Rank #1: Success Academy 1: The Problem
Eva Moskowitz wants to fix a really big problem. There are over a million kids in New York City’s public schools. Most can’t read or do math at grade level. Many won’t graduate on time. And it’s largely poor, black and brown kids who are stuck in the lowest performing schools. Eva’s the founder and CEO of Success Academy, the subject of this season of StartUp. And she’s actually making progress.
Her school network is growing at lightning speed, and her students get among the highest standardized-test scores in the city, beating out schools in some of the wealthiest districts. And the education world is watching. But not everyone likes what they see. In this season, we ask how exactly Success is doing what it’s doing, and why does it have so many critics?
Today, on the first of our six-part series about Success, we meet a mother, Sherisse, who desperately wants her son to get into Success, so that he can have opportunities she never had herself. And we go inside a Success classroom on the first day of school, to see what parents like Sherisse are clamoring for.
Peter Leonard mixed the episode. Our theme song is by Mark Philips, remixed by Bobby Lord. Build Buildings wrote and performed our special ad music. Additional music by Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord, Hot Moms Dot Gov, Jupyter, Mothica,Golden Gram and BlueDot.
For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Nov 09 2018
Rank #2: Arlan Hamilton 1: Silicon Valley, By Invite Only
Silicon Valley is leaving money on the table, and Arlan Hamilton will go to extremes to prove it. She's a venture capitalist like no other — black, female, gay — and she's out to prove that investors in the Valley are overlooking big returns they could tap into by investing in more outsiders. Arlan calls them "underestimated" founders, and she's planning to get as rich as Richard Branson by investing in them. But her thesis is still untested, and she's running out of time to show Silicon Valley what she's got.
This is the first part of a six-part series on Arlan Hamilton and her company, Backstage Capital.
Apr 27 2018
Rank #3: Twitch 1: Almost Famous
Welcome to the first episode of Season 3!
This season, we’re doing something new. Instead of following one company over many episodes, we’ll be telling the stories of a bunch of different companies. This season, you’ll meet entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, in all sorts of businesses. We’ll follow prisoners, tailors, smugglers, and tech geeks. And these founders all actually have something in common: their companies are stuck, and they know they need to make a big change. But they have no idea what to change, or whether it will bring the end or a whole new beginning.
We’re kicking off this season with a story about a group of friends that moves across the country to launch an unlikely website that they think could replace television. The media loves them. They just need to figure out how to get their users to feel the same way.
Apr 15 2016
Rank #4: Church Planting 1: The Movement
Every year, there’s a movement of thousands of pastors starting new churches — they call them church plants. It’s a world remarkably parallel to the tech industry, with incubators, growth metrics and, well, angel investors. One of these pastors, Watson Jones III, has dreams of starting a bustling new church in North Philly. But first, he has to figure out how to get people to show up. Watson might have the most difficult task of any founder in America: Convincing people who don’t know -- or even believe -- in God to change their minds and join his church.
Reporter Eric Mennel tells the story of this young church plant in a new multi-part series from StartUp. Listen now to the first episode.
To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Jul 06 2018
Rank #5: Our Company Has Problems
It's the spring of 2018, four years after Alex and Matt launched Gimlet, and things are not going well. Audiences are flat, ad sales are flagging, and the company is burning through cash at an alarming rate. And with all of those pressures, Alex and Matt have started to fight.
Oct 04 2019
Rank #6: Exit
As acquisition talks with Spotify continue, Alex and Matt face their hopes and fears about what might lie ahead.
Oct 18 2019
Rank #7: BONUS: But Wait, There's More!
A Gimlet update and a special announcement
Jul 17 2015
Rank #8: Gimlet 3: How To Divide An Imaginary Pie
How much of your company should you give up when you bring on a partner?
Sep 17 2014
Rank #9: Gimlet 4: Startups are a Risky Business
StartUps are a risky business, but there's lots of reasons to write a check.
Sep 24 2014
Rank #10: Thanksgiving in Stockholm
Just days before Thanksgiving, Alex and Matt board a red-eye to Stockholm for a conversation that could change everything.
Oct 11 2019
Rank #11: Twitch 2: Gaming the System
We pick up where we left off in the last episode, and hear how Justin, Emmett, Michael, and Kyle try to extend the life of their video-streaming company by making some risky but important decisions. In the process, their scrappy startup catches the eye of some very powerful people who challenge everything they’ve built.
The road of a startup is a bumpy one and, as Justin and his team are finding out, they have only just gotten started.
