My official statement on the @leolaporte ThisWeekIn.com controversy. #twit #twist #twi

Yesterday, and earlier today, Leo Laporte made on-air statements that he was not happy with my use of the “This Week In” format of shows.
Someone posted a video of it on YouTube.
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

105 thoughts on “My official statement on the @leolaporte ThisWeekIn.com controversy. #twit #twist #twi

  1. As a frequent contributor to Leo’s This Ween In… podcasts, why not think of something more original when starting your own network? Of course Leo didn’t invent the name, but when it comes to tech podcasts, when people hear This Week In…, they think of Leo Laporte. It’s a little weak that you couldn’t come up with something that’s not so similar.

  2. Jason, you are an aggressive business man, but maybe not smart one in
    this case. Why would even consider choosing a Leo’s brand. TWI..will always be Leo’s and you would be just a poacher. I’ve followed Leo for at least twenty years. He crosses all age groups and you do not. Please go do you own thing and be creative. Good luck!

  3. Think I have to side with Laporte on this one. Seems like there could have been another option than ThisWeekIn. Leo may not own it, but he certainly cannot dilute his brand – especially after all of the work and investment he has made in TWiT. Jason, is it too late to reconsider? If not, then I think Leo’s decision is a good one.

  4. I can see both sides. Ultimately, though, Leo should have known that you would grow your network, like you do everything else, and said up-front if he disagreed with you starting up a podcast network. Leo seems like the kind of guy that would let things slide like that when it involves friends which goes back to his responsibility. He should have protected his brand more.

    And as it goes, since it certainly seems like you two are friends, this should have been done privately.

  5. He complained about the quality of what you’re doing. Well… I hadn’t seen TWiT unitl I’d seen TWiST, and it sent me to sleep. No doubt you’ve learnt a lot from Leo, well maybe it’s time Leo learnt a thing or two from you.

  6. Hey Jason – You bring up some good points above and its a
    gracious offer you are making to Leo. But you gotta see it
    from his perspective. I suspect he is hurt also by your
    efforts with TWi. I suggest you go and have a meal and a
    drink with Leo and talk man to man. Certainly the both of you
    can talk it out and establish a mutually beneficial
    relationship. All the best.

  7. It may just be me, but it seems to me that when this whole “This Week In” thing started with you, it was seemingly focused on the business side of things, especially on the topics of business startups and venture capitalists. Those were, and still are, great areas to be in since there were not a lot of focus on them. Sure, Leo gave the nod of approval. He can not very well tell you no, and he knows that. He has even said it himself, numerous times.

    The issue is when you took it upon yourself to start jumping in on technology topics. You are talking about creating a technology podcast network that you knew full well that Leo has spent a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money developing. Granted, there are a TON of areas within the technology sector to look at and you have every right to do so, but when you start using “This Week In [insert topic here]”, you did not stop to think about the obvious confusion of brands? You are an intelligent businessman, and I just find that extremely hard to believe.

    As you continue to churn out show after show, it begins to look like a calculated plan even if the true intent was otherwise. I am sure that if the tables were turned, that the feeling would be understandably disconcerting to you as well. If you are truly the friend that you claim to be, you will take the steps necessary to avoid bringing it to an abrupt end. Especially over something that really is trivial. As someone who knows from past experience, it really is not worth it. I have followed and become a fan both you and Leo, among a few others, for some time now and try to learn everything I can and hope to do so for the foreseeable future.

  8. Jason, to be honest it does sound and look like you are trying to take advantage of what Leo has already built. If you do not mind taking advantage of other friends work, well, the best to you then. Hope the money makes a nice pillow.

  9. It’s important to remember that Leo’s been through this before, when he disliked Twitter using a name so close to TWiT. When Leo registered the TWiT trademark I’m sure defending his brand from friends was the last thing he thought he’d have to do. That said, he knows he wasn’t the first to us a “This Week in” title, and wouldn’t be the last, and the idea isn’t his to own or give permission to use.

  10. I have been noticing Jason cranking out TWI show but did not realize he was trying to start a network.

    I can see how it could be confusing to someone just getting into the shows or the casual listener.
    But I can see how Leo could feel. Did he know This week in startups would turn into a whole network?

    And as far as giving Leo first pick on topic. Having just checked out thisweekin.com I can already see a couple show Jason started that Leo already covers: TWiG (this week in google) covers cloud computing, android, twitter, etc. and I see shows for those topics on thisweekin.com already.

