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

Horn Group's salon on top of the Clift

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 22, 2006

Not-Always-On_logo.gifWe live in an AlwaysOn world, Tony Perkins was right. I just wish he had named it AlwaysOn- except- Friday- afternoons- and- most- of- the- weekend- until- Sunday- evening.

This week has been very interesting and very always-on, especially Wednesday. Here's a 24-hour slice, published in parts between running around SF/Silicon Valley and trying to be a dad too.

Missed Voce

Tuesday evening I was hoping to get down to the Voce Communications summer event in Palo Alto but I just couldn't get away from the demands of my blogs. I like the Voce people: Mike Manuel is one of the few top PR bloggers not [yet] working for Edelman; co-founder Rich Cline and Matthew Podboy plus colleagues Dave Black, Janet Martin and many others I've worked with on stories.

I like the Voce people because they cottoned onto this new/social media stuff early on. Mike Manuel and Matthew Podboy and myself, are also part of the think tank: Society for New Communications Research, co-founded by Jen McClure, the Executive Director. The think tank group consists of some of really interesting and diverse people that have been involved in the early roots of this new media evolution.

Over at the Clift

I couldn't get to Voce but I did manage to get to the Horn Group's salon Tuesday evening at the top of the Clift hotel because it was only about about a mile or so from where I live. The Horn Group is celebrating 15 years in business and Sabrina Horn, the founder was there. She's been based in New York the last three years so it is interesting to hear her talk about some coastal differences and similarities. [I have an interview ready to roll with Ms Horn from last week.]

I caught up with some of my contacts from RightNow Technologies, which is one of the top CRM firms and run by one of my favorite CEOs Greg Gianforte.

I also came across Transera, which provides a virtual call center in the cloud - VOIP powered of course. I met Trensera's Prem Uppaluru CEO and co-founder who told me that selling his service to telcos is easy because they don't have to make any capital investments. It's a performance based business model.

However, working with telcos must be a bit tricky, because if you are successful, they will try to reverse engineer your business or change the revenue split. And they have plenty of IP laying around, plus lawyers, plus deep political contacts on the Hill, that they can use in various ways to their benefit.

I also ran into Jamie Lerner, CEO of CITTIO, an any-type-of-network-monitoring software company. Jamie was beaming because he is a recent dad, and just celebrated his first Father's Day--congratulations! It's always good to chat with Jamie, his HQ in San Francisco is truly a unique space, more "old western" than newdot[com]. And it has a working bar or two too(!)

Sabrina Horn spoke a for a few minutes and she talked about the changes happening in the PR industry and the challenge of change, which was refreshing because too many times agencies nod their heads about new media yet continue doing business as usual.

I spoke for a few moments about the challenges in the professional media sector and also pointed out that these are good times to be in the media and communications business.

At no other point in our professional lives will we experience the media/comms industry in such disruption. So this is a chance to do new things, try new things, and help create the rules, the formats, and the definitions of the new media/comms sector that will hold for the next decade and maybe beyond. That's very exciting, IMHO.

After the Horn Group event I managed to spend some time with a friend who knows nothing of my industry, the people, or about SVW. It's always good to add some balance to the company we keep and I'd love to add more of it.

[Part 2 follows on Wednesday.]


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