foot in the grave and a head of grey hair.
Not one for the spotlight, Dustin rarely does events like these. You won’t want to miss it.
JUNE 20: Ben Horowitz will be our guest. Like most people on this list, Ben needs little introduction, but I’ll give one anyway. He was a key executive at Netscape: The most iconic Internet company in the history of the Valley. He was frequently the calm, voice of reason for a brash, junk-food eating young Marc Andreessen. They had their fights, but the two also created a life-long friendship and partnership that has made people who believed in them filthy, stinking rich.
While Netscape was a rocketship, their second company Opsware was anything but. No offense to Marc, but the biggest reason it managed to eventually sell to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion was the steady management hand of Ben. While Marc was the cover boy for both companies, Ben has recently developed a cult following for his profanity and rap-lyric laced blog posts. (Which PandoDaily doesn’t get nearly enough of…hint-idy, hint, hint.)
Ben and I are going to talk about a lot of things on stage. We’ll talk about those early Netscape days, why they didn’t give up after Loudcloud (Opsware’s first name) was dubbed “the IPO from Hell,” and the duo’s third startup Andreessen Horowitz Partners. We’ll also talk about the recent sex appeal of things that he and Marc built their careers on, like browsers and enterprise software.
But I want to reserve a big chunk of the evening to talk about the art of management. It is a hot topic these days at a lot of the dinners and cocktail parties I go to. A lot of product-based founders are grappling with the art of becoming a CEO, lest they have to give up control to someone more seasoned. And Ben is one of the single best CEO coaches in Silicon Valley. We’ll leave time for questions, so founders won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from one of the Valley’s best.
(Disclosure: Ben is not an investor in PandoDaily, but his partners Marc Andreessen and Jeff Jordan are. In fact, Marc spent close to four years convincing me to do this. If that’s not messy enough, Ben’s daughter Sophia is interning for us this summer. In fact, she probably served you pizza at the last event. I’ve already pumped her for embarrassing questions to ask him.)
JULY 19: Hold onto your virtual farms, because Zynga founder and CEO Mark — freakin’ — Pincus is our July guest. I haven’t interviewed Mark since Zynga went public, and I have a lot of stored up questions for him.
Mark isn’t some young wunderkind. He has slogged away for decades in the Valley with mixed success. He didn’t really hit it big until his 40s with Zynga. We’ll talk about his entrepreneurial journey of ups and downs and what he’s learned from the ride.
Mark is an entrepreneur who thinks differently — even by Valley standards. I have no idea what will come out of his mouth, but be assured, this one will be entertaining and inspiring.
Mark is also the husband of Ali Pincus, another well-known Valley entrepreneur who co-founded One King’s Lane, and a recent father of twins. I’m hoping he’ll give me some tips on that ever elusive entrepreneur/family, work/life balance.
AUGUST 9: Reid Hoffman has graciously shifted his schedule around to join us in August. In case you missed all of 2011, it was pretty much the year of Reid. Another Capo in the PayPal mafia, he is one of the most successful and prolific angel investors in the Valley. He was the co-founder of LinkedIn, one of the biggest tech IPOs of the last decade. He was also a personal investor in Zynga and Facebook, and his firm Greylock invested in Pandora and Groupon. Have some IPOs, why don’t you?
Reid is a generous mentor to many Valley entrepreneurs — me included. Reid is also the co-author of the best selling book “The Startup of You.” Maybe we’ll give some away leading up to his talk.
(Disclosure: Reid is an investor in PandoDaily via Greylock Discovery Fund.)
SEPTEMBER 13: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh will take one of his fancy jets, or one of his weird Happiness Buses, from Las Vegas to San Francisco to join us in September. Rather than talk about the blockbuster Zappos sale or his bestselling book “Delivering Happiness,” Tony and I will focus the conversation on his unconventional plan to invest $350 million of his own money rebuilding downtown Vegas. Not the strip — that dodgy area near Fremont Street. $350 million. Of his own money.
The plan has been called inspiring and insane, and there are few precedents for an entrepreneur turning a major American city into his own personal Sim City. It’ll be a true test of what an entrepreneurial will and a boat-load of capital can pull off.
Warning: He’s going to try his hardest to convince you to move, and surprisingly, it’s working on a lot of people.
(Disclosure: All sorts of messiness here. Tony is an investor in PandoDaily, and he is also an investor in Paul Carr’s company Not Safe for Work Corp. My husband has also recently taken a job as the director of photography for the Downtown Project and spends half his time in Vegas. That means I know firsthand how the project is going, and how much heavy lifting Tony’s $350 million needs to do over the next few years.)
As our managing editor Nathan Pensky would say, this line up is “amaze-balls.”
The last three months of the year are TBD. I want to keep some room for news makers, as a lot can change in the Valley in six months. The hottest ticket in October may be someone we’ve never heard of today. But already, I’d argue this lineup rivals any tech conference out there, particularly given our intimate format and rock bottom $20 ticket price.
And did we mention free pizza, free beer, and a PandoDaily T-Shirt? This is basically the event series of my dreams.
All of the above events will be held at Madrone Studios in San Francisco. Huge thanks to our partners at Madrone who have been amazing to work with so far.
As regular readers know, single tickets sell out very quickly — typically in less than thirty minutes. To have a guaranteed slot to see each of these speakers, sign up for an annual pass before they are all gone.
Annual passes are $1,000 because we keep the single ticket prices so low, and a lot of you have expense accounts. That and we like to pay our reporters nice salaries to do a very hard job without throwing a million ads in your face. The pass is transferrable, and a lot of companies and venture firms buy one and pass it around month-by-month.
You can still buy season passes on last month’s EventBrite page here, and we will release the single tickets for next week’s event with Dustin on Thursday. Watch the blog and our Twitter feed for details! (If you experience difficulty acquiring season tickets through EventBrite, send an email to Oni at pandodaily dot com.)
As in past months, we’ll live-stream and archive the talks for anyone who can’t get in or can’t get to the Valley.
And speaking of life outside the Valley, we are also happy to announce we are bringing PandoMonthly to New York! We are launching the series at the end of May and are booking the next few months of speakers now. Chris Dixon — New York tech kingpin and yet another one of Pando’s investors — will swap off moderating duties with me each month. I am really excited to see how the New York community shapes this event to be its own. More details on the May event and the New York line up soon!
Speaking of New York, I’m here now trying to find a place to host them. If you have advice or an office space we can use, please leave it in the comments or email Oni at PandoDaily dot com. (And if you’d like to sponsor any of these events, email us here: Sponsors at PandoDaily dot com.) We think it’s a unique opportunity to be in front of the biggest entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
One last note: We couldn’t pull this off without the awesome community of entrepreneurs, investors, and developers who read and support our fledgling blog, and frequently volunteer to sling beer and pizza at the events. If there’s more you want out of these events, dream guests or any suggestions, my in-box is always open at Sarah at PandoDaily dot com.
We’re going to try to start organizing a few company demos at each of them, once we get a few more hands on deck to help vet and organize the pitches. If you have a startup launch in either city coming up in the next few months, drop me a note!