No, we did not head down to sleepy Palo Alto for the Search SIG meeting featuring small-time players like Mahalo, Wikia and Microsoft, but Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis seems to wish we did. But why bother going when we can get juicy quotes about Jimmy Wales, who founded for-profit Wikia after failing to figure out how to milk Wikipedia for cash from our home office? Those who tuned into Calacanis's Ustream live video channel got juicy quotes like "Guy's got an ethics problem" and "It's naive to think encyclopedias have anything to do with search"? while bemused Wikia representative
Nick Sullivan sat on the panel. (Wales didn't even show up) You stay classy, Jason! After the jump, a firsthand report from our tipster, including more of Calacanis's wit and wisdom.
Sitting through the Search SIG panel last night I kept worrying the speakers were going to pants Wikia Search’s
Jeremie MillerNick Sullivan. Such a delicate little man, yet so much holier than thou. At one point Jason Calacanis said outright that Wikia Search would fail and that it's goal was simply to make Jimmy Wales rich. I think I actually heard Jeremie'sNick's heart break in response.
The problem with
Jeremie MillerNick Sullivan (and by association Wikia Search) is that he believes by using open source he can do no evil. He was adamant that since Google makes decisions about what you see in your search results the world needs an open source search site. For freedom! But even Wikia Search has to create a system to rank results. There are many that bemoan the politics of the Wikipedia system, so why should Wiki Search be any better?
Jeremiewould like you to think that Wiki Search is a tool created by the common man, but even he knows the truth. He let slip that 99.5% of his users never add any content to the site. I'm not sure how one could call a site built by the top 1/2 of 1% of all users 'open'. I think even the Bush tax cuts were more inclusive than that.
I was hoping to report on some wild accusation made by Jason Calacanis, but he turned out to be the most level-headed one on the panel. Even FriendFeed's cofounder and CEO Bret Taylor admitted to his site's deficiencies. But I will take the smarmy look of Jeremie Miller with me to the grave. Although if Jason has it right, at least I won't have to look at his site for much longer.
Update: Nick Sullivan writes to point out that he was the lamb despatched to the slaughter, filling in for Wikia's Jeremie Miller. Sullivan disputes his delicacy — after all, he did gamely step in front of the Calacanis bus.