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

The Friday Wrapper: Woof! Woof! at OracleWorld; SVW scoop on PeopleSoft-Siebel; Java Fund success validates RSS fund; New York media decline continues; Google software could bridge digital divide

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 23, 2005

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

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Woof! Woof! Bow Wow Wow and Berlin wow Oracle World geeks

Thanks Larry, for a fun evening at the Oracle "Appreciation Event" Wednesday evening down at Pier 32 in San Francisco. Oracle bussed thousands of Oracle users to the show, fed them and let them drink their fill.

On the main stage Fountains of Wayne and locals Counting Crows played. But the place to be was in the Green Room where Bow Wow Wow and Berlin played killer sets and all the geeks held their camera phones high in the air. . . it used to be cigarette lighters in the old days!

Bow Wow Wow were surprisingly wow, a tight, tight rocking band. And as for Berlin and their lead singer Terri Nunn? A stunning performance and a stunning stage presence. She's the Stevie Nicks of 90s electronica with a touch of "Heart" and with a band that has distilled the essence of that genre perfectly, (including the dark mascara.)

{See: TerriNunn.com]

But there was a least one complaint earlier in the evening. "Last year this place was full of sushi," a database administrator at a large educational company told me.

This year it was quiche bits, and other bland foods designed for mass feedings. Larry's using the sushi money to buy more companies.

. . .
SVW scoop on PeopleSoft-Siebel merger talks!

Scoop! Silicon Valley Watcher scooped the rest of the world Tuesday, with being the first to post the news that PeopleSoft and Siebel tried to merge but couldn't agree on the leadership. That's straight from Ray Lane, former Oracle president and currently a partner at Silicon Valley's top VC firm Kleiner Perkins.

Did large egos get in the way of shareholder duties? If Peoplesoft and Siebel could have overcome their cultural barriers and merged it would have created the second largest applications company in the world.

That would likely have made it a more expensive buy for Larry, and a better sell for PeopleSoft and Siebel shareholders...and it might have provided other options too.

Oh, and BTW, Ray Lane said a KP China fund is on the way...

See our original post of Ray Lane's comments.

. . .

Java Fund success bodes well for $100m RSS Partners VC fund

Earlier this year I wrote about the launch of a new VC fund focused on funding companies using RSS--really simple syndication technologies. I said it reminded me of the 1996 Kleiner Perkins $100m Java Fund headed by Ted Schlein. [
See: We're off to the races...the first RSS focused VC fund is announced ]
However, I think my enthusiasm was misread somewhat and I caught a bit of flack in the VC community. There were several that said RSS investing was a bad idea, and that the Java Fund was a failure.

My enthusiasm was for the subject matter--$100m means there will be some great RSS stories to write. Whether the RSS fund succeeds or not is a secondary interest.

The other night at dinner with KP partner Ray Lane, I asked him about the Java Fund. He said that in response to the online chatter about the failure of the Java Fund, KP had released the ROI on the Java fund and said that it was very successful.

. . .

It's a shame that the center of the media industry moved and nobody told New York
. . .here's a forwarding address: Number One, Media World Ave., Silicon Valley, California.

It is a provocative notion, but a fair one I think :-) When I raised it earlier this week, some of New York's media watchers picked up on the post (such as I want Media.)

Dominic Basulto at Corante even suggested that the "Silicon Valley Internet media elite" is trying to start a "beef" with New York's midtown elite. His link likened it to the infamous, and ultimately tragic, West Coast versus East Coast Gangster Rap rivalries (just because I have a "Geek Life" tattoo doesn't make me Tupac.)

Well, first of all, thank you Dominic for describing a humble journalist blogger such as myself as being part of Silicon Valley's media elite. Second, now that you mention it, sure, why not? Bring it on, as they used to say. So whatchya got New York City? Is that a ticker-tape parade or pink slips?

I'm just kidding. I think it's terrible that New York's midtown media companies are facing such hard times. For example, New York Times this week said it would cut 500 jobs. And Knight Ridder said 100 newsroom jobs are going in Philadelphia.

We are talking about people here, people! This is not something to jeer about; I know how tough it must be for you New York media elites to make those tough decisions about people's livelihoods.

And you face the daily challenges of managing a swiftly shrinking business. Believe me, we in Silicon Valley understand, five years of dotbomb fallout has been brutal.

But, I just want you to know that we are here for you. If you still have an expense account, hop a Jet Blue and we'll give you a good old California group hug and we'll wipe away those tears.

And let me remind you of some words from a very clever man that might put a smile back on your face. Oscar Wilde said that when you're in the gutter, you can look down -- or you can look up at the stars.

(You could also look over to Silicon Valley and see the new media stars: Google, Yahoo, Ebay, Craigslist and more...but that would only upset you and there is no sense in that.)


Here is Corante:

Is New York still the center of the known media universe? Posted by Dominic Basulto

It may lack the intensity of the West Coast/East Coast hip-hop rap rivalries of the 1990's, but it looks like Silicon Valley's Internet media elite could be trying to start a beef with New York's midtown media elite. Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher weighs in on the current state of the media industry after a recent visit to New York City:

"It's a shame that the center of the media industry has moved to Silicon Valley and nobody told New York :-) I should write Mayor Bloomberg a letter about that. It would point out that many Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Ebay, are in fact media companies. They are technology enabled media companies. They publish digital rather than paper pages but they carry content and advertising just like a newspaper or magazine paper page.

And our media industry is growing like gangbusters while New York's is not. Our media industry is hiring like crazy (Yahoo has 700 new positions to fill, Google a similar number) while New York's media industry continues to cut jobs and budgets..."

. . .

Open up your WiFi and help bridge that digital divide . . . Google makes it safe

Google has released a nifty utility that protects users of public WiFi hotspots from others that might want to steal their digital identities or conduct other mischief. The Google application encrypts your wireless broadcasts with 128-bit encryption--it's a steel vault around every airborne packet.

But it is much more than a nifty utility. Potentially, I think this could be a killer piece of technology. Because now, I don't need to lock up my WiFi network. I can hang the antenna out the window as was once very common in San Francisco, and share the cloud.

This is the way we bridge the digital divide ladies and gentlemen. This is how ubiquitous WiFi comes into being 5 years sooner, imho.

[See: http://wifi.google.com/download.html]

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