Tuesday, September 12, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Atlanta ~ by Frank Wrenn

Atlanta with Courtney

As you may have read in The Cyber Scene last week,
Courtney Pulitzer recently spent some time in Atlanta,
calling it "the newest, hottest place to go for the dot-
com expansion." Since it's not every week that I get to
paint the town red with Courtney, I thought I'd give my
take on her visit.

I met up with Courtney at the top of the Pinnacle
Building, my favorite architectural structure in
Buckhead, for a cocktail party courtesy of
LastMinuteTravel.com. The party started in
LastMinuteTravel's offices on the first floor suite,
then moved up to the beautiful garden patio where
Courtney could see the sites-Buckhead, Midtown,
Downtown, and even Stone Mountain in the distance.

We spoke with LastMinuteTravel.com CEO David Miranda and
eVP Communications Gayle McIntyre, snapping some photos
along the way. Courtney also got a great shot of me with
Maggie Moulton, a LastMinuteTravel.com investor whose
late husband was Miranda's orthodontist. I was duly
impressed by Courtney's digital camera, which let me see
immediately how the pictures would turn out.

The next evening, I took MARTA, Atlanta's underground
transit system, from my office in Buckhead to the
downtown Ritz-Carlton, where Courtney and I had invited
a handful of Atlanta folks to an informal "mini-
cocktails with Courtney." I thoroughly enjoyed the
round-table discussion with Brian Newman of IMAGE
(Independent Media Artists of Georgia, Etc.), Win
Lochridge of Metamorphosis, PlanetJam.com's Chris Bell,
and Jonathan Shapiro, Lauren Brenner of PRessCafe.com
and Brian Hankin of Screen4Me.com. The intimate setting
provided us with the occasion for discussing many
topics, including the advantages and disadvantages of
incubators, Austin's scene versus Atlanta's scene,
having lunch with Jimmy Buffet, and the recent Industry
Standard article on Atlanta. One interesting tid-bit
gathered was on obtaining office space in Atlanta-
Space4Equity.com, a web marketplace for matching high-
tech companies with office space, was suggested as a
great way for start-ups to find office space at a
reasonable cost.

After cocktails and the departure of her guests,
Courtney and I headed upstairs for a late night dinner
at the Atlanta Grill. Courtney embraced Southern culture
by ordering crayfish and grits with fried green
tomatoes. We followed this with a soft-shelled crab and
snapper with a watermelon and mango salsa. We finished
the evening with crËme brulee and a couple of nice
glasses of port (though not quite as nice as the one
that went for $200 a glass). It was great to get insight
into the woman Red Herring called the "Tribeca
Contessa." I look forward to visiting with her when I'm
in New York and when she returns to Atlanta for an
official Cocktails with Courtney.

War for Talent

Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce has launched an all-out
war to recruit tech talent to Atlanta. According to a
commissioned study by A.T. Kearney, by 2005 Atlanta
businesses will need to fill over 18,000 high-tech jobs.
To bring more talent to fulfill Atlanta's growing needs,
the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce plans to run ads
in Red Herring and Rolling stone, as well as radio ads
in Chicago and Boston. Capitalizing on the effectiveness
of viral marketing, the chamber has developed a contest
to encourage Atlanta residents to help recruit their
out-of-town high-tech friends. The accompanying video
boasts "Not only is Atlanta a great place to bring your
high tech career, you can even afford to live there."
( www.atlantasmartcity.com/iomcontest/flash.html)

Atlanta Hosts Internet Policy Institute Forum

In addition to hosting Courtney Pulitzer last week,
Atlanta also played host to the first of the Internet
Policy Institute's series of "town hall" meetings. The
two-hour forum moderated by Kara Swisher, technology
reporter for the Wall Street Journal, discussed issues
from privacy to safety of credit card information to
Internet pornography. Future Net town Hall meetings will
be held in Detroit, New York, San Jose, Seattle, Omaha,
Austin, and Oxford, Mississippi. Coincidentally, IPI is
working with my firm, Yankelovich Partners to gather
local opinion in each host city in advance of the town
hall meeting.

If you have information on Atlanta news and events, send
it to me at frank@thecyberscene.com.