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

FridayWatch Archives

A 'Tumultuous Decade' Rolls On... More Lost Generations Of Journalists

Uncertain 2

Journalism’s uncertain future

This book looks interesting- Journalism’s Lost Generation: The Un-Doing of U.S. Newspaper Newsrooms by Scott Reinardy, a journalism professor at the University of Kansas.

Deron Lee at CJR, writes

When Scott Reinardy began studying the state of morale in newspaper newsrooms more than 10 years ago...He didn’t know the industry was about to enter a traumatic period of upheaval that would deplete the ranks of journalists around the country and force newspapers to reassess their that tumultuous decade.

Story continues...

A Year Ago The Internet Lost A Chance To Disrupt A Truly Evil Global Industry

ShootingSF  1 of 1

In 2012, a 21 year old man was fatally injured in a drugs-related shooting near my home in San Francisco.

A year ago the FBI shut down the online illegal drugs market Silk Road. Jake Swearingen at The Atlantic, reports that so far, there's no successor among a motley collection of sites:

At DeepDotWeb, an anonymous editor chronicles everything darknet related . . . [He] predicts that the crazy explosion of smaller markets may be on the wane.

"The market was pretty stable for the last few month unlike first six months of 2014 . . . I believe that it will stay pretty much the same with some markets popping up and some shutting down from this reason or another until we will see some new technology—probably one that will offer decentralization of the markets."

Story continues...

FridayWatch: Codefellas On North Korea's Dubstep Virus

Wired's animation series Codefellas is a lot of fun with sharp writing. Here's the latest episode:

Story continues...

FridayWatch - Codefellas: Insight From Inside Spook Central


Codefellas EP1: When Topple met Winters 

Great animated series from Wired. Chapter 1 is above, the rest are below:

"Takes you inside the secretive world of a slightly askew NSA, with the eccentric Agent Topple, played by John Hodgman, and his young hacker protégé, Nicole Winters."

Story continues...

FridayWatch: Laughing Squid, Meebo and Cool Mom Tech...

Congratulations to Laughing Squid on its 15th anniversary curating the best of San Francisco/Silicon Valley culture. Founder Scott Beale now lives in New York but that hasn't changed the high quality content you can find on Laughing Squid.

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Congratulations to Meebo which celebrated its 5th anniversary this week.

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I went to the launch of Cool Mom Tech, which is a new site focused on gadget reviews by moms. That's a different view from that of many other gadget review sites, which are written mostly by males in their early 20s. I had a great time at the launch with some great conversations.

The event was hosted by Logitech in its loft in San Francisco, which is set up with living rooms that show off Logitech's products such as Revue, its version of Google TV.

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I had a great meeting with Ravit Lichtenberg, principle at Ustrategy, a boutique consultancy that works with some big companies to help them understand the tremendous changes happening in their markets.

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Also, it was great to see Dana Oshiro and her presentation at Murray Newland's SF Blog Club meetup. If you haven't yet met Murray, you will, he gets around very well and has a lot to offer. He recently moved here from the UK and has already organized several conferences in San Francisco.

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I enjoyed meeting Derek Ball, CEO of Tynt. And I loved his search for a business model: "If you chase 100 rabbits you will go hungry. We haven't yet figured out which "rabbit" we should go after, we are looking for a fat one with a limp."

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I really enjoyed visiting Burson - Marsteller's San Francisco office for one of my lunchtime chats about media and PR. Lot's of great questions. Let me know if you'd like me to come to your office...

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I'm posting more guest posts. Let me know if you have something you'd like me to publish on SVW.

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Here is a great collection of links related to "Twitter and journalists" compiled by the hugely talented author and teacher Howard Rheingold. Here it is in Pearltrees format so that you can easily add it to your account:

@Hrheigold's Twitter for Journalists Bookmarks

FridayWatch: Award Winning Intel Insiders... The Era of Ubiquitous Webcams... Men Talk Shoes... Social Media Douchebags... And More...

- Congratulations to Ken Kaplan and team at Intel for winning the PR News' awards "Communication Influencers" category (via @BryanRhoads.)

The award is for the Intel Insiders program of which I was a member for two years.

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- Pepcom's MobileFocus media event was surprisingly fun with many interesting companies. The Looxcie exhibit was a big hit. It's a behind-the-ear webcam that also doubles as a bluetooth headset.

It streams video to your iPhone and users can edit and share straight from the phone.

It's not the prettiest of devices but the form factor can be improved. Interestingly, the video it produces is not shaky because your head sits on a cushion of muscles and is remarkably good at acting as a steady cam.

I wrote about the coming of such devices recently in an essay: The Fly On The Wall And Its Social Effects - A Short Story From The Near Future... - SVW

As computers become more ubiquitous so will video cameras. It won't be long before there are video cameras all around and in places where we aren't used to having them.

It won't be long before we have always-on video cameras operating in all our social spaces.

Imagine living in a world where nearly every conversation, every meeting, every step you take in the physical world is recorded and archived in the cloud.

If you knew that every conversation with your kids, with your parents, with your friends -- was possibly being recorded and stored -- would you think twice, maybe thrice about what you had to say?

Welcome to the future. Cost is $200 - Looxcie Wearable Camcorder: Capture Unexpected Moments

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I ran into Dan Gillmor, the former San Jose Mercury columnist and one of the original bloggers (on my list of Original Thinkers). Dan is enjoying the academic life as director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Center, funded by the Knight Foundation and Kauffman Foundation, is working to help create a culture of innovation and risk-taking in journalism education, and in the wider media world.

We had an interesting chat. Dan is not too happy with the use of anonymous sources in a lot of news reporting these days. He says he doesn't trust the sources and that reporters should not use them.

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- Angelgate: "Those aren't Angels, they are VCs..."

(Photo by Marek Zywno)

I recently moderated a panel on financing for startups. Panel members were Paul Bragiel, Partner, io Ventures; Jay Cohan, Investment Partner, Western Technology Investment; and Ian Sobieski, Founder and Managing Director, Band of Angels.

Paul Bragiel made a great point about the "Angelgate" accusations that Mike Arrington made recently. He pointed out that Angels get together all the time to discuss the industry and there is no collusion.

Ian Sobieski said: "They aren't Angels. They are VCs, they invest other people's money. Angels by definition invest only their own money." Good point.

Mr. Sobieski's advice for startups looking to raise money: "My advice is always to avoid raising money. Don't do it. Try a different way. But if you really must then give me a call."

Pictures from the event are here courtesy of Marek Zywno.

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- It was good to catch up with Tony Hynes and team at Bite as they hosted a PRSA party Thursday. Interesting conversation about shoes. It's not only women that can talk about shoes :). Also good to meet Kim Hong (@NYjetsetter).

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My tweet caused a bit of a stir:

Had a great chat with @ last night and how 'social media expert' is becoming code for douchebag...!/tomforemski/statuses/26680587497RT

Lots of retweets. The word "social" is losing much of its meaning and becoming a bit of a four-letter word these days. It's probably because it is being abused by many people who don't understand what it means and whose "social media expertise" leaves a lot of burnt clients.

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- In case you missed it...

Here's my analysis of the competing strategies between Google (fast) and Facebook (sticky).

Google is betting it that if its users spend less time on search then it will make more money.

This is a far different strategy from that of Facebook which wants to be the stickiest place on the Internet.

Nielsen estimates that each month, an average US internet user spends around 2 hours on Google, and more than 7 hours on Facebook.


Jason Calacanis Plans Revenge With A Techcrunch Disruptor...

Techcrunch is vulnerable to anyone that can come up with a way of luring its best writers (and those of VentureBeat, GigaOM and ReadWriteWeb) to a new publication. Salaries and equity deals could be made alluring and difficult to turn down or match; it would build an instant editorial team with high traffic straight out of the box.

It wouldn't take long to parlay that into a deal 18 months down the line with a nice profit and just rewards for the writers.

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- Congrats to Shelley Risk on joining Ogilvy:

This could be the most important news announcement of the year

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- A Call for Guest Posts:

If you have a guest post you'd like me to publish send it to me for consideration. I'm thinking of launching a Friday Guest Post Watch. It doesn't matter if it has been published somewhere else.

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- WeekendWatcher:

If you are in San Francisco SF Open Studios starts Friday and runs the entire weekend with open artists studios in Bernal Heights, Castro, Duboce, Eureka Valley, Glen Park, Mission, Noe Valley, Portola. Download Weekend 1 Map

Friday evening I'll be at Workspace on 2150 Folsom, which opens at 7pm. Facebook | San Francisco Open Studios.

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Last weekend Warren Hellman, the EBay billionaire treated us to the 8th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. Dozens of top acts on five stages in Golden Gate Park, all free. Thanks Warren!

I caught the excellent Patti Smith performance. Here is some footage I found on YouTube of her performance of the Rolling Stones' "Play with fire" from the festival.

I also curated some additional Patti Smith footage here via Pearltrees for fast browsing.

Patti Smith in Golden Gate Park
Happy weekend.

The Dead Horse Business Model...

A man is driving through the countryside and he comes across a horse farm. He stops, and is captivated, he ends up buying a horse for $1,000.

He tells the farmer he'll be back next week to pick up the horse. But when he arrives, the horse is dead.

The farmer refuses to give him back his money. The man drives off with a dead horse in his trailer.

Several months later, the farmer spots the man. He is surprised when the man runs over to greet him, and pumps his hand, and thanks him for the horse.

"I made a lot of money from selling that horse," he tells the farmer. "I created a lottery for people to win a horse. I sold 2,000 tickets for $2 each."

"But weren't people upset when they found out they had won a dead horse?"

"Well, yes. One guy was upset, but I gave him his money back."


[Hat tip Dani]

Life Without Twitter


Excellent Guhmshoo cartoon showing that life without Twitter can be a paradise of rainbows (no unicorns?) and fun. Step away from that computer screen and go out and enjoy life :) Happy Friday!

Friday Watch: VC Social Network Investment Strategies

Sand Hill Slave provides a handy chart that sums up VC social network investment strategies:

From: Sand Hill Slave: - Oops...I Did it Again!


Conducting A Job Interview - The Sand Hill Slave Way . . .

Sand Hill Slave is back online. I love her attitude especially when it comes to a job interview:

Can a smart and sassy assistant find a more challenging opportunity? My intellectual bandwidth is virtually untapped. This blog is a labor of love. I've been incredibly busy with outside projects, but when I do have the time, it's almost effortless for me to write. I'm a wildly creative individual; a spellbinder that knows her audience and is talented enough to hex a wider one and I'm looking for something that will evoke that flow on a daily basis.

This is a world filled with crumbs, and I am the smart cookie... but I'm not looking for a cookie cutter position.

Story continues...

Friday Fishwrap: The Age Of Bronze . . . And Other Tales Of Disruption


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

. . . Congratulations to Mike Arrington's TechCrunch on its four year anniversary. I went to the celebration at the TechCrunch offices in Palo Alto and had a really nice time, connecting with a whole bunch of people, some I hadn't seen in a while. There was Gabe Rivera from Techmeme, and I got to meet his "chief reporter," Atul Arora (@Atul) who seems to have become Gabe's human powered algorithm for choosing hot posts. (Some pics courtesy of the ubiquitous Brian Solis here.)

. . . Congratulations to Robert Scoble's Building 43 launch. It's a new online community sponsored by Robert's employer Rackspace. I went to the launch (combined Techcrunch birthday party) with and it was good to see Rocky Barbanica, Robert's long-time sidekick and camera operator-producer-editor. It turns out that Rocky was the one that introduced Robert to the Rackspace people. I'm looking forward to spending time with them both on the upcoming Traveling Geeks trip to London in early July.

. . . Uber-marketeer Guy Kawasaki seems puzzled why his Alltop automatic post aggregator isn't more popular in this post: The new economics of entrepreneurship. He goes on to point out that this is a great time to be an entrepreneur because nearly everything is nearly free, including talent.

Sorry, I'm not a warm and fuzzy guy, but the truth is that there are lots of talented people who are unemployed or under-employed right now. If there was ever a time to get great people for free or cheap, this is it.

Also, marketing is nearly free too:

Sucking up to bloggers takes effort and swallowing your pride, but it's not expensive.

Is that really all it takes? It sounds very 2005... Plus, Mr Kawasaki employs a couple of people to Twitter for him under his name which doesn't sound cheap.

Story continues...

Friday Fishwrap: Nathan "Flutebox" Lee and Beardyman


[Wrapping up the week. . .]

You have to see this: (Hat tip: Lisa Vincenti)

. . . The most boring South Park ever: A promo for IBM's LotusSphere 2009

. . . For media companies it's not about "crossing the chasm" but climbing out of the chasm...

. . . JD Lasica's newest project: Social Brite - social tools for social change

. . . A journalist asks..."How do I get laid off? 4 rounds of layoffs. Those who remain are now doing it all ..."

Story continues...

Friday Fishwrap: The Curious Rise Of Buzz Kill Marketing...


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

. . . The other day I twitted: How soon before green marketing becomes buzz-kill marketing. "The planet is dying - buy me!"

My colleague over at ZDNet @mediaphyter kindly reTweeted (RT) it. She was soon congratulated by @tommy_landry "Great RT from @tomforemski". It's great that she got the credit because It shows that there is tremendous value in RTs, it is part of the filtering process that we do for each other. It helps to create a great experience.

And that's the problem for newbies on Twitter, Facebook, etc. The value comes from your network and that takes time. If you just sign up and expect a ready made experience out of the box you'll go home disappointed, as many already have when following up on all the media stories about social media.

. . . Now with added prettiness Visible Tweets – Twitter Visualizations

. . . Beer is the original social media tool.

. . . I had a good time at the Newcomm Forum and also at the Inbound Marketing Summit. And a great time meeting and catching up with people such as @gravity7, @bcahill, @patrickhouston, @jdlasica, @pgillin, @jennifermcclure, @kelbyj, @ross.

