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TheStreet Open House

22-Year-Old Startup CEO: It's Not About Getting Hammered and Laid

Stocks in this article: PDMDNWSAEBAYFBHPQMSFT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- March will be an exciting month for TheBeach Meets TheStreet.

It's pretty incredible, but, on the heels of Pandora (P) co-founder Tim Westergren as our inaugural guest, we have nailed down Demand Media (DMD) co-founder, Chairman and CEO Richard Rosenblatt for an episode in March. Of course, Rosenblatt was one of the main architects of MySpace's 2005 emergence from out of nowhere and subsequent sale to News Corp (NWSA).

We'll also have the CEO of a beer company, Einstök, and the guy who co-founded and later sold StubHub to eBay (EBAY), Jeff Fluhr, the co-founder and CEO at San Francisco social video startup, Spreecast.

We're stepping up our game in a major way come March. No prisoners. Stay tuned.

This week, Cuttle.com co-founder and CEO Jonathan Calmus joins us. We're having a small technical issue getting the full version of our conversation with Calmus up on YouTube so if it's not there when you're reading this, check back later with TheBeach Meets TheStreet playlist. We'll have it up soon.



Cuttle is a straightforward proposition. It serves college housing communities using "multiple touch points," particularly large digital screens in common areas, a Web platform and mobile site, where students, residents, community managers and brands post and share information.

Cuttle uses the information it receives to recruit brands to its platform. Generally, brands use Cuttle to get their products in the hands of people in these communities ... for free. An advertiser -- Calmus calls them "community supporters" -- doesn't pay until Cuttle delivers engagement. It already has some big names, including Fatburger and Coca-Cola, on board.

TheStreet's Laurie Kulikowski did an excellent feature on 'better burgers' and Fatburger last week. Link to it from TheStreet's Facebook page.

Calmus really is 22. I checked his ID.

While I understand it might be hard to believe he comes from a "humble background" after Calmus mentions using his co-founder's parents' Beverly Hills "guesthouse" as Cuttle headquarters early on, he has his head on incredibly straight.

When I was 22, I had been working in radio for nearly a decade. I was hosting a talk show in Dallas-Fort Worth, a top 10 radio market. I was a complete jackass. I had no clue how to interact socially with co-workers, colleagues, strangers ... whomever. To see a 22-year old guy with such incredible focus, but, even more importantly, a likable and confident but not overconfident personality just floors me.

He has a bit of that Facebook (FB)/Mark Zuckerberg attitude. It comes out when he talks about being in it to realize the co-founders vision, not make money. But he's no fool.

Calmus knows how to make money with Cuttle -- and he'll likely end up making lots of it -- but he believes, much like Westergren and Zuckerberg, that if you focus on your mission, revenue and profits will follow. Love it or leave it, but that's the new corporate culture. And the relatively young in jeans and hoodies, who view life as more than a platform for getting drunk and getting laid, drive it.

Calmus talks tough about not taking venture capital. Hopefully he'll be able to stay true to this principle and Cuttle can remain relatively independent -- self-sufficient and angel funded -- but, no matter how it shakes out, the attitude and natural instinct of entrepreneurs such as Calmus is what's missing from the executive quarters of relatively sleepy tech companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ).

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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