Friday, October 19, 2001

Shakers & Stirrers and Bits & Bytes

Showing his Savi
Lance Trebesch has jumped been named the VP of Business Development at Savi Technology. The company creates a software and hardware platform focused on real-time computing and automation in the supply chain sector.

Taking Off
Jonathan Perkel, Esq's career is soaring. He recently joined Site59 as Vice President & General Counsel. Site59, which is aptly named for the 59th (or last) minute in the hour, works with airlines, hotels and rental car companies to create all-in-one travel packages.

Saddle Up
The Jockey Club has a new executive vice president, finance and administration. James S.J. Liao, the president of Christiansen Capital Advisors, is replacing Alan Marzelli, who will retain his current role as chairman and chief executive officer of the racing information site, Equibase.

Capital Move
Congratulations are in order for Larry Simon. His appointment to Vice President of the boutique investment group, Mille Capital was recently announced. The company specializes in mergers and acquisitions, private equity capital raising, debt financings and restructurings for middle market companies.

Social Conscious Socializers
New subscribers to New York-based event marketer EventMe! can now make a difference simply by signing up for the online service through a designated charity. When a new subscriber signs up for EventMe! through a charity link, EventMe! will donate 50% of its lifetime proceeds from that subscriber to the charity of his or her choice. Details and sign-up:

Omnipotent Stock Quotes
Taking a cue from instant message services, this week unveiled an enhanced version of its "Market Monitor." The popular feature which gives investors live news and updates on domestic and foreign securities can now run whether or not is open on a user's browser. The revamped Market Monitor also includes the ability to track exchanges around the world, live information on a variety of stocks and funds and access to ticker-specific news and charts, simply by clicking on a security.

Northern Exposure
Canada Broadcasting Corporation got a new face lift, thanks to Razorfish. The new visual identity package for both on and off-air branding messages. "We chose to work with Razorfish because of its experience in developing brand campaigns across multiple platforms and screens, particularly its award-winning work in the public broadcasting domain," said Diane Kenyon, Executive Director, English Communications

The Write Stuff
Giving three aspiring writers an extraordinary shot at literary stardom, at Time Warner Books today unveiled three authors discovered through iWrite, its online writer community. More than 3,000 writers submitted their manuscripts to be critiqued by the site's online community. The three winners were all first-time authors without agents or industry connections. They include Suzanne Allain, a computer programmer from Tallahassee; Margo Piece Dorksen, a former proofreader and pizza delivery driver from Willoughby, Ohio; and E.E. Knight, a software developer from Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Pause and Circumstance
The Boston-based company Pause Technology is poised and ready to take on TiVo -- in court that is. The Boston-based company alleges that the popular TV technology company infringed on one of its patents. The issue in question is a patent called "Time Delayed Digital Video System Using Concurrent Recording and Playback." The technology, which has made TiVo millions, has allegedly been owned by Pause since 1992. originally filed in 1992 and issued in 1995. The issue will be settled in a Boston court.

ADV ~ Kickstart

KickStart, is a network of high-tech executive office suite facilities offering instant office solutions with low up front costs, flexible lease terms and a fully-furnished, high tech infrastructure. Both the 34th Street and Wall Street locations are designed to serve traditional and high-growth companies, with suite sizes that can accommodate 1 to 20 people. Fully Furnished-Secured Office Suites, High Speed Dedicated Internet Access, Flexible, Short Term Agreements, Conference Rooms equipped for Video Conferencing, Multi-functional digital phone systems, On-Site Technical Support. As an added savings benefit, KickStart has implemented a promotions programs that allow clients to chose from the following (rules apply): Free High Speed Internet Access, Free Rent, Discounted Phone Rates, Free Conference Room Use, No Set Up Fees

ADV ~ Special Offer For the Male Readers of "The Cyber Scene"

Now, attention all male-readers! That's right, boys, I've got a special offer for you! You may have read in last week's "Cyber Scene" about Emmanuel Citron and his Traditional Matchmakers service. Well he just did a promotion on the must-read email blast for all hip NYC chicks - Daily Candy -- and now it's your turn. This exclusive, personal and very private service is waiving their introductory fee ($150.00) and the first month's membership fee ($25.00 per month) to the FIRST 500 MEN who qualify to join their "initial pool." No obligation and lots of women already in the system. But please-show Emmanuel that you're one of my quality readers-they are looking for people who are sincere about using their service (it is for people who are genuinely looking for a relationship - not just someone to shack up with). To join (and get the waived fees) go to: and use the following pre-authorized code on the billing page of their registration process: courtney (all lower case)

Publisher's Note ~ Culture, Arts, Etc

Please note our new phone number is now: 212-627-8560

From identifying venture opportunities in Silicon Alley and how to rebuild it as a technology center to a grand dinner party in Grand Central to a fortnight of events spanning business, food, culture and arts between the UK and NY to Swedish pop music, this week has been an exciting whirlwind in the Big Apple.