    I don’t think Leo really has anything to worry about in the long run. For those already in the space and interested are most likely listening to Leo and probably don’t want to listen to whole other show covering the same topic. I know I don’t, which is why I haven’t checked any of them out.

  11. Sad that Leo has to do this on the air. He is starting to show his alter ego little by little by being on the air so much. And I love Leo, been watching him for years. Sure seems like he could have handled this differently. I hope he is just making waves for views and you guys work this out. It just proves you are doing something right. He’s been doing his for how long and you are rapidly catching up.

  12. Either of you, just pick up the phone and figure it out like adults. Otherwise I’m just going to assume this is all some lame attempt at theatrics to grab “ratings”. I know, I know, everyone does it, especially online but I thought you two would be above all that.

    JN

  13. Jason, as much as I like your podcasts, you must have seen this one coming… with or without Leo’s blessing, it was a matter of time until Thisweekin.com became big and it would upset the status quo… specially because your podcast is in the same genre than Leo’s…

    This is like you starting a bunch of blogs for ninche content like “iPadCrunch” or “StartupCrunch” and not expect Mike Arrington to have an issue with you. I don’t know the details, but it seems that Leo sorta gave you the “OK” for “This Week in Startups”, but not to start a tech-related “This Week in” podcast network, since that’s what Leo already has and does!

    I think it was naive of Leo not to expect you to make something big out of this, since (let’s be frank, you are Jason Calacanis), but I also think you’re in the wrong for using the “This Week in” name for tech related podcasts with or without Leo’s blessing.

    In my mind, this seems to be:
    a) a really bad decision/misunderstanding between you and Leo
    b) a PR stunt
    c) a bullish move from you to eventually force a merge between ThisWeekIn.com and the TWiTnetwork?

    I don’t know, I hope this was just a misunderstanding between you guys, we all love you both, so hopefully this can be resolved in a friendly matter. Honestly, I think you should just change the name of your network.

    Keep up the good work, and yes “we are entertained” 🙂

    Thiago

  14. Jason, I really like the TWIT network, however I think your shows are way more produced. I am getting so tired of Leo every starting a show by saying, “let’s see, what’s the news for the week, not much happened…” gdgt, tekzilla, etc… They never have a problem finding content. I think Leo has gotten lazy. I find myself lately looking for other tech podcasts because he has gotten lazy and too much a fan boy. Jason, I think you are right on this one.

    Robert

  15. I really hope it was just an offhand comment on Leo’s part and that it is all a storm in a tea-cup,to be easily and quickly forgotten and swept under the carpet. I love Leo’s shows, and I love listening to your contributions. Here’s hoping ammends can be made nice and quickly. I applaude you taking the humble and positive approach, Jason – I hope that Leo see’s it that way too.

  16. Perhaps there’s more to this than we’ve seen – the clip from the show, I mean.

    But if there isn’t, Leo should have gone to Jason before airing this publicly. Yes, Jason’s growing this aggressively (and anyone that’s met or talked to Jason for more than 5 minutes should know that. I’ve never met the guy and I know this!)

    There’s no reason to do it like this, Leo – I’m sorry. I’ve been a supporter for a long time and 90% of my commute time is spent listening to TWIT podcasts.

    I don’t see a need to choose sides here, but Leo was wrong. It’s not too late to make this right, but Leo needs to extend the olive branch to Jason. Hell, if Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt can have coffe then you guys can definitely work this out – but you both need to want to. I don’t think Jason’s suggestion for a compromise on the ad revenue is necessarily the best way to go, but at least it’s an idea – it feels like he’s trying.

    It would hurt the entire tech news and podcast community were it not resolved.

  17. I agree with Leo and the previous commenters on this one. Jason, Leo made a gracious offer to you, not having a an appreciation for your master plan. He gave an inch, you literally took. Mile. The appropriate thing to do would have been to share with Leo your plans ahead of time to make certain he was ok with it. You didn’t and this is the result. I proprose ghat you took advantage of the situation and it’s cost your a friendship and and has hurt your reputation.

