What are some of the most important lessons you learned from Y Combinator (besides how to steal from Whole Foods)?
What Y Combinator taught me is that nobody can really give you valuable advice for your startup because outsiders are too detached. Paul Grahaminsisted that we change the name of Rap Genius to “Definator” LOL. The best part of that name is it sounds like “Defecator”…
Tell us something cool that most people don’t know about: Sam Altman, Paul Graham, Ben Horowitz, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg.
SAM ALTMAN: Takes care of his man. When we were having the drama with Google, Sam was at the Tesla dealership, buying his boyfriend a whip.
PAUL GRAHAM: Drives a cherry red Boxter. LOL — it’s like, uhh, Paul, you couldn’t just spring for the 911??!
BEN HOROWITZ: His Dad is David Horowitz, a famous Conservative intellectual who says that Islam is inherently evil and shit like that. (Cool guy tho!)
MARC ANDREESSEN: Claims he can read a 300-page book in an hour. Uhh, MARC: I think maybe you’re not gleaning the deeper meaning reading it that fast? But who knows…
MARK ZUCKERBERG: I expected him to be a lot taller!
What is the most important advice you’d give to startups about getting their first 1,000 active users?
USE IT YOURSELF! I have the 3rd-highest IQ of anyone on Rap Genius, and the 2nd-highest on Everipedia. Founders who don’t addictively use their own product, but instead, read Hacker News and shit like that, disgust me. They deserve to fail.
Many people have an idea of what the ideal founder looks, sounds, and acts like — yet you’ve never been afraid of being unique. Do you think founders should be unafraid to express themselves freely, or is it important to maintain an image that the public/investors expect from an “ideal founder”?
Yeah I totally feel you! So much for “disruption” — these days startups are a bunch of sheep. I, too, blame VCs. But yes, it is true. I think that my weirdo persona helps me with building communities — it makes kids like me — but it makes adults and investors loathe me. Investors are morons, it’s a shame that they have to be so central to the whole scene.
What are your thoughts on founding a startup in LA instead of Silicon Valley or New York?
The rent is much cheaper in LA. Also, the story used to be that the skilled developers are only in SV and NYC, but by now that has definitely changed. I know enough ill hackers at UCLA alone that I don’t think Everipedia will have to dig to deeply to hire very talented peeps. Obviously, I think LA is the best choice — that’s why Everipedia is based in LA. I remember my former cofounder Tom Lehman used to constantly shit on the startup scene in LA — one of MANY habits he had that made me want to beat his ass.
What are you favorite places in LA to eat or hang out?
Tell us about your shift from Genius to Everipedia.
My Everipedia cofounders are younger and better-looking, so I definitely upgraded. I feel like one of those middle aged dudes who gets divorced and goes and finds himself the younger, hotter version of his wife.
How do you see Everipedia having a world-changing impact?
Excuse me if I get emotional… but… Everipedia fulfills the mission of the internet! It shall be a repository for ALL human knowledge about EVERYTHING. Wikipedia is a website, but the philosophy of the site still belongs to the pre-internet world. It is based on print sources, not URLs. In a sense, Everipedia is the “Wikipedia of the Internet” — pretty cool no?
What is your favorite Everipedia page so far?
Strangely, one of the most-viewed pages is 2Pac! He is the realest, so it makes me very happy. I feel like we have Pac’s blessing from up in Heaven:http://www.everipedia.com/tupacshakur/
What are some of your favorite startups besides your own?
I recently got really into Polymail! Has made my email a far more valuable tool for spreading the Everipedia Gospel. I am so thankful. #based
My “stocking stuffer” for Hannukah this year is Flux Chargers.
I get all of my wine from Underground Cellar.
Who are some of the people in the startup world you admire most, and why?
ZUCK! Zuck is the inspiration for Everipedia, he actually invested in a company called Diaspora, which was basically a failed attempt at building Everipedia. Facebook is the most life-changing technology in my opinion, it is revolutionizing human interactions. I love Zuck!!!! I would def suck his dick if he asked me. I don’t care he went to Harvard. (Plus he dropped out, so in a sense, he has demonstrated that Harvard truly sucks..)
Who are some of your favorite hip-hop artists (besides Gucci Mane, of course)?
Well, let’s see here.. I’m a big fan of Gucci Mane, Gucci Mane, and also, Gucci Mane of course! (I also like Drake a lot..)
Future is pretty good but he needs to get off the drugs. I love The Weeknd, but his last album was too corporate, he kinda lost me..
I don’t listen to that much rap anymore, I think the most interesting genre of music right now is indie rock.