In an effort to keep one foot in the tech scene while dipping our toes in more cultural affairs, you'll start noticing more reports on arts in general here. Long-time readers may remember an occasional story about the arts in The Cyber Scene, so this shift shouldn't feel too different.

And as we progress into our long-term war against terrorism, New York City is flip-flopping between "getting back-to-business" and fear seeping into our thick skin. In light of the more "subtle" attacks on our people with tainted letter, isn't it nice to get email from a trusted source? And on that note, I present this week's exciting show of events!


In an attempt to help facilitate better networking for new media professionals and "Scenesters," here are some points that will be added during the weeks. They will be archived.

** From: "FAQs and General TTY Etiquette Tips for New TTY Users" Source:
You should let the phone ring 10 or more times to allow the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person enough time to see the flashing light on their TTY phone and respond to it.

The Cyber Scene in Denver ~ by Suzanne Lainson

On September 28, Red Herring came to town and threw a luncheon, "The Future of Venture Capitalism." It was at the Brown Palace and I got there just about the time everyone was sitting down to eat. There was a chair next to Andre Pettigrew, assistant superintendent of the Denver Public School System, so I grabbed it. After lunch we heard from a panel made up of three local VCs: Kyle Lefhoff, general partner of Boulder Ventures (, who talked about health care, Steve Halstedt, managing director of Centennial Ventures, who talked about telecom, and Rick Patch, a partner with Sequel Ventures (, who talked about IT.

That evening, SpireMedia ( had an open house. It was an ADCD (Art Directors Club of Denver) and AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts/Colorado Chapter) event so virtually all the attendees were members of the Denver design community rather than Internet and tech event regulars. Spire's offices are on several floors in the historical Daniels and Fisher Warehouse #2 in LoDo. As I would have expected from Spire, it had a nice laid-back atmosphere with a dog in residence. (The place reminded me quite a bit of Sports & Fitness Publishing, the Boulder magazine publishing company where I used to do market research. ....

On September 29, the Boulder Community Network ( had its seventh anniversary party at Trios. I had a chance to talk at length with the keynote speaker, Lisa Napoli, currently with MSNBC and and formerly with the New York Times. This was her first flight out of New York since the World Trade Center disaster and she shared a story that John Cheever might have written for The New Yorker had he been alive today. On the plane from New York to Denver, sitting across the aisle from Lisa was a woman talking on a cell phone. She was reciting details of her will -- what to do with the pets, the name of the lawyer in Denver to handle her estate, the amount of her investments. Then she said goodbye just in case she died in route. If this wasn't unnerving enough, Lisa realized the woman was leaving all of this information on voicemail. Presumably she hadn't given much thought to preparing for death until she was sitting on a plane. And then her need to handle her affairs became so great that she was willing to recount it all to a machine. Just the thing to inspire confidence in airline travel. To read more about the BCN meeting, go to: .
On October 2, First Tuesday ( met at the Mile High Station. Approximately 700 people attended, which was an intentionally smaller turnout that last time. Director Tom Filippini said they wanted to reign in attendance a bit. As always, it was a great party. Among the VC community members I spotted were Catharine Merigold of Vista Ventures (, Sarah Gutterman of Boulder Ventures, Chris Wand of Softbank (, and Steve Swoboda of iBelay (

Read the rest of who was where and what they said at:

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

There's more to Sweden than just wireless, herrings and vodka

The Chambers Theater in the Tribeca Grand Hotel was filled with hip people in hip dark clothes but the topic was much lighter. As part of the Swedish Pop Music Seminar on October 17th, attendees heard from a variety of professionals in the US and Swedish music industry. Swedish Consul General Olle Wastberg welcomed the guests with a brief overview of the day's theme. Moderated by Billboard Magazine's Fred Bronson, managing director of the Polar Music Prize Stuart Ward and managing director of ExMS-Export Music Sweden Christer Lundblad discussed the Swedish music scene. The overall comment was that it is more fluid and less segmented between the major labels, independents and artists than the music scene here.

Next up was a discussion on the "Swedish Pop Music Sound on the International Scene." Still moderated by Fred Bronson, we heard from Rudolph & Beer partner George Gilbert, RCA Records NYC former VP A&R International Dave Novik, Talent Trust founder Petri Lunden and ASCAP assistant VP Publisher Relations Gary Ford. We learned that the men behind many of today's leading American pop stars are Swedish players. Songwriter Alexander Kronlund and songwriter/producer Max Martin are partly responsible for the success of stars like 'N Sync and Britney Spears. And Stockholm's Cherion studios have helped artists like Celine Dion, the Backstreet Boys and Bon Jovi with their clean pop sound. No kidding!

It wasn't always like that though. Gary Ford commented how in the 1980s California and American music was very big in Sweden. Now the tables have been turned and there's a strong influence of Swedish music in the States. However, "a lot of things need to work together in order to take an artist beyond just Sweden for success internationally," stated Petri Lunden. And George Gilbert noted that whether in Sweden or the US, "it's hard for musicians who are strong in the pre-teen market to carry their fans through into the teen and adult markets."