  18. I’m a fan of both you and Leo, in this case I have to side with leo.

    I knew that TWiST was going well infact I remember watching the show on TWiT Live inwhich you asked Leo if he would be okay with it, but up until today had never heard of thisweekin.com. Personally the whole thisweekin.com startup seems to me to scream fly by night and cheap, something like a Mevio production, and so even though I love Adam Curry and John C Dvorak most of the shows produced on mevio scream fake and cheap. Shows from Rev3, TWiT, or even the now defunct 1UP.com line of gaming podcasts, had a soul, which is something that shows from Mevio or one your productions dont have in my opnion.

    Anyways I’m not here to rag on you, I just feel like Leo had carved out the This Week in market on the internet for tech shows and I think your network cheapens that.

  19. I have to admit I sided with Leo at first, but now I’ve come around to the position that “This Week in…” is not original enough to trademark or own. I can see how Leo would be threatened, but he shouldn’t be. How does he feel with This Week in Photography?

    I am curious. Is this the same reason the iPhone Alley weekly podcast did not keep the name This Week in iPhone?

  20. This is not a small misunderstanding between you and Leo Laporte. In essence, what has happened, whether intentionally or not, is that you have taken advantage of Leo’s good personality, generosity and his TWiT network. This could easily be seen as underhand, and malicious.
    What you asked Leo for was permission to use the “This Week In” name for a new podcast. Even though Leo is too kind hearted to say “no” outright, he would never see it as a threat to his network, and would be more than happy to allow you to run the podcast, especially since “Startups” are your own personal passion and interest. He might have even envisaged it becoming part of the TWiT network at a later date.

    However, Jason, your plans to launch 30 shows as part of a network within three years will undoubtedly dwarf Leo, and the TWiT network itself.

    Furthermore, it seems to me, even from your blog post, that you are trying to build and launch a new business (podcast network) off the back of Leo’s success. This is happening whether you intend it directly or indirectly. I know you are aware that, the “This Week In” brand has been built and nurtured by Leo over a number of years, especially in the technology field. Most people make the direct connotation between the “This Week In” phrase, and Leo Laporte – in turn, anything with Leo’s name on it means quality content, trustworthiness, reliability and consistency.

    It is quite underhand of you to aggressively leverage Leo’s TWiT brand and its values, profiting from it by creating several podcasts carrying the same phrase. The phrase automatically gives the impression of quality content, trustworthiness, reliability and consistency especially in the technology field which you are planning to expand in to.

    Evidently, it is nothing to do with the topics covered. It is everything to do with the phrase “This Week In”. The one and only amicable solution would be to immediately stop using the phrase “This Week In”.

    Your podcasts, especially shows like “This Week in iPad” will inevitably be of a lower production quality than Leo’s shows, because of the content available, the sheer number of shows in the network, and the rate at which they are produced with lack of consistency and quality control. Some will also be short-lived due to the nature of the subject. Not only will this permanently damage Leo’s network, but it would also completely destroy Leo’s brand values which he has taken so long to build up.

    I understand what you are doing from a business perspective, and it makes complete sense. It is not a bad idea in that respect, but if you continue with your plans you will most likely lose your friend Leo Laporte.

    You urgently need to weigh up which you’d rather lose, and which would be more beneficial to you in the long term. Either a profitable (but poor quality) tech podcast network, built off the back of the TWiT network (whether you like it or not), or, as you put it, a valuable personal friend who is a “mentor and long-time collaborator”.

    Sam England

  21. I could also see some confusion between the networks.

    I would like to suggest to Jason to rebrand or at least cobrand
    the shows with Mahalo. That way there is immediate recognition
    of which shows belong to Jason. Plus there would be easy sequeway
    to Mahalo to use as a social outreach for his shows.

  22. Leo is constantly streaming live and he comments on things most people say in private.He blasted Cali Lewis, he tells of the loathing he has for G4 and why he has not had Alex A. on TWIT.
    It does not surprise me if Leo gives his on the spot thought on something, I believe Jason and Leo will work this out.

  23. I find it hard to believe you feel shocked and hurt by Leo’s reaction. You obviously knew Leo might have a problem with the name when you wanted to do This Week in Startups. How could you possibly think he wouldn’t have a problem with you flooding iTunes with 30+ This Week In… shows? Especially when many of these new shows are closely connected to the subjects Leo already covers expertly each week.

    The thisweekin name is a great choice from a business perspective. Having your shows potentially confused as being part of the excellent TWIT productions can’t hurt your growth or ad sales. But it’s a lousy thing to do to a “friend”.

