Kara Swisher

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Kara Visits Mahalo

So I paid a visit to Jason Calacanis’s newest venture, Mahalo, in its nondescript warehouse office on the outskirts of downtown Santa Monica, Calif., on Friday.

We demoed the manic entrepreneur’s latest company, the “human-powered” search engine, at D5 this year. The venture was funded by–among others–Sequoia Capital and its wunderkind VC Roelof Botha.

The colorful Calacanis has been around the Web space for a long time, with a range of ventures back in the day, like “Silicon Alley Reporter,” up to the last of which–Weblogs Inc.–was sold to AOL in 2005 for $25 million.

He’s had Mahalo going since May, using funding he said will last for years to come, while he gets the service built into a highly targeted search site. While not everyone is rooting for Calacanis to succeed, and even calling him a self-promoter (which is so uncommon–not–in the Web industry), it will be interesting to see him try.

Oh, yes, Mahalo means “thanks” or “gratitude” in Hawaiian.

Here is the first video of my visit, one looking around the offices. And the second is in the post right below this one.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik