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

About SVW Archives

On Blogging And Bragging: Being Named By LinkedIn As A Top Media Writer And The Unbearable Awkwardness Of Self-Promotion...


I feel very honored to be ranked #4 by LinkedIn as one of the "top 10 media writers of the year" in the debut of its "Top Voices of the year" list that named 80 writers across eight industry sectors.

I also feel a little uncomfortable about drawing attention to such accolades as do the majority of former newspaper reporters. We don't mind if someone else blows our horn but it feels crass doing it yourself. In today's media world that attitude is a handicap because if you can't handle a certain level of self-promotion no one will see your work.

The early Blogosphere...

When I left the Financial Times more than ten years ago to become a "journalist blogger" I suddenly fell into a very small, very strange community of writers I hardly knew before. It felt great to be part of this tiny and very feisty band of bloggers with Robert Scoble, Om Malik, Renee Blodgett, Dan Farber, Anil Dash, Doc Searls, Craig Newmark, Andy Lark, Dennis Howlett, Nick Denton, David Galbraith, Dan and Steve Gillmor, Jeff Clavier, etc (please see: Original Thinkers list).

Story continues...

Delphix Makes Its 1st Acquisition: Axis Technology Software

It's been an exciting week, here at Delphix. The company made its first acquisition, Axis Technology Software, a Boston-based startup that has become the leader in data masking technologies.

[The news release is here: Axis Technology and Delphix Partner to Address Data Masking Dilemma]

App development teams need their own clone of the production database — which includes terabytes of sensitive data — for rapid testing and updates. The rush to produce apps creates a security nightmare as each new clone of the database also clones the risks of losing control of that data.  

After highly publicized security breaches at Sony, and Target, it's not surprising that data masking is one of the most requested features by enterprise IT departments.

Story continues...

Why I Chose Delphix...And The Future Of Corporate Media

HeidiDinner 69 2

I pursued a job at Delphix for a simple reason. It is awesome. I rarely use that word and when I do, it is in its awe-inspiring original meaning.

When I first met Jedidiah Yueh, the 40 year old CEO and founder of Delphix, more than two years ago, I was blown away by the potential for Delphix' virtual database technology, by its leadership, and by its deep bench of IT engineering talent, such as Delphix CTO Adam Leventhal, one of the authors of Dtrace -- an extraordinary performance analysis technology that is crucial to making our digital world work so magically.

And Rick Caccia, Chief Marketing Officer, and other senior Delphix executives are all valley veterans with long and proven careers in IT markets.

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More On Delphix ... Corporate Media ... And The Dark Side

Just over ten years ago I jumped from one of the best jobs in my profession, Technology Correspondent at the Financial Times, into the curious world of "blogging."

I had no idea what I was doing, how I would make rent or what "blogging" was, and how it related to journalism. Remember, this was mid-2004, it was a brand new medium.

When Intel heard of my move, I later found out, it held an emergency meeting of its corporate communications teams to determine how they should work with bloggers. Is Tom Foremski still a journalist?

Story continues...

I've Joined Delphix...


(Above) I was speaking at FutureComms14 conference in London last summer.

I have some exciting news to share! I've joined Delphix, a hot Menlo Park based IT startup, in a senior editorial communications role. 

Story continues...

What's Google Up To? It's Going To Become A Wireless Telco With iIs Own Fat Backbone...

Sometimes the future is very predictable...

Google Confirms Plans for Wireless Service - by Brian Chen.

A person briefed on Google’s plans... said the company wanted to make use of the fiber network it had installed in various cities to create an enormous network of Wi-Fi connections that phones could use to place calls and use apps over the Internet. In areas out of reach, Google’s network would switch over to cell towers leased by T-Mobile USA and Sprint, this person said. - NYTimes March 2 2015

From SiliconValleyWatcher August 2005:

What's Google up to? It's going to become a wireless telco with its own fat backbone...

I think it is very clear what Google's strategy is, or rather has to be. I think it is getting ready to do a wireless telco buy. Because everything is rapidly being walled up into gated communities, and the gatekeepers are the cable companies and the wireless mobile phone companies...

Story continues...

MyNewsDesk And The Technologies Of Promotion


One of the high points of my summer was talking at the FutureComms14 conference in London. Organized by MyNewsDesk, a provider of corporate communications tools, it drew together a fascinating group of people interested in the emerging technologies of promotion. 

In this blog post there are excerpts of a video interview that covers some of the things I spoke about. I'm looking forward to the next one in 2015.

Technology and media expert Tom Foremski talks #FutureComms - Mynewsdesk

[BTW: There are a couple of points in the otherwise excellent post that need correcting: I first started talking about how every company is a media company in 2005 and that's also when I wrote my infamous "Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!" post (at 4am).]

The 2014 Europas Awards: The Best European Tech Startups - Soundcloud Wins Again


In 2009 I attended The Europas Awards in London (above), celebrating the best European tech startups. It was a very boozy, rowdy, and fun event presented by Mike Butcher, Editor of Techcrunch Europe.

I couldn't make it this year but I'm sure that the 2014 awards very much the same in tone and booze. Mike Butcher was the MC, and even one of the winners was the same: Soundcloud. The other 2014 Europas winners included: FoodPanda, Babbel, Startup Bootcamp, Brainient, Supercell, EyeEm, GoCardless, DataSift, Petcube, BlaBlaCar, BigHealth, ZenMate, Bitstamp, Hailo, Evrythng, Swiftkey, FarFetch, CodeClub, Index Ventures, and Telegram.

[At the time of writing I found no US coverage of today's Europas Awards, not even at Techcrunch. I scooped the US press. It shows how little interest there is in European startups.]

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Syndication Partners

Tom Foremski writes syndicated and exclusive columns for the following publications.

- ZDNet - the largest IT business news site. A division of CBS News. 

Memeburn is the top startup news site in South Africa and is published by Matthew Buckland

Blogging's Massive Failure To Topple Mass Media

Om Malik, publisher of GigaOm, recently posted some thoughts about his 12 years of blogging and he came to the conclusion that blogs today are where he can aggregate all his fractured expressions across the web: Instagram photos, articles, comments, and whimsical musings.

But he writes, “The concept of blogging as we knew it has lost some of its meaning and even a bit of meaningfulness.” It certainly has and Om is being too gentle in his criticism because blogging has fallen very far from the promise it once had, and in attaining real meaningfulness.

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About SVW: Heading To London, Amsterdam, Berlin, And Warsaw - Presentations On Corporate Media EC=MC

Palace of Culture 1

In three days I'm off to London for a week,  then Amsterdam, hopefully a few days in Berlin, and then Warsaw (above) returning in early June.

I'll be making a series of presentations around my favorite topic: "Every Company Is A Media Company - the transformative business equation of our times."

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Welcome to Friday Guest Posts!

Fridays is when I'll be publishing some of the guest posts people send me as part of a plan to open up SVW to additional voices. My choices won't necessarily reflect my opinions.

If you'd like to participate send your article to [email protected] with "Guest post" in the subject line somewhere. I don't mind if it's been published somewhere before if it's still relevant. I might lightly edit for clarity and pace but I promise to preserve the spirit and meaning of the original.

This Friday:

Silicon Valley Leadership Group: Anne Smart On The Importance Of Cap And Trade

Take A Look Into Topix - Mass Bullying Across Thousands Of Small US Towns

Silicon Valley Watcher Welcomes GE Software As A New Sponsor

GE Global Software Center HQ in San Ramon, CA.

I'm pleased to announce GE Global Software as a sponsor of Silicon Valley Watcher. GE Software is a new division, headquartered in San Ramon. Its mission is to speed software innovation within GE by developing new applications and working with local companies. It has become one of the largest "startups" in the Bay Area, with more than 400 software engineers. You'll be hearing a lot more about GE Software over the coming year.

SVW Named "Must Read IT Blogs Of 2012"

I was pleased to make the list of Biztech's "50 Must-Read IT Blogs 2012." Ricky Ribeiro reported:

This year, we decided to invite our readers to throw their suggestions into the ring as well. The response to our call fornominations was amazing. We received 1,159 votes from more than 400 people, so a huge thanks to everyone who contributed to this year's list.

Thank you everyone!

OffLine: Bollywood Night At Warriors v Mavericks

(The spectacular Oracle Arena.)

It was a dark and stormy evening but it was also Bollywood Night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland and I had two tickets to see the Golden State Warriors play the Dallas Mavericks -- thanks to Tibco Software.

[Vivek Ranadivé, CEO of Tibco, is one of the owners of the Warriors, and the first Indian-American NBA team owner. The scrappy kid from Mumbai has done very well, arriving as a teenager in Silicon Valley many years before the recent waves of Indian engineers.

Vivek Ranadivé is also one of the most interesting personalities in Silicon Valley. I knew him when I worked at the Financial Times and he became one of my most important contacts because of his long history and extensive contacts within the valley. When I left the Financial Times he took a keen interest in my publishing venture. Tibco became a founding sponsor of Silicon Valley Watcher in 2005, and has remained our most loyal supporter. I hope my readers appreciate Tibco's important contribution to SVW.]

I'd never been to an NBA game and was looking forward to it immensely. I set off with my son Matt, and we braved the nasty cats and dogs weather, driving across the bridge to Oakland. And I'm glad we did because we had a brilliant time. Here's a taste of the event:

The Warrior Girls, the Golden State Warriors' cheerleaders got into the Bollywood spirit with colorful costumes.

Sport is theater...

The first person we ran into was Cory (Scoop) Johnson (above with Tim Draper) CNBC's original Silicon Valley reporter. He now works for Bloomberg TV.

Tim Draper, founder of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is as well known for his eccentric personality as he is for his VC prowess.

Al Seracevic, sports editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, quickly took Matt and I under his wing and gave us for a whirlwind tour of the benches and the media balcony. It great catching up with Al, I hadn't seen him since a very late and very liquid North Beach adventure about a year ago.

It was also good to bump into

Zach Nelson, CEO of Netsuite, who had a great seat down on the court.

Vivek Ranadivé's daughter Anjali (on screen above) sang the national anthem.

The Dallas bench...

Here's where the sports hacks perch.

Elevator to the Grandview Suites.

A very spirited crowd.

The always hardworking Tibco Comms team.

Last Import - 111.jpg

A rainy treck home.

New Series: Writing Tips - 25 Years From FT to SVW...

The other day I was invited by the San Francisco Blog Club to speak on the topic of writing tips. My talk was titled "From The Financial Times to Silicon Valley Watcher- 25 years of writing tips."

I've worked in traditional media and in the "new media" so I've accumulated a few observations that have helped me in my work.

I came up with about 25 tips. It was a great turnout and I received some excellent feedback. It was interesting to see how people picked out different tips as being important to them.

I was also asked to write them down, so here is the first installment in a regular series that will appear on Fridays. I hope you'll find some of these tips interesting and useful. And please share your tips too!

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PearlTrees - A Way To Curate Your Web

I first met Patrice Lamothe, co-founder of PearlTrees in November and became fascinated with the PearlTrees service because of the many ways it can be used, and because it is an example of a media technology that is closely integrated into the way people are using the web.

Since then, I've played around with PearlTrees and I can see lots of interesting uses for this technology, and its potential in creating a giant, curated web, one which goes beyond simple search, and beyond social tagging as in Delicious.

And I'm excited now to be working with PearlTrees, as an advisor, in helping this startup grow to the next level. I'm very fortunate to that I can work with companies that interest me anyway, rather than having to work with companies that don't.

[Full Disclosure: This is part of my media/business strategy consulting services that help finance my journalism on SVW. I'm also part of the "Intel Insiders," a small group of advisors to Intel; Tibco Software is a sponsor; and I've done consulting work for SAP. You can call me at 415 336 7547 if you'd like more information on my consulting services.]

PearlTrees users create a visual metaphor of a pearl and then connected pearls, which are web pages. For example, I created a very simple pearl based on my recent coverage of the Google v Italy court case.

In this image, you can see some of my research that went into this story because each pearl is a web page with information about the court case. If you click on the link above, it will take you to PearlTrees and you can interact with the pearls. [Very soon, a new version will allow live Pearls to be embedded on any web page.]

It gets more interesting when other PearlTree users grab my Pearls and add them to their account, and then add comments, or add new pearls to the same topic. In this way, a community can collectively add a lot of value to a topic or story.

PearlTrees is still in early beta but it is already very useful in its current version. The beauty of PearlTrees is its simple user interface, and Firefox addons that make it easy to integrate into your workflow. With just one-click, through pull-down menus, a web page can be 'pearled' and added to your topic pearls.

Over the next few weeks and months I'll start sharing some of the Pearls that I create as part of my daily work. And I'll also be highlighting some Pearls made by others.

I expect different communities to use PearlTrees in different ways. And so will individuals. And there are already some patterns emerging.

For example, Patrice tells me that he knows instantly if a PearlTree belongs to a man or a woman. Their shape is different. Women tend to create PearlTrees that are circular in shape, many pearls connected in a radial form, like spokes in a bicycle wheel; while men tend to create tree-like Pearls, with many sub-branches.

And that's what I like about the PearlTrees concept - it is simple enough that it can be used in so many different ways. I'm looking forward to seeing this idea evolve and find its way into many different communities.

Disruptive Technologies Disrupt

People like to talk about disruption but sometimes some people misunderstand the power of disruptive technologies.

I've had companies tell me: "Yes, we know we are in danger of disruption but we see it, we can adapt, we can change and take advantage of it."

Good luck. Even when you can see the train wreck ahead. You will likely slam right into it. Disruptive technologies disrupt. Technologies are not called "disruptive" just for the sake of it.

Niki Scevak, a serial entrepreneur, writing over at Bronte Media, has a nice analysis of AOL versus Yahoo. He says that AOL, under Tim Armstrong and his team, has a more realistic understanding of the advertising markets, and where things are headed.

Carol Bartz, who I am sure is an excellent manager of large companies, seems lost. See Arrington’s article on a speech she gave recently where she said: “she’s counting on an improvement in the economy to drive Yahoo growth”.

Well, let me save you some time Carol: Stop counting. The economy won’t help you...

The second thing that enrages me about that statement is that it’s completely out of her control. And what track record does Bartz have in forecasting economic indicators? Where are the statements related to things under her control?

Mr Scevak says he will short YHOO and buy AOL.

My main reason for thinking this is that AOL has a management team that is in tune with the reality of the Internet. Yahoo has a management team still grasping with the basics of advertising and that’s not mentioning the basics of online advertising.

A better strategy might be to short both because there is a huge disruptive wave moving through the media industry. The disruption is affecting every media business, old and new(er).

AOL might have a better view into the disruption but that's no guarantee of success. Just because you can see the train wreck ahead, doesn't mean you can avoid slamming straight into it.

Look at what happened with the microcomputer/PC technologies. Over a period of about a decade, that basket of technologies disrupted hundreds, if not thousands of companies, in the computer industry. IBM barely survived. It had to reinvent itself as a computer services company.

So many companies, DEC, etc, saw the disruption ahead. But they couldn't change fast enough, they couldn't downsize fast enough, they slammed straight into the train wreck. Some did make it through to the other side but many didn't. Disruptive technologies disrupt.

Even if you see things coming, as the newspaper companies now do, there's sometimes little they can do about it. The Internet is a hugely disruptive media technology and that's where we see the disruption the most.

Newspaper, and other media companies, have to act a lot faster than they are. Many won't make it through to the other side no matter what they do. Disruptive technologies disrupt.

(Oh, and by the way, every company now is a media company, every company is in a disruptive pathway. And here's a plug for my media/business strategy consultancy services, which help me publish SVW - 415 336 7547 or [email protected])

Dirty Little Secrets: Social Media Is Terrible At Promoting Products

Social media is great at promoting social media experts but useless at promoting actual products and companies.

I hardly see any product or company discussions in my Twitter or Facebook streams. I see occasional gripes about airlines, cable TV service, and sometimes I'm asked to become a "fan" of a company on Facebook. But that's about it.

The fact that airlines lose luggage, are late, are rude, is not new, it's par for the course. Same for cable TV companies. Social media does nothing to improve airline service or inform me much about things I didn't already know about a product or company. As for joining a corporate Facebook fan page, one click is about the extent of that engagement.

Even advertising on social media doesn't work well -- the ad inventory is very cheap, a reflection of its effectiveness.

Yet social media is great at promoting social media experts who say that they advise corporations on their social media strategies. Or maybe social media is not good at promoting social media experts because I don't see the results of their work.

I do think companies need a social media strategy. But I think companies need more than just that, they need an overarching media strategy, which includes social and traditional media strategies tailored to each department, to each aspect of a corporation. It's all related and it's all important, because these days, every company is a media company -- and that means every company needs to master all the media technologies out there, the tools, and the best practices.

A social media strategy is not a standalone strategy but that's what is being pushed by many social media experts, probably because they only have experience in that narrow area. And how much experience can they truly have when social media is still so young?

My consulting work focuses on helping companies with their media strategies -- which is more than just social media. I've got extensive experience with traditional media and social media -- there are very few people that can claim the same broad experience.

I'm also working on a book project with two colleagues that is focused on this very important topic and what it means, when every company is a media company.

My consulting work helps pay for SVW, and it helps me continue working as a journalist. So if you need a hand, call me: 415 336 7547. I can evaluate your newsroom, I can give you a second opinion on your current media strategies, I can advise you on so much more than just social media.

Dave Galbraith Is Back In Town . . .

dg.gifYears ago, when I was still working at the Financial Times, I would go drinking with my buddies Dave Galbraith and Om Malik (GigaOm). We would go to Harringtons pub downtown San Francisco, usually on a Thursday evening.

At the time (late 2003/early 2004) Dave and Om were full bore into the blogger scene. You should start blogging was their line. I told them I write six news stories a day, I'm already writing all the time, what would blogging give me?

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Don't Forget SVW's Guest Post Friday


[San Francisco Ferry Building Monday eve]

In case you missed it, late last Friday I said I would publish your guest posts on Fridays. Why worry about feeding your blog, and maintaining an audience? Publish here on SVW (you can publish on your blog too (...a little later)). Send me your guest post, any length (it's your call, your name, your content) to tom(at)

I reserve the right to maybe do a little light editing if needed, only to make you look better. So send them in, don't be shy :)

Why Maintain Your Own Blog. . . Announcing Guest Post Friday!

Keeping up a blog is hard work, you have to be consistent otherwise you lose your audience. Why not send me a guest post? That way you can establish your thought leadership without all the hard work of maintaining a blog.

I'm announcing Guest Post Friday! Send me your post with that subject line to tom(at), with links and with any graphics, and I'll publish it on Friday. I'd like to get first shot then you can re-publish elsewhere.

(I do reserve the right to not publish, and to do some light editing if needed. And you have to use your real name.)

This Week: SVW Road Trip To Portland To Rendezvue With Intel Insiders, Intel R&D, And Local Tech Companies


I'm driving up to Portland later this week with my son Matthew (21) and visiting Intel's research and manufacturing facilities. I'll be part of a group of "Intel Insiders."

I'll also be meeting with Intel executives such as Eric Dishman of Intel's Health Research and products division (video here: ). And we will be testing out Portland's WiMAX. Hopefully we'll have WiMAX in Silicon Valley before too long.

There will be a "Tweetup" on Thursday at 7pm at the Green Dragon hosted by the Portland Social Media Club, more details here (and thanks for the graphic.) And I hear Intel is buying the first round of beers, so please stop by.

On Twitter we'll be replying to @Intel and using the #IntelInsiders hashtag if you'd like to follow our progress.

I'll be posting news, tweets, and taking some video, plus reports from my road trip up and back. So please stay tuned for the SVW Road Trip to Portland, leaving Wednesday afternoon.

(Intel is a sponsor of SVW).

- - -

Please see:

Social Media Club PDX » Blog Archive » Social Media Tweetup. Meet Social Media Insiders on April 16

On Thursday, April 16 Intel will host a visit by several “Intel Insiders.” These folks are literally the who’s who in social media and technology and they’ll be in P-town checking out Intel’s tech and touring their fabs and research centers. As a special bonus, they’ll be heading downtown in the evening to join several folks from Social Media Club PDX at The Green Dragon Pub for chit-chat and beer.

Who are these so called Insiders? Well below is a list with links to their respective web properties:

Sweet, huh? Join your fellow Portland Social Media Peeps on Thursday, April 16 from 7:30 to 8:30 for a Tweetup at the Green Dragon. And if the notoriety of these Insiders isn’t enough to spark your interest, Intel will provide the first round of beers (depending on how many people show up). We hope to see you there!

Fridays with Foremski: Panel On Obama's Tech Policies

Fridays with Foremski: panel discussion

Here is the panel discussion from "Fridays with Foremski" a proposed weekly video series that showcases the extraordinary region of Silicon Valley.

Panelists: Drew Clark (IBM Ventures) Jim Dempsey (Center for Democracy and Technology) Sylvia Paull (founder of Gracenet) Godfrey Sullivan (Splunk) Matthew Greeley (Brightidea).

It's a lively discussion about President Obama's tech policies and what Silicon Valley needs to continue to do what it does best: disrupt industries.

The panel is part of a pilot program called "Fridays with Foremski" that follows me around Silicon Valley as I speak with local entrepreneurs, thought leaders, report on conferences, etc. Silicon Valley is an unique place and we want to produce a professional program that captures some of the essence of this amazing community.

We'd like to attract a couple of large underwriters for the series, we're talking with one large company, if you know of another let me know. That way you might see a second episode . . . coming to a Friday near you :)

Produced by SF Media Collective. Recorded at the Horn Group.

Please see a Silicon Valley sampler:

Behind the scenes:


FWF1.jpg FWF2.jpg FWF3.jpg   

More behind the scenes...

Saturday Post: 25 Random Things About Me . . . What About You?

I don't like chain letters but I like the tone of this chain: Writing 25 random things about yourself and then "tagging" 25 others to invite them to do the same. I got tagged this morning . . .

(If you read this consider yourself tagged :-) send me a link and I'll add the first 25 to the bottom of this post, I'd love to find out more about my readers. Don't be shy.)

1: I was born in Salzburg, Austria, left after 6 months.

2: My parents are Polish.

3: My parents wanted to emigrate to Canada but couldn't because I was under 2 years old.

4: I had whooping cough as a baby. There is a saying that to cure it you have to cross over a body of water, in this case the English Channel seemed to do the trick.

5: I really miss not living with my kids.

6: I like Hugo Boss suits.

7: I think of myself as semi-literate.

8: I like to notice irony and believe "ironic design" proves the hand of the supreme being more than "intelligent design." Because there is someone/something paying attention, moment to moment, and trying to mess with us. Intelligent design is more about "set it and forget it."

9: I'm an atheist.

10: I'd like reason and logic to make a comeback, I'd like to see a new enlightenment.

11: I try not to think too much, instead, allow myself the space to think.

12: I keep a pen and a slim moleskine notebook always on hand - it's my hipster PDA - it's instant on, high definition, stylus input, sharable, and 100% recyclable.

13: I prefer offline to online.

14: I've never had a wine cooler and want to keep it that way.

15: I don't know how to small talk.

16: I am afraid of karaoke. I can't carry a tune even if it were super-glued to me.

17: I like thinking on my toes.

18: I like "and" rather than "or." The world is not black or white it is black and white and more.

19: I like to have my cake and eat it.

20: The more I write the more authentic I become.

21: I like Manhattans.

22: I like Manhattan.

23: I like road trips.

24: I'm intensely interested in the future of media.

25: I prefer conversation more than going to the movies.

CES Diary Day 1

I was hoping to escape the echo chamber of the Bay Area by going to CES in Las Vegas. I've only been partially successful so far.

I flew in Wednesday morning and booked into Planet Hollywood. After a nap and some blog posts it was already evening. I set off onto the strip heading for The Venetian to catch a "blogger" party sponsored by Lenovo. It was mostlyt full of the same people I see all the time but also some of my favorite people such as Paul Mooney, that I only see once a year.

CIMG2722.JPG.jpgPaul Mooney is OG or rather OB, an original blooger, he's the real thing  - no fancy rooms or flights paid for by sponsors. He used his frequent flier miles to make it to CES and is couch surfing while he's here. (Photo of Paul Mooney and John Furrier.)

CIMG2716.JPG.jpgAlso at the party were the social climbers of the blogosphere, Julia Allison, Megan Asha, and pals. It was nice to chat with them but it also seemed a little sad that they would travel all this way from New York city to socialize with CES geeks and bloggers, hoping to climb a little higher in their media popularity.

I would say that Ms. Allison peaked when she made the cover of Wired magazine last year, for no other reason than being an example of someone that pursues Internet publicity. I'm happy to make my micro contribution to her cause, but these days it all seems a little too dated, a little too 2008...

She tells me she has ambitions beyond Wired, but I promised I wouldn't say which magazines she is targeting this year. It seems like a harmless hobby.

CIMG2718.JPG.jpgIt was also great to run into pals Ken Kaplan of Intel, Chris Heuer and his lovely wife Kristie Wells, JD Lassica, John Furrier, and Brian Solis.  

I'm very much looking forward to Thursday afternoon. I have a meeting with Craig Barrett, chairman of the world's largest chip maker, Intel (and one of my most loyal sponsors.)

- - -

Please see:

Internet Famous: Julia Allison and the Secrets of Self-Promotion

Julia Allison and Meghan Asha Dish About Digital Cribs Via TelePresence - DigItAll Consumer

A Micro-Documentary About SVW - SanDisk Life Moves Series

I've always been a little uncomfortable with the blogosphere's penchant for blatant self-promotion. However, the following videos are not completely all my doing :-)

Here is the third video in a series that SanDisk commissioned as part of its "Life Moves" series that encourages people to use flash disks to create and share videos. The series contains a mini-documentary on SVW and covers some of my work--which includes non-geek coverage of Silicon Valley/Bay Area culture with Allison Lovejoy from Lovejoy Lowdown.

The series is co-produced by the SF Media Collective (of which I am a founding member) and Bunny Production. Special thanks to Aron Pruiett, Celso Dulay, and Chris Knight.

About SVW . . .
YouTube, Google and

World Roller Soccer Championship . . .

YouTube, Google and
Hornucopia Festival . . .
YouTube, Yahoo, Google and
- - -
If you need superb video production services please contact Aron(at)

Microsoft Launches New Online Services - Blogger Roundtable Monday

Microsoft is launching new Online Services at an event Monday Morning at the St. Regis hotel in San Francisco (more details to come). I'll be part of a "Blogger Roundtable" at noon. I hope to see you there. Here is the line up:

Salim Ismael

Rod Boothby

Geva Perry

Ben Metcalfe

Chirag Mehta

Tom Foremski

Steve Wylie

Deb Schultz

Chris Heuer

Brian Solis

David Libby

Ohad Eder-Pressman

Adrian Chan

David Spark (also as moderator)

From Microsoft:

Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Online

David Howell, Director, Microsoft Online Engineering

Bharat Shah, General Manager, Microsoft Online Engineering

Eron Kelly, Sr. Director, Microsoft Online

Alex Payne, Director, Office Client Product Management

Andrew Kisslo, Sr. Product Manager, Office Client

I'm excited -- I'm confident that this will be the beginning of a great, ongoing dialog with the company. As I have said in earlier email, the folks from Microsoft are looking for insight from key people in several communities so that they know what makes sense -- and what to do -- going forward. We are already looking at future engagements, events and programs, and we hope you will help in making them real for everyone involved.

Panel Watch: Upcoming - Bulldog Reporter, Web 2.0, Engage, and FountainBlue

- Thursday morning I'll be on a Bulldog Reporter panel:

Top Tech Bloggers Share the New Rules of Pitching Online Influencers in Technology

With me will be:

-- John Dvorak, Columnist,; Host, "Crankygeeks," "Tech5," "This Week in Tech," "No Agenda"

-- Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Editor, "D: All Things Digital;" Author, "BoomTown"

-- Jon Fortt, Senior Writer, Fortune (circ. 931,495); Blogger, "Big Tech"

-- Tom Foremski, Author, "Silicon Valley Watcher;" Board Member, Research Fellow, Society for New Communications Research

-- John Biggs, Editor In Chief, "CrunchGear;" Author, "Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals and Scammers in the Internet Age;" Publisher, "BigWideLogic

- Then Thursday evening I'll be moderating a panel: "Web 2.0 in Action!"

Location: Hanson Bridgett LLP, 425 Market Street , 26th Floor,: San Francisco CA 94105

With: Jonathan Dillon, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Yahoo!

Tom Costello, CEO and Co-Founder, Cuil

Jason Devitt, CEO and Co-Founder, Skydeck

Richard Alfonsi, Director, Online Sales & Operations, Google, Inc.

Chris Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook

- November 13 I will be talking with the teams over at Engage PR.

- December 8 I will be at FountainBlue's High Tech Entrepreneurs' Forum on a panel:

Technology Predictions for 2009

from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

at Jones Day, 1755 Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto

For this month’s high tech entrepreneurs’ forum, we have invited an investor, a corporate intrapreneur, an entrepreneur and an analyst to speak on the evolution of the technology markets and to make technology predictions for 2009, while providing advice to entrepreneurs on how to best navigate the business and technology changes expected in the new year.

· Facilitator Jones Day IP partner

· Panelist Rebeca Hwang, Director of Network Strategy and Development, YouNoodle, Member Board of Directors and Chair of Judging California Clean Tech Open

· Panelist Lars Leckie, Principal, Hummer Winblad

· Panelist Eghosa Omoigui, Director, Strategic Investments, Consumer Internet, Semantic Technologies, Intel Capital

· Panelist Katya Stesin, Serial Entrepreneur and Founder and CEO of recently funded Razoom

Announcing SVW Online Virtualization Summit November 4!

Virtualization in the data center promises to make IT less expensive and more adaptable. It can improve the efficiency of data centers and help companies turn on a dime in terms of deploying applications and responding to spikes in business.