. . . PR Week/ PR Newswire 2009 Media Survey Shows 50% Of Journalists Thinking Of Leaving.

. . . There are so many fresh footprints in the snow to be made these days. For example, I recently Twitted "You could be the first person to use 'Archimedes' in a tweet." Clearly, you'd be second but the point is that there are lots of new things to do, more important ones than using Archimedes in a tweet.

. . . I had a good week, I took part in four panels on the subject of media.

. . . I heard this was good :)  @dmscott: @pgillin moderates one of best panels I've ever seen. Media in Transition with @kdoctor @tomforemski @deantak

. . . Media In Transition: Silicon Valley Is Driving The Changes . . . And Is Changing

. . . Friends Don't Follow Friends

. . . Don't Forget SVW's Guest Post Friday

. . . JD Lasica's newest project: Social Brite - social tools for social change

. . . Shel Holtz made a great point at the Newcomm Forum this week: Corporations should hold communications crisis drills several times per year. Because when crisis hits for real it can be difficult making the right decisions if you haven't gone through it before.

. . . NewComm Forum: Business Models For News; Social Media And Investor Relations

. . . The Myth Of Online Conversations: Lots Of Chatter But Not Much Discourse

. . . My #1 reason for keeping my land line is to call my cell phone when I'm rushing out the door and can't find it

. . . Luca Penati: help a family devastated by the earthquake in Italy, please send your donation and I will match it

Fishwrap: Unicorns, Rainbows and more . . .!


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

. . . Not everyone liked my April 1 post but it did fool a bunch of people, and isn't that what it's all about?

Google Quietly Drops Its 'Don't Be Evil' Motto

David Krane, a senior spokesperson for Google, told SVW: "I never liked it. I always felt that it would come back to bite us in some way, that we would end up building concentration camps, or something even worse. The universe seems to love irony, why leave ourselves wide open?"

As my son Matt kindly pointed out, its especially good if you can fool people on April 1 when they are on the look out for that type of thing. The Guardian in the UK wrote an April Fool that it was changing to an all-Twitter format, but that's not an April Fool, that's an Onion story. Matt asked what does The Onion write on April 1st? Write a real news story would be my guess.

. . . I had dinner with executives of Juniper Networks. They had fallen off my radar for a while, I was glad to see that they are still around.

. . . Coming up on May 1 is #LocalDay on Twitter. The idea is to use your zipcode as a hash tag appended to your Tweets to find local Tweeters. I guess you could use that on a daily basis too. There are ten countries taking part, such as Canada. @geoperdis is helping to organize the Canadian #CanTags. I like the choice of day, May 1, it is the traditional International Worker's Day. We have our "Labour Day" on a different day.

. . . Brasscheck.TV says FaceBook makes it easier for gov to collect personal info - true but there also many other ways

. . . It was RSA conference this week. I managed to get interviews with CEOs of two of the top security firms: Gil Schwed from Check Point; and the vivacious Eva Chen from Trend Micro.

. . . The Oracle/Sun deal is interesting, will it try to take on IBM? If it does, IBM is ready, it had 100 lawyers + analysts swarming over Sun's books - knows every detail, useful for any future ORCL battle.

. . . I was the first person to start talking about how all companies are becoming media companies back in 2005. Now it is a much more accepted concept. The twist however, is this: the Internet is disrupting all media companies.

. . . I was very flattered by this Tweet the other day from @giacecco: "@tomforemski I've just realised that I was studying a '99 article of yours for my post-grad Tech Strategy exam!" BTW, my consulting services are available for companies in Silicon Valley and beyond :-)

. . . Here is an absolutely beautiful web journal: Days with my father.

. . . Wow. Take a look at Ultra Super New (Hat tip @evs)

. . . Next week: Largest Gathering Of Social Media And New Communications Experts Of 2009 I'll be speaking Monday along with @kenkaplan and @bryanrhoads. Here's the discount code: SNCRFRIEND

. . . Did you know Amazon is one-third of all US e-commerce?

. . . From Financial Times: Nassim Taleb's 10 principles to guard against Black Swans

. . . How to get past the paywall, a tip shared by JD Lasica from Paul Gillin: cut and paste headline into Google News to read story.

. . . I'm convinced that South Korea is showing us a peak into our future.

. . . I have a joke perfect for Twitter: Pretentious...? Moi?

. . . This the reason media can't make any money on the Internet. The co-writer of the Rick Astley "Never gonna give you up" song used in the Rickrolling craze was expecting a decent royalty check because the video had racked up more than 154 million views on YouTube. Google sent him a royalty check for 11 pounds ($15). Maybe it's true that "Google devalues everything it touches."

. . . Unicorns and rainbows on demand - brighten up your day with Cornify!

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PS: I'm @tomforemski on Twitter. Also, send me a Facebook friend request, it helps me to get know my readers a little better.

Take A Ten Minute Break. . . Stuff That's Worth Watching

Thursday was interesting, a media roundtable lunch with eBay's CTO, and then in the evening, a chance to see Allison Lovejoy and Karsten Windt perform at a unique salon up on a hill, not far from me. I was able to shoot part of it, here is part one, ten minutes well worth watching...and it is guaranteed web 2.0 free. Happy Friday.

Please see: LowjoyLowdown

Friday FishWrap: Look before you Twit; Three Very Bad Words; Recessionary logos; and more . . !


[Wrapping up the week . . .]

. . . Digg is interviewing four large PR agencies reports Aarti Shah in PR Week. It really wants to move away from its geeky origins and win mainstream credibility. It's a time for change at Digg. Digg to cut workforce 10%, hire new sales team | Webware - CNET

. . . To Twit or Tweet? Ketchum VP has to apologize to client FedEX for his Twitter confession "I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say ‘I would die if I had to live here!'”

. . . Three words to avoid in event planning: Tough times are hitting the party circuit. Antenna Group hosts regular Cleantech parties. The last one I went to was in the very glitzy lobby of the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The next one is at Amante in North Beach on February 3 with a no-host bar. (Gasp!)

. . . There are at least 11 social media personality types says Adrian Chan over at Gravity7 : Status seeker, Critic, Socializer, Em-cee, Lurker, Buddy, Creator, Pundit, Rebel, Officiator, Harmonizer. Which one are you?

A Social Interaction Design (SxD) blog on Web 2.0 and Social Media: Social Media Personality Types: Slideshow

He describes each one in this presentation: Social Media Personality Types

. . . A cloudy materialism. Kevin Kelly discovers the freedom from not owning a bunch of stuff.

As creations become digital they tend to become shared, ownerless goods. We can turn this around and say that in this realm of bits, property itself becomes a more social endeavor.

Kevin Kelly -- The Technium

. . . Bobbie Johnson at UK's Guardian newspaper quotes SVW on the subject of President Obama's Chief Technology Officer:

"I think President Obama's CTO should be from Silicon Valley," said Tom Foremski, a technology industry pundit. "We have some very capable people here, but more importantly it would serve as a fantastic recognition that we have a national treasure here."

Tech-savvy Obama keeps online lifeline | World news | The Guardian

. . . Brand logos for the recession. I got a very funny email this week with familiar logos and how they might better reflect our recessionary times. Here are a few examples:

-1.jpg -2.jpg -3.jpg -4.jpg -5.jpg -6.jpg -7.jpg -8.jpg
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. . . It's Fridaylicious! Please join me at the House of Shields for an after work drink from 6pm onwards. But leave your business cards behind!

Friday Watch: All Dogs Go To Heaven . . .

(Hat tip to Tara DeMoulin)

Who says debate is dead in America? Take a look at these photos of two churches across the street from each other:


Fishwrap: Infinite TV, Nile Guide, JC Quiles and a Gift for Guys...


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

NDS.jpg. . . Thursday I got a preview of an advanced TV viewing system called Infinite TV from UK company NDS. It's a News Corp company that provides the technology for set-top boxes and other digital devices to a large number of cable TV operators around the world. Nigel Smith, chief marketing officer and Nick Thexton, senior VP of R&D demonstrated the Infinite TV system. It's a type of iTunes setup and It integrates cable TV content with content from the Internet, along with a DVR. Content can be delivered to a TV or any other electronic device in a household. Parts of the technology have been licensed to a few enterprising cable TV operators but it is not clear when it will be rolled out.

The trend I see is that people are switching off their TVs, or rather ditching their cable boxes. That's the trend in my apartment and among my kids and their friends, and that's what I see around Silicon Valley. There is a tremendous amount of content available over the Internet and that will continue to grow. However, new negotiations between the studios and broadcasters could result in shows becoming more expensive to broadcast over the Internet. Over the next few years so we might see a reversal of the current trend and towards an Infinite TV type system.

. . . Thursday I had an interesting dinner conversation with Nile Guide founder and CEO Josh Steinitz. Nile Guide is a type of concierge for busy travelers: "Plan Faster, Travel Smarter." "We help people plan their trips. Getting a flight and hotel room is just one small part of a trip, people want to know what to do and where to go." Nile Guide pulls together content from a wide number of trusted sources including user generated content.

. . . I really enjoyed meeting and being interviewed by JC Quiles, the young Public Affairs Host at Clear Channel Radio SF. JC is going places, keep an eye out for him! My interview will be broadcast this Sunday:

-FM Stations: Star 101.3, Wild 94.9, KKSF 103.7 @ 6am-6:30am

-AM Stations: Green 960 @ 10:30pm

. . . A special gift for all the guys in your life:

Fishwrap: Can Silicon Valley Save the World Economy? Don't hold your breath . . .


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

. . . The Conversation Group celebrates its one year anniversary. Congrats!

. . . Reuters star reporter Eric Auchard is leaving San Francisco and will work from London. After many months of delays Eric finally got his papers through and leaves very soon. I'll see you in London Eric!

. . . Max Levchin, ex-PayPal, now Slide and Yelp, is no longer one of Silicon Valley's most eligible bachelors. He recently got married to Nellie Minkova at the St. Regis, just around the corner from his loft apartment and Slide's offices.

. . . OneSeason launches. Rael Enteen writes:

I thought that you might be interested in checking out the new site that we just launched at It is similar in concept to a sports stock market and provides users with the ability to acquire and trade virtual shares in sports players teams and league’s using real money.

. . . Sramana Mitra writes in Forbes An SOS To Silicon Valley calling on our VCs to rejuvenate "an economy in dire straits." And she also wants VCs to figure out the healthcare problem, and also education.

In 2007, the U.S. spent about $2.26 trillion on health care, or $7,439 per person. It spends $1,000 per year per person in administrative costs, which puts the cost of the system at over $250 billion. This jaw-dropping number stares at me like a bottomless sewage pit of wasted resources, yet it's also an indicator of where technology can make huge improvements.

Education faces similar problems. Administrative costs eat up budgets, leaving little left over for teachers.

. . .Leaders of Silicon Valley, your answer to all these questions should be "yes." Don't let the current miasma of fear slow you down.

You have to lead. You have to create. You have to build. You have to invest.

You, Silicon Valley, need to pull the U.S. and world economies out of the mess that Wall Street and Washington have created.

I know you can do it.

Good luck with that Sramana, you are looking for help in the wrong place, imho. Our VCs won't do anything unless there are substantial profits to be had.

. . . VentureBeat continues to look for a VP of Business Development--must have strong online marketing skills and media experience.

. . . GigaOm raised $4.5 million for expansion. Mike Arrington warns: GigaOm Ignores My Advice, Raises Another $4.5 Million

Maybe GigaOm is going to be doing a roll-up strategy, beating Mr Arrington to the punch?

. . . I'm fed up with (lil) green patch requests on Facebook! It's an ad network masquerading as a save the world service.

Weekend Watcher:

Friday evening I'll be at Workspace Limited on 2150 Folsom Street for a free open studios preview party.

7:30 Allison Lovejoy, piano and cabaret

8:30 Go Van Goth, danceable country middle eastern

9:30 Cabaret Electronica - Allison Lovejoy and Groove Yantra

10:00 More Go Van Goth

11:00 Groove Yantra, electronica dance set

Fleet Week this weekend in San Francisco. Feel what it's like to be in a battle zone as fighter planes scream over head!

Get your early bird tickets for this event before Saturday: Silicon Valley Rocks!

Tech professionals by day, garage rockers by night. They’ll pick up their instruments and venture onto the big stage to let their rocking alter egos shine…For a good cause and the love of music.

Silicon Valley Rocks! will bring together the Valley’s tech community - from VCs and entrepreneurs to bloggers and software developers - to raise money for Music in Schools Today (MuST), a Bay Area non-profit that seeks to rescue music programs from budget cuts.

The showcase will feature Silicon Valley bands and original rockers who want to jam! The SVR selection committee - a mix of music and tech professionals – will choose the final line-up for a show that will entertain and amuse your entire social graph. The evening will close with drinks, DJs, and dancing.

Check out our site here

Fishwrap: Changing Media and PR . . . Plus a Great Pep Talk


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

I've done a lot of talking this week about changes in media and PR. From a big meeting with the largest Redmond based corporation, to Shift Communications in SF, to a delegation of corporate communications directors from large Japanese companies such as Toyota, at Ogilvy PR offices in San Francisco. Luca Penati MD of Ogilvy's Global Technology Practice led the conversation. Here's a clip:

From my Japanese contacts . . .

Tom Sonoda, Ph.D writes to tell me of his social networking site that recently launched a public beta. Please take a look it's pretty cool:

Utagoe Live100 public beta demo video from utagoe on Vimeo.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin starts to blog . . .

. . . about his family DNA.

Stop doing what you hate . . .

Need a pep talk? Watch Gary Vaynerchuk from the recent Web2Expo. (Hat tip Jeff Slobotski @jjsync and )

Also: Please see

Kristen Nicole moves to VentureBeat . . .
Bob Walsh points out that Kristen Nicole has moved from Mashable over to VentureBeat. Congrats! More to write about and there's a great team of media professionals at VentureBeat.

