Idea – scholarship from SSG to promising entrepreneur student

Idea – scholarship from SSG to promising entrepreneur student

The primary assumption at Startup Study Group ( is that openly accessible information on how to create startups will help more industry leaders to step up to create the better future we need.

We need to explore basic tools for such talent who otherwise do not have access. I am reminded of the story of a girl in Africa who was able to study on her cell phone to gain entrance into an university. There must be such focused, resilient and promising students who can benefit from a scholarship that would subsidize costs of a smartphone, monthly wireless bill, and/or computer. And of course, access to the 400+ SSG founders, investors, and advisors.

Initial thought for raising a fund is selling t-shirts with SSG logo and member startup companies logos. Members and anyone who wants to help can purchase them and the margins would go directly to fund the scholarship.

Discussions around students to award such scholarship is welcome. My preference is for regions who can benefit most by such an award and otherwise may not have such access.

All ideas are welcome.


Charles Jo
Twitter: @charlesjo
Request invites at:

Roko Basilisk in our lives?

Roko Basilisk in our lives?

So I couldn’t stop laughing for about 2 weeks after I learned about Roko Basilisk:

The idea of a super AI that would retroactively punish a simulated version of all people who did not help its rise to supremacy.

Like all great jokes, there may be hidden truths or non-truths worth exploring.

I remember a special about 1 North Korean soccer team decades ago who against odds won some games at a world tournament. When they interviewed some of the players, one of the players admitted being sincerely frightened at the Christian figurines and the cross. As a communist, he was taught the evils of all religion. That interview made me think of how we in the West are taught the evils of communism. I guess it’s brainwashing possibly on both sides.

The Roko Basilisk concept still makes me laugh and it still may for years to come but it reminded me of how often we in Christianity discuss the after-life or why we do things here and now in preparation for the after-life. My current thought is very simple. I don’t want to memorize chapter and verse of every book in the Bible. We have pastors and rabbis for that. I do though like the idea that God, in form of Jesus, liberated us from our fears. We see in ancient cultures the concept of sacrifice and atonement for our wicked ways to appease an angry Creator.

But Jesus’ death on the cross was the last sacrifice for all mankind. He died for us. He then showed his immortality by coming back to life. His death means that God loves us and that is all there is to it. We don’t need to do anything. And we have peace in our hearts and minds. And the idea is that we are so thankful with this good news that we do good works.

This is not an underhanded way of trying to spread the Gospel. I’m merely pointing out that we need to take a closer look at what motivates us. Are we acting out of fear? Or, are we acting because we feel connected to the universe and there is much good work to be done in this world.

How does this relate to startups? Ask yourself: what is the 1 awesome idea that can help billions of people and you can’t stop thinking about but fear keeps you from exploring. Is fear keeping you away from taking it to the next logical steps?

Enjoy: Joe Wong’s comedy bit about Evangelists (at 3:39


Charles Jo650.906.2600

SSG exclusive + great blog about female founders + thankful note

SSG exclusive:
Get finkip’s beta builds only at #SSG

Thanks for all the positive energy from Shane Johnson (Twitter @AlwaysaGoodday1). Yes, 1 person can make all the difference.

Great post from JD regarding his experience and his current projects with female founders:

Female Founders
First part

At SSG ( — slack group) we were discussing the different aproaches that males and females founders have when pitching and recevieing mentoring. It was a very interesting conversation with some greats lessons.
Melinda Byerley ( CEO of TimeShareCMO) participated in this conversation and mentioned: “Many women are really uncomfortable with self promotion. That’s a great idea to be doing in mentoring. You would be shocked at how many women call me because pitching is just so opaque to them.”

The discussion went on about how females founders feel when going to pitch events and conferences. On the subject I asked (and assume): “Do female founders try to approach female VCs/Angels?” This comment/question came from the fact that I tried to reach some female founder meetups with no success. Melinda again was again very clear:

“Not necessary at all. It used to drive me mad when people sent me to female investors because I was a woman. I was doing enterprise software and gender is irrelevant to me. I wanted the smartest money I could find.”

[Click to tweet]
I’m not the smartest money anyone can find. I’m not even a lot of money for what the Valley is used to see. I know that. So I try to be the most helpful money that anyone can find. I take every meeting that someone ask me to have with a female founder and I give them feedback and follow up even when I know I’m not going to invest. Because we need to take the extra step to help.
Why do I really care about this? Well, because I’m born in it. So here is where I’m going to tell you a little about myself and my personal life and how it relates to female founders. I’m one of 11 children. I have 7 sisters and all of them have, in some moment of their lives worked independently. My parents have always encourage us to build our own businesses and skill sets. This is what my sisters have done for years.