When this panel finished, the room got full of excitement in anticipation of the big presentation-the Sales Award of 20 million albums sold for ABBA. Of course, to keep us all on the edge of our seats, we first heard comments on "Managing the ABBA Brand" from Famestudios AB CEO Ludvig Werner and Universal Music Sweden's Gert Holmfred and Marko Soderstrom.

Gert started out with a query. What would you expect from a country with 8 million people, a coin more unstable than the lira, a car named after a tracker, a winter longer than the summer, a furniture maker being attributed to causing the missing link and where the majority of the male population has tobacco under their upper lip and a mobile phone attached to their head? Would you expect the world's most branded Swedish music? And yet ABBA is just that. Sweden is also the 3rd biggest exporter of music to the world, which is quite significant if you consider the size of Sweden to German and the US.

ABBA's success is quite phenomenal. With eight albums and five hits per album, the group's success has grown since the early 80s when they disbanded. Gert attributed their success to five elements: they had a visual style based on happiness (yea!); they had good strong writers (always a plus); they had a talented, visual performance; they were hard working (nothing like putting in the hours); they had a sympathic way to deal with problems.

And as all good brand managers know, protecting a popular brand is as much hard work as building it up in the first place. One of the main issues the brand managers deal with at Universal and Famestudio is turning down deals that do not offer the same value, integrity and quality as the ABBA brand. They've been very selective with who they collaborate with and license the music to.

And what's the newest scoop for a band that hasn't technically been around for twenty years? Well, if you haven't heard, the musical Mamma Mia!, which is written by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (the two B's in ABBA), just opened on Broadway on Thursday, October 18th after successes in London and throughout Canada and the US on tour. Bjorn wanted to do a show based on the songs of ABBA for a while, but he didn't want to have the miserable experience he had with Chess (which was on Broadway for 3 months to London's 3 years). Written by Catherine Johnson, the musical is interspersed with 22 ABBA hits, each little love stories themselves.

The next major development is the relaunch of their Web site. Here is where ABBA still exists in real time - online. In addition to pictures, bios, songs and official ABBA gear, the site takes a departure from other fan sites by allowing fans to upload their own pictures, bios and create a vibrant, ongoing community where the site visitors have as much say in what the site's content is as the website creators. Check it out at:

Between the two B's and all the blond Swedes, I was having a buzzing afternoon, even without a coffee. There was one more panel and a rousing party afterwards in the Tribeca Grand Hotel Chambers with a performance by Malin Elino. Skol!

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Setting the trends: Fashion designers and VCs

You may think it a stretch, but our VC community and fashionistas are cut from the same cloth. This theory became perfectly clear to me once again at the NYSIA VC briefing held on Tuesday, October 16 at the lovely traditional offices of Dorsey & Whitney.

One of the main reasons why NYSIA organized this breakfast to announce the NYSIA Index, which is produced in conjunction with Venture Wire and will track IT and software development in New York and compare/contrast it to development nationally and in other leading tech cities like Boston and Silicon Valley. As NYSIA president Bruce Bernstein stated, “obviously the volume is down in investments 60 – 80% and the government has to help stimulate New York if it is to recover economically.”

NYSIA will also lobby the government at state and federal levels to earmark funds for rebuilding New York to the technology sector. As he stated, “NYSIA wants to nurture Silicon Alley.... New York was clobbered on September 11th and if you weren’t clobbered physically or emotionally, which all New Yorkers were to some extent, companies are still suffering because they have clients that were affected, projects were put on hold and clients were displaced and dispersed. There is a lot of money aimed at IT rebuilding and [he] will be figuring out how to get that to Silicon Alley.”

Finally, giving a tip of the hat to the investment opportunities in Silicon Alley, he stated that in the wake of the downturn, “there’s a lot of seaweed on the beach,” which is a good thing. Bruce invited RRE Ventures’ Stuart Ellman, Lazard Technology Partners’ Gene Lowe and Commonwealth Associates’ Michael Ritchitelli to speak on VC investing during this slow time because they are the most active and yet below the radar screen. As you’ll see from their comments, they have a seasoned perspective and positive outlook on the steady course for the future.

After an hour of discussion one of the reporters present asked whether these firms were opening satellite offices to focus on biotech. Since the focus of the morning was on IT and software in Silicon Alley, the mood turned a bit defensive and one VC shot back that “as a reporter you can do that – follow the trends, but VCs need to be 12 – 18 months ahead. Hence my fashion analogy; the fashion world is already working on Autumn 2003!

To catch all the tasty morsels the VCs tossed out to us, click here:

Here are the comments from the VCs as noted:

Stuart Ellman:
In 1999 everyone was a VC and today it’s as if you’re a leper. There are a lot of VCs not knowing where they’ll put their money. Some sound outright defeatist with the viewpoint that “this has been a terrible year, we’re just going to ride it out.” However, as a rule VCs get a reward for taking a risk. He expressed frustration with the analogy of why terrorists should even affect the IT industry. He cited a quote that goes, “where there’s fear, seek greed; where there’s greed, seek fear.”