Virtualization is still a new technology and there are many questions about how best to deploy it and where the largest benefits can be gained.

We've got a great line up of speakers! Please tune in on November 4 for the SVW channel on virtualization followed by a roundtable discussion (it's free!). Also, you can embed the following widget in your website if you'd like to spread the word.

Here is the link to the channel:

SVW Watch: What am I Working on? Virtualization

Chatter.jpgI'm often asked "what are you working on?" My usual reply is whatever I find interesting. Well, this time I have a more specific answer. I'm working on a Virtualization Summit with BrightTALK that will be audio broadcast as a webinar on November 4 and will also feature some articles before the event.

I'm looking for some experts on all aspects of virtualization, if you have any suggestions of people i should consider talking with or including in this event please send them to me ASAP: Tom at and mention virtualization somewhere in the subject line. Thanks!

Fridays with Foremski Coming in September...

I put together a fun promo reel for "Fridays with Foremski" a weekly video show launching in September that chronicles my travels around Silicon Valley. I'll be interviewing top CEOs, thought leaders, profiling startups, and covering major events and conferences. The focus will be the business and culture of Silicon Valley.

Plus, I'll have my own gang of pundits, similar to Steve Gillmor's excellent Gillmor Gang, with a discussion on the week's events. I'll be working with Alex Ross, my new VP of business development and the publisher of "Friday's with Foremski."

We are just beginning to pull together the sponsorships so if you'd like to find out more, please contact Alex Ross [alex(at)].

I'm out of town until the end of this week but when I return I'll tell you more about the series--and I'll be looking for suggestions from my readers about topics and people that they'd like to see on "Fridays with Foremski."

Here is a flavor of what you'll see, compiled from my work over the past year.

You can also download the video here:

Next Week Visit SVW at the Upload Lounge at Intel Developer Forum

Next week is Intel Developer Forum (Intel is a sponsor of SVW) from August 19 to 21 in San Francisco. I'll be hanging out in or around the Upload Lounge shooting some video and doing interviews, so swing by, no appointment necessary.

It's a great idea for Intel to host an upload lounge with fast speeds. I've been shooting a lot more video these days but it takes ages for me to upload video--far longer than editing the content. At the Upload Lounge I should be able to shoot, process, and upload a lot more video.

See you there!

Top 50 Silicon Valley Influencers: Foremski at 28 Beats Tim O'Reilly and Top Journalists

NowPublic - "Crowd Powered Media" - revealed its list of 50 influential individuals in Silicon Valley/San Francisco. I got in at number 28, above Tim O'Reilly, the very influential Sebastapol based publisher of books for geeks. Number one is Robert Scoble followed by Mike Arrington.

Foremski's Take:

The list is interesting and there are many similar lists out there, with almost the same names but in different orders. I don't think it is possible to create an ultimate "influencer" list because the order of the names is different in different communities. I would trade my position for a higher spot in a smaller community such as VCs, or financial analysts. That would be much more valuable. Because the game is not about numbers of eyeballs it is about who's eyeballs.

Advertisers still buy media based on aggregate numbers but the real opportunity is to buy the right numbers. There is a potentially very lucrative arbitrage opportunity here.

- - -

I'm always flattered to be included but I take these lists with a large pinch of salt and I suggest you do too. Here is NowPublic's list of top 50 influencers (my bold):

1 Robert Scoble

2 Michael Arrington

3 Jack Dorsey

4 Biz Stone

5 Matt Cutts

6 Pete Cashmore

7 Dave Winer

8 Guy Kawasaki

9 Loïc Le Meur

10 Kevin Rose

11 Merlin Mann

12 Stowe Boyd

13 Jeff Atwood

14 Jeremiah Owyang

15 Veronica Belmont

16 Kara Swisher

17 Scott Beale

18 Marc Andreessen

19 Ryan Block

20 David Sifry

21 Emily Chang

22 Om Malik

23 Timothy Ferriss

24 Nick Douglas

25 John Battelle

26 David Cohn

27 Louis Gray

28 Tom Foremski

29 Tim O'Reilly

30 Ariel Waldman

31 Matt Mullenweg

32 Dean Takahashi

33 Philip Kaplan

34 JD Lasica

35 Sarah Lacy

36 Brian Solis

37 Charlene Li

38 Rafe Needleman

39 Dan Farber

40 Howard Rheingold

41 David McClure

42 Margaret Mason

43 Jason Goldman

44 Leah Culver

45 Chris Shipley

46 Jackson West

47 Liz Gannes

48 Owen Thomas

49 Adeo Ressi

50 Max Levchin

The Most Public Index, Silicon Valley | The News is

Intel Insider Program Debuts as the Chip Giant Pulls TV Spending

[Intel is a sponsor of Silicon Valley Watcher.]

I'm a member of a small group of advisors to Intel to provide consulting and feedback on corporate communications programs being developed by the world's largest chip maker.

Tuesday marked the first meeting of the "Intel Insider" group. I know many of the people involved in the creation of the group and also many of those chosen to take part. And I like the calculated risks that Intel is taking by involving some of the top names in the blogosphere and not imposing any restrictions on what we write about. There is some compensation provided for our time. It is mostly in the form of early access to news and also we get to keep some consumer products that contain Intel chips. There is no requirement to write anything about Intel, or the products.

It's an interesting project and I'm always interested in new ventures where we don't yet know what the answers are, where we don't yet know what are the best practices. And as Intel celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, it is a bold step for what has traditionally been a conservative company.

The Intel Insider program seeks to discover some of the best practices in corporate social/new media and in doing so, the results can be shared broadly. There is no restriction on the Intel Insiders sharing the results of the program with others.

What I like about the Intel Insider program is that it's innovative but it's not about technology -- even though Intel's business is all about innovation in technology.

Sean Maloney . . .

Tuesday we got to spend some time with Sean Maloney, Intel's number 2 executive next to CEO Paul Otellini. I've followed Mr Maloney's career for many years, he always gets the most interesting and also some of the toughest jobs at Intel. SMaloney.jpg

Mr Maloney spoke about Intel's decision to pull nearly all of its TV broadcast spend and to go almost completely online. He said it was because Intel could not be sure it was reaching the right people through TV. There will still be some spending on newspaper ads but not much.

Moving online however, is a problem. He said that the fragmentation of the online media and the differences in how that plays out in various countries has created a "fog." It is difficult to know where to spend online and then how best to measure the effectiveness of that spend.

(I will be posting a short video of Mr Maloney discussing this topic as soon as YouTube has processed the material.)

It was very interesting discussing the latest online trends with all the other Intel Insiders, including some of Intel's top communications and marketing people. I'll be sharing some of these discussions in additional posts this week and over the coming months.

- - -

Japan Notes: My first trip to Japan . . .

[I'm on my first trip to Japan as a guest of Lunarr - a Portland based tech start-up founded by two Japanese entrepreneurs Toru Takasuka and Hideshi Hamaguchi. On the trip with me is Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read Write Web, Bob Walsh from 47Hats, and, Kristen Nicole from Mashable.]

I barely slept the night before leaving for Tokyo so it wasn't a problem sleeping through much of the flight. I woke a little groggy as were coming into land. As I opened up the window shutter all I saw was a bright field of blue and a couple of tiny ships way below.

As we flew lower we were over land that was divided into neat fields of squares and rectangles, all of it laying close and flat to the water, from the ocean and from a broad river delta. Here and there among the fields and rice paddies, were islands of manicured golf courses and verdant woods.

When the aircraft door opened I could feel the warmth and humidity of the outside rush in--a welcome change from the dry, chill air of the cabin. I soon regrouped with Hideshi, Kristen, Bob, and Marshall as we walked to immigration and then picked up our bags. We had about an hour to kill before our bus ride to the Tokyo Dome Hotel, which we did at a Starbucks.

I found a Herald Tribune newspaper. It's always a pleasure to read a newspaper - especially a traditional broadsheet. It was massive when unfolded, much larger than the tiny coffee table I was sitting at.

We boarded the bus and 40 minutes later we were at the hotel. After a quick shower we were back in the lobby where we met Hisashi Katsuya, an executive with IBM Japan. Hideshi had briefed us on Mr Katsuya, a human social network, a central connector for the Japanese VC and startup communities. He works with IBM venture capital group and is the most connected person in the Japanese VC community. He knows all the startups that are worth knowing, he writes a blog on CNET Japan, and meets with 5 or 6 startups a day.

Hisashi grew up in Tokyo and knows its labyrinth of streets and tiny alleys very well. We walk through one of the oldest districts in Tokyo, past a temple and down a cobblestone-lined alley to a tiny restaurant that feels like someone's front room. We sit on the floor and eat and talk about the plan for the rest of the week.

Hideshi and Hisashi explain what they have dubbed Deep Dive Tokyo - an immersive cultural experience plunging us into the history and traditions of Japan and back into modern Tokyo and the tech and startup culture.

Along the way we will see ancient Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and the stunning 360 degree view from the top of Tokyo's tallest building. We will meet Japan's most successful venture capitalist, top Japanese government officials, and Japanese startups. We will experience and see some of the many sub-cultures that flourish in Japan. It's a very full schedule with not much time for blogging or Twittering -- but I can't wait.

[Check back for some images and video from my arrival.]

Intel Widgets Is Up...

Jeff Nolan and his team at Newsgator put together a great media widget for my sponsor Intel (over in the right hand column). This is much better use of this space than a banner ad or skyscraper ad that repeats a marketing message.

The Intel media widget showcases Intel's new/social media and it changes all the time. It shows off the human face of Intel rather than a slick ad with a slick marketing message.

I'm looking for one PR company that would like to become a sponsor of SVW and use the media widget format to showcase themselves and their clients. I only want one PR company for this slot - I need a Rooster PR company, one with cojones :-)

- - -

MediaWatch: Media Widgets Will Be The New Ads... Are You Feeling Innovative?

Will Online Advertising Turn Into Rich Media Widgets?

Silicon Valley Watcher Sponsors' Social/New Media Widget

FishWrap: A South Park Crawl ...Poland Courts Silicon Valley ... ...Youth Fixes Planet


Crawl South Park...

Web 2.0 is coming next week, it is going to be super busy. Wendesday evening the organizers have put together a South Park Crawl where the restaurants and other places will be open to Web 2.0 revellers. I'll be shooting Silicon Valley Minutes on Thursday from noon onwards over at/by The Conversation Group's Blogger Lounge 3rd floor Room 3018.

Poland's Deputy Prim Minister...

min_pawlak.jpg Clay Bullwinkel writes: Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak is speaking at Stanford University April 30 4:30-6:00 pm. Attendance is open and without cost, but you need to RSVP in advance because there is a room capacity. I am part of a team which is assisting his visit. My responsibility is the arrangement of meetings and agendas with leading executives of some of Silicon Valley’s big companies, the purpose of attracting R & D investment to Poland.

Poland in an Integrated Europe: Perspectives for sustainable development, greater innovation and strategic partnership in the globalized economy

Please see:

Silicon Valley Skills Crisis: Poland Emerging As A Top Source of Engineers

One in Four Adults Blog!!! Better Educated But Lower Incomes...

The Center for Media Research reports:

BIGresearch Simultaneous Media Survey, 26% of all adults say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of those:

  • * 53.7% are male
  • 44.7% are married
  • 28.4% hold a professional or managerial position
  • 10.4% are students.

Bloggers tend to be younger, averaging 37.6 years old, compared to 44.8 for adults 18+ (the "general population"). Ethnically:

  • 69.7% of Bloggers are White/Caucasian (vs. 76.1%)
  • 12.2% are African American/Black (vs. 11.4%)
  • 3.7% are Asian (vs. 2.0%)
  • 20% of Bloggers are Hispanic, compared to 14.8% of adults 18+

Political Views By Pictures...

Why ask people survey questions when you can show them pictures?

Take a 3 minute visual test to determine your "Election Fever" says Youniverse. Then compare your results to others. So far:

  • 53% in favor of Obama
  • 17% in favor of Hilary
  • 23% feel that America should invest more in education
  • 21% feel that the current President makes them want to literally put their head over the toilet bowl (!)
  • 26% want America to invest in environmental issues (6% in healthcare)33% feel that the outside world sees America as war
  • 29% want to change poverty (6% want illegal gun sales stopped)

Youth Fixes Planet...

Kevin Cheng drew my attention to The Tech Museum's 21st Tech Challenge which challenges students to solve a problem working in teams.

This year the challenge is Water Works:

  • 1 in 5 people on the planet don't have regular access to safe drinking water.
  • Create a device, powered by the river, to deliver water to the village's water tank.
  • There is no electricity. Use the flow of the stream to generate power.

Kevin has been working with the teams, he writes:

This year's Challenge will really be something special and unique, not only is enrollment at an all time high, but participants are ranging from as far as India, Taiwan and all throughout the United States.

I've been fortunate to have met and spoken with a number of the contestants, and I was blown away by these kids. Along with the innovative and polished devices, what really stood out to me was each student teams' approach toward communicating and working together. Not only were some kids using technology gadgets like web cams, digital camera, and advanced computer programs but some even went as far as to use applications like blogspot, or facebook. It stunned me to learn about the how each student managed their time and energy between their academics, extracurricular activities, personal lives and their commitment to the Tech Challenge.

Every weekend leading up to the Tech Challenge ( Sat., May 3rd from 9AM to 6 PM ) the Museum opens it's doors and allows access for students to seek help, test their applications, mingle with other participants, or spectate the trial runs. These clinics have been great for the kids, and have had terrific turn out more than doubling expectations. It is also a great opportunity for these young engineers to have fun meeting and interacting with other young minds, as well as the community that supports them.

Out & About At Parties:


David Spark Flips Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3 at Kliptronic's roof party.


Owen Thomas and fellow Valleywaggers hold court on Kliptronic's roof.

Ouch Quote of the week:

Owen Thomas on Mike Arrington's refusal to correct an inaccurate story:

Now you know why Mike always insists that you not call him a journalist.

Coming soon to my couch:

Friday's With Foremski - a video chat show

Friday Wrap + Victorian Computing; New Comm Forum


It's been a productive week: Chief Dan Farber Brings Lessons Of Blogger Media

Black Is The New Search: Barry Diller's IAC Launches Its First Home Grown Business - A Black Search Site

Plus a lot more is coming, including:

Dinner with Gil Shwed, CEO of Check Point Software, one of the most profitable software companies on the planet.

Interview with Microsoft's head of privacy Brendon Lynch. I ask him about MSFT's policy on China.

Lunch with Mike Lynch, head of Autonomy, the second largest European software company.

Plus don't miss:
- Victorian Technology: Five Ton Charles Babbage Engine Comes to Computer History Museum

Commissioned by Nathan Myhrvold. He'll also be giving a lecture on May 1: An Evening with Nathan Myhrvold and Doron Swade: Discussing Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine

On May 10: Exhibit Launch & Open House: Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2

This five-ton Engine is one of only two Charles Babbage’s computing engines ever built, consisting of 8,000 parts of bronze, cast iron and steel and measuring 11 feet long and 7 feet high. It was designed to calculate and print mathematical tables. Come to see the docents “crank” the Engine and watch it mechanically calculate - an arresting spectacle of automatic computing.

