Friday, October 22, 1999

The Cyber Scene in Los Angeles ~ by Heather Mason

Carol Perruso, president of LA, dimmed the lights and power-pointed her way through the redesign of the online version of the Times. She correctly observed however, that white-type on a dark blue background is not effective on screen. Even a straw-poll she conducted showed that almost everyone favored the redesign over the old, proving that it is not only effective for a company to have a website, but it is equally important to have one with a user-friendly interface.

While the presentation was hard to read, it was informative. Some of the questions from the audience, afterwards, focused on whether there was an increase in world readership (there was) and whether the reader demographics online were different from those of the hard copy (slightly). But Carol really got on her soapbox when questioned about whether this site spells demise for the offline version of the paper. She went into an almost obsessive rendition of her day (but nonetheless very effective anecdote) with news in all its incarnations. She ended with “you will never spread your laptop on the floor on a Saturday and read the paper.”


Recovering from the dim light, I ran into an old friend, Kenny Stevens from Digital City, and then turned to meet Jon Gibbs, of, a streaming media company. There were several E! Online folks working their way around the room at this VIC Breakfast. A group of Chiat Day representatives were gathered around one of the banquet tables. Networking in the early morning though is always a little less fervent than the night soirees.

On my way out, I visited the sponsor tables and met Susan Corben, of Creative Assets. We spoke about the different groups of people who are jumping into the Internet and the challenge of finding positions that fit their skills from the offline world.