With so many of the VCs exiting there is a greater opportunity for investments. Pricing has dropped to an irrationally low number and has nothing to do with how much capital has been raised. Another positive of this slow time is that there is more time to do due diligence, whereas during the heyday if you spent too much time you might miss out on the opportunity.

Historic investing was at a rate of two deals per partner a year. They are operating at this rate now and will have 3 deals by the fourth quarter. They aren’t looking at any early stage investing now, they’ll do deals that are more mature but at the same price. Industrial Pension Funds are over allocated. It’s more political to put it in a leveraged buyout as opposed to a hot potato.

Before, a lot of the firms in Silicon Alley were advertising and marketing based; now they are more tech oriented. Stuart was particularly enthusiastic about, one of their investments.

RRE Ventues raised $93 million for their first fund, $225 million for their second fund and they are just finishing their third.

Gene Lowe:
Restating the obvious Gene commented that there are no IPOs currently and investments are down 90%.

Last year there were four times the number of VCs around as there are this year—echoing Stuart’s comment on how everybody was getting into the game.

A good thing about all the investment from last year is that there was $100 billion in VC raised that needs to get put to work. Furthermore, there is less competition, the competition is smarter and there is a great ability to get great CEOs and management teams for firms.

The Lazard Fund was founded by two gentlemen, Russell Planitzer and Kevin Burns, who ran software companies and approached investing from a fundamental point of view.

Gene commented that at some points during the wild days, when everyone was reading about the big deals by a few very publicized firms, they felt like they might have missed out on an opportunity or two, but now of course their point of view is much more different. Lazard continues to look at things like revenue and profit margins when considering a company and feels this is the best time to be investing.

Lazard’s first fund raised $100 million in 1998, which has been all invested. Their second fund had a target of $250 million but finalized at an oversubscribed $305 million. Last year they did 10 – 12 deals, this year they’re doing 7 – 10. Furthermore, while their investments tended to be more early stage, now they are doing more mezzanine investments.

Michael Ritchitelli:

Unlike his colleagues at the breakfast, Michael and Commonwealth focus on private investment in public companies (PIPE) in technology. A lot of their clients now are companies that went IPO too soon and are in still in growth mode. The firm has been handling this type of investment for 14 years. Last year they invested $240 million in public companies but this year they’ll have invested in $65 – 75 million. Their rate of investment is at the traditional rate of two to three deals per partner a year.

One of their big problems is pricing because the market caps have gone down so far and there’s a problem with dilution. However, they are still bullish on technology firms and are looking at wireless, the enterprise market in wireless, healthcare and one particular Silicon Alley broadband/streaming company! Michael was also enthusiastic about a company that specialized in storage software and is bullish on the amount of sheer talent and deep knowledge in New York City. There are great investment opportunities still abound.

Monday, October 15, 2001

An Amalgamation of Influence

Another major event in the UkwithNY festival was the Amalgamate exhibit held at the tres magnifique et chere new gallery in the very magnificent and expensive Asprey & Garrard store on Fifth Avenue. I spoke with curator of the exhibit, creative consultant Caroline Young, who was approached by M&C Saatchi when they were trying to find someone with vision and a connection to British artists.

Originally titled UKinNY, after September 11th the organizers changed the name to UKwithNY to show solidarity with NY. The festival and exhibit aim to bridge the connection with America and commissioned 90% of the work from British artists to produce pieces that reflect the influence NYC has had on them. Caroline's other requirement was that none of the pieces should have any element of shock value to them. This premise was set even before September 11th, but seemed even more important after the date of terrorist attacks on NY. She felt people didn't need their intelligence insulted with shocking art.

Among the creative artists who are a part of this exhibit are Brian Eno with a sound installation, Lulu Guiness with pocketbooks, Peter Saville-who is one of the most important graphic designers of the day and Nigel Coates. HRH Prince Andrew was at the exhibit opening on Monday night, October 15th, which drew over 300 people. HRH was also an early bird and was present the next morning at the Great Expectations opening on October 16th. Prince Andrew is definitely getting around, oui?! You should too!

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Grand Dinner Party in Grand Central

If you're seeing a lot of Union Jacks around town, it's not because there's another subversive effort going on here in NYC. It's because storefronts, restaurants and galleries are displaying the United Kingdom's flag along with our Stars and Stripes in support of the two-week festival UKwithNY that is going on in New York City from October 14th through the 28th. I attended a few related events this week and found inspiration on many levels.

The grandest dinner party of all was the 'Great Expectations' exhibition produced by the Design Council in London to promote British innovation and design excellence. I chatted with designer Roger Mann of Casson Mann, who oversaw the design of the exhibition. The idea for the dinner party theme came up when he saw the glorious space of Vanderbilt Hall and the massive chandeliers. "Nothing is better than a banquet to set up dialogue, which is what this whole festival is about - setting up a dialogue between the UK and New York."