The exhibit launch and open house, a Victorian-themed event, promises a stunning display of Babbage’s elegant design and inspired engineering. His designs for vast mechanical calculating engines rank as one of the startling achievements of the 19th century.

- Coming up New Comm Forum April 22 to 25th
I will be speaking a the always excellent New Communications Forum 2008. It will be at the beautiful Vineyard Creek Inn & Spa in Sonoma county, just an hour or so north of San Francisco. You can use discount code NCF8SP.
I will be on the podium with Shel Israel and Jim Long. Here is Shel to explain:

My Apologies... ISPs Are Backward In Understanding Free...

ChrisAnderson at TEDA payment snafu over at Totalchoicehosting knocked me off line for much of Tuesday. Thank you Totalchoice.

I sent them a copy of Chris Anderson's article in Wired Magazine about how storage and bandwidth is free and they disagreed. $35 is what they wanted. Which is very reasonable. IMHO.

Upcoming Speaking Events... And Lunch At Your Place

- On Monday April 7, I will be at Bulldog Reporter's Media Relations Summit 2008 at the St. Francis in San Francisco. I will be speaking as part of this panel at 4.30pm:

Blogger Relations: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Top Online Pundits

Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher;

Om Malik, Giga Om;

Craig Newmark,;

Jon Greer, BNET/Media Bridge.

- Coming up, April 22 to 25th I will be speaking at at the always excellent New Communications Forum 2008. Don't miss it! It will be at the beautiful Vineyard Creek Inn & Spa in Sonoma county, just an hour or so north of San Francisco.

I will be on the podium with Shel Israel and Jim Long. Here is Shel to explain:

Jim Long has been an NBC cameraman for nearly 10 years. His current assignment is the dubious distinction of following George Bush. He goes where Bush goes in the world and that recently included African. Jim has been behind the camera in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Those of you who use Twitter know him as NewMediaJim, one of the most popular, accessible and likable residence of Twitterville.

Tom Foremski, the former Financial Times tech business editor who now heads the team at Silicon Valley Watch, the insightful, provocative popular blog. When it comes to stories about business and technology, Tom has been there and done that and he talks about what he has seen with a sense of humor and occasional outrage.

Jim and Tom are two of the best story tellers I know and I am honored to be on the dais with them at the upcoming SNCR Forum in Sonoma April 22-5. We are going to talk about the social, cultural and business implications of the transition from old media to new. i knw they will be great because they are two of the best conversational story tellers I know. I was supposed to have a half-hour lunch with Jim at SXSW. It last nearly three hours. I've had more fun hanging out with Tom in a Palo Alto parking garage than I often have at planned Silicon Valley receptions.

I have a very special "friend of the speaker discount" 45 per cent off! Email me and I'll send you the booking code for registration at

- Also, I often speak at lunch time events at PR companies about journalism, blogging, new communications and anything else. I do these for free as part of an educational series. Contact me if you are interested in one of these lunch events. You can call my cell on 415 336 7547.

Coming Up On Silicon Valley Watcher...

I've been hard at work on a couple of new launches such as Silicon Valley Minute and am backed up on my coverage. Here are some of the articles coming up:

flaxman-1_100.jpg - Exclusive thought leader interview with Jon Flaxman, Chief Administration Officer for Hewlett-Packard. Mr Flaxman reports directly to Mark Hurd, CEO of HP, his job is to drive business process efficiency across all HP business groups. Reengineering HP.

bob_tennant.jpg- Interview with Robert Tennant, CEO of Recommind, a hot enterprise search company about to break out from its leading position in the eDiscovery legal market.

- Interview with Guillaume Cohen, CEO of Veodia, a hot enterprise video company. It describes itself as "The Live TV Studio In Your Browser" and it's true, it's a very unique service backed up with some impressive technology.

- I visit the birth place of Silicon Valley: The garage from which William Hewlett and David Packard built Silicon Valley giant Hewlett-Packard. HP opens it up only once a year. Exclusive video coming. I will also put it up on my site (coming soon!) Silicon Valley

DanFarber.jpg- Exclusive interview with Dan Farber, the new Editor-in-Chief of CNET's Dan Farber is one of the industry's top journalists and editors and he built a very successful network of top bloggers on ZDNet. This veteran of old and new media has plans to boost one of the top global media brands.

Got A Minute? Pitch It: Silicon Valley Minute Launch...

A company's pitch is its most valuable communication it answers: "Who are you and what do you do?"

I meet with hundreds of companies every year, not just from Silicon Valley but from all over the world. They are all passionate about their ventures and about their products and services. Yet many of them will take half-an-hour to explain what they do.

And in that half-an-hour I will learn more about their competitors than I will about them. They often don't know that they are not communicating well.

Concise, clear communication, is vital to the success of any venture. It is the most valuable piece of communications that any company possesses.

And it is also the most difficult to master. I know it is tough because I've been there myself.

When I left the Financial Times in May 2004, I took most of the summer off to set up as a media entrepreneur. I had many lunches and dinners with friends and industry contacts and I told them what I wanted to do.

It took me half-an-hour to tell them about Silicon Valley Watcher and my plans. And I usually left people confused . . . and I felt confused myself.

It took me the whole summer to distill my pitch into my Silicon Valley Minute: "Silicon Valley Watcher is an online news magazine reporting on the business and culture of Silicon Valley." It's evolved a little beyond that to "the business of media and technology" but it is still way under a minute.

It sounds simple, and it should sound simple, but we all know that simple is tough.

Last year I set up a little experiment, a side project: Silicon Valley Minute to help companies with their pitch. I'd had the domain name for a while.

I'm relaunching Silicon Valley Minute. Take a look at these five posts. Not long after they did their Silicon Valley Minute, three of these companies were acquired by Cisco, Google and Oracle. Five more posts next week, and more. Here is one of them: Securent - Rajiv Gupta, CEO (acquired by Cisco).

I will be shooting lots of video "minutes" as I move around the valley and the conferences and also posting them here on Silicon Valley Watcher.

And if you want to make a video minute of your company I'll post it up for free, just send me the video player embed code and the description of your company from your web site, including links. I won’t edit it at all– after all it's your pitch.

I’m hoping Silicon Valley Minute can help companies anywhere, not just in Silicon Valley, or even the tech sector, hone their pitch and maybe get some feedback. And in the process, it might help them succeed.

Having a decent pitch doesn’t require any startup capital and it might even get you some. I look forward to viewing your Silicon Valley minutes!

Please send your Silicon Valley Minute, with your video embed code plus text description, to [email protected]

- - - - - - -

If you need professional help creating your Silicon Valley Minute, or any video service at all, please contact SF Media Collective. This is a team of people that I worked with at and includes other top video services experts handling all aspects of creation, distribution and attention.

Silicon Valley Watcher Sponsors' Social/New Media Widget

I'm very grateful to my sponsors. Over the past three years they have enabled me to concentrate on reporting and have been very supportive of my work.

I'm making some changes. I want to showcase the social/new media work that my sponsors have been doing rather than just showing their logos at the top of my page. Over on the the right of this page you'll see a good example of what I mean: Intel with a video player and some links to its latest and most popular blog posts.

This can be encapsulated into a widget that can then be shared on other sites. I'm offering this type of showcase to all my sponsors and I'm talking with some large PR companies too. The PR firms will get to showcase their own new media practices and also their clients.

There will be five side widgets and a super-widget slot on top of the page. The five side widgets will be rotated daily so that each one takes turns being the lead widget above the fold. I'll be announcing additional sponsors very soon. Contact me tom(at) if you'd like to reserve a spot.

I think this is a much better type of promotion than traditional advertising or marketing because it shows what each company is publishing and its involvement in its communities.

Behind the Scenes: Japanese TV Crew First Stop In Silicon Valley (Media Valley...)

I had the great pleasure of hosting a Japanese TV crew, (the equivalent of PBS here) as they explored my idea of Silicon Valley turning into "Media Valley."

Facebook Pitch Experiment - Week 2 - Ditch The Zombies And Make A Facebook Email Manager App

Last week I asked people to pitch me through Facebook because my Gmail mailbox gets flooded with (non-spam) email and sometimes the pitches get lost in the white noise of my 38,373 (and counting) unread emails.

Gmail becomes Guilt-mail because I don't mean to ignore people's emails or appear to be rude. I read and reply to a lot of emails but I can't keep up with them all.

On Facebook my email count is only about a dozen per day and I can easily keep up with that volume. I tend to respond more quickly on Facebook--at least that is true for now.

Also, Facebook lets me see the face of the sender and I remember faces first and names much later. Plus I can see if we have people in common, etc, which Gmail doesn't provide.

However, Gmail does provide a lot of management tools while Facebook is very basic. I would love a Facebook app that can provide me with a decent set of email management tools. That would be a killer Facebook app, imho. Fewer Zombies and more email management please!


PS: You can still pitch me through Facebook but Gmail is OK too...

PR Pitches Through Facebook: I Have 37, 366 Unread Emails in Gmail...

There is a lot of interest in my experiment to give priority to PR pitches through Facebook. Here is my main reason for trying this approach:

I have 37,366 unread emails in my Gmail account, which is my one and only email service, and that is spam-free email. That means that pitches often get lost in the white noise of my inbox.

The unread emails have accumulated over about a two year span. And I'm hopeful that I will eventually get to all of them, but at this point I'm also hoping to get a stick of dynamite and blow up my inbox and start fresh.

While over at Facebook, I'm keeping up with my emails and it feels like a much less stressful environment. I often avoid my Gmail inbox because I won't surface for four or five hours dealing with emails.

I only have a limited number of keystrokes per day, and I have to reserve some of them for my writing, therefore I have to limit my Gmail exposure.

If you've sent me an email and I haven't replied, my apologies it is not personal, it does not mean I don't like you, it is my inability to deal with my email correspondence in a consistent manner. I don't know how people do it.

When I used to use Microsoft Outlook, I had a great way of dealing with emails that left a clean inbox. I would use filters and I would flag messages and I would send them into a "Very Important Emails" folder so that I could deal with them later.

But I would rarely visit that folder because I would prioritize my other tasks first: interviewing people, writing articles, call the kids, eat. Then late at night once I had finished all my other work I couldn't face several hours of dealing with my emails...

At least with Gmail, I can't hide the important emails inside a folder so I do answer quite a few every day. But it is still an overwhelming job so I'm hoping Facebook can become a more manageable inbox.

Also, only the people that read me and are interested in my work will know about my Facebook PR pitch preference and those are the people that I would rather work with anyway.

PR: Pitch Me Only Through FaceBook Please...

After some thought I decided that I would like my PR pitches through FaceBook and not through email or phone.

I will only look at pitches that come from my FaceBook "friends." I will give those priority over all other communications channels except for face-to-face, which trumps all other channels.

The reason is that if you are my FaceBook friend you are more likely to know what I've been writing about and what I've been up to. And I'm more likely to know a little bit about who you are.

If you are just pitching me because your boss said you should then I'd rather not respond.

It's an experiment, but I think it will at least lessen the number of people that want to get onto my radar yet don't keep track of what I'm writing about. Which is fine, but I'm looking to cull the noise and work with people who I know in some way. Send me a FaceBook friend request if you'd like to work with me :-)

Happy New Year . . . And The Blogger Media Bus to CES - A New Further?

Happy New Year to all my readers. 2008 is going to be interesting for Silicon Valley Watcher, with plans to expand and bring in new writers and also to focus less on "Web 2.0" and more on IT enterprise and the business of technology.

GigaOm and TechCrunch do a good job writing about "Web 2.0" type companies but they are just a fraction of the companies in Silicon Valley and beyond. And thats what SVW hopes to do, focus more on enterprise IT companies, and other tech companies that don't get much attention from the media.

Over the next few days I will post a few articles about my travels to London and New York in December, and some of the big changes that technology is having on media companies--especially in London, where outsourcing of journalist jobs to India is happening at an accelerating pace.


I hadn't planned on going to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week but I couldn't resist the invitation to a "blogger" media bus. The bus is a pimped out high tech media broadcast studio on wheels. It sets off from the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus Saturday morning and returns the following Friday. Sponsored by Microsoft, AMD, Skype, and Logitech.

I'll be on board along with Robert Scoble, Dan Farber, Loic Le Meur, Hugh MacLeod, Jeremy Toeman, Robert McLaws, Jason Dunn, Marc Canter and Dave Winer. Eight hours on the bus with these merry blogsters should be interesting.

It might even be a bit like Ken Kesey's "Further" bus which was filled with the "Merry Pranksters." I'll be playing the role of Neal Cassady, Dan Farber will be Tom Wolfe, Canter can play Wavy Gravy, Scoble can be Ken Kesey, and Winer can be Timothy Leary(!)

The bus was going to be called the Blue Monster but some senior exec at Microsoft objected to the name. Let's rename it Furthermore in honor of the Merry Pranksters.

Marc Canter has been inspired to write a poem about it:

Oh I'll be there, and on a tare
like a funky throbbing notion
of the blogosphare

And as the day transpires
and the folks get tired
I'll ignite the scene like fire
and suggest new fresh faire

For us all to see
like a big Hee Hee
and a enigmatic blogger
in her underwear

So lets video some news
and pour down some Milwaukee brews
and walk the strip til dawn ah singing of the
Facebook blues


At CES I'll be moderating some of the live video broadcasts from Showstoppers, and other things at Podtech's Bloghaus.

Technorati Tags: ,

SVW On-The-Go: Smaato's News Reader for Mobile Phones

ShotsSVW.jpg Silicon Valley Watcher Newsreader is a free application for your smartphone which allows you to read RSS feeds while you're on the go. Stay connected with your favourite blogs, news sources and other personal feeds. The SVW Newsreader features default channels like ABC News,, Engadget Mobile – and of course the Silicon Valley Watcher feed. You may add additional RSS feeds to personalize your information experience.

Silicon Valley Watcher Newsreader can be used offline.

Silicon Valley Watcher Newsreader gives you access to thousands of free RSS feeds.

AutoSync: The AutoSync feature allows you to setup specific times for the Newsreader to sync automatically. For example, you can setup the AutoSync for 7:00 AM and you’ll have the latest news on your device when you take the subway for work.

The windows mobile versions allow an automatic synchronization when you plug-in your ActiveSync connection or connect to a Wi-Fi network.

You’re always up to date without having to care about anything. AutoSync is set to 7:00 AM daily by default. You can disable the AutoSync feature on the settings menu screen.

Feed Catalogue: The feed catalogue makes it extremely easy for you to adjust the news reading experience to fit your needs and interests better. You can choose from a large number of feeds which are categorized by topic and ad them with only a few clicks. The unique feature of this list is that it's generated dynamically based on the most used feeds on our server.

Free (ad-supported, only one small banner at top of the screen)

Download for Window Mobile Smartphone

Download for Window Mobile Pocket PC

Download for Palm OS Devices

Playing hookie...

