Leo Laporte owns and operates a netcast network called TWIT “This Week in Tech.” Leo’s netcast network has over a dozen shows. Jason Calacanis is an internet entrepreneur and blogger. He is the founder of mahalo.com. Jason is sometimes a guest on This Week in Tech and long time friend of Leo Laporte.
Calacanis asked Leo if he minded if he used the title “This Week In…” and Leo told him he didn’t mind, and he couldn’t stop him anyway since he doesn’t own it. Calacanis bought the domain “thisweekin.com” and plans to launch 30 shows over a 3 year period. Some of these shows include “This Week in iPod,” “This Week in Android,” “This Week in Gadgets,” and “This Week in Twitter.” Some of these shows are very similar to shows Leo is already doing.
On Saturday, April 17th during Leo’s live radio show The Tech Guy (which is also a podcast on Leo’s Netcast network) Leo made the following comments about how he feels about what Calacanis is doing. I have included a Youtube clip at the bottom of this article. Some comments made were:
The next day (Sunday April 18th) Calacanis sends a tweet out on Twitter asking “anyone have video of Leo’s comments about me on TWiTlive yesterday?” Then during the live broadcast of The Tech Guy, Calacanis goes into the shows chatroom and starts rambling off statements including that he had Leo’s blessing on this, and that he wishes he would have known how Leo felt before dumping 6 figures into this. Calacanis leaves the chatroom a few minutes later and then sends out this tweet: “My official statement on the @leolaporte ThisWeekIn.com controversy. #twit #twist #twi: http://wp.me/pk3g7-89N“
“Obviously I’m shocked, and to be honest a little hurt, by this since I consider Leo a friend, mentor and a long-time collaborator.
Some background for the record ===============
1. Leo gave me his blessing for starting This Week In Startups and for doing my “This Week In” Network.
2. I offered Leo the domain name thisweekin.com before I bought it.
3. I would have never used the domain name without his blessing-this situation is EXACTLY why I cleared it with him in advance.
4. I’ve invested over six figures in the www.ThisWeekIn.com company and brand. My intent is to launch 30 shows in this space of three years.
5. I admire and respect Leo. I will not get dragged into a big public fight with him. I respect him, and myself, too much.
6. There are 500 possible “This Week In…” shows either of us could do. There are also dozens of other folks doing independent TWI shows for the past couple of decades.
Some solutions I’ve proposed ================
1. Leo can have first shot at any topics. There are so many topics we really don’t need to fight over them.
2. I will partner with Leo on advertising sales for our two networks. Right now I’m guessing Leo gives 30-50% of his advertising revenue to his 3rd party ad network. I would give him 100% of his sales and take zero-yes 0%-of the advertising we sell for his network. If he sells into our network he could take 25%. The reason I would do this is obvious: we are much stronger joining forces as partner on advertising then apart.
3. We would partner with him on any shows he wanted to jointly. Can you imagine how amazing a DAILY show would be with Leo and I as hosts? I think our chemistry is second to NO ONE on This Week in Tech with the exception of Dvorak. When we’re on This Week in Tech together it’s powerful, funny, insightful and controversial-everything you want a RADIO show to be. all the best, jason”
It’s fine if Calacanis wants to do his own netcast shows or even start his own network, but using the same titles with similar shows as Leo is very unprofessional. For example, Calacanis has This Week in Android, Leo already has This Week in Google. He is riding Leo’s coattails. Leo has worked very hard establishing his netcast network using a lot of his own money in the beginning. This is pretty disappointing coming from Jason, especially since he is/was Leo’s friend.
Leo has not responded to Calacanis’s latest statement.