The entire setup was designed in London and constructed in and shipped from Birmingham. The massive table had to be done in two sections so people could walk through the hall where they normally do as opposed to walking all the way around the table, which most likely would've inspired much animosity towards the Brits. To retain fluidity with the table, a gigantic hard-fabric tablecloth was suspended above the walkway as if it was "whipped off the table." The ends of the cloth touch down on the table ends, to maintain connection with the two separate pieces. The table was set with oversized white plastic foam plates and silverware. Angular chairs and benches were infused with sound so you could "overhear" conversations (interviews of the designers). Casson Mann also designed the lighting, which was a subtle rotation of florescent colors to accentuate the whiteness of the table. Ambient sound was created by Runnie of Runnie and Clyde, who's quite big in the UK music scene.

When the exhibit ends, one half of the table will travel throughout the US and Canada while the other half will go throughout the Far East.

Among some of the "wow" displays atop the table were:
· i.c.can - a self-chilling can by Crown Cork & Seal Tempa Technololgy. Dr. Ian Maxwell, Scientist
· Ranger Self-Sufficient Radio - a wind-up, solar, rechargeable radio by Freeplay Energy Group
· E-pen - a pen that receives email by Cambridge Consultants Ltd., Donna Wilson
· Pogo - a handheld web browser, email, calendaring, cellphone, mp3 player by PogoTech
· FireSpy - a series of large construction-like trucks and vehicles that can drive into a fire and withstand extreme heat to put out fires by JCB, West YorkShire Fire Service, Noel Rodrigeuz
· Cellopore - rehydrating sachets that will ensure good drinking water wherever you go by UCB Films, Osmotics Division

UkwithNY has many, many exhibits, performances, lectures and events. Check out the ones you'd like to see at:

Friday, October 12, 2001

ADV ~ Brooklyn Red Cross

The Brooklyn Red Cross is faced with an urgent deadline and needs data entry people right away. Please EMAIL Eileen Shulock with your name, phone and desired day(s)/shift(s) ASAP:
Friday, October 12th - 4PM to 8PM; Saturday, October 13th - 8AM to 4PM; Saturday, October 13th - 4PM to 8PM; Sunday, October 14th - 8AM to 4PM; Sunday, October 14th - 4PM to 8PM; Monday, October 15th - 8AM to 4PM; Monday, October 15th - 4PM to 8PM; Tuesday, October 15th - 8AM to 4PM; Tuesday, October 15th - 4PM to 8PM; Wednesday, October 16th - 8AM to 4PM; Wednesday, October 16th - 4PM to 8PM; Please help the Red Cross during this time of need. This project is at the Brooklyn Red Cross, which is where disaster relief efforts are currently consolidated. It is very easy to get there by subway on the A/C line. Please email with your availability and she will email you right back! The Red Cross says, "Webgrrls rock!" Thanks so much for your support.


In an attempt to help facilitate better networking for new media professionals and "Scenesters," here are some points that will be added during the weeks. They will be archived.

** In the rush to get things done in our modern lives, if you jostle or are jostled in the hectic commute or travels, remember that the person you bump into is trying just as hard as you to get through the day too. Take a minute, breathe and smile. If you do so, you may find you've made a friend and not a foe.

TCS Intro ~ 10/12/01

Courtney Pulitzer's Cyber Scene ~ October 12, 2001

Cyber Scene Spotlight: Emanuel and the Georgia Peach
Filthy Rich and Loving It
Now Appearing in the Stardust Lounge: Dean Martin and Jerry Colonna
The Cyber Scene in San Diego ~ by Lilia Phleger Benjamin

Cyber Scene Social Notes
Shakers and Stirrers
Bits & Bytes

"The Cyber Scene" is published weekly. Subscriptions are free. To
subscribe or unsubscribe:

Sparklist -- Mailing list services

Cocktails with Courtney ~ October 23 ~ NYC
Sponsored by Microsoft ~

Cocktails with Courtney ~ November ~ NYC
Sponsored by 3 Legged Dog ~


Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Now Appearing in the Stardust Lounge: Dean Martin and Jerry Colonna

Dean Martin impersonators are a dime a dozen, but seeing Jerry Colonna, managing partner of Flatiron Partners render his impression of the famous Rat-Pack crooner was a big hit with the crowd gathered at the Silicon Alley Entrepreneurs Club meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 at Zanzibar. Founder of the SAEC group Gyan Parida greeted me enthusiastically and told me about the group and the considerable turnout for the evening.

I chatted with Interdimensions bizdev manager Luke Hasseloff who reported that the standing room only event (i.e. there were no chairs) was a bit silly by having networking going on in the back of the room and elsewhere in da bar. Silly indeed! Networking is tres bon, but to the distraction and discourtesy to the speaker! Tres mal! Luke told me about Tri-State Private Investors Network president Ellen Sandles, who also has a networking group and who showed up to check out the scene.

