off the record
A Social Network
As TechCrunch first reported, Inside.com might once again become a functioning web domain, under the administration of Silicon Alley Reporter and Mahalo.com founder Jason Calacanis. And if that sounds to you like a lede from 2000, you probably remember Inside.com as the late-bubble content play—helmed by Kurt Andersen and Michael Hirschorn—that gave us both David Carr and the Segway.
“For 10-plus years I’ve coveted the Inside.com domain name, and I’ve tried to own it,” Mr. Calacanis told The Observer. “I finally got it.”
“I don’t touch Facebook,” declared Michael Romanowicz, 29, a freelance web designer who nixed his profile and more than 300 friends on the social network last year after he decided it was making him unproductive. (Worse, it was showing him too many pictures of his ex-girlfriend.) “I’m a digital professional and I fundamentally disagree with the philosophy of how Facebook has structured their product.”
It’s not that he and the social network didn’t have some great times. “What was really cool was that one of my friends was one of the first few hundred Facebook users, and for some reason he had a super admin access,” he said. They used the account to snoop through strangers’ photos.
But Facebook became “annoying” and “inundating” as it grew, and at some point, it stopped being fun.
Three months ago, the Transom broke some news to Jason Calacanis, former publisher of the New York-based dot-com bust chronicle Silicon Alley Reporter. Mr. Calacanis was sitting in the corner of a South By Southwest party, contemplating whether he could use the edge of a table to open a Heineken, when we told him his former employee Josh Topolsky had just quit as editor of the popular AOL-owned tech blog Engadget. “What?!” Mr. Calacanis said, lunging for his BlackBerry: “Hey @joshuatopolsky,” he tweeted. “I have a blank check here with your name on it. Let me know where to send it.” He sat back and took a smug swig; a server had opened the bottle. “I love making public offers,” he said. “It’s win-win. If they take it, I win. If they don’t take it, I win because it’s baller.”
Put another $1 million in the coffers of travel search startup Wanderfly, which allows users to brainstorm vacation ideas by feeding parameters like price, time and point of origin into a search engine. TechCrunch reports that the company has raised the funds from Charles River Ventures, Jason Calacanis, StartupAngel, James Baile, Roger Dickey and other angels.
Wanderfly Read More
Hunch, the personal-decision-making engine created by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, launched yesterday to much press fanfare. The site has been in undercover beta since March, but in a blog post on the Hunch site, Ms. Fake introduced a new and improved version. “For Read More
Last night, on June 2, Jason Calacanis was introduced as Silicon Alley’s “original pimp” by Meetup’s Scott Heiferman and debuted a new version of his “human powered search engine,” Mahalo.com. “My wife is here,” Mr. Calacanis said to the crowd of about 775 entreprenuers, venture capitalists, tech geeks and Silicon Valley randoms who Read More
“If this was ten years ago, DJ Spooky would have been playing the Chemical Brothers and about a third of the room would have been on ecstasy,” said Jason Calacanis, veteran Silicon Alley tech star as founder of Weblogs, Inc., former Silicon Alley Read More
Jason Calacanis, the Bay Ridge-born Brooklyn native who founded Silicon Alley Reporter and became CEO of human powered search engine Mahalo.com, retired from blogging in July and has been sending out dispatches in mass emails on an exclusive listserv ever since. In this past Sunday’s Read More