Twisted Sisters . . .
This is a fun trailer for a webisode series "Twisted Sisters" from my buddies Lee Cummings and Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective.

Fishwrap: What's a matter? Hard Drugs and TC50, Craig's List of Concerns, and more...


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

Cern powers up its Large Hadron Collider . . .

[Hat tip Max Levchin] It's a catchy refrain in Digital Underground style:

LHCb sees where the antimatter's gone

ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions

CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind

They're looking for whatever new particles they can find

Smack my pitch up . . .

That got my vote for the worst name for an anti-pitch contest and what was even worse was that it was organized by TechCrunch50. That's TechCrunch poking fun at itself at the House of Shields. Which is like having the Republican Party hosting a heroin and abortion party to poke fun at itself and show how humble it is. It would have been better if it had come from somewhere else...

Craigslist founder needs help . . .

Craig Newmark needs help. I ran into Craig last night and he tells me he is very concerned about hurricane Ike and if we have the resources to deal with the damage that it will cause. He's looking for help in getting the word out and pressuring agencies such as Homeland Security to stand ready. He says that Craigslist has been used to great effect during disasters such as Katrina and Gustav. "We just try to stay out of the way."

There is also a Craigslist widget for Hurricane Ike

Craig now charges for speeches so that he can continue to fund his philanthropic activities. Look for a major announcement very soon on this subject.

Other news:

Chris Heuer has left the building . . .

Coming soon . . . to a Friday near you!

Please contact Alex Ross for sponsor opportunities: alex @

Fishwrap: PR bloggers urge vote early and vote often . . . The Mad Professor plus SeeqPod . . . TubeMogul for Micro Media Moguls


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

The slow days of August haven't been that slow. And September will blow in like a hurricane with a slew of events, with Office 2.0 the first week in September.

. . .

Vote early, vote often . . .

The PR Week awards for best PR blogs has been interesting to watch. PR bloggers have been asking their supporters to vote, and to vote often, which brings up some interesting ethical issues.

How good is a PR blogger if that PR blogger can't pull together the PR to get out the vote? Is it OK to do that or should votes happen in an organic way, without cheerleading the way?

What about all the other type of "vote for best Web 2.0 company" type awards? Is it OK to hire a PR company to help get out the vote or should it be a natural process?

This is why I think the best awards are those judged by a panel of peers, imho.

. . .

Sites I like . . .

Seeqpod: Interesting music service. What it does is it finds music you search for and then plays it via a streaming front end. You can save your playlists and share them. The music it finds is on other people's sites, so it isn't licensed. It finds the music files and plays the files without downloading the files and so it tries to avoid the licensing issue because the files are out there in the cloud and not on its servers.

Here is an example: Last night I went to see the legendary Lee Scratch Perry. I'm not a fan of reggae but this was an extraordinary experience (he is playing the Independent tonight (Friday). Here is a Seeqpod playlist of Lee Scratch Perry I put together:

TubeMogul: I just signed up for this service and if it delivers on its promise I will be forever grateful. I'm launching "Fridays with Foremski" in September, a weekly video show featuring interviews with top CEOs, thought leaders, profiling startups, covering major events and conferences - plus a gang of pundits/pals discussing recent events. It'll be a round up of video work I'll be doing during the week. Video takes a lot of work and one part that is a pain, is uploading it to many sites and then tracking the views and other analytics.

With TubeMogul you upload it once and it does all the rest: uploading to multiple sites and doing any neccesary transcoding etc. This service will potentially save me a lot of time, which can be used to do more interviews, etc.

Fridays with Foremski is coming!

Fishwrap: Where's summer . . . NewTeeVee . . . BT's Ribbit . . . Marshall's merger . . .hi5 Adriana


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

Summer slowdown (not!) . . .

There's a recession going on and there is a summer going on--at least outside San Francisco/Silicon Valley. While other regions are taking it easy, it seems that little has slowed around here. There are slightly fewer events but it all feels like business-as-usual. I'm going to try and take some time off in August, if I can.

And there doesn't seem to be much sign of a recession around here. Companies are spending lots of money on promotion and PR. Most PR companies seem to be very busy and are hiring at a vigorous pace.

I wonder how their media relations operations are handling the dwindling number of publications and journalists. I think the PR companies should pass the hat around and support some of the news and magazine sites to ensure that there are outlets for their client's stories.

Most PR companies believe they can bypass the journalists and go straight to the consumer/customer. But media provides a vendor-neutral platform which is much more valuable in terms of influence than messages that come straight from the company or its representatives. Readers aren't stupid, they take company generated content with a pinch of salt.

Looking for the new TV. . .

Following a event at 111 Minna, I went to my first NewTeeVee Pier screening on Thursday showcasing possible "pilot" episodes for the Internet. It was interesting but the "pilots" all looked extremely polished and professionally produced. They looked as if they had been made for short-film festivals and then repurposed for the event.

There is no way that the economics of the Internet could support a "series" based on most of the pilots that I saw because they were clearly produced with very large budgets. The economics of production are way out of line with the sponsorships or advertisement revenues available online. And the judges added very little insight or useful commentary.

The event didn't provide much networking--you have to be quiet during the long playback of the short movies, which are projected on a giant screen. Watching the "pilots" on a giant movie screen is not an Internet experience, it is a movie experience.

I'd love to see NewTeeVee have an evening showcasing short vids created in one-take instead of the multi-camera multi-special effects of the pilots which didn't ring true with the intent of showcasing content for our "new TV" - Internet connected devices.

However, it was good to bump into a few key people such as Jim Louderback, head of the "new TV" site Revision3 and a bunch of friends, and, of course, his Giga Omness, who is looking great, less giga and very slim, very 1.5 :-)

Acquiring disruptive technologies . . .

Congrats to Ribbit "Silicon Valley's First Phone Company" and its acquisition by BT, the British Telecom giant. Ribbit is an interesting company with disruptive techologies but if companies such as these are going to be snapped up by the encumbent companies then their disruptive potential is going to be lost.

I'm not a fan of the telcos--the US ones are acting as Luddites, keeping us in the dark ages, controlling which technologies we can use. It is stifling innovation. And if innovation can be bought--and if disruptive technologies can simply be acquired byt the telcos then we will be making little progress.

Please see: 2008Watch: Ribbit Spawns Its First Consumer Telephony App

Marshall merger plans . . .

marshallmikalina.jpgCongrats to Marshall Kirkpatrick, lead writer at ReadWriteWeb on his upcoming marriage to Mikalina.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Marshall on my recent trip to Japan, which was organized by Lunarr, a fascinating company based in Portland, Oregon, where Marshall lives.

Marshall writes:

Most important, I'm getting married to my partner Mikalina! Many of my work contacts here on the blog haven't met Mikalina but many of you have. She's wonderful and I love her very much. We've been together for more than 4 years already and she's studying to be an environmental engineer. Or a ceramicist - she's a rock star in both and hasn't decided what to do about it yet.

We're looking to get married pretty darned soon, I proposed to her last weekend when we were vacationing on the Oregon Coast.


hi5 Adriana . . .

Adriana.jpgCongrats to Adriana Gascoigne in her new job at hi5, one of the largest social networks that you probably don't know about. I've worked with Adriana at FutureWorks and more recently at Ogilvy and I'm looking forward to working with her at hi5.

You might not know hi5 because it's success has been created outside of the US. Adrianna writes:

I’ve decided to join hi5 for the following three ‘main’ reasons and for about a million smaller reasons –

1.) World’s fastest growing social network among the top-10 global social networks

2.) Based on the June comScore Media Metrix worldwide figures released in June, hi5 grew 79% in the first half of 2008

3.) hi5’s monthly unique visitors increased from 31.4 million in December 2007 to 56.4 million in June 2008.

Also, hi5 is planning some exciting product launches this year that will make a HUGE impact and increase serious competition in the social networking space. So, if the timing is right, if your heart is in it, then you should embrace risk and pull the trigger.

I’d love your input and insights on hi5. If you are so compelled, I would be interested in getting one cool marketing idea from you on how hi5 could make a BIG splash in the US market.

Be my hi5 friend!

- - -

Rave reviews find out why! - Order the The Amazon Kindle Electronic Book Reader!

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

Fishwrap: Fortune: We like to get it right the first time . . . [correction]


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

We get it right the first time ... [correction]

At the Fortune Brainstorm conference Fortune writer Adam Lashinsky got a big laugh as moderator of "The Blogger Showdown" when the subject of bloggers making mistakes came up: "We like to get it right the first time!" he said.

Fortune's Techland ran a story about the blogger panel. Unfortunately, it had to update the story later to make a correction! This type of thing proves there is a god! Ironic design proves the hand of a supreme being more than any arguments around intelligent design.

Scoble said that the difference between bloggers and traditional media like Fortune magazine is that the audience participation helps keep his blog honest. “This is written by the audience. People participate in fact-checking,” he said.

Lashinsky, however, got the last laugh. “In the old school, we like to get it right the first time.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington had been criticized for not disclosing investments from companies he covered. In fact, Arrington had been criticized for writing about companies he invested in. He disclosed those investments on TechCrunch.

FORTUNE: Techland Blogger showdown at Brainstorm Tech «

[Hat tip Bill Kircos]

- - -

Rave reviews find out why! - Order the The Amazon Kindle Electronic Book Reader!

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

FishWrap: The First Rule of PR . . . Kevin Maney's Briefs . . . Fortune's Brainstorm


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

First Rule of PR - READ . . .

I just got a call from a PR rep to ask if I needed more information about their client -- I had recently met with the company. These types of calls mean just one thing: Am I going to write about their client and when? I already did. That call was a waste of my time. I hope they aren't going to be billing the company for that call.

I get asked time and time again how should PR people pitch journalists and bloggers? I tell them again and again, make sure you read the publication to see what has been written.

I won't name the person or the PR company but maybe I should since they won't be reading this (let me know if you think I should...) I was there just last month doing one of my lunchtime talks with PR companies and I'm pretty sure I covered this one.

Here you go: Lunch with Applied Materials: Looking to the Sun for New Business

Kevin Maney and his briefs . . .

Portfolio magazine writer and blogger Kevin Maney was on stage at the Rockit Room in San Francisco earlier this week with his band. The turnout was small but spirited and it was a fun evening with many people coming up on stage. Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal joined Kevin on stage, among many others.

Kevin's repertoire includes:

Wouldn't Want to Be (Bill Gates)

New Router Blues

I Dream of Bangalore

I took some video to provide you with a taste of the evening:

Fortune's Brainstorm . . .

I'm looking forward to Fortune's invite-only Brainstorm conference next week in Half Moon Bay: FORTUNE Brainstorm: TECH

Fortune just added Neil Young and the CEOs of Verizon and Viacom to its roster of speakers.

Fortune's David Kirkpatrick is program director:

We'll put on the podium tech's leading thinkers and thinking leaders - Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg and Chris DeWolfe, Arianna Huffington and Gary Hamel, Marc Benioff and Jeff Weiner, Robert Scoble and Kevin Kelly, Larry Lessig and Danah Boyd, to name a few. Then we'll create opportunities for the entire group to discuss and debate what they've heard, in small settings, question and answer sessions, and what we're calling "lunch labs." A Brainstorm conference is a collective conversation. We aim to reduce the distinction between speaker and attendee, since everyone we invite to attend Brainstorm is accomplished enough to speak. Ideas flow in all directions.

To list all the eminences would require this entire column, but in the big-time CEO category, besides Bezos, Schmidt and Benioff, we have Viacom's Philippe Dauman, Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg, Activision's Bobby Kotick, Sybase's John Chen, Applied Materials' Mike Splinter and Sun's Jonathan Schwartz. And don't forget Peter Chernin, who runs most of the non-newspaper portion of News Corp. In the amazing thinker category we welcome robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks, virtual worlds pioneer Philip Rosedale, and investing pioneer Danny Rimer. We may even have a super-amazing special guest from outside the industry who we aren't yet able to announce. (Joining us at the original Brainstorms were Bill Clinton, Shimon Peres, Jordan's King Abdullah, and John McCain.) This visitor could make things really rock.

See you there!

- - -

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

FishWrap: Walt Mossberg's Pocket . . . It Takes Hundreds of Twos to Tango . . .


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

Mark Adams COO Conversation Group . . .

MarkAdams1.jpgMark Adams, the co-founder of Text 100 and Next15 Communications is taking over as COO at the Conversation Group. He'll be spending about a week every 6 weeks here in San Francisco.

Last time I saw Mark he was over at Chris and Kristie Heuer's place figuring out how he could walk to SF airport the next day to catch his flight.

No amount of cajoling could dissuade an Englishman with a mission. Mark took a taxi the next day to Golden Gate bridge and walked all the way to SFO. How he got across a couple of highways I've no idea.

[Photo shows Mark planning his route!]

Tracking the ripples . . .

I always enjoy throwing a pebble into the mediasphere and tracking its ripples. More recently, I've been promoting the idea of "support the source." If you write about something I've written and would like to copy my content then you can voluntarily support the source with what I'm calling an "adtribution link." You would choose one of my text ad links at the end of every post and run it next to the content such as:

You don't have to run the adtribution link but it would be great if you did.

It's interesting some of the pushback I've received on this simple idea. Some have complained about having to copy and paste the link--it's extra work. Well, it's not extra work for them to copy and paste my content in the first place. And I can tell you, it's a lot of extra work to produce the content!

It's interesting tracking "adtribution" on Google. The first day I used the term there were about 8 search results, then the second day there were 230, two days ago 1200, and today Google shows 1960.

Walt Mossberg and drugs . . .

I was at the SDForum Visionary Awards 2008 earlier this week but I had problems with my camera and wasn't able to shoot any footage. So to make up for it, here is Kara Swisher introducing her colleague Walt Mossberg at the 2007 awards. It was a hilarious introduction.