My older sister co-owned a “high quality vintage furniture” with her husband for more than ten years. They had two stores and a great brand. The problem was that they had to face an economic crisis that stopped the whole country. Even then she reset her skills to learn accounting and change her career to go to work with a consulting firm.

The second to the top (sister) is an architect who has co-founded her own company with another female founder. They have been growing year after year, now they have expanded to houses and entire buildings. They just moved to a new office. Exciting.

One of my middle sisters created a line of clothing (that carry our last name) that became famous in the country where you could find it in many retail stores and also outside of the country. She lost the company in the crisis but came back to business as a wedding dress designer due to her passion for designing cloth. She is probably one of the best at what she does.
My little sister has her own part-time startup providing professional makeup for brides. She is still trying to figure out if she wants to go all in as an entrepreneur.

The point is that, even if being a female founder is not easy I actually believe in the potential they have to create and build businesses. I have seen it and experienced it myself, in my own family.

Since I have been in the Bay Area (2013) the whole tech industry has been debating about females and discrimination. The Ellen Pao trial this has taken this issue mainstream and it is now known to many more outside of the valley. I think its very important to acknowledge the problem and work towards solving it.

That’s why I want to help female founders in any aspect I can: pitching, strategy, business development, recruiting, marketing, product or fundraising. It’s not only about talking or writing about it but actually taking the time, going the extra mile, and reaching out to help. As of today, I have several female founders that I’m assisting with various aspects of their startups, but the thing is, I want to reach out to many more.

But I need your help. I want to help more women. Please reach out to me and tell me how could I help more. Also let me know how can I help you or someone you know.

Why trust and reach out to me? I could tell you, but it’d probably be better if you’ve heard it from them. Ask a couple of the founders I’m working with:

To reach me: jd[at] . I’m writing a second part to this topic, showing that we all have our own bias and that we need to work on them.

PS: Also on latinos: YC & Demographics

PS: Please hit the Recommend button and make me smile. Reach to me on Twitter, I’m @JDcarlu

Thanks for being part of the best startup community.


Is there a simple way to blog once then post to…

I really like that I can use my iPhone email client to compose my WordPress blog at But I am having to manually copy and paste to my Medium account. Is there a way to copy my Medium account to post? Or are there other tools (like Posterous once did) to autopost to multiple platforms?

Thanks in advance.

I’m @charlesjo on Twitter.

Charles Jo

Inviting more members

Hi again,

I meant to add this to the last message: it occurred to me that many members are not aware of how to invite their friends. We are always interested in inviting members who are helpful to other members. If they are hungry to succeed, even better. Please also think about the founders and investors from under-represented communities, which could mean anyone outside Silicon Valley too.

Please ask your friends to request an invite using this link:

Thank you for being part of the best startup community. Great things to come!

Charles Jo

Get to know the 400 founders & investors at SSG


We reached 400 members yesterday!

Terrence Yang had a great idea of AMA channels for each member on Slack so we started testing with Violeta. This could be a neat virtual office.

I’ve made a template out of our members to use based on our online chat interview with Dmitry. If you are up for it, I encourage all members to fill in and share. Until we get some customized tools up and running for SSG, this could be another way for us to learn more about each other. Save a copy and once completed, share with group on Slack:

Virtual pitch event went well yesterday from what I hear from members so let’s keep this going and iterate. Thanks JD, Nathan for leading this effort and all the participants.

Let’s brainstorm on all the great things we can do with 400 motivated members around the globe.

Have a great weekend!

Charles Jo650.906.2600

SSG can feature 1 member/day for a year

@everyone: we reached another great milestone today of 370 members. This means we can feature 1 founder or investor per day for a year. While bio/day sounds good, I don’t believe in waiting for most things and I believe that as we know more about each other’s capabilities, the quicker we can make things happen. Like yesterday, we learned @craig.mcleod could offer our SSG members really cool stuff that we can all use every day, and possibly offset some infrastructure cost. Let’s think of a format — maybe a better #intros channel or something completely different to help us know ourselves better. Maybe it’s a tool 1 of the members already has or is working on that we can use here. And good luck of the online pitch event today for those participating. Thanks for @jd for leading that effort.

Charles Jo

online pitch event at SSG Thu 4/9/15 9am PST

Please contact @jdcarlu on Twitter. See below.

Charles Jo

Hi all: we are doing an online pitch event with other investors (Josh Mahrer, Sergio Romo, etc) and I wanted to invite you to it. You can pitch or lurk, as you like. The purpose is to train your pitch and get good feedback to improve. It’s not an “official” pitch so we make it more friendly and less pressure for those that participate. That said, we all invest, so maybe you get discovered or connected to someone (eg co-founder) if anyone interested please DM me or post here Thanks!

