Jason Calacanis, then Founder and CEO of Mahalo.com, delivered the keynote address at Affiliate Summit West 2008 in Las Vegas.
I had been following Jason since he was publishing a magazine called Silicon Alley Reporter in the 90s, and then his big wins in various areas of online business and investing.
Also, shortly before we booked him back then he was at a search conference and got all kinds of blowback for saying “SEO is bullshit.” I loved how he was a lightning rod and maverick, so I figured he’d be a great guy to bring in to speak at Affiliate Summit.
He started his talk by saying “affiliate marketing is bullshit,” and the crowd knew it was tongue in cheek. But SmartMoney writer Anne Kadet was fixated on the comment and took it for a real claim from Jason.
Many affiliate marketers reached out to Anne Kadet and she stood her ground on the basis of her article, which was that she didn’t know anything about Jason or affiliate marketing. It’s funny to see over a decade later that posts about her yellow journalism still ranking well in Google.
Attending keynote speeches can be valuable because you can gain and implement some knowledge right away or act on inspiration from the talk, as well as have the unique opportunity to get face time with the speaker.