Jason Calacanis is notorious among Search Engine Optimization practitioners — and for good reason. For one thing, he gave a keynote at the Search Engine Strategies conference and announced that the profession was, well, bull$#*t, following up his performance with this post. But that’s old news.* As is his declaration of “Facebook Bankruptcy” (and the explanation of his declaration of Facebook bankruptcy). But that all seems to have changed thanks to the power of Dim Sum 2.0, the impromptu blogger dinner in NYC’s Chinatown that Calacanis hosted last Thursday, where he was overheard hinting (joking?) about putting together his own SEO conference.
Really? Could it be that Michael Gray (also pictured) convinced Jason that not all — or 90%, as he claimed — of SEO’s are “snakeoil salesmen”?
Everyone knows that 90% of statistics are bull$#*t, so there’s no sense bickering over that. But regardless of what you think of the SEO debate, it’s telling that Calacanis was able to put this event together in just two days by — you guessed it — creating a Facebook group. In the end, over 50 people showed up, and everyone, myself included, had a blast.
It’s funny. Bryan and I were at the same table, and he mentioned to me that when he was at a dinner last year to celebrate the release of Chris Anderson’s bestseller, The Long Tail, it took two weeks to pull a similar crowd — two weeks! Score one for Facebook, but extra points to Jason for giving it another shot, and for not being afraid to praise the social networking platform in public, as he did during a post. He even blogged it.
Jason Calacanis may be the P.T. Barnum of tech, but if he didn’t exist, we’d all do a far worse job inventing him. I didn’t get to speak with Jason much beyond our introduction (he’s quite popular), but I must say I’m impressed. Here’s a guy who spends his days with VC’s and other Silicon Valley elites, and still isn’t afraid to be wrong — or reevaluate, as the case may be — his bold opinions. Isn’t that what technology, marketing, and the nexus therein is about? Maybe if he didn’t have such a sharp tongue and keyboard, people wouldn’t have such strong opinions about the guy — and wouldn’t that be boring.
So, Mahalo to you, Jason, and to B.L. Ochman, David Armano and the other fine bloggers and entrepreneurs who met at Dim Sum 2.0. (If you’re on Facebook, you can see Bryan’s snapshots from the dinner here.)
[*For those hoping to lambaste Jason, please note that Danny Sullivan, Lisa Barone, Neil Patel, and others have already the job quite tastefully. For even more nuance on the "SEO is bull" debate, check out Scott Karp's assessment -- and don't forget to read the comments.]