Jason’s long goodbye: Give me a break

by Mathew on July 11, 2008 · 41 comments

I know that the goodbye post written by Mahalo supremo Jason Calacanis for his blog is supposedly heartfelt, and full of what he no doubt believes (or hopes we will believe) is authentic human emotion, but it still feels all wrong. Is it the fact that it reads like a bad script? Perhaps. And the fact that the photo Jason uses is from Michael Jordan’s retirement press conference (his second, I have to note) probably doesn’t help. Or maybe it’s the fact that in the script, Jason’s PR rep says that the great man is “fighting back his emotions” and asks the (theoretically) attended throng to “respect the privacy” of his bulldogs.

Or maybe it’s the idea that Jason — a man who uses Twitter, and his blog, and every other social-media tool he can think of, to relentlessly pump Mahalo — is giving up blogging because he craves something more “acoustic and authentic.” That part stretches believability to the breaking point. If anything, an email newsletter is a step backwards into megaphone and pulpit land; which makes sense, I suppose, since I have a hunch Jason much prefers the one-way pulpit to the two-way blogosphere. And when Jason promoted his new email list on FriendFeed, he said it was an “insider” list and was for: “insiders only, please — no casual folks.” Seriously, who talks like that? Not even Jason could be so totally without even a stitch of self-awareness.

But the real giveaway is comments like this one, made on FriendFeed about his departure, in which he says that “Your dignified questions and responses are appreciated during this very emotional time for me.” That’s just too much — even for someone like Jason. That hasn’t stopped some people from taking his comments about blogging very seriously, including some who usually know better, but I am calling BS on this one. I refuse to believe it — and if it is true, I refuse to care :-)

  • http://www.winextra.com StevenHodson

    I'm with you on this one Mathew. My gut reaction is that this a silly staged actions.

  • http://www.sheysmith.com Shey

    Matthew you said it — that's exactly how it felt to me, like a bad script.

  • Matik72

    Seems just a wee bit publicity oriented but then again I have been accused of being jaded. I have to agree with you not that it really matters as I don't personally know him or anything.

  • http://www.sarahintampa.com sarahintampa

    Everyone's a cynic. Scripted or not, it made me think a lot about what blogging means to me today and what's wrong with it, too.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Nothing wrong with that, Sarah.

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  • http://www.seanpercival.com Sean Percival

    Defiantly not true, I'm hoping to post about it tonight or tomorrow. Classic Calacanis!

  • http://www.jimkukral.com jimkukral

    He's been hanging around Feldman too much. The drama only works for some people. You're either in show business or you're not. I call b.s. too. The walls are crumbling.

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  • sbspalding

    It does feel stagy, but if he is really gone — I'll miss the laughs. All things considered, Jason adds a certain carnival barker flair to the blogosphere.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    It was about this time in the last couple of years that Jason took a break. Maybe a little earlier. It was just before Mahalo launched. My first thought when I saw today's goodbye post was that Mahalo is on the verge of being acquired or else he's working on something new.

    Since he's mostly been blogging Mahalo links lately, I'm inclined to think the self-imposed mailing list/blogger outage is really a way to black himself out before he moves to the next level. He's been at Mahalo for how long? People like Jason don't ever stay in one place very long. If Mahalo is stable and growing, he may be fixing to move on to the next project.

  • http://nextc.com vanchau

    I am beginning to like you more Matthew Ingram. There needs to be more honesty out there. Jason Calcanis seemed to come off to me as a slick salesmen type… lots of fluff, no depth. Mahalo doesn't really help his reputation in my opinion…

  • http://www.centernetworks.com centernetworks

    how could jason give up the blog – that's his main source of seo to mahalo – where's sean when you need him

  • PXLated

    “I refuse to care”
    As should everyone :-)

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  • http://leighhimel.blogspot.com leigh

    Yeah but you gotta admit, 'acoustic' was pretty poetic.

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  • http://www.allaboutnortel.com Mark Evans

    Calacanis is the master of online manipulation. Now you see me, now you don't. Like NFL quarterback Brent Favre, who now wants to unretire, Calacanis will be back because he's can't help himself.

  • http://theprogressbar.com daveevans

    What's Maholo, isn't that the company where the puppets live?

  • http://www.consumerpassion.com Jeff Crites

    Am I the only one who immediately thought of Bret Favre when hearing of this? That every time a Big Name athlete 'retires' (Jordan a great example), he can't stay on the sidelines for more than a few months (Clemens, thelist could go on) and 'un retires', only to retire again, and so on. Calacanis is mocking that, in my opinion, and playing it for some attention getting tunes.

  • http://furrier.org John Furrier

    Dave Winer pulled the same stunt. Never retired. Publicity stunt. Jason is entertaining for sure.

  • ojbyrne

    I actually thought it was intended as parody.

  • http://www.seomoz.org Danny

    I felt the same way when I read it. I call a bluff. Thanks for the additional insight.

  • http://jarkolicious.com jark

    All I have to say is that I hope he doesn't let the door hit him on his ass on the way out. Whether staged or reality, it's just beyond comprehension.

    Why not just walk away without saying a single word? Oh, I know, he needs some form of self-fulfillment and gratification so he's assured his decision was the right one.

    Bleh. Lame.

  • http://www.agoracom.com AGORACOM

    Mathew, love the post. Silicon Valley has turned into the tech version of Beverly Hills 90210. Integrity and ingenuity are gone, replaced by bling and poularity contests and stunts. Hence, why VC's are losing their shirts and IPO's have dried up.

    Great work. Canada rocks!


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  • http://www.metzmash.com Adam Metz

    Whatever keeps him off the interwebs is fine with me. I just pray that he never gets my email address.

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  • http://www.spot.us digidave

    I agree with Sarah here: It does make me think about where blogging is going, but it certainly doesn't make me think that “blogging is dead.” That's the silliest thing I've ever heard.

    Would Michael Jordan declare basketball dead after he retired?

    Shaq and Kobe would certainly disagree.

    Moreover: I understand Jason's complaints about the blogosphere needing to mature, but leaving won't help. In fact, it's stupid. I think he contributed to what he was complaining about (worrying about hype instead of content ala I'll give you a macbook air if you follow me on twitter).

    The solution: Worry about content!!!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is – he should “be the change” – not “be the guy running away.”

    I do want to see the blogosphere mature, that's part of why I'm working on spot.us – but blogging aint going anywhere.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish Grier

    There are so many bloggers out there who've never heard of Jason, and who really don't care whether he “retires” and goes back to email or not. They're too busy trying to keep their small businesses going, and blogging works for them on a lot of different levels.–and yes, sounds like a whole bunch of drama for sure.

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  • iscatterling

    Damn! I was suckered in.

    Thanks to Mathew and Jim my perspective has been refocused.

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  • http://i-trepreneur.com/ internet entrepreneur

    It is still unclear to me why Calacanis made his decision to quit blogging. What kind of ‘private’ topics does he want to discuss in his mail list? Personally I do not believe in email newsletters and often regard them as spam despite of their subject.

  • http://i-trepreneur.com/ internet entrepreneur

    It is still unclear to me why Calacanis made his decision to quit blogging. What kind of ‘private’ topics does he want to discuss in his mail list? Personally I do not believe in email newsletters and often regard them as spam despite of their subject.

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