I've been enjoying time with my 12 year old daughter Sarah, who is on spring break and came down from Sebastapol to stay with me for a few days.

Monday we were down in Santa Cruz at the Boardwalk, one of our favorite local spots. Tuesday we popped into the excellent Vivianne Westwood exhibit at the deYoung. Sarah has an interest in punk music. I should be back to work soon...

SVW signs with PodTech Network

You might have seen this over on

Tom Foremski Signs with the PodTech Network | Technology, Business, Media, and News Podcasts

I'm excited to be working with PodTech. Joh Furrier, the Founder of PodTech has pulled together a stellar group of professionals and I'm looking forward to working with this top notch team. You'll see SVW video posts on SVW and on PodTech and there are also some further joint projects in the works that I'll tell you about over the next few weeks.

Technorati tags: , , ,

If I turn up with a camera, you'll now know why ...!


I'm very excited about a joint venture with SVW. I hate to be such a tease, but that's about all I can say right now...(!)

SVW Outage...

My apologies for SVW being offline for much of Tuesday. Total Choice Hosting suspended the site because of too much activity, which was placing a load on the shared server that we use.

Isn't it amazing when a service provider suspends you for doing too well? It seems a bit backwards, at least from where I'm sitting.

So, I beg you, don't click on too many of my pages, otherwise I'll get suspended by Total Choice Hosting again(!!!)

Please ignore the above and click away... I can always get a better host :-) ]

Innovation and Disruption - the semantic battle solved

I've been thinking a lot about innovation and what it means the past couple of weeks. It's a topic I've delved into before too, with Geoffrey Moore (see posts at end).

My complaint is that "innovation" is used too broadly these days, its meaning is being diluted, it is being used to describe incremental improvements in business process rather than disruptive, which is its more traditional use.

Here is how I can prove it:

-The term "innovation" is being used by a lot of people and companies these days. They would only use the term if it held a special significance in our culture--and it clearly does. But it is appended to things that offer "incremental" improvements and thus they are made to sound better than they would be.

-Our history books are full of innovations--none of them are "incremental" they are all game changing, disruptive technologies. Show me one that is incremental.


I can't fight the broad trend to dilute the meaning of innovation. IBM, Geoffrey Moore, et al, have a lot more resources to call upon and can make changes in meaning over time. Therefore, I will give up using innovation in my tag line..."reporting on the business and culture of innovation."

Instead, I'll use this:

"Silicon Valley Watcher: Reporting on the business and culture of disruption."

I think it is a more powerful way of saying "innovation."

- - -

Additional Info:

Innovation inflation - innovation is everywhere, even on business cards


Geoffrey Moore: Disrupting myths of disruptive innovation

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.

Geoffrey Moore, one of Silicon Valley's top IT consultants has published a column disrupting the notion of ...

Dealing_with_Darwin: What do we mean by Innovate?

This blog entry is in reply to Tom Foremski's challenge to one of the points ... Geoffrey Moore’s blogging dialogue with Tom Foremski highlighted to me my ...

A beastly Technorati rank...

I was just checking my Technorati ranking and noticed this...(!)

Talking about the business of technology

By Tom Foremski

On the morning of January 17 I'll be on a panel with David Kirkpatrick of Fortune, Jay Bonasia from Investor's Business Daily, and Rachel Konrad from Associated Press. We'll be discussing how we cover the "business of technology" and the types of stories and trends we'll be looking for in the coming year.

The panel is organized by Bulldog Reporter. More details here.

Back from London...

I'm back from London, it was a good trip. I managed to do very little while I was there, which is exactly what I needed, some time to recover from a hectic year or three.

You'll be seeing some changes on SVW as it moves more towards a type of "BusinessWeek" of Silicon Valley with additional writers. It will be more "Silicon Valley Watch" rather than "Watcher." I'll also have a personal blog to distinguish "Watch" from "Watcher."

We'll also be expanding with some natural additions to SVW, with a jobs section (Silicon Valley Job Search), and other related sections, such a Clean Tech section. Each section will also have its own web site.

Another new site will be a spin-off of my work about media and public relations. The new site: "New Rules Communications - the new rules in media and pr" is launching later this month and will also feature other writers. We already have a sponsor for it and will soon be announcing additional sponsors. Please contact me if you are interested in one of the six sponsor positions.

It is shaping up into another busy year...

I want to wish my readers a very Happy New Year and much love and happiness in 2007.


Coming this week in SVW:

Buzzlogic and its attempts to measure the influence of the blogosphere.

A ThoughtLeader interview with Drew Clark, co-founder of IBM Venture Capital Group

Link in to SVW on LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the business networking site, has been coming up on my radar screen quite a bit recently, and I like what I'm seeing.

It has taken a while for this site to become useful and interesting because it needed to have a large enough user base. It's a chicken and egg type situation that many other social networking sites face.

I like the way LinkedIn has added features that update members on things such as changes in jobs among contacts, etc.

I'd like to offer my readers, an opportunity to link to me on LinkedIn. Send me an invitation (tom at and I promise to accept--especially if you are subscriber to SVW's Rooster newsletter (free!) and/or are an SVW news toolbar user.

BTW, we're adding more features to the toolbar which will include a special alert feature notifying users of new posts and breaking news. The alert feature will be made two-way so that SVW readers will be able to let us know about breaking news in their sectors.

Please note if you are in the PR community and pitch SVW: I get tons of pitches from PR companies and it is very difficult for me to keep up with them all, so I'm going to prioritize my attention.

If you are an SVW newsletter subscriber I promise to look at your pitches first.


SVW newsletter sign ups

SVW Rooster newsletter signups - find out which way the wind blows in Silicon Valley!



SVW's Silicon Valley News toolbar is preloaded with RSS feeds from major newspapers and magazines covering Silicon Valley.

Keep up with breaking tech news with our SVWatcher RSS news feeds toolbar

Silicon Valley Watcher now has its own toolbar with preconfigured RSS news feeds from major news sources, and more are being added.

The RSS feeds allow you to quickly scan the headlines and stories on breaking news in Silicon Valley and the tech world without having to visit each news site separately. We've done all the setup for you so there is no need to deal with XML files.

The SVWatcher toolbar can easily be switched on or off in your browser window. Plus it has lots of other great features such as a news ticker and internet radio.

Check it out, it installs in seconds, it's really fast.

Two years ago I became a journalist blogger . . . and discovered a terrible thing

It was about two years ago that I started "blogging." I had left the Financial Times in early June and took the summer off, I spent most of it chatting to people about my plans.

It was a good exercise, to try to explain to others what I was doing. I wasn't sure myself.

It took me most of the summer to boil down a 30 minute explanation to one sentence: I am publishing an online news site reporting on the business of Silicon Valley.

Two years ago I knew in my gut that we were at a crucial point in a rapidly changing media sector; and that taking this risk (two kids and an ex-wife to support) would be worthwhile.

I knew that business would not be getting better for my employer because: technology advertising wasn't coming back due to the dotbomb fallout; M&A taking away large advertisers; and financial services advertising wasn't coming back either because the IPO market was a bust.

In addition, advertising was rapidly moving online...

I didn't realize at the time that I would become the first mainstream journalist to leave to become a professional "journalist blogger."

Other journalist that also blogged, Dan Gillmor, Om Malik had day jobs. It would be another seven months before Dan Gillmor left the San Jose Mercury, and two years before Om Malik left Business 2.0 to become fulltime journalist bloggers.

I also didn't realize the effect this would have on my surroundings. One of my contacts at a large Silicon Valley company told me, "Suddenly, we realized that because you had left the Financial Times to become a blogger, we needed to take blogging seriously." It was a comment I heard at other companies too.

But when I left the Financial Times I had never blogged. And I'm ready to admit, I didn't even read blogs.

However, I knew that the blogging platform was incredibly robust and that I could produce a column of Tom Foremski for a lot less than it cost the Financial Times. And that my journalism wouldn't be shut away behind a subscription barrier.

My posts, if they were good enough, would be distributed by my readers and shared among their peers. This is a far better model than trying to limit distribution of content to paid subscribers.

True, I didn't have a business model at the time, but I knew a business model for online publishers would be inevitable.

I also knew that the costs for a newspaper business are much higher than online business models can support. That means that "you can't get there from here" a wonderful American expression that sums up the huge challenge media businesses have in downsizing/rightsizing for online revenue models.

My costs are very modest compared with any traditional newspaper business, with its large legacy infrastructure, pensions, its legions of editors, layers of administrators, office buildings, distribution systems, printing presses, janitors...

The change in media business models has been created by the simple fact that it is more effective to sell products/services next to a search box than next to journalism.

The reason online companies such as Google, Yahoo, or Craigslist can provide advertising at such low costs is that they don't have to pay for the journalism.

Over the past two years I've taken up this point time and again because it is very important that our society find an alternate way to pay for journalism.

But how will we pay for professional journalism if the bulk of advertising moves to search marketing?

If we don't have high quality trusted media sources we will face a future filled with a confusion of  many mini-media sources of dubious quality and trust. In such an environment misinformation will be common and will be commonly encouraged by third parties serving their needs.

Software engineers have a term for this: garbage in, garbage out. We need high quality trusted media sources so that we can make important decisions.

And we have some very important decisions to make, about global warming, energy sources, bird flu, politics, war.  Yet the financial structure to support our professional media is being taken away by low cost online services.

I've been trying to raise the alarm on this issue since I started being a "journalist blogger."  I do know that we will solve this issue, that we will figure out a business model for professional  media, but we don't have it yet.

In the meantime, our society will face a troublesome period of muddled information that will likely lead to bad decisions.
. . .

I will write more about my adventures in the blogosphere in the two years since I left the Financial Times. I had no idea that something as simple as blogging could be so interesting and lead me to so many insights and discoveries... :-)

PR Week Names "Top Journalists You Should Know"

I'm always happy to keep this kind of company :-) I hadn't noticed it until Eric DeRitis at AMD pointed it out to me.

It's a short list of eight reporters and includes stellar names such as Walt Mossberg of the WSJ, Ken Auletta of The New Yorker, the extremely talented Geeta Anand from the WSJ. Plus Harvey Levin of the top celeb gossip site (Mel Gibson scoop), Washington D.C watcher Charlie Cook of the Cook Report, and the dynamic team of New York Times reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen.

Link to - Today's media relations rules article PR Week  

Hamilton Nolan PR Week USA Sep 5 2006 12:55

I appreciate the fact that PR Week calls me a journalist rather than a blogger because that is what I do. I work as a professional journalist and I publish an online magazine about the business and culture of Silicon Valley. There is no need for the "B" word :-) . . . Some other PR Week stories (subscription site) and Silicon Valley Watcher:


Interview: Tom Foremski
by Dec-12-05


Working with the top echelon of bloggers
by Christie Casalino Oct-31-05

First Fridays with Foremski: Today at the new de Young 6 to 8

It is the first Friday of the month - come join me at the new de Young museum in Golden Gate Park from 6 to 8. The museum is open until 8.45pm, there is music, food and cocktails (ask Ray to make you a Green Fairy :-).

Stop by and say hi, I'll be wandering around, in the gardens and inside the building. This is not a business or tech event, there is no free food or drinks. It is about connecting rather than networking...

My two-year anniversary as a blogger . . . and two new sponsors!

It was two years ago today that I left the comfort of the Financial Times San Francisco bureau, the six-figure salary/benefits package, the six-weeks of vacation, and the generous sabbaticals every four years, to become a journalist blogger. I didn't realize at the time that I was the first mainstream media journalist to leave one of the world's top newspapers to try to become a professional journalist blogger.

I did not know what I was getting myself into, but I had a gut feeling that it was the right time. I had no idea of what the business model would be but I knew a few things. I knew that things would get better for me, but for newspapers the writing was on the wall (or at least online :-)

Two companies soon offered to sponsor my venture, Tibco and Infineon Technologies. I didn't ask for the money but I was glad to have it, even though I spent it very quickly and was forced to dig deep into my savings and cash out much of my IRA account.

I wanted to make sure that I had a good editorial product before I pitched for additional sponsors. Getting to that point has been incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding.

The money constraints meant that I couldn't keep my editorial teams. It also meant that my electric power was cut off for several days not too long ago. And in the last month, I had run out of money to pay my rent, and I had zero money for my family support payments. The support from my sponsors came in the nick of time, otherwise I'd now be blogging from a friend's couch and sneaking bandwidth from tolerant neighbors, and maybe even pocketing food from press events for my kids...

I might be poorer but I am incredibly richer for the experience of the last two years. I have met and connected with an amazing number of fascinating people and I feel part of a community. I'm incredibly happy to be involved in the emergence of this new media, and in the innovation that is happening within a rapidly transforming media sector.

And I'm very happy on this anniversary to announce that Tibco continues into its second year as sponsor of Silicon Valley Watcher. And to also announce that Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, and Edelman the world's largest independent PR firm join as Leader Sponsors. And I will announce other Leader Sponsors as soon as I get the clearance.

The sponsorship support will go towards building an editorial team and expanding Silicon Valley Watcher into a top class news organisation focused on the business and culture of Silicon Valley. This region is the world's engine of innovation, it is where the future is being created every day.

I'd like to thank my current and soon-to-be-announced sponsors for their support and their partnership. Sponsorship means that SVW doesn't have to sell advertising campaigns and it can focus on producing high quality journalism, exclusive content, and have a stable monthly revenue base.

Our Leader Sponsors will be able to showcase their thought leadership in SVW through special columns, and also experiment with new approaches to publishing their expertise. In this way we will all help birth the new media, its new formats, and hopefully collect a series of best practices that many others can share.

And I thank my readers for their support. Wherever I go in Silicon Valley, from the trenches to the boardrooms, people tell me: I read you and I share you with my teams. I couldn't ask for anything better than that. Thank you.

Coming up: Vivisimo CEO, a chat with the dark horse search engine company; John Kish CEO of Wyse Technology spells out the end of the desktop; Dan Berg CTO of Sun Services tells of adventures in Central Europe; plus, SVW Leader Sponsor news!

- Memorial Weekend is but a memory as SVW swings into gear with an interview with Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO of Vivisimo, the dark horse search engine company that is fast carving out a solid business in enterprise markets. Interview coming up this week along with a white paper from Mr Perez on why behavioral marketing is barking up the wrong tree.

- I chat with John Kish, CEO and President of Wyse Technology, yet another savvy buyout from Garnett & Helfrich Capital, the Silicon Valley mid-sized VC buyout firm that's going places. Find out why thin computing is burying the desktop. It's the economics (and security.)

- I catch dinner with Dan Berg, CTO of Sun Services. It's been about six months since we last spoke and Mr Berg tells of life in Prague and the innovation bubbling up in Central Europe. "Silicon Valley is still the Mecca," he says.

- Also, exciting news on SVW Leader Sponsors, some announcements coming up! Who says bloggers don't have a business model :-)

Open copyright - use as much as you want of my work

I've decided to remove any restrictions on my copyright on Silicon Valley Watcher. Anybody can use my work freely, and they can make money off of it, as long as I am recognized as the author and all links in the article including back to SVW remain in place.

