Why Jason Calacanis Needs To Leave The Future Alone

jason c 

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of Jason Calacanis. He’s proof to me that money has very little to do with brains.

He’s sooo 20th Century and rarely has a clue on what’s happening around him unless it’s written on an AOL press release. 

He’s been ranting against YouTube for a while now. Saying it’s not a real business.

Huh?!? (let’s ignore the deal with MTV2 and Matador Records)

Well now I learn (via the Blog Herald) Jason has turned his anger at all Web 2.0 firms. Saying that most of them won’t be around in 3 years.

Jason, you’re probably right.

But guess what?

One in 3 non-web 2.0 business fail within a year.

Jason has ranted.

And said nothing.

What he was trying to say (I think) was that most of these Web 2.0 businesses have no business model.

On that point (if that’s what he was trying to say) he’s right.

But in actuality it’s not all the fault of the Web 2.0 creators.

Advertisers (who want to reach the web 2.0 audience) haven’t figured out how to take advantage of social networking and most other Web 2.0 products.

And when they try it often ends up a mess.

Answer me this Jason.

Should the creators of Flickr have waited until advertisers got their shit together before they released their product to the public?

Should Delicious be closed because it hasn’t figured out how it will monitize?


Go back to looking for mainstream content (like that Amex commercial you posted) and leave the future to those who care about it.

Explore posts in the same categories: blog networks, Gawker Media, new media, personal, rebuttal, Weblog, YouTube

23 Comments on “Why Jason Calacanis Needs To Leave The Future Alone”

  1. RT Says:

    Wow..Char taking on Jason Calacanis head on. You got balls my friend, thats why this site is a bible for those in the know, This site even does a better job of explaining and analyzing media networks from someone who doesn’t even own a media network! the irony….keep up the awesome job.

  2. Vampire Feet Says:

    Jason may end up running AOL by the time it’s over so I would tread carefully Char.

  3. Brian Says:

    If Jason runs AOL it would perhaps have a chance of surviving as a company, but Chartreuse is still absolutely right. Why the hell should he tread carefully about the truth?

    Calacanis has made a lot of money by being at the forefront of buzzwords — the “web” in the late 90s Silicon Alley, and more recently “blogging.” The problem people have with “Web 2.0” is that it’s a simple label trying to explain a myriad of phenomena and business models, but that was true of the “web” and “blogging” too.

    Clueless people will always throw around buzzwords and start companies without truly “getting” it. People like Jason make a lot of money because they usually *do* “get” it. So it wouldn’t surprise me (given the tone of his post) if it turns out Jason is helping AOL with a big Web 2.0 project to try to help the company gain some much needed relevance.

    Just a thought. Nothing is as it seems it is.

  4. Dave Says:

    In the late 90’s all you had to do was take a previous business idea, and put .com after it, and it was hip. Now all you do is put 2.0 after it, and bingo same thing, The one thing that does not change is somewhere along the line there has to be revenue, if not , you don’t have to look too far back to know what happens.

  5. chartreuse Says:

    The point of the post was not really to discredit Jason. It was to show how backwards the anti-2.0 people are.

    These are the tools which will move us into our new media future. A business model is not as important as usefulness. If people find it useful someone, somehow, will find a way to make money from it.

    To tell people to stop building stuff because they may not make any money from it is the kind of thinking which hinders innovation in all forms and in all industries.

  6. Dave Says:

    Char, lets look at it another way, how much of the list Jason showed, would you say is useful , Innovation is one thing,and I agree with you, if something is useful it should be helf back by if money can be made from it RSS is a perfect example, it does not make money yet, but in time it will when someone figures out the best way to do so. However I personally think some of the things we see are no different than what we have had before.

  7. Dave Says:

    that should have read ” should not be held back ” sorry !

  8. chartreuse Says:

    I see what you are say.
    But you never know what’s going to end up being valuable later on. There are countless examples. Hybrid cars have been around for 2 decades. Now they are all the rage. Good thing someone decided to keep working on those fuel cells when everyone was buying SUVs!

  9. Jason Says:

    Flickr had solid revenue from their PRO accounts… so, they were not part of the current crop of Web 2.0 companies which value mashups, ajax, and their corporate blogs more than they value earnings.

    My basic point is that when startups get to focused on buzzwords of revenue/earnings (and growth of those two) they get in trouble.

    Also, in terms of 1 out of 3 vs. 9 out of 10 businesses not being here in a couple of years that’s a big difference–30% vs. 90%. All of these pseudo startups just create noise… however, they do make the folks who bring in revenue that much more impressive. So, I guess they should keep it up! AJAX rulez!!! W00t!!!!!!

  10. chartreuse Says:


    Innovation and change agents have little to do with money. Creators of products (in any industry) , just like artists, end up creating great cool stuff when they are focused on there respective art instead of revenue.

    The era of forcing hits and products down people’s throats are over.

