Yesterday at Gnomedex – Jason Calacanis gave a presentation that ended up unfortunately being a commercial for Mahalo. Jason’s cause behind Mahalo is just in his fight against search spam and if he had stuck to that mission, that mantra with just a slight mention of how he’s tactically fighting the good fight via Mahalo. And in the spirit of Gnomedex where heckling is tolerated and understood (ie. it’s will within in the social norm here) Dave Winer took exception and heckled Jason. Fine, it happens, move on. (And in fairness if one really wanted to see some heckling chat out the IRC chat below the live video feed – plenty of the other speakers were CRUCIFIED).
But what gets interesting is that Jason decided to vent back and take exception to Winer’s commentary with this blog post. And boy did it piss off Dave Winer. Like steaming, that $#$!##@’er mad. And so Dave took it out on Jason here.
Two things – what’s amazing about this very public fight, is that Dave and Jason are sitting three seats apart in the last row right behind me. How our lives as bloggers have changed such that the battle is done online instead of in person. And given the private rancor what’s interesting is that if you didn’t know what was going on on their blogs you would never guess looking at them anything is amiss. Putting aside the merit of their arguments (and I align with Dave’s thinking but completely think Jason has stumbled into a really big idea worth supporting – stopping spam), it kind of reminds me of Austen’ian England where battles were fought through scathing letters while the rules of civility forced the landed gentry to always play nice in public.
As an observer – the drama and it’s a very human drama is fun to watch. Jason, Scoble, Denton and now Thomas, DaveW are now characters in a real drama. And what’s making it even more interesting is now having met all of them. So keep at it guys – the debates, arguments and spats are worth every second they attract our attention (even if it means Jason at the podium not only calls Nick Denton an F***ing liar once, but twice – though the second time was instigating by me).