  24. I think it’s too bad Leo changed his position on the TWi- monacre. I’ve lost some respect for him. I think he avoids constructive debates and discussions for some reason. I notice this on the show and I think the quality suffers. I don’t listen as much.

    His reaction to Mike Arrington, though provoked, I think is another example of this.

    I also think that talking about his concerns on air before seeking Jason is unprofessional.

  25. Hey Jason. I’m a huge fan of Leo’s (and a fan of any TWiT with you as a guest), but I’m afraid Leo might be in the wrong on this one. It looks like he just didn’t think a few steps ahead and is trying to fix problems he didn’t anticipate. It’s a little disappointing that he’s taken this stance with you. I hope you guys can work it out.

  26. I think it’s an underhanded move, whether Jason had Leo’s blessing or not. I don’t think Jason played his entire hand to Leo when asking.

    To me, Jason is pretty much irrelevant.

    While competition breeds innovation, I see nothing “innovative” about Jason’s approach. There’s plenty of space for both, I will be sticking with someone with tact, originality and class, Leo Laporte.

    BTW, I’m sure this will be deleted, censored, or altered. It just goes right along with the “Jason” playbook.

    As I said, there’s room for both, I’m sticking with Leo.

  27. Jason, you’re a hard as nails, not to mention successful business guy. Leo is 110% giver, so it appears his POV is you’ve taken too much from him. You’ve taken his baby. Even though you “asked” originally, I’ll bet it was an awkward “ask” and Leo being who he is, did not feel you’d be creating an entire network to go head to head with him. If you did that to me, I’d be really pissed also. Hey, business is business, so you’ll lose a friend in Leo but you’ll probably make another $20 million or more once you sell your venture. Sometimes friends are more important. IMO, you should have named your network “This Is Something”, or “New This Week”, or “Week In Review”… or something like that. Yes, you saw an opportunity that Leo had simply left on the table, but Jesus, don’t you think at least offering him stock in your company would have smoothed things over?

  28. aaron anderson put the sentiments well on what i think about this too.

    leo has grown his ‘this week in’ revolving around all things tech. the aggressive expansion of your extra shows are causing brand confusion… and probably without leo’s hand in it. as far as i understand, he let you make a few shows but didn’t realize the full gamut of extra shows -some whose new show acronyms would overlap with this existing shows -ie. this week in google (t.w.i.g.).

    he’s put a lot of time, effort, and care into his branding. remember the reason he grew it out in the first place was because he wanted to have full control of what he does and didn’t want to compromise with network management. this extra variable that’s growing out of his control may be a threat to his core intentions of why he’s been doing what he’s been doing. i support leo’s decision on focusing on his own content and trying to keep his shows away from yours -at least for the time being.

  29. Leo and Jason are astute business men and will work this out. In all honesty, even though he doesn’t own the rights, Leo was there first and should have the final say in anything that adds confusion to his brand.

    C’mon gentlemen. You guys are great together and should work WITH each other rather than AGAINST. I look forward to Jason returning as a guest on TWiT frequently!

  30. Jason, I have to side with Leo, and an astute businessman such as yourself knows you’d do the same if the shoe was on the other foot. Leo says advertisers are confused if a “this week in…” show is his or yours. That kind of confusion is devastating for both of your enterprises. Do the right thing. Move off the “this week in” and build something new.

  31. It’s too bad but you should just move forward. I’ve followed Leo since the TechTV days and have to tell you that he is way over-exposed. I’m actually tired of Leo and haven’t listened to TWiT for months just because it’s too much Leo already. I’m looking for fresh new content… nothing against Leo, but too much is enough.

  32. Paul Burns, I don’t think Leo had a co-host in mind and he probably wants to control his own network… so, I don’t see this as happening. OTOH, Leo ‘sorta’ got back to semi-friendly terms with Mike Arrington and I think he’s been on TWiT since their blowup. Leo is an emotional guy and tries to control too much perhaps, but he’s having the time of his life. There has to be a solution with Jason rebranding.

    How about the “Jason Nation” work on some ideas to float to Jason and fix this rift before it turns into something that hurts all concerned.

  33. You are trying to build a network in the same industry (Podcast) using a brand already taken by Leo for almost 5 years. If you continue the project with this name, you will create a huge confussion to the listeners and damage the hard work Leo have put in TWIT.tv

    Be original and don’t stole other ideas.