Live interview on Google Docs with founder

For those not on SSG Slack…

@everyone we are testing an online interview with a founder while we build out our US/global tech journalists database. Please see and let’s do an interview there.

Charles Jo 650.906.2600

Completed interview:  ssg-interview-Dmitry Strelchenko-2015-04-04


ssg daily! saturday, april 4, 2015  / archive

forward this to your friends to join our growing helpful grassroots community of founders, investors, and advisors at / contact: charles jo 650.906.2600 – twitter @charlesjo

This is a crowdsourced founder interview so please, everyone feel free to jump in with questions. When completed, we’ll save as PDF and also post on .


Founder interview on Google Drive/Docs seemed like the quickest way to get info about founder and startup on April 4, 2015.  Meerkat/Periscope — possibly in future but for now, this works.  Not a complete AMA as it should be focused on founder and startup business.  For more detailed questions, please contact the founder whose contact information is below:


Founder contact info:

Dmitry Strelchenko



Questions in bold (by contact info)

Answers in regular font


Founder interview:


  • Elevator pitch of startup? (asked by Charles Jo @charlesjo)
  • The easiest way to tell your friends what kind of app and web services you use and how to find your account there.
  • Why should anyone use our product? (asked by Charles Jo)
  • I think that here comes the age of when we asking how to find you in Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., instead of phone number when making new friends or other connections. So it should be appropriate tool to make us able to quickly share all of our contacts.
  • What’s your personal story and startup story? (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. As a child I can’t answer the question of who I want to be when grow up but I always trying to invent something extraordinary that never was before. I wasn’t a tech guy I’m just visionary =)
      2. 1st thing I’ve invented was BMX bikes dedicated web site in Russian language at 16yo
      3. then at 22, I founded 1st company and became CEO at 1st Russian language BMX magazine. After several typical mistakes I had to close it after pilot issue.
      4. At 24, I have dived in autosport, drifting specifically. Won local competition and begin proctated car rebuild into professional competitions accordance. Than sell and spend a year and a half to find myself and way I wanted to evolve.
      5. It took me to a local hackathon to find a CTO for my car assistant project. And when hackathon host fout out that he didn’t have a business card to give me I thought something like: “WTF?! We are living in 21 century and still tied to paper scrap”. Later that night I could not sleep and idLinker idea capture my mind.


  • I start to visit any kind of local meetups, events, conferences and hackathons. Trying to pitch and collect a team. How did this go? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. Thats was terrible. I was shy, blushing and stumble.
      2. In august 2014, I graduated from Startup Academy of Skolkovo Moscow School of Management and visit SF Bay Area as investigator.
      3. Two of Skolkovo classmates had invested $55k in idLinker and we initiate development.


  • One of classmate angels introduced me to software developing company based in Belarus. Founder of this company became our co-founder and decreased development costs.
  • What else is your cofounder working on? (asked by @yangterrence) Is he or she working for below market for a Belarus developer? Cap table?


      1. So we have great scalable developing team up to 16 teammates depends on sprint difficulty.
      2. Right now we are testing our iOS app and you can subscribe at


  • You had mentioned interest in moving to Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area.  What are the top reasons? (asked by Charles Jo)
  • I totally agree with influencers I’ve met during my SF Bay Area discovering who repeatedly pointed that if you want to build successful company focused in US/global market you should be there. Working on product-market fit, networking and be in appropriate environment.
  • Would your entire team relocate to Silicon Valley?  (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. In order to hold burn rate at lower level we are not intent to move entire team.


  • How can SSG community and others help you and your startup?  (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. We need to prove some assumptions (like what? asked by @yangterrence) and will appreciate any feedback from beta testers and PR Buzz.
      2. @yangterrence: like do we understand people needs correctly in context of holding and sharing their contacts. Can we satisfy their pain and does it exist. Do users want to separate their contacts by theme for example home, work, friends, friends1. friends2 etc. Does our invention is more convenient than sheet of paper or any kind of messenger to share contacts.


  • (Side note from Charles Jo: when we were using Slack to discuss the same topics prior to getting on the interview, the app proved itself because I didn’t remember Dmitry’s ID on Twitter nor the URL for the app.  After scrolling on Slack, I gave up and just went for the idLinker app and there he was — all his web info.)
  • What are your top priorities?  (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. productivity, user satisfaction, simpleness, attractive ui


  • What kind of timeline are you working with now?  (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. We set app launch on April 10-14 and it depends on AppStore review time. idLinker attend in TechCrunch Disrupt NYC Startup Alley and should be launch until this event. Then at June 10-11 we will attend in SVOD.
      2. We intend to soft launch at middle of april and plan gradual pushes of growth combine it with experiments.