Cowen Financial Group's Will Morris felt that Colonna's talk was applicable in general, not just to entrepreneurs with the overview of where we'd been, where we are now and where we're going. Colonna was bullish on technology networking (not social networking-what? He's crazy!) and Jobs In The Money founder and manager Paul Forster said that Colonna was personal and personable. Not a bad combination and I would add that he looked leaner and more stylish than I'd seen before!

Quantum Venture Partners principal Amit Mulani also had positive feedback for Jerry's performance as "self-effacing." He was able to recognize his downturn in luck and business, which showed him to be just as human as the rest of us. More Quantum-ites Liliana Galeano and Raheel Patel enjoyed the evening and chatted after the official presentation with Careers on the Move principal Kathleen Sheehan.

Finally I had a nice chat with recent New Yorkers Jonia and Bradley Skaggs of Skaggs Design. They'd just moved here from San Francisco but this design and identity house is still keeping their SF digs. Hurrah! Another bi-coastal couple! After a quick chat with EventMe!'s Volker Detering I called it a night and headed out into the balmy Fall air.

Friday, October 05, 2001


In an attempt to help facilitate better networking for new media professionals and "Scenesters," here are some points that will be added during the weeks. They will be archived.

** Please! No double-dipping! If you're snacking on a veggie at a cocktail party, don't plunk it back into the dip after you've taken a bite.

Thursday, October 04, 2001

The Cyber Scene in Denver ~ by Suzanne Lainson

On September 24, TiE-Rockies (The IndUS Entrepreneurial Group) ( had its first anniversary gathering at the Brown Palace. The World Trade Center disaster was still on everyone's mind and that was acknowledged both by a moment of silence and a discussion of fundraising efforts that one of the keynote speakers, Lata Krishnan, was heading up as current president of the America Indian Foundation.

She co-founded SMART Technologies Inc., and served as its CFO. In her speech, she talked about having climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the only woman with twelve men. Then she talked about starting a company, that she and her other co-founders were risk takers, and how they invested their own money into the company. After one year, the company hit $3 million in revenue. They didn't rush into going public because they were having so much fun and didn't have to worry about the next quarter's results. They finally decided to do an IPO in order to grow by acquisition. When they decided to sell the company to Solectron, they did so because it was the best plan for their employees. She said she is a cancer survivor, which has given her a sense of urgency about life. Now that she is doing philanthropic work, she still applies what she learned in business. She asks herself before approaching donors, "What are my deliverables?"

The other keynote speaker was Kanwal Rekhi, founder and former president of TiE-Global, which currently has 30 active chapters worldwide. In 1987, Mr. Rekhi, as its CEO, took Excelan public. In 1989 he merged his computer networking business with Novell, where he served as the CTO and a member of the Board of Directors until his retirement in 1995. You can read more about what he said at

Many of the TiE-Rockies founders were in attendance, including Vipanj Patel, Sureel Choksi, Vic Ahmed, Aloke Guha, and Maya Iyengar. I spent quite a bit of time with one of my favorite people, Dilpreet Jammu of Nortel Networks.

On September 25, the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group ( met to hear Christopher Locke talk about his new book, "Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices." ( He's also the co-author of the bestseller, "The Cluetrain Manifesto." Among his comments:

His bio says he's a web consultant, but he says that's the biggest joke since he hasn't done any consulting for a long time. Companies are afraid to ask him to consult.

He makes between $20,000 to $30,000 for a one-hour speech. Once he made a 36-hour flight to India for a one-hour speech. He'll never do that again.

He spoke to the Direct Marketing Association, but they were not amused, particularly when he said, "All you need is love." But if you don't know how to be human, you have bigger problems than your those in your business.

He left his alter-ego, RageBoy, home that night. In an attempt to give a prepared speech, he worked from his notes, though linear presentations are out of character for him.

The title of his book includes "winning through worst practices." He thought it was funny and wanted to use it, but then had to figure out if he could do anything with the concept.

Cluetrain was about communication, but after it came out, people asked him how they were going to talk to a million customers. The reality is that some voices are more equal than others. But at the same time, the web is not about broadcasting. It isn't "slow TV." Some broadband advocates were using Blockbuster's numbers to justify video-on-demand until they found out that Blockbuster makes 30% of its revenue from late fees.

Mass media didn't come about until mass production. Its purpose was to move excess production. A mass market is the result of inefficiencies in data collection and independent thought. Demographic segmentation has defined marketing in our lifetime. CRM isn't going to sound like a conversation. If it does, it will cost you a bundle to give personalized service to individuals. Businesses didn't start paying attention to the Internet until enough people were connected that it began to look to them like a mass market. They saw it as TV with a "buy" button.

