Jason Calacanis: The No1 Greek Internet Brain

Jason Calacanis, one of the best brains of the Internet industry who started the first human powered search engine, Mahalo.com, is talking exclusively about the future of the internet and his Greek background. Wikipedia states about Calacanis «Jason McCabe Calacanis (born November 28, 1970[1] in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York) is a Greek-Irish American Internet entrepreneur and former blogger. His first company was part of the dot-com era in New York, and his second venture capitalized on the growth of blogs before being sold to AOL. Calacanis founded Mahalo.com, a “human-powered search engine», which launched in alpha test in May 2007. »

What title would you give to yourself in regard to your career?
Entrepreneur.

What did you study and what was your career goals while at school?

Psychology was my major.
i wanted to get my PHD and work for the FBI

What is your Greek Background?

My father is Greek.

Have you ever been in Greece?

Yes, twice.

What do you think of the Greek Internet users and bloggers?

In my last trip i spent a lot of time with Greek bloggers and
entrepreneurs…. it’s a great scene that is just getting started. I
expect big things.

Did the Greek-American community support you and your business?

They’ve always invited me to parties and sent emails, so yes!

You had a newspaper and then you got into the Internet, how did this
happen?

I started a newsletter about my friends building websites… it got
really big because when I started it most folks were not on the
Internet!

Are newspapers dead?

in print, yes.

You were one of the first people that believed in blogs. This summer you
stopped blogging. Why?

I was looking to do something smaller and more intimate.

What is a blog? People call blogs huge sites with 50 different
writers and millions of visitors. Do you consider this still blogging?

I think a blog is a publication where there is no editor–or
editing–between the writer and the reader.

Do you think that in blogs people are practicing journalism? Are (anonymous)
blogs dangerous for journalism?

Some bloggers are adding journalism standards to their blogs, and some
journalist are becoming more blog-like. it’s a mixed bag.

What is your life like in an average day?

I wake up at 6/7am. I do email and read for three hours, then go to work, have lunch with the team, do a meeting or two, play with the product, teach Tae Kwon Do, taking my wife and dogs to dinner and then work for an hour or two.

How many hours per day (average) are you in front of a computer, i-phone  or
pda?

16

What jobs did you have in your life until now?

Computer programmer, busboy and writer.

How did you come up with the idea for mahalo.com ?

I thought that search would be better if humans were involved… so i
built some pages and I came to the conclusion that i was right. 🙂

Are Internet videos the future of television, or TV stations will be
streaming their live program online? What do you think is the future of
Television and will it emerge into one with the Internet?

Television sets will download half their programming from the Internet
in the next five years, and folks will watch a lot of TV shows over
their iphone and laptops.

Do you think that we are moving to an era that all the info will be
transmitted only through the Internet? Is this dangerous? What about the
people who do not have Internet?

Everyone will have the Internet, and books will still exists. It’s a non-issue.

Wikipedia says that Mahalo has grown to have millions of users around the
globe. Is it profitable as well or not yet?

We haven’t started making money yet, but we’ll easily be able to reach
profitability in the next year or so.

Do you consider Mahalo a competitor of other non human search engines like
Google Yahoo etc, or a competitor of Wikipedia and Knol type of sites?

I think we’re somewhere between wikipedia and google.

Could you predict what is the big change that will happen in the future
because of the internet, if any?

People around the world will speak and read English perfectly by the
end of our lifetimes.

If you had one wish what will you ask for?

Global peace and understanding…. or a renewable energy source (which
would accomplish the same goal).


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