Jason Calacanis sold his company Weblogs, Inc. to AOL last year for about $25 million, was given wide berth to groove at the behemoth by AOL CEO Jonathan Miller, stirred up the company, and this week decided to leave the company on the heels of Jonathan Miller getting axed, replaced by Randy Falco, the president of the NBC Universal Television Group.
During a podcast taping of the Gillmor Gang to be aired later today, Jason said when he came on at AOL the discussion was that he would stay a year. He termed it an 'experiment,' and was thinking about announcing a change at the Web 2.0 Summit last week. "The year was up and the plan was to look for a new opportunity, and when Jonathan Miller left it sped up my thinking. Even if Jon were there I would have left by the end of the year anyway," Jason said. He gave a lot of praise to Miller for engineering the business model transition at AOL.
He said that last year was a good year for AOL, given the huge shift of moving from a dial-up provider and subscription provider to an ad-supported model. "The numbers proved out that we did very well, and I learned a lot," Jason said. "I'm very sad about how it went down with Jon Miller. It's time to look at other opportunities."
Jason said he could have continued his career there and become an SVP and take on other projects, but he didn't want to start over with another manager. His official last day at AOL is next Friday.
"I am not trying to model my career to be a one-hit wonder," Jason said. He wants to be more like Bob Dylan in exploring new territory, continual reinvention, he said.
What's Jason's future plan: "Right now I am watching the offers come in and thinking about stuff," he said. However, he does have a non-compete on creating a blog network. "I find podcasting an enticing space," he teased. Jason does have a great 'radio' presence, which is evident if you listen to his podcasts and his hilarious appearances on the Gillmor Gang.