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Jason Calacanis is an American internet entrepreneur and 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.
Rising Tide StudiosEdit
During the dot-com boom, he was active in New York's Silicon Alley community and in 1996 began producing a publication known as the Silicon Alley Reporter. Originally a 16-page photocopied newsletter, as its popularity grew it expanded into a 300-page magazine, with a sister publication called the Digital Coast Reporter for the West Coast. Calacanis's tireless socializing earned him a nickname as the "yearbook editor" of the Silicon Alley community .
His company, Rising Tide Studios, also hosted conferences and became known for its lavish parties. It had a staff of about 70 people, including conference organizer Xeni Jardin, who would later become a journalist and blogger at Boing Boing. Others involved in the company who would go on to become well-known in the blogging community include Rafat Ali of PaidContent.org, Clay Shirky, and Tristan Louis.
With the end of the boom, the company suffered and had to lay off much of its staff. The Silicon Alley Reporter was renamed the Venture Reporter in September 2001 and now focused on venture capital deals. Calacanis subsequently sold the business to a publishing company, Wicks Business Information, and it ultimately ended up in the hands of Dow Jones & Company.
After selling Rising Tide, Calacanis co-founded Weblogs, Inc. with Brian Alvey. They built the company as a network of blogs supported by advertising, and investment help from Mark Cuban. They recruited freelance bloggers to provide content and grew to about 50 sites within a year. One of the more popular sites, Engadget, was handed over to Peter Rojas (previously a co-founder of Gizmodo), whom they offered an equity stake in the company in order to leave competitor Gawker.com.
Calacanis is known for being outspoken and moderately transparent about Weblogs, Inc., going so far as to give updates on the company's Google AdSense earnings. Time Warner's America Online agreed to buy Weblogs, Inc. in October 2005 for an amount reported to be about $25 million.
Six months into his tenure with AOL, Jason was offered a chance to "save Netscape." He took the idea of Digg, and added an editorial layer to the concept. The project has launched and is in beta right now at Netscape Beta.
Calacanis was also profiled in the New Yorker and Wired during the dot-com boom. The profile from the New Yorker was titled "the connector" and was the basis for Malcolm Gladwell's "connectors" described in the book The Tipping Point. Calacanis was featured on the cover of Forbes along with Rojas and Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin.