Friday, October 27, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Stockholm ~ by Karl Palmas

Sympathy for the scorned

I have just come back to my desk feeling mentally drained, having witnessed a grueling display of public humiliation. The Global Internet Summit is in town, and with it the standing feature ‘Meet the Money’. Never heard of it? Well, seven hopeful e-entrepreneurs line up to present their business plans to a panel of four Venture Capitalists, hosted by a moderator. Seems cozy enough, right? Actually, it is a slaughter - think of it as a mixture of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’, ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ and the French revolution.

The nervous entrepreneur has to stand up in front of the gaze of two hundred new media professionals, and give a two-minute account of themselves and their business in order to convince the VCs to – on the basis of those two minutes of ramble – invest in the idea. The fab four then scrutinizes every aspect of the idea, usually shaking their heads in disapproval. The battered is finally finished off by the almighty moderator, who consistently slashes every case by the knuckles. After that, another visionary is brought out for public slaughter.

As you can probably tell, I couldn’t help but feeling sorry for the poor hopefuls: All I know is that my fragile ego would never be able to take the kind of beating that they had to experience. Maybe the battering was unusually relentless at this event, bearing the recent death and the frosty VC market in mind. Let’s hope so; for the sake of mankind.

The interesting thing though, is the fact that the seven Swedes, although not accustomed to insolence and the in-your-face format of the gathering, seemed to cope well with the ridicule. According to the moderator, the Swedish edition of ‘Meet the Money’ was the first one during which none of the entrepreneurs backed out when seeing what was in store for him/her.

Still, I feel they deserve some sympathy, so the URLs are listed below. I’m sure any contributions are welcome, however small they may be.