  • Do you see competitors in this space now? (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. I can’t say that i see straight competitors but there are a lot of attempts of to solve contact sharing problem. I can pick out similar concepts in, handleshare, evernote hello (does not supporting more),,, and more and more. But all of them are business focused. I want say, that idLinker is focused in whole market of contacts sharing. We assume that you shouldn’t be a businessmen with balls full of steel to share contacts. We figure out a lot of idLinker usage pattern daily and most of them is not linking with business. For example you can create few subprofiles called “Cards” for a different types of connections like if you a bmx/sk8 etc rider you can create on filling with links to you youtube channel, instagram and etc services. Then when you share it with friend he able to save it to his Cards slot, edit it by adding his own channels and forwarding it to someone else generating community source list. At the end you can receive your card back filled with huge list of cool sources.


  • Can I have 1 ID and multiple profiles like 1 for my hobby and maybe another 1 for my church info? (asked by Charles Jo)


          1. Sure. Just swipe to right from your main profile and tap at “Add New” and create one. This is a part of our business model assumption. We want to try to sell slots for these cards and give one for free.
          2. One of the main priorities of idLinker that we trying to decrease data that you should type by your hands. So as you can figure out we implementing oAuth everywhere it possible. And when you are creating new Card you able to select which twitter account for example you want to link in from those which is verified by your installed Twitter account. This function available in Card only right now.


  • Why are you and your finding team the ones to deliver this product to the world? (asked by Charles Jo)


      1. I can’t answer this question in the way that most wants to see but i can say that the first thoughts that i catch up in my mind after waking up it’s idLinker and when i goes to sleep it the same. I saw the next question about how many hours we are spending a day for a project and a can say that all hours when we are awake. idLinker is not a job for us and we working on it because we dream to make something extra useful and worthy for humanity. Otherwise what is the purpose of our birth.


  • Who are your top competitors and why? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. Should i answer it again?


  • Not if answered already (Charles Jo).
  • How are you different from Rapportive and Refresh? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. It’s all about positioning. i’ve mentioned it on questions above. We are not focusing on entrepreneurs only.


  • What is the startup climate (is the govt business friendly, providing support, etc?) like in Russia in regards to sanctions (etc)(asked by @startupdreams).


      1. I can’t make some relevant conclusions about whole climate because I’m trying to stay away from any politics thing, I do not watching TV and Crimea situation is doesn’t make any sense to me. But I should be honest to say that after discovering SFBA last summer I catch myself at never ending thoughts of how to emigrate to USA. You can’t imagine how differents Russia and USA citizens mentality and it’s not in Russian favor for me IMHO.
      2. What about startup ecosystem I can say that it’s in very early stage. There are some incubators and even with government support like
      3. I’m really sorry but I am not a person who can give you a full canvas of Russian ecosystem because all my mind is in USA and I’m seeking ways to understand US market and how to build successful project here.


  • How many users have you talked to? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. It’s less than 100.


  • What have you learned from talking to users? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. I understand that discussions were not in proper way. I was showing prototype or telling about concept to friends and friends of them and surely they tells me that idea is great and we should hold on. A have to agree with fact that I’ve discovered customer development too late and should to fix it now.


  • Do you have any co-founders? How well do you know them? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. We are two co-founders, one hands-on angel and one early investor. We all met at Skolkovo Moscow school of management except CTO. We was introduced to me by my Skolkovo teammate who become angel and had a lot of deals with that guy. At the begin i’ve struggle with that fact trying to find team in Russia even haven’t talk with introduced guy. But after few skype calls we’ve been inspired by each other and after couple month of developing and tons of great ideas he make me an offer to became co-founder and decrease development to prime cost.


  • On average, how many hours a day do you and your team spend total on idLinker? (asked by @yangterrence)


      1. I try to sleep 8 hours and take one day in week for rest but it’s not always comes out especially when idLinker moves between stages.


  • This question seems repetitive, the purpose was to see how the culture is and how that affects the entrepreneurs or to be entrepreneurs.


    1. It depends of each entrepreneur purposes. I dont’ want to outrage anyone but i suppose that most of Russian entrepreneurs are blind or something about that. Instead of trying to build something useful and global most of them attempts to just seems not like the others. Of course there are some cool and extra motivated guys like Dmitry Dumik (CatNip – graduated) and other but they moving to SFBA who is smarter.


Thanks for questions and chance to English practice and excuse me for mistakes=)