Find out what that was in Walt's pocket, was it an iPhone or was he just pleased to see everyone...

Rooster club: where chicks have cojones . . .

deYoung1.jpgRooster Club last Friday at the de Young was fun with exactly the people I hoped would be there. My daughter Sarah and her 14 year old friends came with me to see The Minks (girls in boots, songs by the Kinks) Friday evening who were the featured act. Sarah (the tall one) and her friends were in town to catch an all day music festival on Saturday.

Hanging out with Sarah and her friends felt like I was a documentary maker for a new punk girl band :-)

WeekendWatcher coming up:

RollerSoccer world championships . . .

If you've been enjoying the Euro 2008 soccer games you will certainly like this event: Friday I got a chance to meet again with June Philips and her husband Zack who are organizing a new type of soccer world cup, using roller skates and it is happening here on Treasure Island in August 14 to 17. Zack has his hair cut in the shape of a soccer ball. He and June are both tireless promoters.

The Bay Area has a fantastic tradition of creating cutting edge cultural entities that have a global reach - this is a chance to see this in action.

The Official Rollersoccer International Federation Website

It takes several hundred twos to tango . . .

This looks fabulous this evening 6.30 p.m. at the de Young in Golden Gate Park and it is free:

¡Milonga en el museo!, a re-creation of the great Argentine tango dance halls that exist to this day in Buenos Aires. A few hundred couples will dance in this milonga, bringing the passion, intensity, and sensuality of Argentine tango to the de Young. Tango captivates the world, and the milonga en el museo will show you why.

de Young Calendar

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Fishwrap: DEMO and Voce parties plus new services from SVW: Video and consulting


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

Demo alumni party . . .

I went to the Demo Alumni party earlier this week. It was a lot of fun and everyone was there.

Brian Solis from FutureWorks PR was there recording everyone for posterity, you can see his photos here: Flickr: Archive of b_d_solis' photostream: Taken on 17th June 2008

This is one of me taken by Brian Solis. I usually put my hand out to shield my face when confronted by cameras. I do it for two reasons:

1) I'm trying to create a mystique, after all, how many photos of Thomas Pynchon have you seen?

2) I'm trying to stop the camera stealing my soul (at least not before I've sold it first).


Voce party . . .

Voce is one of my favorite SIlicon Valley PR firms and they were celebrating their 9th anniversary. It was fun but it was boiling hot in Palo Alto.

It was great catching up with my favorite media architects Mike Manuel (Media Guerrilla) and Josh Hallet (Hyku). These guys work at the cutting edge of new/social media and it's always great to hear about what they've been up to.

BTW, Josh is a great photographer and he took a lot of shots of Tim Russert at a conference last October. A number of news outlets used his photos from Flickr but did not give him the credit. I think the license should be modified that the photos are free to use with credit but cost $10,000 each if no credit is given.

It was also good to see Matthew Podboy and meet his lovely wife. Matthew is fond of retelling the story of when I got Peter North's autograph for him outside the W a couple or so years ago ;-).

Here is Techmeme's Gabe Rivera followed by John Furrier at the party, along with some of the talented Voce crew.


Lunch at Bite . . .

I enjoyed going over to Bite Communications earlier this week to talk to the team about some of the many changes in media and PR. It's also great to hear about what is happening with their clients. Here is Bite's blog Bite Marks.

SVW video services announcement . . .

Last year I was working with John Furrier and Steve Gillmor over at Podtech. We put together a great crew of video editors and videographers and although that project finished last year I'm still working with my video production team and also adding new specialists as part of the SF Media Collective. If you need any video work done of any type call Aron Pruiett at the SF Media Collective for a competitive bid: 415 533 4487.

Creating great video quickly and professionally is challenging but we do it all the time. But these days creating a great video is just part of the job, you need to get it distributed through the right channels. And you need to get attention for that video. We offer distribution and attention services that can get your video above the white noise.

Here is a demo reel:

Consulting services . . .
I've started doing some consulting which ranges from a one hour chat to longer engagements on a variety of subjects. Email me [email protected]

The Rooster crows this evening . . .
Join me early evening tonight (Friday) from 6pm to 8.30pm at the de Young in Golden Gate park for the Rooster Club, an informal gathering, out by the back garden next to the cafeteria. Entrance is free and there is music and bar. Tonight the Minks are playing "girls in boots, songs by the Kinks."

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Fishwrap: Neil Young's Car . . . Sterling PR


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

Meeting Neil Young . . .

Tim Cooper, music writer for the Sunday Times was in town earlier this week to interview the rock legend Neil Young. I took the opportunity to drive Tim down to the backside of Woodside where Neil Young has his ranch so that I could get the chance to meet the man.

Neil Young spent much of the interview talking about his electric car project. He is financing the development of a special type of battery developed by Jonathan Goodwin, based in Wichita.

Rocker Young working with Wichita mechanic on electric car


. . .

Talking about media . . .

I spent part of Thursday over at Sterling Communications in San Francisco helping out with one of their internal training sessions. I spoke about the changes in media, bloggers, journalists and some of the old and new rules of engagement. Later, I helped judge a blog writing competition in which they had to write a blog post in 20 minutes, include links to at least three sites, add trackbacks, Technorati tags, etc. Everyone did very well and it was difficult to pick an outright winner. It was a good way to get a bunch of blog posts in the pipeline!

Here is the Sterling Communications blog: Gearheads.

Next week I'm off to Bite PR in San Francisco for a lunchtime talk on similar subjects. Contact me if you are interested in me coming to chat with your teams. I do quite a few of these types of events, with PR firms and also the marketing and comms teams at larger companies.

FishWrap: From Groundswell . . . to Frida in SF


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

HornGroup2.jpgCongrats to Ulysses King, who recently joined from Outcast Communications. Ulysses used to work on the Salesforce account - a challenge for anyone. . .

. . .

It was great to see Sabrina Horn and her top class team at a Horn Group event promoting Charlene Li's book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.

I'm a big fan of Charlene's work at Forrester Research and I look forward to reading beyond the dust jacket. Horn Group was also celebrating its 17th anniversary. . .

. . .

HornGroup3.jpgAlso at the event, it was good to catch up with Jamie Lerner, CEO of Cittio (in middle) and Kym McNicholas, Forbes video journalist.

Kym tells me she's been doing a lot more reporting on sports news, which she loves. Here is an interview with Troy Aikman . . .

. . .

Sarah1.jpgMy daughter Sarah graduated from Forestville middle school and celebrates her 14th birthday today. She can't wait for high school!

She loved the bag of Japanese manga and t-shirts and other cultural artifacts I picked up from my recent visit to Japan...

Frida1.jpg. . .

Weekend Watcher: Next Friday evening is the opening reception for the Frida Kahlo exhibit at SF MOMA celebrating her life and birth 100 years ago.

This is going to be a stunning event get a membership, it's worth it.

Did you know that Frida Kahlo married Diego Rivera in San Francisco? There is a wealth of information about her connection to San Francisco at Amy Kweskin's blog:

Frida Kahlo in San Francisco: SFMOMA 2008 Kahlo Exhibition

FishWrap: How Venturebeat got its beat on . . . Sock-puppet media. . .and why YHOO staff might be upset by MSFT pull out


[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]

How Venturebeat got it's beat on . . .

Matt Marshall, founder of VentureBeat talks about how his online publication got started and how it transitioned from a blog to a media company. He is talking at the Innovation Journalism conference 2008 at Stanford University.

. . .

Reading the tea leaves in Silicon Valley car parks . . .

I've had the great pleasure of meeting Stephen Quinn, a journalism professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. We've met at a couple of conferences during his six week visit to the US and now he is heading back on Monday. He says the time passed in the wink of an eye. He says he has been inspired by Silicon Valley and his time at Stanford University--and how people are so willing to share information and ideas. "Back home the academic life is more monastic, people retreat into their offices behind closed doors."

He was telling me about a recent visit to Yahoo with a friend. His friend is a car buff and he was awed by the large number of very new and very expensive cars in the parking lot. $85k plus BMWs seemed to be a popular choice.

I said that was interesting because I had recently visited the Googleplex and I noticed the rather pedestrian collection of cars in the GOOG HQ car park: Hondas, Toyotas, etc, it could have been the car park at a K-Mart -- nothing special caught my eye.

I'm wondering if some Yahoo employees might have spent their Microsoft retention bonuses a little prematurely?

. . .

Reinventing Michael Kannelos . . .

I ran into Michael Kanellos and didn't realize that he is now the former editor-at-large at CNET and is now working as an analyst at Greentech Media.

"After many years at people kept telling me that it was time to reinvent myself," he said. I joked that he shouldn't pay attention to what his wife says (!)

For the growing numbers of PR people out there, it is one less journalist to pitch.

Good luck to Michael in his new gig.

. . .

Shel Israel sock puppet interviews Dan Farber . . .

The unstoppable Loren Feldman :-)... (Hat tip: Accman Dennis Howlett)

. . .

The man behind the sock puppet revealed!

Wow! Mike Arrington needs constant attention!!!

From 1938 Media: This Is What I Have To Deal With Or Why Mike Arrington Is An Ass

Monday I'm off to Japan. I'm going as a guest of Lunarr and I'll be blogging as much as I can, visits with Japanese ministry officials and Japanese startups, plus a deep dive into Tokyo with my expert guide Hideshi Hamaguchi. I can't wait!

Friday Wrap: Tales Of Tchotches That Suck . . . And RooStars!


sibbys-cupcakery_webcard.jpg . . . Smalltowns everywhere. I recently spoke with Hal Rucker, CEO and founder of Smalltown, a site that helps local businesses publish an online presence. The last time we spoke was in October 2006 and I really liked Smalltown's "webcards" approach to publishing information about a local merchant using a tabbed cards metaphor.

Since then, the company has extended the webcard approach by adding widget-like qualities, and launching Webcard universal business listings. Each webcard is no longer tethered to a smalltown site, such as San Mateo. Each webcard is discoverable and can be published on a wide variety of platforms such as Facebook, yellow pages and other directories without having to change formats or anything. And any changes to the content are mirrored automatically on all platforms.

The webcard makes for a very good container for many-media: text, images, podcasts, vidcasts, etc. With a little tweak here and there it would make for a great template for a new/social media release.

. . .I ran into Harry McCracken, PC World's Editor-in-Chief this week and congratulated him on deciding to leave and publish his own web site. I asked if there was anything that prompted that decision. He said no, there wasn't, he just felt that the time was right and he said that I was an inspiration in that decision. I thanked him and said I was happy to help in any way.

When I started a local newspaper in 1987, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, I got a lot of great advice from my friend Richard Gaikowski, who had published newspapers in San Francisco. He was encouraging and also judicious in warning me about the challenges ahead. That was great because I learned a lot from that venture and I might not have launched it if I had known what Richard knew.

But that is the nature of all new businesses and it is essential to have a naivety about what is ahead otherwise we might not do anything.

I'm not saying Harry should think twice because he pretty much knows what he is getting into, at least most of it, and the rest is all gravy.

. . . Bill O'Reilly remixed. Bill O'Reilly is always able to weather the worst publicity and to keep on going. (Hat tip Marc Andreessen.)<

. . . Tchotchkes that suck. Usually I get a lot of t-shirts, pens and backpacks. Most of this stuff I leave on street corners in my neighborhood, especially the backpacks which kids like.

Lately though, companies are becoming a lot more generous. I was at Outcast's media launch party for Jawbone's latest bluetooth headset and as we left we were given one. I'm not an expert on these headsets but it seems to work very well and with California's new law that bans use of cell phones in cars without headsets it should prove to be very useful.

Earlier this year at a MySpace event inside the usual backpack given to media and developers, were pens, a t-shirt and a Flip video camera. The Flip is a very fun device, it makes it very easy to create YouTube videos.

Occasionally I will get a tchotchke that sucks--literally. A couple of years ago I was given a USB-powered mini vacuum designed to suck the dirt from keyboards.

. . . Coming up: I have been writing about my bad experience with Wells Fargo and wondering why nothing from Wells Fargo?! As I pointed out, I'll get over my rant but the search engines will continue to throw up my complaint and there is nothing in the comments section putting Well's Fargo side. Sure enough, every few weeks someone finds my post and shares their bad story about Wells Fargo.

I recently met the head of Wells Fargo's social media team...find out about the bank's policy and how it deals with blogging and tough government regulations on disclosure of information.

. . . SVW PeopleToWatch: I meet a lot of people and they are all very smart and very good looking. Some people have a couple of extra qualities that help them stand out, I call these people RooStars, (a play on chickens and cojones :-) and I'll be drawing attention to them in future posts as part of a regular feature.

Here are some RooStars:

Alicia Nieva-Woodgate - Profile
Jen McClure - Society for New Communications Research
Giovanni Rodriguez - The Conversation Group
Tara Hunt - Citizen Agency
Cathy Brooks - Seesmic
Tim Ferriss - Four Hour Work Week
Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells - Social Media Club
Brian Solis - FutureWorks
Jared Kopf - Adroll
Kathleen Shanahan - Boca Communications
Vanessa Camones - The Mix Agency Heddi Cundle and Kathy Johnson - Consort Partners
Julie Crabill - Shift Communications
I know plenty more...!

3-dot Weekend . . . Social media and IT; There are iPhones and non-iPhones; Gaia hackers upset kids

Social media and IT . . .

If you missed my panel on social media at Intel Developer Forum, you can watch it here. You can find out how Intel has been using blogs and wikis. It is always interesting to see how a very large and established company such as Intel (Intel is a sponsor of SVW) is able to change and embrace social media - it is not an easy process. We also had an Intel lawyer on the podium.

- - -

iPhone religion . . .

I meet a lot of people and many of them like to talk about their cell phones and then go on to tell me why they don't have an iPhone, and/or don't need one. This is interesting because these are unsolicited and unprovoked comments. It is as if just the presence of my iPhone stirs some pangs of guilt or justification.

