Mahalo Ombudsman?

I was going to leave a comment on Jason’s blog, but his comments appear to be broken. 

Jason brings up an interesting idea – but it certainly isn’t a position I would put a Silicon Valley Insider in – especially not someone I had already publicly declared as a “friend”.

No, Jason needs someone that is passionate about fairness first, and Jason and Mahalo second.  Someone that is committed to fairness first, and Jason/Mahalo second.

It also needs to be someone that can pick up the phone and call Jason any time of the night or day.  Someone who has a position that is understood and accepted by the entire organization.

Someone that is allowed to blog freely, without editing or censorship by Jason/Mahalo.

In other words – someone that acts like he doesn’t get paid by Jason/Mahalo.

Those are hard shoes to fill.  Have you ever told your boss he was wrong?  If you haven’t, you can’t do this job.  If you’ve never put your neck on the line for principle, then you aren’t the right gal for this job.

If you are afraid of not fitting in, or not being popular, then this isn’t the job for you.  Sure – the right person can fit in, and make friends, and be very happy – but if they are not interested in risking it all to stand up for what they know to be right, then they are just window-dressing.

And Jason is just fooling himself into thinking he’s done something creative.

If you can’t tell Jason he is dead stupid wrong, then you aren’t the right person for this job.

If Jason isn’t willing and able to let someone do that AND keep the job, then Jason isn’t serious about the position.

It will be interesting to see what happens here.

A corporate ombudsman for a search engine would have the follow definition:

  • Mahalo’s corporate ombudsman is an independent contractor who monitors our corporate policy, product, and search results to make sure they are fair, accurate, and balanced. Our ombudsman also discuss the products produced by the company with our users, giving them an independent, impartial source to discuss their positions on subjects related to the services Mahalo provides.

In my mind I’m imagining a Jeff Jarvis, Robert Scoble, Dave Weinberger, or Doc Searls level person. Someone who has a built in audience of technology and media thinkers who can respond to their reports. I’m thinking of this as a part-time contract gig. Perhaps for three or six months as a trial. The person would blog about 2-3 issues a week related to the service and what people are saying about it. We could read what they say and perhaps respond, but in general we would listen and take it all in.

Mahalo Ombudsman?


  1. @Jason – thanks for stopping by. Glad you agree with me “100%” – that NEVER happens!

    Seriously though, I think you need someone that will live, breathe, and die Mahalo – but would also just as soon fall on their sword rather than see you “screw it up”. Someone that can connect with the community foremost, and please you secondarily.

    But they must have access. I learned long ago that accountability without authority is a fucked position to be in. Just as responsibility without authority or accountability sucks.

    To be effective you need someone that is responsible, accountable, and has authority. Authority in this case means a voice – and the occassional audience with Jason. Even if they are telling Jason something that Jason doesn’t want to hear.


  2. That is the way we would do it, we would look for someone who would in no way want to kiss up to me or gain favor from me. I wouldn’t do something like this unless we were going to do it right so I agree with you 100%.

    best j

  3. Yeah, I wasn’t serious. 😆

  4. @Bruce – Dave would be a good choice as far as someone Jason couldn’t censor – but Dave as an Ombudsman? I don’t think he has anything near the temperment for dealin with customers.


  5. How about Dave Winer? He would be pretty hard for Jason to censor.

  6. @Paul – yeah – funny how blogging started out being about linking to other people – now if you do it you are pandering.

    Ah well.

  7. 😆

  8. … and now you’re ‘pandering’ to Jason!