Friday, March 23, 2001

The Cyber Scene in San Diego ~ by Lilia Phleger Benjamin

SAN DIEGO-Well, after a month hiatus, I have come back knowing one thing for sure…size DOES matter!

I am of course referring to the Blue Horizon, located at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in La Jolla. Nestled on the beautiful wooded campus of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), the Blue Horizon is the largest computer in the US, the 8th most powerful in the world, and currently the most powerful available for academic research. And if that doesn't thrill you, try this on for size: 1,153 Power3 processors, 144SMP High Nodes, 576 GB memory, 1.7 TFLOPS peak speed, and 5.1 TB disk storage. When you figure that this computer can compute at the rate of 1.7 trillion real numbers per second (not just integers), you can't help but get a geek high.

Why all this talk of computers? Because the fifth Internet Strategy SIG was hosted by the SDSC, and we were treated by Mike Vildibill, executive director, to a tour of the high security computer room. Thrilling stuff, even to someone who did not know what in the world they were talking about (that would be me).

Rob Gordon, founder of the Internet Strategy SIG, has really worked hard to build this group and bring in speakers of a high caliber. At this meeting, taking place on March 15th, our speakers were Matt Ramuzzi, an entrepreneur and co-founder of, and Steve Hundley, CEO of iStrategy Inc.

Both men talked about the current energy crisis hitting Southern California and ways to move ahead despite the paranoia in the virtual marketplace. Matt's presentation focused on e-commerce…what it is and how to do it successfully, while Steve took participant's examples and applied his marketing know-how to help problem-solve.

It would appear that despite our rolling blackouts, and the almost daily news of companies handing out pink slips, the mood in San Diego right now seems to be one of decisiveness. Companies and entrepreneurs are going back to the basics, coming up with solid business plans and slashing their burn rate. They may be getting leaner, but they are definitely getting more efficient, and time will tell if their tactics pan out.

Area organizations such as the San Diego Entrepreneurs Group, the San Diego Regional Technology Alliance, and the San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum are all working hard to stay one step ahead of the dotcom fallout by offering seminars and networking events that provide information and assistance. By pulling together, and not falling prey to the media hype surrounding the tech scene in San Diego, we stand a good chance of actually making it through without any serious damage. Until next week!