NYNMA was at it again and gave Silicon Alley a banner panel Thursday, February 4th at FIT's Building C. "The State of New York New Media" was their name and rich-discussion was their game. Eric Goldberg, president and founder of Crossover Technologies and chairman of NYNMA's Programs Committee peppered the panel with direct and probing questions in his usual thoughtful, serious, engaging, Moderator manner. Highlights of the night were:
Fred Wilson, managing partner of Flatiron Partners elaborated on how "...businesses need capital to succeed..." John Hummer, partner of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, recalled the time it took various mediums to become mainstream: radio, 38 years; TV, 13; cable, 10; and the internet just 5 years. Fred pointed out how Boston only had one IPO last year and that Lycos (in Boston) was brought in from Detroit. "New York is the best Internet community and ... we're making it up as we go along, which is why we're successful." Chan Suh, chairman and CEO of Agency.com reflected how it's difficult to have an office in New York because "it's expensive, but the city has great advantages. It is the best place for talent, but retaining the talent is the difficult part." He professed, rightly so, that "there is no sanity in the new media salary game." People are under-paid and people are over-paid. Seven hundred employees strong, he heatedly defended that they have never laid anyone off. Ever!
Steven Levy, senior editor of Newsweek spent much of his time defending his much-debated article "Top Ten Tech Towns," in which he left out NYC. He continued in this vein saying that when he arrives in JFK he doesn't think of NY as a tech town, it’s a town of many great industries but not top technology. He did tip his hat to the fact that NY is a MEDIA town, and new media is big! Fred chimed in with the point that the next big commodity will be the services offered on top of technology. Tom Rogers, EVP, NBC and president of NBC Cable had an interesting analogy to the growth of this industry: sex. He explained that a few years ago we were all like teenagers--we were awkward, inexperienced, looking around at everyone and no one was doing it well. Now some have partners, some are more serious and in a few years we'll all be in our 30's, have our acts together (and great sex!). His concern was of people moving out to the burbs, i.e. taking their companies out of New York.
Across the street at the reception, hosted by Ericsson Cyberlab, more than half of the 900 attendees for this evening's panel streamed over for cherry tomatoes and wine. Mo Krochmal of CMP TechWeb gave me the scoop on the VictoriaSecret.com's first webcast. He said that of all the supermodels, Tyra Banks was really enjoying herself and "put on a great show!" In addition to seeing "Puffy" and "the Donald," Mo said it was just another big New York celeb-studded party. Oh yes, Ho hum! (!) After a brief introduction by Mark Hurst of Creative Good to Susan Cohen of Alley Marketing.com, I chatted with Mike Corso of Cool Site of the Day who relayed the funny story of how someone from Smug.com stole eBay's "Cool Shopping Site of the Year" award and is now auctioning it off on eBay. Apparently the trophy proceeds will go to a charity. (Stay tuned for the outcome!) Mark Filstrup of the men's a cappella group Flatiron 5, and manager of CBS.com's technology department informed me that Ed Bridges, a seasoned Alley'er is "alive and well and living in the programming department" there. Justin Gramham Garrett of PriceWaterHouseCoopers is also in the Flatiron 5. (Stay tuned for upcoming appearances!) Greg Matuskiewicz, stopped by in a lovely combination of red V-neck sweater, red baseball cap and red jacket to let me know 2can media was just acquired by CMGI Adsmart. Woohoo! Darian SR Heyman, VP business development of Beyond Interactive, was in town from San Francisco and gave me a great run down of the major new media community "stuff" that's going on with the SI@SF organization. And Sam Albert of Sam Albert Associates introduced me to Mr. Biggs Tabler, president of Tabler Communications, who was in town from Louisville, KY. Pointcher browser over to joke-of-the-day.com and Jokemaster Eric Targan will tickle your funny bone. The site launched today. And who knows, maybe one day it'll be on Stuart Ehrlich's W-Trade Technologies site!