    We ain’t going for it.

    Create it and we’ll see if we like it.

    The revenue will follow.

    I’m sure you’ve thought about this.

    This Web 2.0 is different from 1.0. I’m not a designer or programmer and even I know that.

    You can’t just give the people what they want.

    The people don’t even know what they want.

    Was there a crowd clamoring for a Friendster or MySpace?

    This is a new era. This is not 1995.

    So let the Web 2.0 guys build their toys. The people will decide what they like. And then somebody will figure out how to make money from it.

    If you were a regular reader here you would realize that the internet is backwards. You have a bad habit of thinking that it’s not. But don’t worry. You’ll get it. Eventually.

    Thanks for dropping in. You’re always welcome here. Who knows? I might be wrong about you. 🙂

  11. chartreuse Says:

    Oh, and 1 out of 3 in one year is very close to your 9 out of 10 in three years. Really.

  12. […] Chartreuse and Fred Wilson slap around Jason Calacanis. I’m just standing back and watching. […]

  13. Jason Says:

    >> Create it and we’ll see if we like it.
    >> The revenue will follow.

    Wow… that’s a great business model. That thinking is, in large part, what caused the dotcom bust. Folks focused on giving users everything (think Kozmo) and didn’t build sustainable business models.

    Of course building without thinking about the bottom line is fun and you can come up with all kinds of groovy products…. so rock on!

  14. sean coon Says:

    here’s the thing you don’t get, jason.

    there’s a swarm of citizen media people out there that have purely altruistic movtives, yet are willing to pay for bandwidth, a broadband connection and annual fees to a multitude of services that support our new world of communication, expression, connectivity, etc.

    maybe if you didn’t try to hijack blogging by wrapping a bunch of niche blogs together in a revenue model and sell your credibility to AOL, you might have been able to figure out the difference between ’95 and today by now.

    but alas, you’re now caught up in the middle of a company that never got it and never will. i feel you, jason. there’s only so many ways to climb a corporate ladder.

    you do yours; we’ll do ours.

  15. […] Speaking of mainstream media empire builders, I wonder where Jason Calacanis sits on the future of the web… Semantic Tags: Bill Oreilly, capitalism, change, Fox, innovation, Jason Calcanis, John Gibson, mainstream media, power, revolution, Rupert Murdock, Web 2.0. // Used for showing and hiding user information in the comment form function ShowUtils() { document.getElementById(“authorinfo”).style.display = “”; document.getElementById(“showinfo”).style.display = “none”; document.getElementById(“hideinfo”).style.display = “”; } function HideUtils() { document.getElementById(“authorinfo”).style.display = “none”; document.getElementById(“showinfo”).style.display = “”; document.getElementById(“hideinfo”).style.display = “none”; } […]

  16. Jason Says:

    >> there’s a swarm of citizen media people out there that have
    >> purely altruistic movtives, yet are willing to pay for
    >> bandwidth, a broadband connection and annual fees to a
    >> multitude of services that support our new world of
    >> communication, expression, connectivity, etc.

    That’s great… total cool with that.

    We have 170 bloggers who do the same thing except a) we pay them and b) we get them massive distribution. You can say I’m “the man” or that I word for “the man” but the fact is i’m getting the man to fund bloggers and and get them more traffic–how is that a bad thing?

    >> maybe if you didn’t try to hijack blogging by wrapping a
    >> bunch of niche blogs together in a revenue model and

    Hijack blogging? How do you hijack blogging? we have ~80 blog and 170 bloggers… there are 20M blogs and prob. 5m active bloggers out there… we are .000000000000001% of the market–we’re not hijacking anything.

  17. sean coon Says:

    how extensible is your model?

    how does your model support community in the real?

    how does your model support a wider, distributive model of micropayments, so a kick ass gardener in iowa can drive business locally and make some coin, while a community gardener in brooklyn can do the same?

    how does your model hold these local, explicit community ideals in one hand, while meshing across endless other topical and geographical communities, bringing people and businesses together based on shared interest and expertise?

    if you’re about getting 170 bloggers paid, well, i gotta commend you. you did a great job. and you did alright in the process. congrats.

    but if you *care* about what blogging means in the bigger picture, then with all due respect, you sold out.

  18. John Says:

    well. intersting info, but not blog… i think you must do something with desigh 🙂 best regards…

  19. […] Regular readers know I give Jason Calacanis a hard time. […]

  20. Jonn Says:

    Nice site!! HopM

  21. […] Back in the day, Silicon Alley Reporter was the light at the end of my Jersey to Manhattan agency tunnel. You can call Jason Calacanis a lot of things — I’ve done it myself — but you have to admit that the guy is all about hustling this industry forward. His first post-AOL podcast is a good listen if you have the time. […]

  22. Ted Burrett Says:

    Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that person from that forum who told me to go to your site 🙂

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