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Jason McCabe Calacanis (born November 28, 1970[1]) is an American Internet entrepreneur and blogger. His first company was part of the dot-com era in New York, and his second venture, Weblogs, Inc., capitalized on the growth of blogs before being sold to AOL.

Jason Calacanis

Early life

Calacanis was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Xaverian High School in 1988. He then attended Fordham University, where he majored in psychology.[2]

During the dot-com boom, Calacanis was active in New York's Silicon Alley community and in 1996 began producing a publication known as the Silicon Alley Reporter. Originally a 16-page photocopied newsletter, as its popularity grew it expanded into a 300-page magazine, with a sister publication called the Digital Coast Reporter for the West Coast. Calacanis's tireless socializing earned him a nickname as the "yearbook editor" of the Silicon Alley community.[3] With the end of the Dot-com bubble, Silicon Alley Reporter failed.[4]

Calacanis co-founded Weblogs, Inc. with Brian Alvey in 2003, supported by an angel investment from Mark Cuban. Time Warner's America Online agreed to buy Weblogs, Inc. in October 2005 for $25–30 million.[5]

Six months into his tenure with AOL, Calacanis was offered a chance to be the General Manager of the new Netscape website. Calacanis used the model pioneered by Digg, Del.icio.us, and Furl and added an editorial layer to the system. The project has launched and occupied the front page of Netscape. Calacanis started by hiring a team of eight "anchors" to follow up users' top stories. He then hired some of the top users of social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and Flickr to go to Netscape as Netscape Navigators,[6] which prompted a public debate with Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.

On November 16, 2006, TechCrunch reported that Calacanis had resigned from his position as CEO of Weblogs, Inc. and General Manager of Netscape.[7] Calacanis later confirmed this with a post at his blog.[8]
Sequoia Capital

On December 5, 2006, Techcrunch reported that Calacanis was going to announce his new position at Sequoia Capital as an EIA (entrepreneur in action).[9] Calacanis later confirmed this on his blog.[10]

Calacanis founded Mahalo.com, a "human-powered search engine",[11] which launched in alpha test in May 2007. During a speech about the site at the Gnomedex conference in August 2007, Calacanis got into a public confrontation with Dave Winer that led to Winer's resignation from the panel of experts for the TechCrunch20 conference organized by Calacanis. Winer interrupted Calacanis' speech during the event, calling it "conference spam" and igniting a war of words on their blogs. "I'm not interested in having someone berate me like this," Calacanis wrote on his blog.[12]

As of April 21, 2010 Mahalo had 9.4 million global (5.7 million US) unique monthly visitors, down from a peak of 14.1 million global (7.4 million US) unique monthly visitors, according to Quantcast.[13]
Angel Investing

In 2009 Calacanis founded the Open Angel Forum, an event that connects early stage startups with angel investors. The forum was the culmination of a series of public comments by Calacanis questioning the ethics of pay-to-pitch angel forums.[14] Calacanis believes startups shouldn't have to pay to pitch angel investors.[15] Calacanis is also an Angel Investor in Gowalla.

Calacanis is a co-founder of ThisWeekIn.com and host of the live streamed "This Week In Startups" on the network. [16]
LAUNCH Conference

Calacanis announced the creation of the LAUNCH Conference to spotlight unannounced start-ups. The first conference was held on February 23rd and 24th 2011 and featured 140 startups. A number of companies received funding at the event and the winners included Room 77 and GreenGoose.

Calacanis was involved in a 2010 Internet hoax involving his Twitter postings regarding the introduction of the Apple iPad. In his tweets, he claimed to have a "reviewer's copy" of an iPad device describing in great detail the features of such device. The device in question was not in his possession nor did it exist. It was explained to have been an attempt by Calacanis to expose the hysteria regarding Apple product launches. The hoax also called into question the fact checking and verification processes of the mainstream media who published the hoax story as true.[17][18]

^ Calacanis, Jason (28 November 2005). "My retirement party.". The Jason Calacanis Weblog. Retrieved 2006-04-21.
^ "Featured Discussion Leaders". The Media Center. 2007. Archived from the original on May 4, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
^ Grigoriadis, Vanessa (March 6, 2000). "Silicon Alley 10003". nymag.com; New York Magazine. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Naraine, Ryan (October 8, 2001). "Silicon Alley Reporter Goes Under". ClickZ News; Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Arrington, Michael (October 5, 2005). "AOL Acquires Weblogs, Inc.". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
^ Calacanis, Jason (July 18, 2006). "Paying the top DIGG/REDDIT/Flickr/Newsvine users". The Jason Calacanis Weblog. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Arrington, Michael (November 16, 2006). "Jason Calacanis resigns from AOL". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Calacanis, Jason (November 17, 2006). "Yes it's true, I'm leaving AOL" The Jason Calacanis Weblog. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Arrington, Michael (December 5, 2006). "Calacanis takes position at Sequoia Capital". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Calacanis, Jason (December 5, 2006). "My new job". The Jason Calacanis Weblog. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Delaney, Kevin J. {May 31, 2007). "Start-Up Adds a Human Touch". WSJ.com; The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Adario Strange (August 13, 2007). "Gnomedex Aftermath: Dave Winer Dropped From TechCrunch20". Wired News. Conde Nast Digital. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
^ "Quantcast Audience Profile for mahalo.com". Quantcast.com. ("Traffic data hidden by owner." Registration and access permission from Mahalo.com required. No archive available.) Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Boutin, Paul (December 6, 2009). "Calacanis Launches Open Angel Forum". "VentureBeat.com;" VentureBeat. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
^ Calacanis, Jason (October 9, 2010). "Why startups shouldn't have to pay to pitch angel investors". Calacanis.com. Retrieved 2010-08-11
^ Second Annual Twistee Awards (June 17th, 2011). "This Week in Startups" Retrieved 2011-6-21
^ Dunagan, Jake (January 31, 2010). "Calacanis Hoax: Guerrilla Futures as Persuasion". iftf.org; Institute For The Future. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
^ Swisher, Kara (February 1, 2010). "Prankster Jason Calacanis Talks About His Apple iPad Hoax". allthingssd.com; The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-06-19.


Brown, Eryn (January 2006). "Revenge of the Dotcom Poster Boy". Wired; Conde Nast Digital. Retrieved 2010-06-19.

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