Micromedia, specialized sites directed to niche interests, delivers high energy and a strong point of view, but is small enough to fly under the radar. He suggests that large corporations such as Ford associate themselves with these smaller sites rather than to advertise on the big, impersonal portals. You can find out more about what Chris said at

Among those attending were Dan Murray of Persona, Greg Lynott of Lynott & Associates, Richard Sharp of TrueTrek, Cate Lawrence of Warrior Solutions, Robert Welch of Tango Technologies, Mark Feuer, and Jim LeJeal.

Shy and Home-Loving meet Gregarious and Mobility-Loving

Set in the opulent yet modern designed residence of the Consul General of Sweden our Stardust Panel on "Wireless: What's Getting Funded and Why" was held on October 4th drew a great crowd of investors, analysts and other influencers in the wireless space. Hosted between the Consul General of Sweden and my company, Invest in Sweden Inc. and Elastic Agency also collaborated on the event.

The white gauze curtains fully covering the walls created an ethereal tent-like effect in the almost all-white dining room of the Swedish Consulate General's residence. The intricate wall moldings were just apparent behind the curtains and the room was lit from natural light, streaming in from Park Avenue, and the illuminated 150-year old family crystal chandelier with a modern twist of pussy willow branches woven between. The white leather chairs, with nail-head trim, were lined up for guests, neatly arranged on the black and white checkerboard tile floor with a Swedish Mountain Cow-Zebra type rug covering.

Up front, along the 64th Street side of the residence sat the panelists. After a very civil and cordial reception of refreshing water and fruit, the Consul General, Olle Wastberg, welcomed us to his home and made a few remarks. He posed whether life can return to normal in light of the times and yet reiterated the importance of conducting business as usual. He told us of the piles and piles of drawings from Swedish children sent to him to convey their thoughts to US children. He recognized there is a lot of talk about "doom and gloom" but the US economy is the strongest economy still and even an incident as momentous as this will not shake our foundations ultimately. There are still areas of development-the Internet was one and wireless is another. There are still VCs and there still will be. And so - with that it was "on with the show!"

The illustrious panelists that graced our presence the afternoon of October 4th were SiliconGo CEO Rich Burdon, MobileSpring president/CEO Mark Caron, Gartner Research senior analyst Tole Hart, Brainheart investment manager Sigrun Hjelmquist and VantagePoint Venture Partners partner Ken Kharbanda. Moderating this lively group was a lively contributor himself, Unstrung senior editor Josh Newman.

Josh provided us with his overview of the state of wireless funding in the US. We saw what was happening in Europe with wireless and thought the same will happen in the US. But we were wrong. There is a delay for a number of reasons. We'd already gone through the era where companies that made no sense like "" got a lot of funding, but wireless is different. This industry has a lot of good ideas but the market is not there yet. He feels that until 3G is available in the US, we'll have to be patient for wireless functionality that our European and Asian neighbors enjoy.

Each panelist then provided their perspective on the topic and fortunately and delightfully they all stayed on topic with thoughts on the question of the day! Their synopsized versions are online:
[here: Tole Hart:
The leading applications in wireless are similar to those on the web as well: email, calendaring, messenging. The areas where he's seeing successful development is in entertainment (jokes, games) some content (location-based or immediate-need like stock quotes); wireless video (packet video that's pushed); wireless LANs (like in airports). He cited Bluetooth, RedM, Digital Bridges and Netmotion as example firms. What's getting funded now are applications that put pieces together. Red-M use Bluetooth like a wireless LAN (for manufacturing applications like barcoding). Digital Bridges (acts as a broker between manufacturers and game companies and provides a platform that allows programmers to write games easily and carriers to add and remove them easily.) Netmotion allows you to keep connections up and logged on for WANs and LANs if you get cut off.

Rich Burton:
Their 18-month old company is a typical Silicon Alley startup: comprised of a Brit, a Russian, a Korean and two Frenchmen. He started off with all the positive aspects of having a startup right now: it's a good time for recruiting, you can work with sales people on a fee basis, there are more opportunities for alliances and people are more willing to collaborate, there is less noise to get noticed by customers and you can get office space without having to give options. Rich then went into a bit of background on application development (Apple, Palm. Blackberry) and cited knowledge management as a much needed area for businesses. Being able to find a file whether its in email, a file folder or on the web will be a challenge companies face that they feel prepared to handle. Their product of associative computing will help people dynamically navigate through their data, enable people to collaborate and share information.

Ken Kharbanda:
Ken provided a succinct background on VantagePoint's four funds. With $1.6 billion in their 4th fund and $2.5 billion total under management, their VP NYS Fund of $150 million was established with the NYS Teacher Retirement System and is focused on startups in New York State. VPVP focuses on businesses that have a reasonable capitalization rate in the optical, wireless, software, materials and semi-conductor spaces. The venture capital industry today is undergoing massive cross-currents. There is lots of uncertainty and the demand for great pricing is overriding. What used to be key-having a great management team as part of the package-is a dime a dozen today. All the great entrepreneurs have battle scars and lots of experience. Today you need more than just a good team; you need customers, a revenue model, all the elements of a real functioning business. He explained a bit about optical equipment, which is a dead area for now despite the fact that they'd invested in one of the leading technologies from one company. Part of the problem with optics is that there is such a long lead time in selling that it's hard to keep a startup afloat before their first sale. The question they're all grappling with is "how do you build a company that's worth a lot but won't make money for a long time?"