Let me say this: I like my iPhone, but I'm not religious about it, but many people are religious about their non-iPhones. Which is interesting.

My response is this: think of the opportunity cost to you in your business and professional life. Waiting for another price reduction or until your contract comes up for renewal makes sense if you are the average consumer. It makes no sense if you live and work in Silicon Valley, if you are in media, in PR, or are a developer, or an investor. Saving a hundred or few hundred later, will cost you bigtime now because you will be behind in experiencing and being experienced with this platform.

The iPhone is a media delivery platform of a unique kind. My colleague at TechOne Steve Gillmor, says this:

The iPhone has effectively replaced my laptop for much of my working day. The extent to which I can create the necessary metadata to do my various jobs determines what applications I use.

The iPhone does have problem spots but they are mostly software fixes--it will get better very quickly. What is the cost to you in not having experience with this platform? It is far more than saving a few bucks.

- - -

Blue moon . . .

Lunarr invitations. Let me know on Facebook (send me a friend request) if you'd like to check out this unique collaborative platform created by two Japanese entrepreneurs based in Portland, Oregon.

Lunarr: A Once in a Blue Moon Company with a Unique Collaborative App

- - -

Gaia hackers . . .

My 13 year old daughter Sarah is very sad this week, someone hacked into her Gaia Online account and stole all the things she had collected from over a year's worth of work, and erased all her friend info and other malicious damage. I did some searching and there are several sites that teach others how to hack Gaia user accounts.

I sent Sarah this to cheer her up . . .

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

3-Dot Friday . . .

. . . Bad Sinatra II

Steve Gilmor and gang:

. . .KISS and tell about the "connected life"

John Earnhardt shares a video:

Wilson Craig of Cisco's PR team interviews the iconic members of KISS about what the "connected life" means to each of them.  They both give surprisingly good answers.  And, of course, they are in FULL MAKE-UP!!!  At one point it looks like Gene will poke one of Wilson's eyes out with his spikey costume.

. . . "Love Letter" to AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre

Phil Harvey, managing editor over at the excellent Light Reading skewers USA Today's article on retired AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre in which he is described as "the John Wayne of telecom."
Phil Harvey says:
Contrast ;John Wayne" Whitacre's career with that of BT's CEO Ben Verwaayen. Say what you will about Ben-Hur, he's the one who will leave the legacy of a truly transformed incumbent carrier.
Link to: Come On, Pilgrim

. . . Insight on the China Vortex

Here is a promising new blog on China from Paul Denlinger called China Vortex. Paul discusses a recent article at [email protected] on "Quality Fade" by Chinese manufacturers, a practice that involves saving money on materials costs.

. . . A minute with Tim Ferriss


Who are you and what do you do? A Silicon Valley Minute pitch from Tim Ferriss, the author of 4-Hour Work Week..

. . Cooking for StartUps - Where MashUp Is Literal

Matthew Podboy writes:
A friend of mine wrote a cook book for start ups. One of the authors, Nick DeMonner, is a serial entrepreneur.  While working on his latest venture, BzzyBee, he and his colleagues were faced with the typical start up scenario: limited money, no time and no budget for eating out.  So they began to write down recipes they developed along the way. 

The book is a short, fun summertime read about one aspect of life inside a start up. Nick (the author) and the Bzzybee team are using the book proceeds to generate money for the company….or as I like to say, “To help keep a good idea from starving.”

The book was announced this week and can be purchased (hard copy or download) at

. . . Profiting from the Subprime Mess

Mellisa Data just launched an online Foreclosure List for the latest foreclosure data.

Updated weekly with approximately 35,000 new records from over 1,000 counties, the Foreclosure List identifies properties in all stages of foreclosure (both pre and active foreclosure, and real estate owned to scheduled for auction)

. . . What will you do for Peace One Day?

This is interesting, because it puts people on the spot. It is a "digiwristband" for an international day of peace: September 21. It asks what is your committment?

Less chatter more action. Let Jude Law explain:

3-Dot Friday...

Be Square or be at the Palo Alto Apple Store...

I was just going to do a drive by the Apple store in Palo Alto, around&nbsp;6pm, on Thursday, a day before the Apple iPhone launch and&nbsp;shoot some&nbsp;video&nbsp;but ended staying until way past midnight. It was a fun street scene.

The cops turned up at one point but nothing rowdy was happening so they went away. Lots of blogerati were there, of course. Zoomr had some labels and everyone got a number. My number was 66. Fortunately it wasn't 666 because the rumor was there were 500 iPhones per store. (Ben Wing would have been out of luck...)

The Apple security guy said that the Apple Store would honor first come first served, that the numbers were nothing to do with them. Two guys told me they were going to start a rival line and hand out their own numbers.

At the top of the line was my Podtech colleague Robert Scoble. What's your number Robert &nbsp;I asked? Number 2 he said, and pointed at his son Patrick, who carried the number 1 tag. Very classy...

The Real Fake Steve Jobs...

Those hoping that Steve Jobs would appear, because he lives a few blocks&nbsp;away,&nbsp;were disappointed but Fake Steve Jobs did stop by.


He's looking for a caption.

Fake Steve tagged his post titled "I don't want the iPhone, just the attention."&nbsp;

with: Filthy hacks, iPhone, Media whores

Seems to me like it could be the real Steve Jobs...


If you really love your employees you'd get them an iPhone...

In the line at the Apple Store in Palo Alto I ran into Don MacAskill CEO of Smugmug, an online photo site with a fiercely loyal customer base of about 120,000. Don, and six other employees were willing to stay up all night to bring back iPhones for themselves and their 15 colleagues.

"Will it make&nbsp; your business more productive?" I asked him. Silly question.

Did your boss stay up all night to bring you back an iPhone? You should ask...



3-Dot Friday...

I have so much I want&nbsp;to write about but I've been busy working with, working on some interesting projects projects that will appear very soon.

The main thing I like about is that we all speak the same language, we don't have to convince each other that we should be doing what we are doing. At other media companies we would be in committees for six months before we made a decision on anything. is full of the most media savvy people I know. Yes, we might still crash and burn but it won't be because we needed to convince each other on where the future is heading...


3 Years Ago...

It was 3 years ago that I left the Financial Times to become a "journalist blogger." I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. My friends Dave Galbraith and Om Malik had always encouraged me to start blogging.

But I ignored them, I thought I knew what blogging was about because I wrote all day long--even though I had never blogged. It is the way my colleagues at other newspapers and magazines thought about blogging. (Dave and Om were right and I was clueless.)

I took the summer off and then September came around and I realized I had to start "blogging." I looked at a blank screen and realized I really didn't know what I was doing. What is "blogging?"

I had no choice but to jump in and start doing it. And it has been an incredible 3 year journey and I'm still learning about blogging. My friends were right--I should have started earlier.

And I'm so glad I left the oldstream media to be in the newstream media. During such times it is always better to be on the disruptive side of the equation--even if the business models are still being invented--than on the sharp pointy end of the disruption...

Please see:

June 25, 2004: Media Guerilla (aka Mike Manuel) from Voce Communications runs the results of an informal poll asking which leading tech journalists would leave for the blogging world first.

Sibling Revelry...

Hats off to Connecting Point Communications for their super-fun charity event last week. Don Clark's band played and they were incredibly good.

It was good to run into Anastasia Marin, and the wonderful Voce crew, and many other industry contacts. Everyone was having fun and supporting a worthy cause. We should have more of these types of things...


Startups Get Younger...

All those people that proclaim that our younger generations are driving us to hell in a hand basket are wrong, dead wrong. Kids today are incredibly media savvy and business savvy, I have full confidence in&nbsp;their abilities to disregard our nonsense (and clean up after us.)

I say this as a father of Sarah, who just turned 13, and Matthew, who is now 19, and seeing them and their friends over many years. For example, the things Matt and his friends are doing on the Internet, the business models they are playing with, is fascinating to see. There is a lot of innovation going on here.

Ben Casnocha is a young entrepreneur and now, also a young author. His book "My Start-Up Life"&nbsp;was recently published.

My son Matt has been reading the book and he says it is pretty good, which is a great recommendation because he doesn't hand out compliments as easily as the New York&nbsp;Times, which said it was pretty good too...


Additional Info:
Ben Casnocha
- Author of "My Start-Up Life" (Jossey-Bass, 2007)
- Book web site:
- Buy it on

Muckrackers and Master Baiters...

I was thrilled this week to be able to meet and hang out with Andrew Keen and Nicholas Carr. They are among the more original thinkers on the Internet and also natural journalists in that they know how to push those buttons, how to get people riled up and thinking.

Wednesday they were on a panel in a local Barnes & Noble, along with Steve Gillmor and Keith Teare from Edgio, moderated by Dan Farber. It was an excellent evening and I have it on video (coming soon).

(Tim Ferriss, the author of the "The Four Hour Week" was there too, in the audience.&nbsp;I have a video interview with Tim coming very soon. Tim is an excellent case study in how to use new media to promote a book.)

Nick Carr first made a splash with his essay and book&nbsp;on why IT doesn't matter anymore. And he is right, when every company has installed an ERP system what becomes the distinguishing, competitive characteristic?

Andrew Keen is doing very well with his book, "The Cult of the Amateur." It is a critique of Web 2.0 and all things long tail, and the disruption and dissolution of mainstream media.

I agree with Mr Keen on many of his points, it is a subject I've been writing about and talking about for several years. I portray the situation in simple terms: What happens if the old media dies before the new media learns to walk? What is the economic model that will support journalism?

I disagree with Mr Keen in his thesis that Web 2.0 is destroying the best of mainstream media, New York Times etc. Web 2.0 and blogging does not have a business model. It is search engine marketing that is to blame. You have to follow where the money is going.

The simple fact is that It is far more effective to sell products and services next to a search box than next to journalism. I sometimes offer an extreme example: You can sell shampoo next to a search box but not next to a news story about beheadings in Iraq.

The sad fact is that the same is true for any news story. Journalism is not very effective at selling products and services. We know this because now we can track such things.

The reason Google and Craigs List, etc can sell advertising cheaper, and provide better conversion rates, is that they don't have to pay for the journalism.

When I worked at the Financial Times my employer sold advertising to pay for my work, to pay for the journalism. When you don't have that cost , you are way ahead of the game (which is why media companies should not be part of Google AdSense because they have to compete against Google and their production costs are far higher. It is a no win situation.)

So what will pay for high quality journalism? It is the most important question that we face as a society, imho...



I've been taking part on a lot of panels lately. Cisco held an excellent one-day conference on the new media, and I got to talk about media&nbsp; and how Silicon Valley is turning in "Media Valley."&nbsp; Dan Scheinman, head of Cisco's Media Solutions Group gave an excellent presentation. He knows where things are heading, it'll be interesting to see if he can persuade the rest of Cisco to head in the right direction.

Also, Launchsquad hosted an evening panel with Bill Flitter from Pheedo and myself. It was great to connect with Bill again, he has an intuitive understanding on new media and the new marketing techniques that are emerging.

Check out these links. My fellow panelists said many interesting and insightful things about the new media and related matters...

Cisco New Media Summit.

Cisco's blog:



Friday Watch: Podcasts, Better Writing, China's Tech, Khosla at Cleantech 2007, Wired Mag Cover: You

Here is the podcast (92 minutes) from the recent Social Media Club in San Francisco on the subject of social media tools and saving the planet:

Social Media Club - » Social Media Club San Francisco Podcast

... free online health community is preparing for an official public beta launch. You can preview personalization tools and community tools for a "My Health Space" capability in building support networks. Medical sites are very hot these days because of the pharma advertising money.


The iSuppli market research firm brings attention to China's development of key technology standards for its domestic market which are designed to protect its indigenous companies.

There are several major technology standards that have been released or are now under development that will have a major influence on high-technology markets in China, including:

· The digital terrestrial television broadcast standard, which will go into effect on Aug. 1.

· The AVS standard, which passed the Ministry of Information Industry (MII)’s examination in December 2005 and became a recommended standard on Mar. 1, 2006.

· Automotive specifications covering areas including sensors, testing, diagnostics, electromagnetic compatibility and networking and interface protocols.

· The TD-SCDMA 3G mobile-phone standard, which is being used on a trial basis by 20,000 consumers in China.

· The mobile TV standard, which is yet to be determined by China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

· WiMAX wireless broadband, a technology that remains in a trial period in China.


Find out more from iSuppli's free whitepaper: The Progress and Pitfalls of Chinese Technology Standards


I was recently interviewed by Sam Whitmore, from the excellent Sam Whitmore's Media Survey. Sam is the top media watcher, if you aren't a subscriber, you should consider it seriously.

Here is the url: for the podcast   (Thanks David Scott Lewis for the shortened url!)


Coming up: Vinod Khosla will keynote Cleantech 2007.

Produced by and collocated with the 10th annual
Nanotech 2007 conference, Cleantech 2007 will be held May 23-24, 2007
at the Santa Clara Convention Center bringing bleeding edge
innovations and the scientific community behind them to the forefront
of the global sustainability forum.


Better web writing techniques.

Excellent interview on Poynter, here is a sample :

Chris Nodder, a Web-writing expert and user experience specialist for the Nielsen Norman Group.


  • Use the inverted pyramid. Start with the conclusion.
  • Write abstracts or summaries for longer content.
  • Tell readers what questions they can expect an article to answer.
  • Make small chunks of content with one or two ideas in each chunk.
  • Group content that is similar.
  • Write unique titles, headings and subheadings.
  • Make lists, not paragraphs. Bulleted lists and white space can break up text.


Get on the cover of Wired Magazine! 

Wired subscribers can upload a photo and customize the headlines and color palette. The first 5,000 subscribers to do so will receive a customized July issue, whose cover story is on the future of personalization.
Full details:


Coming up next week: Emergence Capital Partners--why focus matters for a VC fund.