That's all I ask, if you want to use my work then please give me the proper attribution. Don't just grab it and use it as a honey pot for Google AdSense and strip out my authorship and the links in the article. I'm letting you use it for free and all I ask is attribution--doing the right thing won't cost you a penny and it will avoid any legal issues too.

Why am I doing this? I'll give you one half of my answer: there is no decent business model for online journalism right now...

Leader Sponsors: Publish your thought leadership

Help publish Silicon Valley Watcher and Silicon Valley Watcher (SVW) will help your company publish! We are offering six Leader Sponsor positions at the top of every page served up by Silicon Valley Watcher.

Our readers are mostly local Silicon Valley people and you will be reaching some of the world's most important decision makers. These are decision makers that decide the next stages of the Internet economy, and on the design and development of key technologies and products. These are the creators of the future.

And there is huge interest in the innovation of Silicon Valley from around the world with about one-quarter of our readers in other countries.

By becoming a Leader Sponsor of SVW you will have a window on this unrivalled community of leaders and influencers.

And your sponsorship of SVW will help expand it further. We are building an editorial team of top journalists. And we are creating the world's best resource for news, trends, analysis, and opinion--about and from--the planet's most innovative region bar none.

As SVW expands, your window at the top of every page will expand its reach. And in that window you can display your thought leadership. You can point readers to your blogs and other publications that establish your company as a vibrant and vital part of Silicon Valley's mediasphere.

To be known by your community--you have to publish and become visible to your community.

The annual sponsorship package also comes with consulting services. You get first access to media consulting services from SVW and its affiliates. And you get first access to offline events organized by SVW.

It's important to build and be involved in online communities but it is just as important to be involved in offline communities such as conferences, salons, and debate forums.

These are fast changing times, and in these times, every company is a media company to some degree; because every company tells stories to itself, to its customers, to its communities, to its future hires. Those stories had better be compelling stories, and the best stories are honest and truthful. And they should employ the powerful two-way media technologies that are emerging from Silicon Valley.

Help us publish and we'll help you publish.

Call Tom Foremski, publisher and founder of SVW on 415 336 7547. Or email Tom (at) with "Leader Sponsor" in the subject.

Don't delay-- do it today: the Leader Sponsor positions are limited to just six slots and will be offered only once a year.

- - -

Here is a snapshot of our AwStats for 2005: (Call or message for the most recent numbers.)

Fridays with Foremski starts today on San Francisco Chronicle's online site

I've started writing for the San Francisco Chronicle's "Tech Chronicles" a weekly column/blog called "Fridays with Foremski."

It is a great thrill for me to be writing for one of the longest established news organizations in the US, and also to be working with the excellent editorial team in the business section, Al Saracevic, Tom Abate, Dan Fost and many others...

Check out the column this week and find out what Vinod Khosla, Silicon Valley's top VC is up to; Ebay's local push and the lessons of Craigslist; and Jobster comes to town...

Fridays with Foremski

The virtuous trackback: A proposal for paying for content

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

SVW reader Todd Defren has proposed a micropayments system for content, but I don't think such a thing would work because people don't like being nickel-and-dimed for content.
[Please see SVW: We need a Google AdSense on Steroids to pay for content.]
Also, payment for content implies that if you don't pay you don't get to read the content. I wouldn't want to lock up my content behind a subscription firewall I'd like it to be free to roam the internet.

However, what about a type of commercial trackback? What if linking to a blog post you agreed to run a small text link advert at the bottom of the post as part of the blog link policy?

For example, if someone were to write a blog post and link to this post. The blog software would ping this post and then send back a text advert link. So at the bottom of the post linking to this one would be something like this:

[Links in this post are from: Silicon Valley Watcher,, WikiPedia.

These links are sponsored by: Dreamhost--for all your web hosting needs.; "The Power to Predict : How Real Time Businesses Anticipate Customer Needs. ]

The blog software would assemble this bottom panel automatically. It would be a type of Google AdSense advertising network that is "stuck" to the content and follows the content wherever it is reffered to or quoted from. And, it could be done in such a way that everybody could share in the revenues.

For example, if one of my readers writes a blog post and refrences my post which might be sponsored by Amazon and thus an Amazon text link appears on any reffering blog post. If that link on the other blog post generates a sale for Amazon, I get a piece of the sale but so does the other blog site, and so on down and up the line.

In this way, a popular blog post would be able to have broad distribution of its content and its associated text advertising link. Those blogs reffering to the original post would bring attention to the original post and thus are creating value. They get to share in the monetisation of that value through any clicks/sales on the text ad link.

The virtuous trackback

Could you scam/spam something like this? I don't know. There would be nothing gained from just blogging other posts hoping to get affiliate clicks/sales unless those original posts carried some intrinsic value. And bloggers agreeing to such a setup would know that they are helping support the creation of the original content, thus creating a virtuous cycle in which good/great content is rewarded and monetised and reinvested in producing yet more content. It's the virtuous trackback :-)

Another aspect is that because of permalink, one popular blog post would essentially create an advertising network across many pages on the internet and it would be permanently there. Thus, the original sponsor of the original blog post could be changed, and that would be reflected in all the other, connected blog posts.

What do you think? Maybe we can get Dave Winer to comment on this since he is the inventor of RSS and trackbacks. What do you say Dave? Can you give us a commercial virtuous trackback so that we can pay for content without going to micropayments?

Links in this post are from: Silicon Valley Watcher,, WikiPedia.

These links are sponsored by: Dreamhost--for all your web hosting needs.; "The Power to Predict : How Real Time Businesses Anticipate Customer Needs.

Every company is now partly a technology-enabled media company--I explain in moving pictures

foremski-a2.jpgAndy Plesser, who organized the impressive Impact '05 conference at New York University in September, sent me this note about his plunge into blogging.

It includes a link to a video clip of myself (blush), I was on a panel with Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's political consultant and probably the most high profile political consultant in the US right now because of his experience with blogging and other media technologies, used to great effect during Mr Dean's presidential bid.

[Andy is a consumate professional and has been one of my earliest and staunchest supporters especially when I left the FT and ventured forth to test out the new media waters nearly two years ago...He and his family are also wonderful hosts whenever I'm in New York, which is not often enough.]

Story continues...

How does public relations work in the blogosphere?

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

I took part in a Bulldog Reporter teleconference this morning, on the subject of Blogger PR and it was a record turnout, more than 80 leading PR agencies and corporate communications organizations called in, each with maybe two dozen people or more at each location.

The panel included Shel Israel of It Seems to me, Alice Marie Marshall of Technoflak and Jeremy Pepper of Pop!PR blog. We covered a lot of ground in the ninety or so minutes and we were all agreed on most points. And that was because we all have extensive experience of being involved in the blogosphere (I prefer mediasphere).

We heard a lot of the same questions I hear wherever I go, such as: who are the influential bloggers? How do we deal with negative posts? How do we measure how we influence the influencers? And many more...

I was the only one on the panel that is working as a journalist blogger. I do not work in public relations, I am the target of public relations. And in that capacity I am happy to share what works, what doesn't, and offer some good practices for PR.

And we all agreed on one key point: the best way to find out who is influential in your sector is to get involved in the online conversations either by blogging, monitoring, or commenting.
(Please see SVW: The metrics of influence.)

Every company to some degree, is now a media company. Every company constantly publishes stories and has conversations: within its own organization, with its peers, with its communities, with its potential hires, with its customers. Make sure that those conversations are honest and truthful.

And let go of the out dated attitude of control, or the idea of controlling a message. You have no control over how the world will "tag" you or your company. The only place you have control is with yourself, and that means that you are consistent in the things that you say, the things that you converse with the world.

I love this blogging format and I love sharing what I've learned so far. And there is a tremendous amount that we are still learning, and a tremendous amount of answers that we don't yet have--and that adds to the fun part.

I will help individuals, non-profits and educational organizations become more effective communicators. And I will help PR agencies, corporations--any commercial organizations-- figure out how to tell their stories, and have honest, truthful conversations. And also how to best use these media technologies, such as blogging, RSS, and wikis, to enable direct communications.

I have no interest in spin or marketing: those are concepts that belong in the last century.

If you need me to give a talk, or come in and speak with your teams about the many questions and issues out there, then please contact the non-profit think tank, of which I am a founding fellow, at the Palo Alto based Society for New Communications Research and its founder, Jen McClure, at 650-387-8590. There is a fee for commercial organizations, which helps to fund our work with non-profits and educational institutes.

About SVW: email policy; the SNCR non-profit think tank; the importance of F2F-V2V; speaking and consulting...

Contact policy on Emails:

I love getting comments and trackbacks but emails are a constant challenge because there are so many, and I can never keep up.

I spend a lot of my day running around San Francisco and Silicon Valley, interviewing the shakers and makers, sometimes talking on panels at conferences, and then coming back to focus on the basic principles of 101 Journalism: build readership through exclusive content. That means I have to stay away from the distractions of my inbox for several hours at a time so that I can interview people and write.

These you-can-only-get-it-here principles of journalism go back hundreds of years. Those principles are: scoops, original news, interviews and insights. The content *has* to be original and it has to add value--otherwise why bother?

Story continues...

Tracking some more of my Pushbacks :-)

Here is a response to a post that I wanted to share, regarding my seemingly unfriendly attitude to PR folk...

Here is the original:
Here is an extract:

Honestly, I think Foremski knows this and is simply trying provoking us. Maybe we as PR people should simply take his commentary as encouragement to ensure we evolve with the changing communication landscape.

Yes, most definitely.


On a side: I met Tom for the first time on Thursday night, but only briefly as he was rubbing shoulders with, ironically, some PR folks. Kind of confusing given his comments, but like I said, maybe we take it and spin it into motivation.

Story continues...

Pushbacks and Backrubs for Silicon Valley Watcher

Trackback seems to work so sporadically, and I don't know why. So, here is a manual collection of what some of the blogosphere has been saying about SVW, most of it is courtesy of the Google Alerts service.

Story continues...

Rooster Club sign-ups!

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

My apologies for the late delivery of The Rooster Club sign up sheets (standalone journalism sucks BT!)

I've republished some of the introductions to the Rooster Club--which is a discussion/debate club for Silicon Valley North:San Francisco.

There is a tremendous community centered around San Francisco reaching across to the East and North Bay counties. Silicon Valley is no longer just about Palo Alto--it stretches North to Santa Rosa, South to Monterey, and all along the East Bay.

Silicon Valley is also a tremendous brand--it is a state of mind, a focus on innovation, and its spirit is felt in innovation centers around the world.

The Rooster Club is fortunate to have the support of the Churchill Club--which was formed 20 years ago by Tony Perkins and Rich Karlgaard. The Churchill Club organization has generously offered its support, which is great. But the Rooster Club will be an independent entity--a product of these times--and these times are defined by self-organization, and organic growth.

The way I envisage the Rooster Club is in the following ways:

I see the Rooster Club as a collection of "hen houses" and organized along the "birds of a feather" approach that is familiar in Silicon Valley and tech circles. Each hen house is organized around a particular interest, and chooses its own name, and that name can be a play on Rooster, such as Roo-starz, etc. You can have Linux Roosters, Opera Roosters--it doesn't matter what the topic is--it is a collection of two or more, like minded souls.

Each hen-house would organize its own meetings, it would manage its own affairs. The Roosters in each hen house are the communicators. They communicate within their groups and they communicate to other hen houses, to tell them what is going on in their worlds, what concerns them, what excites them.

I'd love to see the members of the Rooster Club involved in their local schools, to act as mentors and educators. It is an embarrasment that here in Silicon Valley, where we invent the future, that our public schools are broken.

Yet within a ten minute walk of each school there are more than enough community resources in terms of people and materials, to make those schools showcases instead of basket cases.

Roosters will be able to earn "tail feathers" for various achievements and the most respected tail feathers will be earned from becoming involved in local schools. I'd love to create a type of "Craigslist" around every school, something which allows a classroom to communicate with its community, whether it needs a box of pencils or just somebody to come in and chat to a class about the incredible things we are developing here in Silicon Valley.

I'd love to be able to provide hen houses, and local schools, with the simple collaborative technologies we have developed, such as wikis, blogging, forums, etc. If these technologies are as powerful as we say they are, then lets put them to work right here in our communities.

I know there are plenty of companies that would love to contribute their technologies. And I know there are plenty of people here that can make a huge difference in the lives of our local, and our global communities.

So please sign up for the Rooster Club, you don't have to be in the SF Bay Area, and let us know what type of hen house you'd like to create, or be involved in--any subject will do, let's also have some cultural hen houses--not just the usual geek subjects.

And we can have monthly meetings of hen houses--where we learn about what's going on in the hen houses. And where Roosters earn their tail feathers through five-minute presentations--and then we can maybe dance and shake our tail-feathers afterwards :-)

Roosters communicate just like bloggers communicate. And like Roosters, they see the crack of dawn--the light of the future day--before anyone else, and they will tell you about it whether you like it or not :-)

And as we move into a future of fractured societies and groups--we need communicators (Roosters) more than ever--so that we have a measure of our society and where it is going.

So please sign up now, and recruit your your hen houses!

Sign up for the Rooster Club and receive The Crack of Dawn--the Rooster Club newsletter. This will be the starting point and we'll figure out how to do this as we go along. Become a founding member today! You can also send an email to [email protected] Very soon the Rooster Club will have its own web site.

Please Join the RoosterClub-The Crack of Dawn mailing list!
Your email address:



Here are my recent posts on the Rooster Club:

Story continues...

A job advertisement from the future . . .

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Here is what I think some job advertisements might look like in the very near future:


Head of Corporate Communications for a fast growing Silicon Valley startup. Competitive salary and stock options. Candidates must have a Google Page Rank of at least 5. And/or an Alexa rank of at least 750,000 or better.

Candidates with at least 1,000 Google hits on their name are also eligible. We will also accept web site traffic numbers from your posts/articles on third-party web sites. This is a senior VP level position.

- - -

Your ability to secure your next job--and this will also apply to professions other than corporate communications, public relations, software engineers, or journalism--will increasingly be dependent on your online visibility.

Story continues...

Here are some stats about your fellow SVW readers . . .

If you are curious about SVW traffic, here are some of my Advanced Web Statistics, more commonly known as AwStats, for the month of January 2006. These numbers do not include the robot traffic which is presented separately. (I've put the January 2005 numbers in brackets.)

BTW, I'd like to thank my readers for these stellar numbers, about a 350 per cent annual growth rate. And you are not just any set of eyeballs, you are the shakers and makers (of the future) :-)

Traffic Viewed January 2006--not including robots:

55,503 Unique visitors (12,639)

178,000 Visits (34,836)

508,114 Pages (112,307)

1.22 million Hits (224,318)


70 per cent of pages went to US readers
The rest was about equally split between European and Asian based readers.

Story continues...

The Babe Ruth of Silicon Valley . . .

