People of color looking to break into the startup world or tech journalism will be happy to learn, per blowhard entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, that "there isn't a race wall in tech." Why, then, is tech journalism so overwhelmingly white (not to mention male)? Calacanis, who is white, isn't sure, but he has some advice: Be more like Jason Calacanis.
The mythology of internet startups is all about big wins. But it's instructive, for prospective hustlers at least, to also look at the humiliating defeats — like this video of Web entrepreneur Jason Calacanis losing a $204,400 pot.
I'm taking guesses now. What's "Project A," the seekrit product being talked up by Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis on his private mailing list? A recap of recent events: He launched a human-powered news feed at a time most companies were planning layoffs. After that, he performed a layoff, then trolled for new engineers to hire. Why do I like the often-blustery Calacanis? Because when I briefly worked for him as an Engadget stringer, I saw his approach to running a startup: Operate the business on a shoestring, but splurge on little things to make employees feel spoiled — a second monitor, a killer espresso machine, free dinners at places the staff can't afford. Don't hate him because he's rich. He always picks up the check. Anyway, here's his vague product pre-announcement:
Tough times, frivolous junkets: That's the modus operandi of Jason Calacanis, the grandiloquent emailer-in-chief of Mahalo, the Internet's most overfunded Web directory. He and butler/assistant/videographer Tyler Crowley posed for a picture while on a trip to Japan taken shortly after he promised to curtail his travel schedule while laying off Mahalo staff. Can you think of a better caption? Leave it in the comments. The best one will become the post's new headline. Friday's winner: m0nty.au, for "Eric Schmidt's 20 percent time project." (Photo by namekawa; used by permission)
The troubled New York Times Company is running out of options. It owes more than $1 billion, close to half of it coming due in the next two years. But it just ruled out layoffs for the foreseeable future and will probably try to avoid cutting the $132 million annual dividend, since doing so could spark a boardroom revolt by high-living Sulzberger family members. So it would make sense if the company has been trying to sell About.com, as Jason Calacanis, CEO of search engine company Mahalo, said on the This Week In Tech podcast last week. (Audio of his remarks lies after the jump.)
As a startup, you are now, officially, on your own. You can't count on your VCs saving you or some magical offer from Yahoo or Google showing up to bail you out. Taurus has laid off Fondue. You need to rewrite — no, not your business model. Your business plan. Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis, in his latest private email, offers this advice:
"Do you know that you're amongst the very best, but can't find a company that appreciates you or gives you the opportunity you deserve?" So begins Mahalo's come-on to developers. The bulldog-powered search engine just laid off a large chunk of its staff, including some developers. Why is it hiring more? We're sure Jason Calacanis, Mahalo's voluble CEO, has some entertaining spin, which we'll let him add it in the comments. But since his HR department didn't stamp the Craigslist posting with "DO NOT REPRINT," as Calacanis is known to do with his emails, we're republishing it below.
What was Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis doing in the weeks running up to this company's layoffs? Traveling around the world, to destinations like the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Korea. In his how-to-lay-people-off memo, Calacanis also promised to cut back on his travel budget — which struck me as an admission that his trips to speak at conferences, often on subjects unrelated to his work at his Sequoia-funded Web directory, were being paid for by his investors. Can you think of a better caption? Leave it in the comments. The best one will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: Ted Dziuba, for "Traffic is the new profit." (Photo by JoopDorresteijn)
Talk about adding insult to injury. As Jason Calacanis was sucking his thumb about the coming startup depression, Microsoft quietly launched a competitor to his intern-edited search engine, which has just gone through the layoffs Calacanis predicted for everyone else. Redmond's experimental entry into the market is called U Rank, an experiment in collaborative editing of search results. The sites aren't that similar in their approach to helping users find websites — but they are eerily similar in their flowery logos and pastel color schemes.