Jason Calacanis and the Evil Cult of the Internet Start-up

[Note: This article is a follow-up to How do you treat your staff? Like 37signals, or like this prick?, written after that piece received a lot of attention. But my views are more complex than simple Good vs Evil, as a look through all Calacanis-related posts will show.]

I’m still chuckling at the seriousness with which some people treat getting onto Techmeme. It’s true, I keep stopping typing to giggle. It’s embarrassing.

I’d never visited Techmeme until this weekend. Even then it was only because someone told me I’d blipped up there. It’s just another feed of what someone thinks is “important” in infotech, yeah? Who cares. It’s not as if it’s Reuters or BBC News.

It’s just more geeks telling geeks what geeks think other geeks should think about stuff that geeks think about.

Photograph of Jason Calacanis

But Jason Calacanis cares.

Jason Calacanis must care very deeply because he “joked” about it on this website, and over at TechCrunch he “joked” about getting pageviews. His fan club speculates that Duncan Riley and me and others are only attacking him to generate our own web traffic. Well, I can’t speak for Duncan, but no, I couldn’t care less about website traffic — especially the low-grade drive-by flamers that usually wash up here after being mentioned on high-traffic fan sites. That’s not why I’m here.

I’m attacking Calacanis because I reckon the business style he describes, the one championed by his defenders, is rotten to the very core.

But first, let’s talk about religion…

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A Pause in the Jason Calacanis discussion

A note for folks stumbling across this website thanks to the Jason Calacanis / 37signals / TechCrunch discussion: It’s 4.30pm on a sunny autumn Sunday afternoon here in Sydney. I have been writing a further post which explains, amongst other things, that I’m not trolling (deliberately stirring up controversy), but passionately arguing a genuine concern. I’m amused this has turned into a global controversy, flattered even, when I reckon it’s more a storm in a teacup — though at its heart is a fundamental issue about how we do business. However for the next few hours I’ll be enjoying the remaining sunshine, doing some shopping and generally spending Sunday evening with my beloved. More soon.

Well, I wanted some profile before Australia 2020…

[Update 10 March, 1030 AEDT: I’ve written a follow-up article which, while bound to piss off a few people, explains precisely why I’m so concerned about this issue.]

…but I don’t know whether this was exactly what I had in mind. Calling a high-profile Internet entrepreneur a prick, and then being referenced by some of the highest-traffic tech blogs on the planet.

Screenshot from Techmeme showing my article in the top story listings

OK, I participated in the discussion at TechCrunch and the 37signals blog Signal vs Noise, as I should. But then it was picked up by Mashable and then TechMeme (see screenshot). And now I’m seeing inbound from TechCrunch Japan and Colbert Low’s technology blog and who knows where else to come.

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