BackLinks & BackStories: A week in review. . .

How the media sausage gets made is a vital part of media literacy. In the spirit of adding transparency and showing how my media is made, here are some background notes on my past week.


It was a busy week and I'm days behind on my emails (sorry everyone!). My inbox is the bane of my life because I can never catch up. I'm out and about most of the day and then I need time to write, which means my inbox is often the last thing I get to. And if I get a day or two behind on my emails I hate going there, which means it piles up even more...

[SMS + cell phone ( 415 336 7547) are usually best way to get me if all else fails.]


Saturday- I spent most of the day writing articles instead of working on a new project, Silicon Valley Minute short vid pitches by startups - who are you and what do you do.)

I wrote a bunch of posts, some exclusively for our new sister site New Rules Communications - the new rules in media and pr

-One of the articles was about how Silicon Valley is becoming transformed into a Media Valley. It received lots of links over the next few days. It reminded me that timing is everything for some ideas...

Silicon Valley has become Media Valley    see: 52 blog reactions


Sunday- I went to Kezar Pavilion to celebrate the life of Pablo Heising, a friend who died suddenly just before Christmas and worked hard for many communities in San Francisco. Pablo used to be a Digger in the 1960s and so the value of community was something he understood very well. I dubbed him the "Mayor of Haight Street"  when I published "The Street" a local Haight-Ashbury newspaper here in 1987 to 1989.

Laughing Squid » Squid List » A Celebration of Pablo Heising

Pablo Heising -- 'mayor of Haight'


Monday- Worked on setting up Silicon Valley Minute.


Tuesday- Popped into the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose:

- Low turnout for Silicon Valley Tech Policy Summit - do tech companies care about policy?

- Tech Policy Summit: Kara and the poster boys of social media

- Tech Policy Summit: Tech companies have deep pockets and short arms


Wednesday- Down in Palo Alto meeting with Stanford University David Nordfors senior research scholar on Innovation Journalism and journalism fellows, many from Europe.

Met with John Furrier and team over at Ran into one of favorite people, Gabe Rivera, from TechMeme. the dark horse of the new media pack

- I announced Silicon Valley Minute.

- I ran out of time to get to the Intel World Ahead Program  at the Computer History Museum. And I missed Cohn & Wolfe's HP event stuck in traffic coming back from Palo Alto.


Thursday-  Met  with VC firm Emergence Capital Partners in San Mateo. I really like these guys, I'll have a report on them in the next few days.

-Met with CEO of BlueLithium and Anheuser Bush execs, we talked about beer and social networks.

-Popped into Level3 Temporary Comprehension Event at Levende Lounge   Level3 event at Levende Lounge, caught the end of it. Ran into the very talented Adriana Gascoigne from GUBA, the online video site (very addictive),  and did a quick interview on camera with Adriana for


Nice backlink from the New York Times:

WHAT’S ONLINE; Sell and Tell (the I.R.S.)

At, Richard Koman wrote, “EBay especially doesn’t like being singled out when Craigslist and other online services that don’t use an auction format are not being asked to inform on their customers.”


Friday Watch: Ze Frank came to town; Email your dreams into your future; A community for parents; UberPulse blog; Creative Commons chatter; Picasso is in town

A couple of weeks back I got to meet Ze Frank thanks to Nick Douglas. Ze is a very thoughtful chap, we had an interesting discussion about the dark side of community.

Ze Frank lives in New York and is one of the pioneers of vidblogs, last year he won a Vloggie for his “The Show.” He makes his money by speaking at conferences. (zefrank - live shows.)

Ze has one of the most interesting web sites with hours of fun. Check out this item!

See also: Link to Laughing Squid » Ze Frank


A reader writes:

Link to Dreaminder. Remind yourself of your dreams

There's innovation on handling your dreams:
A website called Dreaminder enables you to write down your dream and send it to yourself in the future. On the date you specify, you will receive your dream in the email you entered. At that point, you have the opportunity to compare the life you live with your dreams and see how far you've come.

. . .

A reader writes: is a great secured site community for parents of pre-k through 12 grades. Schoolparentnet focus on providing tools and connections for parents through their schools for fundraising events, activities, projects and trips.

 . . .

Jean-Baptise Su is now publishing  UberPulse - a weblog about tech and Silicon Valley, with lots of video.

. . .

The Creative Commons Salon on Wednesday evening at ShineSF was dull despite a decent sized crowd which chattered away noisily through the presentations. Creative Commons seems to me to be mostly to be about producing machine-readable copyright restrictions so that aggregators can collect and collate content.

. . .

A much better place to be Wednesday evening was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for the opening of the Picasso and American Art exhibit. Stunning. The presentation of Picasso alongside his contempories provides a level of context that is shocking.  

Persephone's Bees played a good set at the SFMOMA opening, playing coyly with influences from some of the world's best known art school bands, early Roxy Music, Warhol's Velvet Underground and many more. The last song in their set was extremely great--more of that please!

Here is a sample of their set:



SVW in India ; A blog that Lark likes; SundayReader Web 0.5; SVW Pubby award nomination

SVW in India . . .

I'm excited to be heading out to India in late October with Vivek Ranadive, CEO of Tibco, the first SVW sponsor. Mr Ranadive is launching his book, "The Predictive Enterprise" in India and has a book tour that includes meetings with some of the country's top business leaders.

It will be my first visit to India which makes it doubly interesting.

(One of my favorite quotes comes from Vivek Ranadive: "India is the killer application for broadband.")


Is SundayReader too 0.5?

A reader writes...

Hi Tom -
Love your site ......
A question: Is there any room on the net for a Retro Web 0.5 site like ....


Let's ask SVW readers :-)

It's a bit barebones but that's a positive. I like the way it mashes up mainstream media and blog sites: it is all mediasphere. I would certainly click on a few things and explore.

Link to SundayReader


Andy Lark likes Tesla Motors blog . . .


Andy Lark, the former comms chief at Sun Microsystems always has good insights into corporate blogging. I noticed that he really likes the Tesla blog (Tesla is the hot electric sports car).




Link to Andy Lark's blog


SVW nomination for a Pubby award . . .

I'm proud to say that SVW has been nominated for a 2006 Pubby award celebrating excellence in media.

Also nominated in this section: the fun SFist,,, and

I love the Pubby awards because the Bay Area membership of PR/comms professionals nominate and vote for the winners.

Most awards, such as the Webbies, require hopeful winners to nominate themselves, and pay an entry fee. It's a nice business when you tot up all the numbers...


Link to the Pubby awards

Big Blue: The Mainframe meets "The Office"

Earlier in the week someone at Microsoft leaked training videos that were made by the UK creators of "The Office." They were quickly taken down by YouTube but copies are still around in various places.

Moving darn quickly for a computer giant, Big Blue uploaded 3 funny videos done in a similar vein:

Link to Mainframe: Mainframe meets "The Office"

BTW, they were all written and performed by IBM staff...

This&That: A lackluster Steve Jobs; Giovanni Rodriguez leaves Eastwick; I'm moderating at LinuxWorld; fun PC facts; UN and Time mention SVW; Zune is not nice; Jobsboard coming on SVW

I ran into a former journalist now a software developer based in Italy who was attending Apple's worldwide developers conference and he said he was shocked by Steve Jobs keynote speech. He said Mr Jobs was having trouble concentrating, was relying on cue cards, and he looked gaunt.

He wondered if Mr Jobs might be sick or affected by medical treatments following his battle with pancreatic cancer. I hope that Mr jobs health is good but I wonder about who could lead Apple if he needed to take a break. I'm not aware of any heirs to the throne.

Apple has not done well under other leaders. When Mr jobs was previously forced out of the company, Apple's fortunes slid further and further under a series of CEOs until he returned and revitalized the company.

Or maybe Mr Jobs has been worn thin by the options investigations, which are also affecting many other Silicon Valley public companies. Here is more from

* * *

My friend Giovanni Rodriguez recently left Eastwick Communications to start his own venture. He mentioned how scary it is to leave a good job and the risks he is taking. This gave me a perfect opportunity to trot out my favorite pieces of advice:

In Silicon Valley, the biggest risk is in not taking a risk.

Risk is rewarded here. Even if your venture goes down in flames, you are still ahead because others will value that you took a risk. That attitude is a very important factor in Silicon Valley's success: there is a huge tolerance for failure, and massive amounts of failure. Only one in 20 startups succeeds.

In other countries you get to fail only once and then others often will label you a failure--that discourages risks.

* * *

Next week LinuxWorld is in town and I'll be moderating a panel on August 16 at 3pm. From Mike Maney at PageOne, who organized it:

The panelists include Stuart Cohen (CEO of Open Source Development Labs, sponsor of Linus Torvalds), Eben Moglen (founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center and one of the leading voices in the current GPL discussion), and Christine Martino (VP of HP's open source and Linux org).

IBM is gong to be making some big announcements and I spoke with Dan Frye, who heads IBM's Linux Technology Center earlier today for a pre-brief but I can't talk about the announcements until Tuesday.

Dan Frye is based in Portland Oregon, which is starting to be a global center for the open source movement. Intel has its open source labs there, and Mr Frye says that more companies are moving to the area because of the open source community.

* * *

The United Nations is using Silicon Valley Watcher as an example of "Blogs as Journalism" in a UNESCO publication called "The Net for Journalists - A practical guide to the internet for journalists in developing countries" written by Martin Huckerby. I'm flattered! (Hat tip to Tom Abate.)

And mentioned Silicon Valley Watcher in a report about the jailed video blogger Josh Wolf written by Laura Locke. But Time is very stingy with its links... BTW, another nice piece on Josh is here on

* * *

It is the 25 year anniversary of the PC. Some fun facts courtesy of Intel (an SVW sponsor).

IBM launched its PC in 1981 using an Intel 8088 microprocessor. The latest Intel microprocessor Core 2 Duo has 10,000 times as many transistors as the 8088.

Eight percent of Internet users, or about 12 million American adults, keep a blog. And, 39 percent of Internet users, or about 57 million American adults, read blogs – a significant increase since the fall of 2005.

Intel estimates there are nearly 1bn PCs now connected to the Internet.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home," said Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Company, 1977. [SVW: DEC was later acquired by a PC company: Compaq Computer.]

* * *

A Hebrew speaking friend says that Microsoft's Zune MP3 player carries a name that means "you're [email protected]#cked."

* * *

We'll soon have a jobs board on Silicon Valley Watcher! Probably next week...

This&That: Green envy: the Tesla sports car is coming; 3VR and robot assassins from the future; good review for Long Tail book.

Tesla.gifThere will be lot more hybrid cars hitting the used car markets locally because there will soon be a much greener (and faster) car available from startup Tesla Motors. On July 20 Tesla will pull off the covers on its all-electric sports car, a secret design powered by a new type of electric motor.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are Toyota Prius hybrid drivers and also investors in Tesla, which has collected funding of about $60m. I recently met Martin Eberhard, CEO and co-founder of Tesla Motors. He is confident of the car's success--even though hardly anyone, including investors, have seen the design. This, and other details will be revealed later this month.

This is what is known so far: the car will be priced at the lower-end of the premium sports car range; it has a Tesla Motors designed variable torque electric engine; it does zero to sixty mph in 4 seconds; it has a range of about 250 miles per electric charge; it has a carbon fiber body.

You'll need a lot of green to get a Tesla sports car but you'll be greener than anyone else on the highway. And at just 1 cent per mile in electric power costs, it'll pay for itself after just 500,000 miles! (My rough estimate ;-)

3vr.gif. . .I recently visited 3VR Security, a San Francisco startup with very impressive video surveillance technology.

3VR has some minority funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. And you can see why because the video surveillance technology is very impressive searching for faces within masses of video camera surveillance images.

Stephen Russell, the CEO of 3VR showed me how the search technology could pull together a timeline of video segments from many cameras to follow a specific person around the office and in the hallways. It was just one of many ways to analyze video data from dozens of video cameras in near real-time. The first customers include banks, large corporations, and government agencies.

The technology still has a ways to go before it can match the facial recognition abilities of humans, but that will eventually happen. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out that in the right/wrong hands future versions of 3VR's technology could track people without any need for RFID chips.

And it doesn't take a science fiction writer to figure out that if future sentient machine life forms get their hands on this technology, they could use it to oppress humanity.

But I think 3VR's technology is not that threatening to future human societies because if it were, the robot assassins from the future would have already wiped out the company :-)

LongTail.jpg. . . Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired magazine coined the term "long tail" to describe the existence of many millions of niche markets; and the the ability to use the Internet to find the few dozen customers for each of those niche markets. The term is popular within business plans and PowerPoints for Web 2.0 startups but most people around here are sick of hearing it, but don't want to antagonize the influential Mr Anderson.

The book of the article just came out and I spoke with Giovanni Rodriguez, of Eastwick Commnications, who bought a copy and is writing a review for Gelf magazine. His initial impression is very positive.

"I was glad to see that it is only about 200 pages, it has the feel of a slim volume. That's a relief because I didn't want to slog through 600 pages."

If the reviews continue to be this good, Mr Anderson will be on the best seller lists in no time.

Churchill Club 20th anniversary event: The call of the Rooster...


Twenty years on, Silicon Valley has expanded way beyond its birthplace in Palo Alto, it includes San Francisco and I would say it even reaches the outskirts of Santa Rosa, in the North Bay.

It would be fun to have a sort of "new" Churchill Club up in the city, where there are plenty of people interested in Churchillian type events but they can't get down to Palo Alto at 6pm because they are working until 8pm.

So, I've been floating the idea for the Rooster Club SF--[a salon of peers rather than podiums] over the past couple of weeks, here on SVW and elsewhere.

I mentioned it to Raymond Nasr, the new Churchill Club president who liked the idea. And it's not competition to Churchill Club, it's an SF affiliate. It is not either/or--but an and.

I've no idea how to pull such things together, Raymond and his team have plenty of experience.