...and SVW's other top bods of 2005.

The Always On generation--Tony is right

By Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

I agreed to be a columnist for Always On, Tony Perkins' latest online venture (yes, Tony of Red Herring former fame [not the current one--the pre-dotcom dotbomb Red Herring].

I asked to be paid to be a columnist. I said my kids need to eat, but they said they don't pay columnists. They see a value in my association and I guess my payment is the Always On brand association with Silicon Valley Watcher.

Fine, I said, I'll do it anyway. I can eat at the SF soup kitchens such as Aqua, and Boulevard, and Rubicon where many of my evening industry roundtables are held, and my kids can forage.

And hopefully, I won't have to pay for extra bandwidth this month due to rising numbers of pesky readers ;-)
[Some of my readers were so bored during the holidays, they were averaging 15 SVW pageviews per visitor! Which is damn good...]

Sooner than later, I think people will pay for content because isn't that the differentiator? You can get an algorithm and a server anywhere.

I think I know what the end game is going to be. But in the meantime there is a mid-game--which is where a lot of people are focused. One more bubble, or a least a decent bit of foam, and they are out.

New media (distributed) column: I'm a newbie

(continued from: A (distributed) new media column...)

I came late to the blogging scene; I've been at it just a little over a year.

But I'm glad I'm a newbie, because I don't feel encumbered by the religion of blogging, or the do's and don'ts that seem to weigh on the first generations of bloggers in the geek (I always use that term affectionately :-) communities.

Geeks created an incredible media platform that media professionals could never have built. A million monkeys, sitting at keyboards and using Fortran, would have had a better chance of creating the design--and the capabilities of the blogging platform--than a billion media professionals using PHP for Dummies.

And even today, media professionals continue to be among the last to "get it." I was one of them, until I tried it and liked it tremendously.

I love the opportunity to be creative in style, in use of words, in messing with grammar and punctuation deliberately and sometimes subtly. [I like leaving little Easter eggs in my copy.]

The geek community crafted a fantastic media platform but they sometimes get into trouble creating the content, and figuring out the right way to monetize it. For example, there were attempts by some blogger software developers to pay other bloggers to write about their products.

We've been publishing newspapers for hundreds of years and we have developed a few best practices. Let us take the best of both worlds. Some have already done so.

Top bloggers are often media professionals

Story continues...

What year is it? I say...1996 (end)

By Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

What year is it? It's a fun question I sometimes ask people who have been through the dotcom boom in the 1990s. Some say 1998, others say 1997.

I say, it is 1996...

"God, I hope you are right, that would be great," someone told me recently. Just one more bubble (!) that's what a lot of (older) people are looking for, and I think they'll get it.

Silicon Valley always comes back stronger and bigger after each downturn. At least that's what I've noticed over the past 21 years.

Yes, we are older and wiser (and poorer) following the dotcom dotbomb, but...we know that internet 2.0 will have some of the same characteristics of Internet 1.0. And we know what some of those characteristics were :-)

What year do you think it is?

Ten things I learned in 2005. . .

. . .in no particular order of importance.
Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

1-Blogging is the most honest form of self-promotion bar none because if you can't walk the talk you won't get the clicks.

2-Content will be king because all those links have to point to something of value--otherwise they are pointless.

3-Every company is part media company--it is both publisher and publication and tells stories all the time.

4-Every startup company should be able to say what it does in 20 seconds--not 20 minutes.

5-The old media is dying much faster than I expected.

6-Attention deficit disorder is affecting all age groups--especially those that spend more time online.

7-The more that I write the more authentic I become online and offline.

8-Blogging represents the next big thing: the two-way communications media technologies that characterize Internet 2.0.

9-I can communicate more with fewer words.

10-I learned a heck of a lot more than ten things...more to come in 2006 :-)

The first journalist from a top newspaper to become a full-time blogger

I was the subject of an interview published in PR Week. . .

Interview: Tom Foremski
PR Week USA Dec 12 2005 00:00

In May 2004, Tom Foremski took a huge risk. He left one of the top jobs in tech journalism - Silicon Valley reporter and columnist for the Financial Times - to start a blog about the business and culture of Silicon Valley.

While many journalists blog in addition to their day jobs, Foremski was arguably the first journalist from a major publication to quit to become a full-time blogger. Now, Foremski may be even more influential than when he was with the FT. . .

More influential than the FT would be nice, I'm not there yet :-)

I didn't realize I would become the first full-time journalist blogger. I just saw the handwriting on the walls. And I didn't realize the effect this would have on large Silicon Valley companies.

One of my senior contacts at Intel told me, "When you left the FT to become a blogger, it was a wake up call. We realized we had to take this blogging trend seriously." Others have told me similar stories.

Wow, that's very cool, but I had no idea my online ambitions would have such a broad effect. Or that I would be doing so much public speaking, and be on panels with John Chambers and other highly respected captains of industry, top media execs, VCs, top thoughtleaders etc.

And even share a panel with Joe Trippi, arguably the top political strategist in the US. And, I am often asked to talk about the future of journalism, a very serious subject. Sometimes, it all feels very strange, I'm just a guy with a laptop(!)

Looking over shoulders

For the past 24 years I have worked as a journalist and I would look over people's shoulders and say "that looks interesting, what are you doing? What is that technology? What does it do? How will it change things? How will you grow the business?"

Now, I have journalists looking over my shoulder, and asking those same questions. That is unique place to be, and that is why I always urge my media colleagues to come join me. The sooner the better.

[Seriously, this is a good time to message me if you are ready...]

It has been an incredible year. And over the next few days I will share some of the many (unexpected) things I have learned as a journalist blogger :-)

It's my B'day Wednesday....


I'm going to try to stay away from any interactive screens and spend it with my marvelous kids. If you need to reach me try my cell four one 5 three 36 7five 47.

BTW, I ONLY give out my cell phone number and I keep my land line secret. Otherwise people would be leaving messages on my land line all day long. People think twice about calling my cell phone. Thank you!

Announcing the first AJAX banner ad!

Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

A little while ago I challenged my readers to come up with something different from advertising banners and marketing messages.

I have asked many people, "What else could you do in the space taken up by a banner ad, or a side-column skyscraper ad? Something that is novel and is useful to the readers rather than flashing and annoying marketing messages. Maybe something which demonstrates your thought-leadership or that of your clients."

Well, I've been collecting some excellent suggestions and we've only just begun.

My favorite so far, is from SVW sponsor Tibco, which is to produce an AJAX based "banner ad." It will showcase Tibco's AJAX prowess, but it could also usher in an entirely different type of media component.

As far as I know this will be the the world's first AJAX banner ad!

And it will be the first banner ad that is also an application!

But what should the content of such a new AJAX banner ad be?

We're working on two ideas, which should be ready by the new year. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and just what do you think would make for great content or application, utilizing this concept.

Also, this is exactly the kind of thing I, and hopefully you, my readers want to be involved in: innovation. This comes from the application of technologies, processes, and insight. And it is a lot more exciting than doing things the old way, imho :-)

- - -
Please see: The new media needs new types of innovation--not more banner ads

The new media needs new types of innovation--not more banner ads

By Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

ZDNet, where I now also blog, knows how to monetize my work. I'm useless at it, or perhaps just squeamish: I just can't bring myself to turn on the banner ads, the flashing ads, the ads that burst onto your screen if you accidentally mouse over to an interesting headline.

And then you have to find out where to click to close the annoying advertisements, so that you can see the news story under it.

It's too much work, too many clicks for the reader. I hate it, so why should I subject my readers to it?

You will not see (much of) such crude commercialization here. I'm resisting the ad networks, the Google AdSense, the Yahoo publisher network, and, a plethora of other advertising and RSS networks that are springing up faster than ever. I will work with some of the ad networks but I am picky.

Green Links

You will begin to see more ads on SVW, because my landlord says he needs to eat. I told him he looks a lot better having lost a few pounds, and he says he feels better too and has more energy.

But he says his mortgage banker needs to eat (ah, the tangled monetary web that we weave...)

Innovative Sponsors Needed

When it comes to advertising, I'd rather work with companies that would like to be innovative, try different things, and I've got a ton of ideas and challenges if that sort of thing appeals to you.

For example, let's turn the space occupied by a banner advert into something different, something useful. I don't know what that might be yet, but I have some ideas, and you have some too--that's where the innovation comes into play.

Are you feeling innovative? Call me, my cell is four one 5 33 six 7547.

- - -

Here is my ZDNet blog.

Read Silicon Valley Watcher blogs on CNET's ZDNet and AlwaysOn!

I hate to overload my readers here on SVW. I try to spare you from the bit-torrent of writing and posts that I can do, and would do, if I weren't concerned about my readers.

I don't want to stress my readers. If you look in your RSS news reader and see 15 new entries on SVW you might flag it for later reading--and then never make it back.

But two or three posts are welcoming (even if several posts are sometimes disguised as one post), and much less stressful I would think. (I could be wrong, and if I am, please tell me: can you handle more posts or prefer fewer?)

I think I have come up with a partial solution. I will blog here on SVW, and also on ZDNet, joining Dan Farber's squad. [I am also reposting some older SVW entries on Tony Perkin's AlwaysOn.]

I will flag and excerpt my ZDNet posts here on SVW, but, you'll have to go over there to read them. It is all about exclusive content, imho. If you've got it, then you've got a valuable asset.

- - -

My first post on ZDNet is a modest one, it is about the Next Big Thing.

I think I know what it is. You might laugh, maybe even jeer when you find out what it is, but, that is part of the process of the Next Big thing :-)

Here is my first ZDNet post.

- - -

My second post on ZDNet is about Sun Microsystems.

I think Sun might have gotten its mojo back. Alas, HP's is still missing...

Here is my second post on ZDNet.

- - -

Here is the RSS feed for my ZDNet exclusive posts.

A podcast on Silicon Valley culture and other things. . .

By Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher


I did another podcast with Sam Whitmore, of Media Survey, as we strolled through a nearly deserted Fisherman's Wharf Sunday evening. It's up and ready:

From Media Survey:

* This week we catch up with Silicon Valley Watcher editor Tom Foremski, who tells us about SVW’s growing interest in the culture of the Bay Area, and updates us on the concept of the Rooster Club.

Want to hear the audio? The SWMS Tech Media This Week podcast is now posted (12 minutes, 55 seconds).

Click on this link to listen to the Tech Media This Week podcast right now:

Heeding the call for finding the new media business models...

By Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

My posts over the past few months on the subject of what happens if the old media dies before the new media learns to walk have been picking up a fair amount of interest out.

On Monday, I called for partners to work with SVW to help figure out what the new media will look like.

And I've already got several companies that are very interested in what could very well turn into a historic project. And there are a few other key companies that could very well become involved too, I'm getting quite excited at the possibilities...

Here is my post from this week:

What happens if the old media dies too soon? The urgent need for solid online news media business models

Also, please read the comments, one from Kevin Maney, a newbie blogger from USA Today ;-)


Editor&Publisher reports:

More Than 1,900 Newspaper Jobs Lost in 2005 Aya Kawano

Story continues...

What happens if the old media dies too soon? The urgent need for solid online news media business models

Over the past few months I've been asking what happens if the old media dies before the new media learns to walk.

By which I mean, what happens if we lose much of the old media before the new media business models are formed?

It is Silicon Valley's top companies, such as Google, Yahoo and Ebay, that are devastating the old media business models. But the new media business models have not yet "grown up" to support the quality journalism that we need as a society.

The New York Times, for example, pays about $1.25m a year to have a Baghdad bureau, not to mention the rest of its huge editorial infrastructure. In contrast, online publishing relies heavily on revenues from Google text ads--but Google ads won't pay enough to fund a global network of journalists.

Google's blowout quarter

Google's blowout quarter last month means one thing: the old media is losing advertising dollars faster than we thought.

Those sales are not coming from market share gains against rivals such as Yahoo, since Yahoo also reported a very good quarter due to increased advertising.

And this is just the start of a trend that's likely to accelerate as print advertising sales contracts expire and budgets become free to shift to online advertising.

Swinging to extremes

We know what will happen in a situation like this: We will see a flood of online advertising as the pendulum swings to an extreme, before moving back towards the middle.

Which means that the old media will have its knees chopped from under it. Or perhaps the entire revenue-generating torso will be hacked off.

Story continues...

What's that in your pocket? It's Silicon Valley Watcher mobile I hope...announcing SVW to go!

Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

SVW_2Go_Lrg.gifI'm very pleased to announce a technology partnership with the fine folk at FreeRange Communications, in Portland, Oregon. Now you can take SVW with you, and ten other Silicon Valley RSS feeds, for free! There is also a full featured version for $20 per year that gives you more feeds and more control.

We'll be announcing more such partnerships, which showcase interesting technologies and applications. If you would like to partner with Silicon Valley Watcher, please contact SVW Special Projects Honcho Paul Hrisko, (Paul at

The FreeRange mobile RSS reader updates quickly and it works with many phones, not just the top mobile smart data devices, Treo, Blackberry, etc. It is fast and all you need is a Java based cell phone.

We only have space for ten feeds but, we will rotate new ones into the reader on a regular basis.

Here are the ten you get with SVW in your pocket!

Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley

Good Morning Silicon Valley--the essential morning read.

CNET's and business headlines.

GigaOm--Om Malik from Business 2.0 on the next generation internet.

ZDNet Blogs--Dan Farber and team providing timely insight on the tech industry.

SF Francisco Chronicle's business and technology news.

The Inquirer Acerbic high-tech news from Mike Magee and pals in the UK.

Media Guerilla Mike Manuel from inside the tech PR world.

Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere --citizen journalism in action.

Triple Pundit Business news from Nick Aster and pals focused on people, planet and profit.

We’ll update these from time to time and we'll feature new feeds regularly. You'll get all the new feeds automatically so please try it out and make sure you carry SVW with you :-)

How to Download Your Free SVW Mobile

Just point your phone's browser to and download the application.

-Once the application is downloaded, scroll through the menu options to see the functionality, choose your Wap gateway settings.

-Then click “Update”—this will bring all the feeds down to your phone, and later new posts and articles.

-Click “Full Story” to get the whole article pushed to your phone. The navigation is optimized based on your phone type, and is highly functional—even on a Blackberry you can navigate with just the number pad.

Most phones are supported, but it doesn't work on Verizon unless you have a Blackberry or a Treo. And if you have a Treo, you'll need to download Java.

Sign up and receive installation guide by email.

For a more complete guide to compatibility.

New York Times features links to Silicon Valley bloggers

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Saturday evening at the Robert Scoble welcoming dinner my good buddy Om Malik of GigaOm and Business 2.0, mentioned that Silicon Valley Watcher had been featured that day in a New York Times column.

It was in the lead story in the "What's Online" section of the New York Times, called "No News Is Good Blogging." I was pleased with the excellent placement of Silicon Valley Watcher in the article, right next to Silicon Valley uber blogger John Battelle and his Searchblog.

The Dan Mitchell article was about last week's head scratching that greeted Sun Microsystems and Google's seemingly vaccuous announcement of a technology alliance. Most commentators said it was probably to do with Java and distributing Google's search box.

