Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The usual suspects at Text 100 event

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 15, 2004

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets..."
But we made it to the Text 100 office opening last week.

It gave me another chance to play in my three-dot journalism persona, chronicling the geek society. The party felt a lot like the Bite Communications party the previous week--a lot of the same people standing around and yacking.

Text 100 and Bite are owned by the same parent company, Next Fifteen, which would explain that deja vu feeling as I walked in with Louise Kehoe, my former colleague at the FT.

. . .

I quickly ran smack dab into Jeff Lettes, corporate comms chief at Applied Materials and Tim Dyson, head honcho of Next Fifteen, and it was as if we were still having the same conversation as the week before. But this time, I found out an interesting connection between the two of them—they drop off their kids at the same school. (This is the kind of stuff you can only read about here, on Silicon Valley Watcher: we reveal the hidden insider networks that power Silicon Valley.)

. . .

The event had much the same Silicon Valley Hack Pack as always, give or take a Quentin or a Cory. Don, by the way, is the Silicon Valley Hack Pack’s chairman of the board. He is tireless in his pursuit of great stories or a decent cilantro prawn appetizer. I’m also happy to grab a bag of stories at such events, and some “one inch food” from the appetizer trays. And let me tell you--it takes many long years of professional journalism to master the art of eating a healthy and well balanced meal and choosing the right appetizer combinations. That’s another reason bloggers wouldn’t make it in the top tier of hacking and flacking--they would die of malnurishment or obesity. That’s why this type of thing is best handled by professionals.

. . .

Text 100’s Emma Wishchhusen soon grabbed me by the elbow and led me to a darker and quieter corner of the party. She seemed eager to talk with me and I was a little excited that maybe she was going to give me a scoop on some news about one of her clients. Instead, she demanded to know: “What is your business model?” It was a question several others asked me later that evening. My answer was always the same: my business model is to make money from publishing online content.

I know what one-half of the business formula looks like—produce as much original and compelling content as you can. The other half of the formula is not yet clear, I’ll admit. But I know that unless we can create a great editorial product it doesn’t matter what revenue model we choose.

We’re currently in beta/soft launch mode but as we step things up early next year you’ll see some innovative revenue models. (More on that topic at another time…)

. . .

The party grew hushed and respectful as Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100’s chief executive, spoke for a few minutes about how far the company had come from humble beginnings. She remembered that when Text 100 first opened its San Francisco office, it took six weeks for office furniture to arrive and they had to make do with desks that were just planks of wood on a couple of breeze blocks. (So this is where that signature dotcom fad started…!)

Steve Fox, InfoWorld’s chief editor, was introduced to speak about top trends or something along those lines. Steve is an excellent storyteller and I’m sure it was interesting stuff, but the party yacking level gradually started to pick up again as people realized Steve wasn’t buying the drinks. So I didn't get to hear Steve’s top trends (did anybody blog it?)

. . .

Aedhmar had brought along her newborn baby and vowed that four kids is enough. “I don’t know how it happened,” she remarked. I didn’t feel it was my place to explain these things—but I do have two kids myself and I am somewhat familiar with waking up in the morning and thinking “what the heck happened last night…?” (Not that I would suggest in any way that Aedhmar suffers from my particular malady, of course....)

While I enjoy teasing Aedhmar I also enjoy having someone to talk with about kids. Just before Aedhmar went on maternity leave, I remember a conversation we had about how kids are master manipulators, working one parent against the other. And we were marveling at their powers of persuasion and persistence—qualities that should be very helpful to them in their adult world.

. . .

Other bits and pieces: Joe Fay, Computerwire US editor seems positive about his move back to London in the new year. Young Kevin Murphy, cub reporter at Computerwire (er, sorry, Kev, deputy US editor isn't it?) has officially applied for Joe's job.

I got a lot of great feedback on Silicon Valley Watcher, it's being passed around which is great and we haven't even started doing all the things we want to do.

Burghardt Tenderich, GM of Bite Communications North America told me he is writing a blog and it is getting a very good response in Germany. "I've been writing a lot about the election," he says. "I'm trying to explain to people why Bush won." I'd like an explanation too but I do not read German. If you do, here is Burghardt's blog:

http://burghardt-tenderich.blogspot.com/


Three-dot Journalism and Herb Caen--the original blogger.

http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2004/10/media_watch_san_1.php

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