I think that if Silicon Valley is going to make a comeback--and it is making a slow comeback--it has to have new institutions, new media voices and new organizations that represent and reflect these times.

And they have to come out of all this media disruption, this blogging movement.

And that is why it should be called the Rooster Club, imho, because the Rooster is a perfect metaphor for the blogger. Take a look:

-The Rooster crows away on its little patch of the farmyard, look at me, look how fine I am, my voice carries far and wide.

-The Rooster is all puffed up, all feathers and air, yet the Rooster is always the first to see the faint light of the future, the dawn of a new day, and proclaim it for all to hear.

-The Rooster always wakes you up way too early--and you curse the Rooster for it--but you can always fall back to sleep.

-A Rooster has to have cajones, by definition. But that is not a gender reference, it is a balls reference;-) because men and women bloggers have to have the balls to put their ideas and writing out into the blogosphere, into a public arena where they can be challenged, ridiculed, and attacked.

-This is the Chinese year of the Rooster.

. . .

Let me know what you think, we'll pass around a sign-up sheet very shortly. Also, send me some of your Rooster/blogger metaphors, we can compile them here :-)

Churchill Club 20th anniversary event:The radical nature of online news...more than ten years ago

Rooster-Reporter.jpgIt was a pleasure to see Tom Waldrop, director of Intel's worldwide press relations. And it was interesting to hear Tom chat about the early days of Cnet's, which is more than 10 years old.

Tom said that many in Silicon Valley weren't sure how to deal with's writers, were they really real journalists?

We forget how reading news stories on the internet, from a media company with no print publication, was a strange thing to do. And it wasn't all that long ago.

Tom said that very soon people realized that the online news stories were just as good as the printed news stories from the established publishers. And the journalists became an accepted part of the Silicon Valley media community. And Intel was also an investor in Cnet, which provided very important validity to the fledgling online news companies.

It's interesting to hear that story because I hear the same questions from many companies today, how do we deal with bloggers and with the blogosphere? Are bloggers journalists?

Howard High, a senior exec in Tom's team at Intel, introduced me to a meeting of the Semiconductor Industry Association in June, saying that when I left the Financial Times to become a blogger, that's when Intel knew it had to take blogging seriously and try to understand what is going on. It was because I was the first journalist to leave a prominent position at a major newspaper to become a blogger. [I didn't think of it at the time, but...]

So, are bloggers journalists? I tell people, "If you read something that looks like journalism, on a consistent basis, then it most likely is journalism." Yes, some bloggers are journalists.

I'm sometimes introduced as a former journalist, when I'm really a former FT journalist. It's always a slip of the tongue, but it is also an indication of the confusion over the new new media, and how to deal with it.

I'm still a journalist and I still work and write as a journalist, on pretty much the same topics and companies and people that I wrote about at the FT.

I still get pitched by the same people and companies; and I am invited to the very same media events as the print press. So, yes, I am a journalist and engaged in the traditional journalistic pursuits of scoops, exclusives, analysis and people.

But I often dress in a suit--so as to reassure people that bloggers are not a wild and unruly sort--they are just like you and me :-)

Next up at 11.11am--Churchill Club 20th anniversary event: The call of the Rooster...

Churchill Club 20th anniversary event:.Thank you founders Tony Perkins and Rich Karlgaard

It was just twenty years ago that the Churchill club was founded--two decades of podiums filled with Silicon Valley's luminaries and legends.

Rich Karlgaard, co-founder of the Churchill Club and publisher of Forbes magazine, said Robert Noyce, Intel's co-founder and first CEO gave the first Churchill Club address, a forgettable performance. For the 20th Anniversary dinner Paul Ottelini, Intel's newly appointed CEO will provide the speech.

The topic 20 years ago was the urgent need for tariffs against Japanese memory chip imports--something which did occur. Intel used to be a big memory chip maker, and one of the most strident lobbyists for import duties on Japanese memory chip competitors.

I remember writing about those times, I had arrived in San Francisco just one year prior to the founding of the Churchill Club.

Not long after Mr Noyce's Churchill Club speech, Intel abandoned memory chips in favor of the fat margins on microprocessors.

And forcing Japanese chip makers to charge more for their chips backfired on the US, because it sent boatloads of capital from the US to Japan.

In today's times the thinking would be: cheap chips equals good; because you can make digital products cheaper which grows the overall market. [As long as you can scramble up the value chain fast enough.]

If Japanese competitors were dumping chips below their cost of manufacture, then that is a good thing--it subsidizes the end user market and will eventually kill them.

Intel and the other US chipmakers moved into higher margin products, which is the natural scheme of such things. And the cash-rich Japanese chipmakers fell behind in chip making because they funneled their investment capital into other industries.

Later in the evening TP waxed lyrical on two of his favorite subjects Bush, and Wall Street Journal Editorials. At one point, he called the Economist magazine "Ecommunist" which, I thought, was quite a witty twist, but Tony said it was just a slip of his tongue.

Next up at 10.10am--Churchill Club 20th anniversary event:The radical nature of online news...more than ten years ago.

Churchill Club 20th anniversary event:How Raymond Nasr's mother found out he was leaving Google...

Raymond Nasr, ex-googler and Eric's right hand man, is the Churchill Club's new president. Raymond mentioned that his Aunt Edna reads Silicon Valley Watcher and she is 81.

About a week ago, Raymond told me that my scoop on his leaving Google, caused him all kinds of embarrasment and he had to explain to his mother,and his work colleagues; how did I get that so right, he asked?

What can I say? I can't reveal the secrets of journalism--they can only be acquired through many years of struggle and search for the truth--but I can say that I'm delighted Silicon Valley Watcher has the reach to reach Raymond's dear mom and aunt(!)

I also realised that I, and my colleagues within the rapidly deconstructing news media community, all provide a very valuable content contribution to the internet, and to many fine internet companies such as Google. Let's see a machine create that kind of content. Those pages and pages of harvested links that the Googlebot collects and publishes--eventually have to point to something original, otherwise they are pointless.

Up next at 9.09am--Churchill Club 20th anniversary event:.Thank you Tony Perkins and the Forbes guy

More stories than you can shake a stick at--part 879: Two decades of the Churchill Club --[published as an hourly series as an experiment.]

Thursday evening I'm in Palo Alto at a small Spago gathering to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Churchill Club. I meet Julie Crabill, Christie Valdez, and their colleagues, who organize and publicize a very busy conference program that runs all year long.

For those unfamiliar with this very familiar Silicon Valley institution, here is its genesis, in its own words:

The Club was founded by Rich Karlgaard, now publisher of Forbes magazine, and Tony Perkins, now Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Red Herring Communications. Together, Tony, Rich, and a group of friends from the Ed Zschau senate campaign, built an organization dedicated to producing programs where "important people say important things".
It was great to see some of the Silicon Valley hackpack, such as Quentin Hardy of Forbes (twice in one week) and Michael Kanellos, one of Cnet's top editorial brands.

I will spare you the name of the journalist, for fear of embarrasment, who said a lovely thing to me, he said "I just added your rss feed." In today's society, and in that group, that is indeed a compliment.

Next up at 8.08 am--Churchill Club 20th anniversary event:How Raymond Nasr's mother found out he was leaving Google...

Tales from the valley: Andy Lark is out and about; patents I'd like to own; it's only Web 0.2; the call of the Rooster; welcome to the Singularity...

By Tom Foremski for Silicon Valley

In the past, I've tried to spare you from my bit torrent of stuff and limit my posts. But, some days I need to get the current stuff out to make way for new stuff.

So, here is just one post (stress free), containing several items :-)

Andy Lark at Rivermark Peets

It's almost nine months since I spoke with Andy Lark, who used to run Sun Microsystems' corporate communications team for many years and left Sun less than a year ago.

He's got fingers in more projects than you'd think possible, given that nature allows us only 10 fingers. Among them: Andy has uncovered a search engine gold mine opportunity--and it is in the dark matter of our digital world.

When you hear about it on Monday, you'll be struck by its simplicity and its obviousness, the hallmarks of damn good ideas.

Andy is also one of the first corporate bloggers, and one of the savviest media profesionals you'll meet. Here is a quote from Andy Lark on blogging:

Not every company needs to have a blog, but every company needs to be involved in blogging.

That one piece of advice is worth millions. Here is his blog:

Patents I'd like to have...first in a series

What am I bid for the following newly granted patent? I guess the bids would come from Intel, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Cisco Systems, Samsung maybe even Google, Ebay, Yahoo, Nokia, and ...?

Take a look, it is smack dab in the sweet spot:

United States Patent 6,952,409
Jolitz October 4, 2005
Accelerator system and method


A network accelerator for TCP/IP includes programmable logic for performing transparent protocol translation of streamed protocols for audio/video at network signaling rates. The programmable logic is configured in a parallel pipelined architecture controlled by state machines and implements processing for predictable patterns of the majority of transmissions which are stored in a content addressable memory, and are simultaneously stored in a dual port, dual bank application memory. The invention allows raw Internet protocol communications by cell phones, and cell phone to Internet gateway high capacity transfer that scales independent of a translation application, by processing packet headers in parallel and during memory transfers without the necessity of conventional store and forward techniques.
Inventors: Jolitz; Lynne G. (22570 Citation Dr., Los Gatos, CA 95033)
Appl. No.: 756668
Filed: January 8, 2001

Here's the link to the patent office.

It's not Web 2.0 its Web 0.2

We haven't yet kicked out of early beta when it comes to the internet. That's why going to the Web 1.0 evening event last week was far better than staying at the Web 2.0 conference reception/dinner around the corner.

It wasn't such a good idea to skip dinner, but the company at Web 1.0 was very good and buzzing. It was at the House of Shields, a bar in downtown SF. Sarah Bresee from Outcast Communications and a couple of her coworkers had to drag me kicking and screaming to it. I protested that I would be missing John Battelle moderate a panel discussion--all the way through dinner.

But I figured somebody would blog it, so I didn't have to be there. Besides, I didn't have a conference badge and no badge, no dinner. Furthermore, the price was steep; $2800 per person and $30K for the vendors to take part in the multi-day event.

But down at Web 1.0 the cost of entry was nothing. In fact, I was up by a few drinks on the evening. The company was all top notch (and top Dogster, Slide, HotorNot and GoingOn, with Zazzle and many others...the (mostly) new geek generation :-)

At Web 1.0, I got into some great conversations, met new people and walked out with a ton of stuff.

More please...

The Web 2.0 conference is highly respected, and for good reason: it brings together so many key people. It has become a revered institution. But I also realized we can have some of the benefits of a Web 2.0 conference, at a Web 1.0 price--more of the time.

I've been testing an idea for The Rooster Club, an occasional get together, a salon of peers rather than podiums.

The Rooster is the perfect metaphor for the blogger (and the entrepreneur)--crowing away on its little patch of the farmyard, boasting and wanting attention. Look at me!

The Rooster is fluff, huff and air, but also cohones. It takes balls to be a Rooster, by definition :-) [BTW, that's not a gender distinction I'm making, it is a quality.]

The metaphor is fun to explore...The Rooster spots the dawn of the next day and wakes you up, and it is *always* way too early--but you can always go back to sleep if you want to :-)

Also, we are in the Chinese Year of the Rooster, and Time magazine will make it the year of the Blogger--because it represents the most disruptive force in society today. imho.

[We don't need to explore the rest of this avian metaphor right now...but I'm sure you could go further, and you would find it frightingly apt!]

We'll have a sign up for the Rooster Club soon, it'll be fun and you should come.

The Singularity is coming--Ray shows his graphs

I caught Ray Kurzweil's lecture recently, which had many provocative ideas and many very similar graphs.

The man takes 225 life-stretching pills per day, said Stewart Brand, the legendary media innovator and community builder (The Well, Whole Earth Catalog, etc), in his introduction.

Mr Kurzweil took a break from ingesting micro-nutrients and spoke for along time about the coming Singularity, detailed in his latest book.

The Singularity is an event that will meld our biology with our technology. It is the collision of many trends that are expanding on a logarithmic scale and they all meet at the same point. Ray has many graphs that prove it--in fact, they all look the same.

The Singularity will offer us mastery over our biology and our life span. Ray's ruler says we are 15 or so years away from the Singularity.

In fact, if we can make it through the next ten years without encountering our mortal nature, then we'll probably make it to the Singularity.

In this near future world our virtual-reality creation capacity will make the digital and analog worlds indistinguishable.

He described a future world that readers of Stanislaw Lem have known for decades. And Lem has already mapped out a lot of the philosophical, moral, ethical and comic dilemmas that such a future will bring. (Cyberiad is an excellent primer on Lem if you are curious.)

Lem might say: If we are so close to the Singularity, just 15 years or so away, then it is highly likely that we are already in the Singularity.

Does that change anything? Probably not. We are still bound by the rules of this world, whatever its source. But it is interesting nonetheless.

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

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Story continues...

. . . the end of week wrapper

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

It was a very good week for stories again. Whenever I hear other journalists complain that there are no stories around, I shake my head (slowly and sadly). I keep finding so many that I never have the time to write them all.

Here are some of the week's highlights:

NASDAQ-SF.jpgI'm on Cisco's first podcast, a historic occasion, a media roundtable discussion about education and healthcare with John Chambers and the heads of VeriSign, NASDAQ and HealthRay.
Cisco opens NASDAQ virtually. . .

Cisco panel on virtuality...

The panel inspired me to get something going, a Doc Searls snowball type of thing. It was when the moderator Jim Goldman, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, CNBC, said, "Well, what's the next step, what do we do this afternoon?"

It reminded me of the recent "Die, Hippie, Die" episode of South Park.

Story continues...

The Friday Wrapper . . .and introducing Atom Atomic

Atom Atomic: a pseudonym for some of my writing, when I want to be a different persona, and also for all of us.

