Tuesday, November 28, 2000

No Shoe-in for Schumer

This recent non-election as it is, Senator Schumer was unexpectedly called down to Washington the day he was scheduled to speak the morning of Tuesday, November 28, for a Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc.-hosted Silicon Alley Political Forum. Knovel.com president & CEO Chris Forbes, VentureSurf Jason Dimen and Justin Model and Genosys’s Kevin Gori were among the guests invited. I also chatted with Ukibi, Inc.’s Marie-Laure Vercambre, Jennifer Brown and Ying Zhao. Columbia Journalism school student Mia Goldberg and Newsday’s technology reporter Pradnya Joshi were among the press covering the occasion. Doubleclick’s Chief Privacy Officer (and former Schumer staffer) Jules Polonetsky made an interesting point in his panel presentation: if government wants press coverage for one of its issues, add the word “Internet” to it and the press will come.

As juices and coffees were sipped before the morning panel, I met NYC Board of Education president William Thompson, Jr., Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo attorney John Delehanty, and TrammellCrowCompany SVP James Millard. Former NYC Economic Development Corporation President Charles Millard opened the discussion and introduced Flatiron Partners’ Managing Partner Jerry Colonna, who pointed to the two biggest problems in the industry’s growth — the digital divide and the gap in education which is creating a lack of qualified employees. Senator Schumer spoke of the cycles in the private sector, from the industrial revolution to today’s modern age. He said that we need to define rules and set a platform for continued growth. “We’re at the end of the beginning of the technology phase when government couldn’t and shouldn’t be involved,” he said. “It is developing at such a rapid pace, to try and regulate it when it’s still in such change and flux is almost fruitless.” The morning continued with guests like Redwood Partners’ Randy Schoenfeld and Oscar Capital’s Rick Lerner listening to AlleyCat News editor Anna Wheatley and Nixon Peabody’sPartner Jerome Coleman making their points about the government’s role in the Internet.