June 17, 2008

My Mahalo Moment

Mahalo, the human powered search engine, surprised me very recently with their response to the tragic news of journalism-great Tim Russert’s passing.

I had heard the news via twitter before anywhere else, but there were zero details. Whatever work ethic I had gathered to finish daily tasks was now gone – replaced with clicking link after link searching for a full report. The same AP story came up across various news sites but I was more interested in hearing Tom Brokaw’s gallant effort to relay the information about his good friend. I wasn’t in a position to turn on a television so I just kept clicking the refresh button on MSNBC.com every minute or so hoping to see a new video clip.

I switched tabs back to twitter and saw that Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis was directing anyone interested in Russert information to the Mahalo page. I’d been to the site, but I’ll admit it was casual. I was certainly not expecting to find the most comprehensive list of links to a variety of different written and video. This was just 25 minutes after the story broke.

At that moment, I became a believer in people powered search — especially when gathering information about a breaking news story.

“We call that moment when people understand what we’re doing a ‘Mahalo moment,’” said Calacanis about my experience in an e-mail. “It happens at a different time for everyone. The longer guide notes with citations have really accelerated the number of Mahalo moments we’ve noticed.”

Calacanis was kind enough to reply to the e-mail about my experience and also answer few questions about the entire process of putting breaking news together at Mahalo headquarters…

Full Jason Calacanis Q&A on my NewAssignment.net post Here.

- TechGOnzo

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