  34. How about your name in the title? “Calcanis on Google” “Calcanis on Ipad” and so on. And take Leo out to lunch and end this silliness.

  35. It looks like your strategy from the start was to create a situation where Leo would be forced to merge with you, or lose marketshare. This is gonna get really interesting/entertaining.

    It doesn’t seem like it would be in his best interest to mention your shows on his show. He’s playing into your hands.

    The incumbant ALWAYS has the advantage, unless they play their cards improperly, and Leo already has. He’s up by 40 points but doing things to help Jason win.

    If I was Leo, I would merge with Jason now because if he doesn’t, he’ll probably lose in the end. Jason’s the dirtiest player in the game. Doesn’t lose often.

  36. Jason asked Leo if it was cool before he bought it. Leo could have bought it, when Jason offered it to him but he DID NOT. Leo said it was cool.

    So, what is the problem?

  37. Jason, I would have thought the most appropriate official statement should be made in a private conversation between you and Leo, rather than making a post on a very public blog. If I was Leo I would be infuriated even more after reading this.

  38. Jason, this comment will get buried since you have a lot of comments already but I hope you can read it. My advise to you is to back off right away because this will hurt your brand far more than it will ever hurt Leo’s. This is not about TWIT. From some of your initial comments on air, I knew right away that you were trying to do a roll-up. Your end goal is to acquire TWIT so that you can sell the entire TWIx network to a big media company. This is what I would have done if I were asked to provide a meaningful exit for Leo. But I would never claim to be his friend. Save yourself before it is too late.

  39. Personally I can see Leo’s point. I mean he has said that some advertisers are confusefuseing the networks. I think it will just take some time for advertisers to learn is all.

    1. This is the web we’re talking about. Jason realized that the “root word” of Leo’s show was as impotant as the full word, it’s a smart, dirty trick by a guy who should never have been given an open door by Leo. Kids, let this be a lesson to you. Never trust Jason Calacanis.

  40. Come on Jason, I can’t possibly see how you thought this wouldn’t upset Leo.
    Giving each shows original names would be much better than “This week in X”.

  41. I have to side with Leo on this.

    Jason, it seems Leo gave you an inch and you are taking a mile.

    I think you could have a successful network with diff. name.

    A while back you were railing on Mark Zuckerberg for “stealing” ideas. Granted you may not have been quite so blatant about it, but the end result is not far from the same.

    Hope you guys work things out because I enjoy listening to both of you.

    -Jeff

  42. I have to side with Leo on this one. Jason, why would you spend 6 figures on a name you knew you were taking from Leo.
    I’m sorry, but don’t cry the money blues when you knew you were encroaching on Leo’s territory.
    Leo offered clearly because he was open to “podcasting’s” growth in the market. You are now taking advantage of the situation. Good luck, but you’ve lost a listener.

  43. I am with you 100% Jason you asked Leo if you could use the Name this Week in for shows your are doing and he said ok. Leo has all of four shows that have This Week in something as a name. Most of Leo’s shows arn’t even named This Week in. I think what Leo is doing is very upsetting considering you asked him for permission and he doesn’t even have the name trademarked or anything. I think Leo is upset that an advertiser was confused with you and Leo and that you started an IPad show before Leo was going to. I tried to get Leo to talk to you about it like adults but obviously thats not going to happen anytime soon. You did everything right Jason Leo only has four shows with the name This Week in… its not like all of his shows are called that.

  44. I’m mixed on this one. While I understand Leo gave permission to use the name, I think that maybe he wasn’t thinking it would turn into an entire network of This Week In shows. That’s my best guess as to why he feels jilted in this.

    I hope you two can work this out, because if you can, it’s best for the tech community. If not, then there needs to be an olive branch and a slightly reworking of the branding in order to keep both you and Leo in good terms for the long haul.

  45. Leo was fine with This week in Startups, because that was a show that you would definitely be
    better to handle. It is merely that he didn’t realize or think that your grabbing a domain name
    of ThisWeekIn.com would result in your pouring of resources into “This week in EVERYTHING
    ELSE under the sun”, since you hop on buying domain names like other people eat tic tacs.

    You should just give him the domain name, offer to help expand and provide content for TWIT
    TV the way that Quinn Martin productions did for the old broadcast networks. Or move on
    without stepping on his toes so. He doesn’t need another g4 in his life, and you should be more
    of a mensch.

Leave a Reply