But Tom Foremski, keeper of the SiliconValleyWatcher blog, says he thinks it's all about hardware. The chief executives, Eric Schmidt of Google and Scott McNealy of Sun, "were very likely talking about computer architectures," he writes, noting Sun's expertise in large-scale systems - the kind Google uses. The companies did say Google would buy more Sun gear under the new arrangement, though they declined to say how much or what kind.

Mary Jo Foley of Microsoft Watch is also quoted in the article.

Here is my original post (check out Chris's illustration!):

. . .

Len Apcar editor-in-chief of was at the recent Impact '05 conference, where I was speaking on a panel with Joe Trippi.

Mr Apcar spoke about changes and one of those would be that it would start to include links to trusted third party web sites, which was warmly received by the audience and seen as a further sign of NYT's greater understanding of online matters.

The other changes included asking readers to pay for access to its top columnists. This is not a popular move according to Editors Weblog:

New York Times' paid online experiment criticized

Introducing Ms. Zigzag, a very new voice in the blogosphere...

I met Ms Zigzag in the early summer when Lucaso was in town and what can I say? She creates a remarkable presence online and offline, and that's a combination of qualities that can make a big difference in the world.

Originally from New York, she is now living in Portland where she had been working as a teacher. She had just started blogging after much proding by Luke (Lucaso).

When I met her, she exhibited the tell-tale signs of a blogger: the passion and the discovery of something that was like nothing she had expected. "I've created a monster," Lucaso said.

Ms ZigZag jumped into blogging with both feet. And keeping things real and authentic was something she instinctively knew was important from the very start.

She's also keen to share what she has learned about how to build a blog audience, so here's an entertaining post with some of her tips.

Genderification of blogging

Story continues...

Fixed my RSS feeds...and My Yahoo feed too

. . . the forgotten communications channel--the telephone!
By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Dusty-Phone_sm.jpgMy apologies, but the result of my geeking around with my blog software over the summer was that I accidentally messed up my RSS feeds and didn't realize it for several weeks.

For those that read SVW through their My Yahoo page, it might have seemed as if I had taken a rather generous amount of vacation time.

Not true: I've been filing lots of stories and scoops and exclusive stories as usual, but you had to come to the site to see them! You may have to click on the "add to My Yahoo" button again; but it should be working now.

Standalone journalism sucks

Story continues...

Silicon Valley Watcher wins excellence in media award: Best Bay Area Blog

Pubby-Award.jpgPlease excuse a few moments of horn blowing and a little crowing, but Silicon Valley Watcher has won the Best Bay Area Blog Award from the prestigious San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club!

I met some of the members of the club earlier this year when I spoke at one of the organization's lunchtime events, organized by Ellisa Feinstein and colleagues. Don Clarke from the WSJ was there too, as well as editors from Wired and Cnet. And the Q&A afterwards was one of the best.

Thank you all and my apologies for not being able to accept the "Pubby" in person. I had already promised to be in New York at NYU on a panel with Joe Trippi at the Impact '05 conference. Otherwise I would have loved to have been there.

Here is some info on the awards:

The San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club, a non-profit network of public relations professionals, announced today the nominees for the 9th Annual Pubby Awards. The "Pubby" award signifies excellence in media in 2005.

Nominees for the Pubby Awards are elected by the Club's Board of Directors and winners are chosen by ballot by current members of the Publicity Club. or by calling (415) 437-4440.

Mid-September gets a little Trippi..Impact '05 conference at NYU

impact-logo-nyc.gif By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

I'm enjoying speaking on panels, and I seem to be doing at least one per week.

I'm really looking forward to this one: I'll be on a panel with Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's famous Internet strategist, September 15, at New York University Impact '05-New Channels of Influence.

Mr Trippi is credited with figuring out how to use blogging software to galvanize large numbers of young people into political action. Even though his technical skills are legendary for their rarity, Mr Trippi understands that it's not about technology; what counts is how you use it.

Andy Plesser and Kent Holland, of the New York firm Plesser Holland Associates are organising the conference. And because I'm doing it for couch space in Andy's basement, and a Jet Blue flight, Andy says SiliconValleyWatcher readers can save $100 off the $475 conference price. So, mention SiliconValleyWatcher and save $100 when you visit Impact '05.

And I just found out who else is going to be there. He was probably one of the top ten most prominent people in Silicon Valley over the past two years...

Story continues...

My first podcast. . .

I took part in my first podcast last Friday afternoon, an enjoyable chat with Sam Whitmore, from "Sam Whitmore's Media Survey." We chatted about the upcoming IDG conference Vortex, featuring Geoffrey Moore and John Gallant of Network World, and also the BlogHer conference.

We're going to do these on a regular basis, say once every few weeks, so let me and Sam know what you think. (BTW, no filthy lucre has been exchanged—at least none heading my way :-)

Sam interviewed me for the first time early this year, for one of his live weekly teleconferences. And I met Sam recently at a Horn Group panel we were on, and we hit it off. Sam has a radio background so he knows how to put together an entertaining podcast.

(Om Malik of GigaOm, the universal sound of broadband, and I were chatting about doing a Tom 'n Om podcast (T+Om) on the week's news events, maybe. What do you think?)

Here are Sam Whitmore's podcast details:

The SWMS Tech Media This Week podcast is now posted (10 minutes, 22 seconds).
Click on this link to listen to the Tech Media This Week podcast right now:

If you'd like to subscribe to the weekly TMTW podcast, paste the following URL into your iPodder or other podcatcher:

Disruptive media technologies: SiliconValleyWatcher versus BusinessWeek

This one is a little tongue in cheek, or barbed wire caught in cheek :-)

In my research on today's post on acquisitions by large tech companies, I Googled this term: cisco +m&a.

Imagine my surprise and delight when SiliconValleyWatcher was the highest ranked online news publication at number three on the page.

The only other news source listed was, at number 10, and it was below the fold and thus required an extra click(!)

Ouch, that must hurt. Cisco and its mergers and acquisitions strategy are such inseparable terms, yet can't beat out (That's why our sponsors and advertisers are smart, very smart.)

BTW, we do not resort to any search engine optimization techniques. Therefore Google computes a pure page rank based on what the Internet community says is important.

Thoughtleader Thursdays...introducing the first column from Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies, one of the hottest IPOs of 2004

thought-Leaders.jpgI've been wanting to have a "thought leaders Thursday" section for a long time on SiliconValleyWatcher and to feature guest columns, interviews, and profiles of our new generation thought leaders.

Greg Gianforte is one of my favorite high tech execs because he knows how to build companies, time and again. As CEO of RightNow Technologies he is leading one of the largest companies in the fastest growing sector of the IT market, the software as a service sector,, Netsuite, etc. (BTW, this is not ASP by another name.)

Greg loves sharing his hard-won expertise in person. I've seen entrepeneurs following Greg around at conferences, asking him questions about running a startup business. And small crowds develop when he dispenses his advice.

Greg has a book coming out soon, for those that don't get a chance to buttonhole him in person. "Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company With Almost No Money."

Also, be sure to read and clip his article in today's SiliconValleyWatcher on why VC money is bad for business.

It's a very compelling argument, and I'd love to hear reader response. Also, please send in questions for Greg for future columns, to me: tom @ (w/o spaces).

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Let me introduce a master graphics artist...Chris Dichtel

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

This has been a long time in coming, but there will be more.

More well-deserved credit for the work of Chris Dichtel, our SiliconValleyWatcher illustrator.

Bat_Signal.gifWe rarely grab a logo or any other graphic from another web site. Most of the time our graphics guru Chris draws on a mishmash of public domain images to create unique art found only on SiliconValleyWatcher.

This is a way that we can distinguish ourselves from other sites and enhance the experience for our readers. We know that you have no time to even kiss your kids goodbye before leaving for work -- that we will be lucky if you spend even two minutes on this site.

Any face time is priceless and we want you to have a great experience on our site. The content is unique and so are the graphic creations of Chris Dichtel.

Here is one of my favorites, our post calling for a bat signal summoning Dan Gillmor to come and chastise USA Today's Kevin Maney for banning the media from a Churchill Club event he was moderating. A gracious Dan did indeed reply to our bat (Dan) signal! ("LOL at the illustration...but I drive a Prius...")

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Spreading the word: How we will be sharing our knowledge through consulting and community projects

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Spread-That-Jam.jpgI've been doing a lot of talking about blogging, freely sharing what I have learned so far at conferences and while visiting companies and associations. It's fun and educational for me and, I hope, for the people I meet. It's interesting to see how people view blogging, hear their questions, and learn about the cultural obstacles within all organizations.

With interest in blogging exploding within the business world, we at SiliconValleyWatcher are being asked to consult on various projects. We hope to follow a long line of high-profile bloggers such as Doc Searls, John Battelle and Jeremy Wright, that share their expertise this way.

Because of my commitments to our main product, SiliconValleyWatcher, I will be more selectively engaged in consulting than some other members of our team. A large part of our consulting work will be through our tech team, led by Nick Aster, who is our CTO and a master in creating media technology architectures for organizations.

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The scandal of our local public schools

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

School Sidecar.jpgThe Silicon Valley/Bay Area has some of the worst public schools in the country. This is a scandal for a region that prides itself as the global engine of innovation.

It's like having several rusting trucks parked on breeze blocks in your front yard.

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Who are the watchers of SVW ?

Columbo-1-tm.jpgWe know who most of you are--you are the movers and shakers within this capital of global innovation, you are the innovators in startups around the world; you are the VCs and investment bankers that fuel the business cycles; you are the ones in the trenches every day dealing with the insane demands of creating the future.

Queen bees, Venetian princes, financiers, angels, giants, dreamers, workers, paupers, geeks, pundits, scholars, newbies and battle-scarred veterans--please fill out our survey.

You'll be helping in a historic project--creating a real business model for news blogs such as the Watcher. Plus, we don't forget our friends—for a short time, all SVW watchers that survey will get special access to future events, breaking news and mysterious other things..(!) Do it now click here to survey and reserve your spot in history.

SiliconValleyWatcher launches edited by noted blogger Richard MacManus

By Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher
ion.gifNext week at the Syndicate Conference, we're launching a new blogsite called to cover news, technology and the business of RSS, the media technology at the heart of the emerging Internet 2.0.

We're pleased to partner with Richard MacManus, a particularly knowledgable commentator on this subject and well known for his blog the Read/Write Web. The site will share some posts with SiliconValleyWatcher, with the same focus on high quality editorial content.

We're also excited to offer an ebook called The Elementary RSS Factor [260K PDF] by Rok Hrastnik. It's based on his book "Unleash the Marketing and Publishing Power of RSS." The book site is linked from We'll be featuring some of the content from that ebook on ionRSS, too.

Why a business RSS site?

Here's Richard's take on the site:

I will be exploring the myriad business possibilities for RSS, as well as reporting on and analysing the latest RSS trends. RSS is as important to Web 2.0, the current phase of the Web, as HTML was to Web 1.0. Together with XML, RSS is revolutionizing the way information is published and consumed. On ionRSS I will be translating the technical merits and usage scenarios of RSS into business terms. RSS won't get far unless it's practical to use and solves real business problems.

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Come join us tonight for a Rooster Mashup party...

rooster2.jpgI completely forgot about inviting people to an after work mixer type event we are hosting at Catalyst, tonight, Thursday May 12 @ 7pm.

You are all invited, no host bar (hey, we're bloggers...). It'll be the first in a monthly series of Rooster Mashups--mix up a bunch of people from wherever. It could be interesting and I bet it will. You should come along.

Rooster is the perfect metaphor for blogger because 2005 is the Chinese year of the Rooster and it is certainly the year of the Blogger (as Time magazine will certainly dub 2005).

And just like Roosters crowing away at the top of their lungs, rulers of their patch of farm yard, bloggers do the same same thing. Bloggers crow away, or "Whiner" away about how great they are, and they also, are kings and princes within their patches of the internet.

Mashup is a term that I like because it is becoming a very good way to describe what is happening in the emerging Internet 2.0 world, and in culture.

Stop in if you can. It'll be interesting to see who shows up. Catalyst is in San Francisco on 312 Harriet St, it’s a side street south of Howard, between 6th and 7th Streets.

Come in and say hi.

New look for the Watcher ... a new approach to sponsorship ... Future plans

A note from the publisher

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Thanks to our media tech architect Nick Aster and media/managing editor Richard Koman (plus Amy’s advice), we have added a new look to SVW and a design feature that helps showcase our top stories, interviews and scoops. And it will make it easier to introduce other voices/writers and guest bloggers.

The showcase panel gets around the problem of our best stories being pushed down and down the page, and eventually off the page by the most recent stories--a characteristic of blogging software.

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Introducing a new watcher! Richard Koman…

by Tom Foremski for

I met Richard last week at the excellent New Communications Forum in Napa (European conference coming...!)and begged him to join our raggle-taggle team of excellence. It was clear we shared the same excitement about developments in the blogging process/technologies world and, surprisingly, we each have a child in the same fifth grade classroom(!)

Richard has an incredible lineage…(going all the way back to when O’Reilly, the Sebastopol-based tech book publisher, could have become the Yahoo/Google of its time—a story that should be told again) … and a heck of a lot of other stuff too, take a look at this bio:

Richard Koman has covered technology since 1987. He first encountered the Internet in 1992, when he helped to launch WAIS Inc., a precursor to the Web. He was a pioneer in Web publishing at O'Reilly & Associates as an editor for their Global Network Navigator site and as managing editor of Songline Studios' Web Review, one of the first sites doing online journalism. As a book editor for O'Reilly, he conceived such best-selling core books as "Web Design in a Nutshell," "Designing with JavaScript," and "Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide."

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SiliconValleyWatcher named as one of the most influential blogs by Bacon's -- the media watcher bible

(Our good buddy Tom Abate at the SF Chronicle brought this one to our attention.)

This is fantastic news because Bacon's is the gold standard in the media industry. And we are barely three months old!

Check out the third paragraph in this story from Media Post's Media Daily News (I added the bold type):

Bacon's To Track Blogs By Gavin O'Malley Monday, December 27, 2004

Bacon's Information, the provider of media research, distribution, monitoring, and evaluation services for public relations and corporate communications professionals, has endeavored to light the depths of the Blogosphere. In January, Bacon's MediaSource will begin sharing with its clients the names of what it considers to be the 250 most reputable blogs, the messages they contain, and the frequency with which client-relevant information appears on them.

Ruth McFarland, senior vice president and publisher for Bacon's, said she vacillated about the significance of blogs, but was sufficiently convinced this year to assign three of her 56 editors to monitor the Blogosphere. "We're adjusting our network because no one is accurately monitoring these guys as their influence continues to grow."

Bacon's is keeping tight raps on its blog list, which covers technology, politics, business, travel, and religion. The racy Wonkette, the Miami Herald's Dave Barry, and the Silicon Valley Watcher are three well-known blogs run by "reputable, credible professionals" that McFarland said will be on the list.

Full story is here.