What Kara Swisher Looks for in Startups

May 12, 2014

6:35 am

On Thursday night, veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher joined us in Vegas for a fireside chat as part of Tech Cocktail Week. Swisher is the former co-executive editor of AllThingsD, and now co-executive editor of Re/code.

Swisher obviously gets pitched by tons of startups. “I’m kind of like that Hollywood studio head. ‘Oh I’ve got a script.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, really, you’re kidding? Wow.’” But what makes a startup stand out to her? She highlighted the two most important things: 

1. Being relentless. “All the great entrepreneurs have a relentlessness that doesn’t give up. It’s almost mad,” she says. “It’s not that they don’t think they can be wrong – although some of them are like that – it’s that they are frequently wrong but never in doubt.” She cites entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Travis Kalanick. 

2. A product that’s useful or delightful. “If you’re both – wow, that’s fantastic,” she says. “You have to be useful – what do you use everyday? What is helpful to you? It various by individual person. Or what’s just completely delightful?” 

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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