Apr 22 2016
Rank #12: Success Academy 7: The High School
Eva Moskowitz calls Success Academy's high school the startup within the startup. And, as at any startup, there’s been a lot of chaos in its first few years. Magic five--it’s no longer working. The kids are questioning authority. Teachers are leaving. And parents want answers. But this year also marks Success Academy’s first graduating class. We’ll find out if Eva’s grand experiment comes with a big collegiate payoff.
Dec 28 2018
Rank #13: Church Planting 2: The Pastor
It takes more than just a calling to start a church. You need a following. You need money. And to get that money, pastors often have to pass a kind of test. Welcome to the wild world of assessment.
There’s whole industry of professional assessors who use psychological tests, behavioral interviews, role-playing scenarios and more, to try to determine if a pastor will be able to create a successful church. In this week’s episode, AJ goes to assessment camp — but he doesn’t go alone. Spouses are required to get assessed too. Just imagine an intense round of couples therapy, but as part of your job interview. That’s what assessment can feel like.
This is the second episode in our series on Church Planting. Listen to the first episode here.
Jul 13 2018
Rank #14: Gimlet 6: How To Value Your Startup
It's all about your story.
Oct 26 2014
Rank #15: Gimlet 5: How To Name Your Company
Choosing a favorite is only the beginning.
Oct 13 2014
Rank #16: Alex Talks to an Early Facebook Insider
Dave Morin’s love for the internet began when he was a geeky kid in Montana. By his early 20s, it had led him to Apple and then to Facebook, where he became employee number 29. He helped the company innovate, pursuing a deeply-held mission: letting people be themselves and share their lives on the internet. But when Facebook began to shift, deprioritizing user privacy, Dave left the company. And he tried to create his own social media utopia.
Apr 26 2019
Rank #17: Success Academy 2: The Founder
Eva Moskowitz is the founder and CEO of Success Academy, the highest performing and most controversial charter school network in New York City, and the subject of this season of StartUp. To understand Success, you have to understand Eva.
So on this episode, we go back to the beginning, looking at what got Eva interested in education in the first place, seeing the battles she fought on her way to starting Success, and watching as she opens her first schools. She cut her teeth serving on the New York City Council as chair of its Education Committee. In 2003, she did the unthinkable for a Democratic politician: she challenged the teachers’ union. The war that ensued would include protests outside her schools, parents opposing Success at local hearings, and a newly elected mayor trying to shut her down. Eva’s instinct to fight has helped keep Success Academy growing, but it has also made her a lot of enemies.
Nov 17 2018
Rank #18: Church Planting 4: The Conversation
Hell, homosexuality, and the role of women in church — these are some of the most sensitive topics in Christian theology today. And the implications are huge: where an individual church stands on these issues can have a major effect on who does or does not attend, and … who gives money.
A common critique of church plants is that they present as progressive, but at their core, many still hold very conservative beliefs. People can attend for months or even years without understanding where their church falls on topics like gay marriage or the ordination of women. So on this week’s episode, we sit down with pastor AJ Smith and ask the tough questions.
This is the fourth episode in our series.
Aug 03 2018
Rank #19: Alex, Inc. 1: Sacca Plays Sacca
In honor of the release of the TV show Alex, Inc., we’re binge dropping episodes of StartUp—the podcast that started it all—along with brand-new after shows. These are the best episodes about Gimlet, as chosen by our listeners. The first is: How Not to Pitch a Billionaire.
In this episode, Alex explains how he got the idea to document the start of his own company. He talks with his wife Nazanin about what shoes to wear to his first investor pitch. And then, there’s that… infamous first pitch to Chris Sacca. In the after show Alex talks to Chris Sacca about his experience appearing on Alex, Inc.
For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Mar 23 2018
Rank #20: Church Planting 3: The Paradox
In the world of church planting, every Sunday counts… but there are a couple Sundays each year that can truly change the fate of a church. One of them: Easter. If you want to grab somebody who is open to church, but for whatever reason isn’t going, Easter is the time to do it. AJ and Leah need to double the size of Restoration by the end of this year, so they need this day to go well. They don’t have a fancy egg dropping helicopter or an egg shooting cannon like some churches do, but they do have a plan… one that involves 100 frozen chickens. In this week’s episode, we follow AJ and Leah as they give everything they’ve got to make their plan work.
This is the third episode in our series on Church Planting. Listen to the first episode here.
Jul 20 2018