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Listening to Jason Calacanis at ConvergeSouth 07

 Jason Calacanis, left, and Ed Cone at ConvergeSouth07.

 I am at ConvergeSouth 07 listening to Jason McCabe Calacanis talking with moderator Ed Cone. First he told how he made $30 million selling his Weblogs, Inc to AOL. Now he is talking about Mahalo, his new search  engine, in which he says we are handwriting the top 25,000 searches and are much better than Google. If you type in Paris Hotels, Mahalo provides you the information and, of course, you might be interested in other things Paris related, thus the ads come with it. It is a more value search. New Web 2.0 model: You don’t have to figure out how to make money, you just have to figure out how to attract audience and the ads automatically come to you.

They pay people to write the search.  

Think big and and start small, you can’t take a local blog and make a big business. Think big instead. Look for a bigger audience maybe one that has 10 million people who are interested. Local is hard, making $25 or $50 sales is tough. Even Google has trouble making money off of local searches.

We are in a paradigm shift from paper to online. Journalists still think print is more important, even though more people are reading their stuff online. Calacanis was approached by newspapers, he says charge much more for newspaper, just for the people who want it.

Social Networks appeals to users, not sure if they appeal to advertisers. Interacting with you friends is more fun than interacting with advertisers. Hard for an advertising to trump socialization.  No one in social networking is making big money from advertising. The social networking has moved from Friendster to MySpace to FaceBook. People gravitate to new social networking sites, so who knows what is next. Cone says his kids won’t use FaceBook anymore because he is now on it too.

The difference between people who succeed and those who don’t. A lot of people don’t want to take that first step. Just do it. No one is stopping you from let’s say writing a 100 log posts about one subject. Then taking that to a publisher for a job.

Calacanis. I have a voice I wanted to write. I always look at the funding of these things as a means to an end. I look at capital as a way to finance artists to do their work. With Weblogs Inc. allowed people who would not have gotten a job at a big magazine, but we allowed them to make a living.

Maybe if local newspapers go out of  business, maybe five other people in the community will write it better. Success is something you should define for yourself. The barriers are down, just do it, don’t wait for permission.

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