Atom Atomic is a character and name that others will use; and you, dear reader, are also welcome to use it as a pseudonym. And you can use variations on the name, as well.

I think there is value in using different names as labels for different personas. Using pseudonyms is not necessarily to hide identities; but more to allow for different kinds of expression.

Pseudonyms help label the tone of an online voice; and labels are very important in this changing media.

Plus, many writers can take on the identity of a pseudonym, and develop a character, a personality, maybe. And it shares identity among a group of writers.

So, introducing Atom Atomic: sometimes it's written by the Atom-in-me persona; and sometimes it's written by the Atom-in-you. I'm not yet sure what Atom's voice is; but that will develop as others take part.

So, are you an Atom? Atoms are everywhere--send us an atom-item or leave it as a comment. Or use your real name :-)

Friday Watcher: Must-have servers/gadgets for CEOs
By Atom Atomic

The new must-have for top executives: your own personal mail server

Story continues...

The Valley wrap ... three dot journalism returns (a nod to Herb Caen)

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Jim Finn, the former head of comms at Oracle was in town recently, he's now with IBM. We caught up downtown over dim sum and I got to hear about his new gig. BTW, if Jim ever gets to write a book about his experiences in Silicon Valley, go buy it.

Jim started off at IBM and is happy to be back on the East Coast fulltime and not having to make the punishing weekend commute to be with his family.

Interestingly, Jim and Andy Lark, the former head of comms at Sun Microsystems were recently seen breakfasting together. Both started at Sun and Oracle within weeks of each other, and both announced their departures within weeks of each other. (BTW, Andy has promised me the scoop on his new venture.)

. . .

Micro media mogul Nick Denton (Gawker Media) swung into SF Thursday, and our sleepy fishing village roused itself and a decent crew assembled at the smoky Place Pigalle in Hayes Valley to catch up with the great man.

Story continues...

[Friday Watch 3] Ingenio does AOL ... Pissed off journalist looking for love ... Fear and loathing at NAB

Fear and Loathing on the trail to NAB in Las Vegas…

Jochen Siegle and I are off to the desert oasis town of Las Vegas this weekend. Jochen is covering stories for Der Spiegel, and I will be on a panel at the National Association of Broadcasters show - "the world's largest electronic media show."

And my fellow panelists are of a considerable pedigree (how I got into such august company, God knows…!) Senior execs from Sony, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive, CinemaNow and ... SiliconValleyWatcher! Moderated by Dan Scheinman, head of M&A at Cisco. (See panel details)

Happy-Hunter-Face.jpgIn an homage to St. Hunter (S. Thompson), the patron saint of bloggers, we will be renting a convertible and filling up the trunk with plenty of digital devices. We did consider also filling up with the stuff Hunter kept on hand, but we decided it would be rather challenging to source most of them … unless our good readers can help :-)

Story continues...

[Friday Watch 2] You can’t get there from here… on blogs and journalists

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher
I’m listening to a conversation between editors at two large established news organizations; and they are asking each other how they deal with blogs and news. What do you call a news story, and what goes in the blog? Do you have editors for the blog items? Do you get involved in the comments? Is it extra work? Can you write in your voice, or is it still the “house” voice?

All great questions; but I’m beginning to realize that “you can’t get there from here.”

Story continues...

[Friday Watch 1] What does it take to be Flickricious? Sony might find out

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Crowd-Graphed.jpgThe other night, dinner discussions centered on platforms and communities — and the spontaneous nature of community formation. Companies these days would kill for communities of users of the unusual sort that arise on Flickr and Yet there is no way to create Flickrlicious communities - they have to arise by themselves by interacting with open and open-ended technology. You can prepare the ground; but you are at the mercy of random events and factors.

We laughed at the memory of Friendster, which about two years ago tried to ban “fakesters,” a large community of users that were using fictitious names and acting out outlandish personas, such as a guy called Pure Evil.

That's right, stamping out a spontaneously formed, growing, community of users because they were not doing what they were supposed to do as a Friendster user. That wouldn’t happen today, I would think. Now, it’s the online communities that set the rules of what is acceptable and doable.

Story continues...

Friday Watch--The best of the week's Watcher and an odd-pod collection of bits and bites...

...Plus what's coming up very soon on ess-vee-double-you.

This past week in SiliconValleyWatcher, just in case you missed the good bits, SVW featured ... an exclusive interview with Dan Scheinman, head of M&A at Cisco ... breaking news that Yahoo is launching Yahoo Publisher Network to compete with AdSense ... analysis of the new competition and risks in the click-through ad business ... a look at WindRiver's Linux conversion ... ruminations on the blogger/journalist split (is there one?) ... and more. Read on for post-mortems on all these and look at the coming week.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: One more tribute to Blogger Patron Saint Hunter S; Sedate Wired Raves; Peggy Noonan predicts the Watcher; and other wraps...

Best of the Watcher this week:

If the Internet is a disruptive technology where is the disruption?
-Essay on the disruptive media technology.

The Weekend Wrap starts here...

One more Gonzo tribute…

hunter_s.jpg Thank you, Hunter S. Thompson, for pushing the boundaries of what was considered journalism, and for your passion, honesty and downright fun!

You pioneered a new journalism that inspires us blogger journalists to do the same: to challenge accepted formats, to rail against anything that rails us, and to have the courage to expose ourselves as individuals with faults, warts, and the occasional divine inspiration.

If the Blogosphere had patron saints, I would propose Hunter for canonization.

Story continues...

File under "They paid researchers to study that?"

by Doug Millison for

The average Silicon Valley man is fatter and pays less attention to what he eats than his female counterparts, Associated Press reports

I could have told them that.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: Blogging & Health

by Doug Millison for

According to Beijing Today:

Checks of 1,182 reporters in Beijing conducted by the Chinese Physician's Association on Sunday showed that only 28, or 2.4% of them, were healthy.

Stomach problems were the most common ailments of the tested journalists, all of whom were under 60 years old.

Results of the checks point the finger for the reporters' poor health at occupational stress. Among the people examined, 84.2% said they sufferd from chronic exhaustion, 72.1% complained of high work pressure, 62% said they did not get regular sleep, half had bad eyesight and nearly the same number were in chronic pain.

However, over 60% of them admitted it was the first time they had undergone a full-body physical test.

The 659 female journalists checked fared poorly. More than 290 suffered breast disease and over 30% had gynecological conditions, mostly the result of high pressure, nervous tension and unbalanced living patterns. The majority of the women were unaware of their health problems before the examinations.

Liang Wannian, vice director general of the Beijing Health Bureau advised all local journalists to regularly receive health examinations and build personal "health archives."

Reporters should also pay attention to their psychological health, get regular exercise, avoid foods hard to dist, minimize smoking and drinking and take vacations when they felt overwhelmed by work, Liang said.


Study shows journalism bad for health, Beijing Today via

What's the story? Doug Millison also edits, "on a need-to-know basis"

Tit for tat

by Doug Millison for

You'd think these were squabbling grammar school kids, not two of the most powerful companies in the software industry. First, Google runs an unflattering photo of Bill Gates on its page, next to stories about Microsoft's launch of a competing search engine, on the day of the announcement. Now, Microsoft has apparently struck back.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: No cancer risk for employees, IBM claims

by Doug Millison for

Surprise! A study commissioned by IBM finds no increased cancer risk for employees in a Silicon Valley plant and two others.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: Life goes on

by Doug Millison for

It's been a tough week for Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Most of us voted for Kerry (over 80 percent in the city of San Francisco) and it's difficult watching Bush smirk and sneer as he enjoys his moment in the sun. There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on Wednesday. High tech executives remain unsure what opportunities may unfold, or slam shut, in the second Bush term, while California as a whole braces for payback after having voted for Bush's opponent, and for embracing lifestyles that infuriate Bush's right-wing, fundamentalist Christian supporters. But even as reality sinks in, Silicon Valley finds some reasons for hope.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: Military intelligence in action---happy 35th birthday to the internet!

by Tom Foremski for

The internet grew out of work on the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. A key goal of ARPANET was to create a communications network that could survive a nuclear war.

If parts of the network were to be disabled due to nuclear blasts, messages could be automatically routed around damaged parts of the network to reach their destination. This continues to be a key capability of the internet, routing data packets across a variety of intermediate networks, to their destination.

It’s lucky that the DoD decided not to use the technology. Surviving a nuclear blast is one thing (cockroaches can do it)--surviving the script kiddies who send out worms and viruses is a lot more difficult.

Friday Watch: "What you say on the Internet can affect your real life"

by Doug Millison for

A blogger's nightmare come true: criticize the President, get the third degree from the Secret Service.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: X-Ray specs

by Doug Millison for

At the back of the comic books I enjoyed as a boy, the two advertisements that intrigued me the most were the one for a body-building course that would make me the object of admiration for a bevy of beach beauties, and the "X-Ray" spectacles that promised to let me see through my admirers' bikinis.

Story continues...

Friday Watch: Technology moves fast but some publishers type slowly

by Tom Foremski for

Our good buddy Tom Abate at the SF Chronicle used to cover the tech beat in the early to mid-1990s before switching to biotech. And there was a wonderful billboard, in a very prominent position on highway 101--not far from Oracle's Emerald City--celebrating Tom's talents.

It proclaimed in massive letters:

"Technology moves fast---Tom Abate types faster."

It seems tech isn't moving very fast these days. The publisher of the financial newspaper, The Daily Deal, and the magazine The Deal, recently announced it was launching Tech Confidential. A 32-page preview of the magazine has been produced with the press release saying:

"Tech Confidential is bound with the centerfold of The Deal's November 1 issue...In 2005, Tech Confidential will be published every other month starting in May."

I can't wait.

Tony Perkins, publisher of online magazine AlwaysON (and former publisher of the Red Herring), is also in no hurry to chase down the tech tortoise. He is launching a quarterly print magazine this winter:

"The AlwaysOn magazine will be a regularly-scheduled briefing on innovation in technology and media. The first issue will include breakout interviews with Bill Gates, Michael Powell, Jonathan Schwartz, Stratton Sclavos, and other top industry luminaries."

I can't wait.

Friday Watch: San Francisco flacks flocking south of Market

by Tom Foremski for

Much of San Francisco’s PR community seems to be moving to offices down by the SBC ballpark. Bite PR are celebrating the opening of their new office there soon. Outcast Communications are in the middle of moving to that area. And I recently heard that Sterling Communications is moving there too.

And it is not because Cnet’s is near by—it’s simply because the rents are dirt-cheap. “We can get great office space for under $2 per square foot, compared to $30 or more elsewhere,” says Elke Heiss, vice president at Sterling Communications. “Also, it has easy access for our clients coming up from the valley, and cheap $6 all day parking.” She adds.

With so many other PR companies already in that neighborhood—it’s reader suggestion time! In the early 1990’s with the CDROM and multimedia “revolution” we had an area of San Francisco called “Multimedia Gulch.”

Maybe it could be called the “Flack District” ala the Garment District.

Or how about “Spin City?”

Your votes and suggestions please.

Friday Watch: Earliest citation of Geek Beacon

by Tom Foremski for
I'm trying to get this term into WordSpy (see below) and into common usage:

"Geek Beacon, the use of a bright display on a Treo or mobile phone to hail a taxi, or signal to others at night."

And it works! I was using my Geek Beacon just the other evening and a taxi pulled up within seconds. The driver said that about six months ago he had picked up a guy that had been waving a device that flashed "taxi" using LED lights. This guy was from Chicago and was planning to market the devices for about $50 a piece.

That's too bad. The Geek Beacon comes as a free standard feature on many "smart" phones such as my Treo 600.

Earliest citation: SiliconValleyWatcher.

Friday Watch: the earliest citation of the term “screenager.”

I was ego-surfing again, testing out a few of the newer search engines and I came across this blast from the past on a site called WordSpy, which tracks words and their origins.

"screenager (SCREE.nay.jur) n. A young person who has grown up with, and is therefore entirely comfortable with, a world of screens, particularly televisions, computers, ATMs, cell phones, and so on."

As an example of its use, it quotes a December 2002 article by Michael Snider using the term screenager.

The earliest citation of the word is in 1994 by guess who, quoting guess who:

"Meanwhile, new magazines are rapidly being launched to target the home market. Oakland-based Blast Publishing Inc. is preparing to launch a major national magazine called Blast, which, according to Publisher Doug Millison, will be a "lifestyle magazine aimed at 'screenagers', teenagers and twentysomethings that have grown up with PCs and video games."
—Tom Foremski, "Homes are prime PC frontier," The San Francisco Examiner, June 19, 1994"

Here is the full entry from Wordspy.

UPDATE: Doug Millison adds that "screenager" was actually coined by Dave Pola, sales and marketing honcho for Morph's Outpost, Inc. (which published the pioneering magazine for interactive multimedia designers and developers, Morph's Outpost on the Digital Frontier, from 1993 to 1995) and sister company, Blast Publishing, Inc. which published Blaster magazine. (The magazine was originally called Blast, but that was changed to Blaster, for intellectual property reasons, by the time the magazine launched.) Journalist, Doug Rushkoff, now a professor at NYU, helped to popularize the term "screenager," beginning in the column that he wrote for Blaster.

Cashing in on GOOG real estate through Google

By Tom Foremski -

As I was researching a story on Google through Google's search engine, I popped in the stock ticker GOOG and guess what turned up on the side sponsored link? An advert for a $2.2m home in Menlo Park, right in GOOG's neighborhood. And the name of the realtor company? Cashin Company Realtors.

Very clever, I thought, what an excellent way to target those newly paper-rich Googlers who are checking on the GOOG share price through Google. But what surprised me even more was that there was only ONE sponsored link for GOOG.

Does this mean that Cashin outbid everyone for the adword link? Or does it mean that only one local realtor knows how to run a Google ad campaign? It's probably the latter.

Which means there is way more room for Google to grow as people become familiar with running a Google online ad words campaign.

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