Bye, Jason

It’s not as if 99.999% of the world cares, but Jason Calacanis is leaving AOL, and I can’t say I’m upset in the least about it. He’s a voracious self-promoter and polarizing force. Everything he says has to be viewed through the “how does this make Jason look better” lens. He somehow became the “voice of AOL” in Silicon Valley, and that always bothered me. He hadn’t put in the time inside the company, and he took credit for a lot of new features and products here that he had absolutely nothing to do with.
For example, he responded to a comment on that same post with this:
bq. “…Blogsmith is the best piece of technology inside TW/AOL.”
Excuse me? It’s a blogging tool, and not even done yet. He doesn’t know about all the other technology at AOL or what we’ve done, and people believe that he somehow knows what he’s talking about. Jason was never the face or voice of anything but Jason Calacanis.
He was the wrong voice at the wrong time for AOL. We’ve still got a lot of work to regain standing in the technology world, in web development in particular, and that takes humility and earnest effort, not grand standing and self-promotion – the two things Jason’s best at.
Update: In response to Jason’s comment, I do have to give him credit for one very important thing. He did a great job of opening up the internal debate about the direction of the company and of products. It’s one of the good things about being controversial and polarizing is that you get people talking, which he certainly did, inside and outside the company. If that’s Jason’s legacy at AOL, that’s something to be proud of. Unfortunately, that legacy is tainted by what I felt (and a lot of people who will never say it publicly) was way too much self-promotion along the way.