Wireless is a land mine but you don't know where the mines are or how far apart they're spaced. However, he does see this industry as an area for growth as well.

At this point, Ken switched gears and took off his VC hat, put on his techie hat, and wowed us with his deep understanding of the technology behind the industry. He spoke of GPRS, 802.11B, 802.11A and the other standards out there and the pros and cons of each one. In terms of what VPVP is funding in this space, they are generally staying away from applications, which they compare to the movie business where you make a lot of money if you have a best seller, but otherwise there's no money if not.

Sigrun Hjelmquist:
Having just landed from a flight in from Stockholm, and then also returning this night as well, Sigrun offered much insight into the investment point of view from a Swedish perspective. Started a year ago, Brainheart focuses entirely on the wireless space, but unlike many VC firms has a wide span of when it will invest. They can do seed, early stage, middle and late-stage investing whereas many firms only focus on one end of the spectrum with when they invest. They have 12 investments thus far.

Sweden has a history of being early adopters with technology. They always had phones and now the newest form of telephony-wireless is a natural extension for them. Her justification for a lot of technology firms success in Sweden is that they are primarily lead by engineers, which is a good thing. Many US companies are led by people with a business or legal background, which is fine for running a business, but often don't understand the technical capabilities of the firm. Echoing Ken's words, Sigrun mentioned that the success for wireless firms is not just based on the business-again-revenue speaks louder than anything. Everyone's more careful. Citing a survey done in the Tornado-Insider newsletter there have been 150 wireless deals done this year, one-third of which were done in Sweden and Finland and 75% were 2nd or later rounds. This led her to comment that is was harder for startups to get funding and that the companies need to be more mature.

And why are Swedes so good at technology? Well, perhaps it might be because they are "shy, home-loving, tech freaks" so their natural inclination is to "hide behind the Internet."

Mark Caron:
Mark provided us with a little background on their company, which is a middle-wear enabling software in wireless. As a co-founder of Omnipoint his experience in what customers want and what you can offer them based on realistic revenue models is established. They realized WAP wasn't going to be the saving application people thought it would be. With MobileSpring they focused on the text messaging area and are not planning 3G anytime soon. Their partner, Illuminet, is established in the SS7 signaling area and their business model as an inner carrier alerted them that the carriers, in general, need to work together more closely.

And then the exciting Q&A session began!

Questions, and answers, revolved around Bluetooth, which has a lot of problems and the various standards for wireless. Ken commented that wireless LANs have lots of neat problems that a VC could start a company to solve. He stated that the next generation of Bluetooth might work but VCs can't invest in something that could do something. They need to invest in things that will do something.

Then someone near the back posed the tricky question of "whose job is it to propose a solution" for furthering wireless development here in the States. Some answers were "system integrators" and "computer manufacturers you're comfortable dealing with."

And what are the hurdles to getting wireless development further along in the states? A debate ensued on the different experience between what "online" means to a consumer in Japan vs. a consumer in North America. One reason might be the PC penetration in the US being higher than in Asian countries. Another reason was that Europe and Japan always deployed text messaging with their wireless devices whereas the US hadn't. One person cited DoCoMo has had a better business model and that the infrastructure is a higher quality there vs. here. Sigrun noted that the drivers for use are different in Asia vs. Europe and the US. There they use wireless devices for Time-Spending (games, pets, etc) and here it is for Time-Saving (email, calendars, weather, stock quotes, directions, etc.) Differences in billing also came up. DoCoMo sends out a bill where you can check which new services you'd like on a regular basis whereas US bills are more plan-based.

The next hot topic for debate arose around the multi-modality capabilities of wireless. Josh commented that we are just now getting to a point where we're not speaking to a stupid computer. In the past, it was a common experience for consumers to have to speak ala Robot into a telephone to prompt desired answers. Technology that uses voice over data lines is a big area and the develoment in areas where you can speak into a voice browser and get data on the data browser (ie. Get a map displayed visually as opposed to having it read to you) is a technology that's getting attention. BeVocal, Tell Me, Speechworks and 724 are all companies that the panelists are watching. Ken and Tole both commented on this "neat" area and the advantages of voice over data lines.

Another audience member recalled the September 11th tragedy and the initiative as an effort to staff relief efforts. She commented on the failure of technology and this event as an impetus for the government and wireless industries to work together. Ken countered that he thought technology worked pretty well. People were using Blackberrys and most firms had disaster recovery and mirror sites. One person mentioned a carrier in Canada that offloaded public calls so emergency calls could get through.

A final question was about fixed wireless and LANs, like for an office or home situation. Ken brought up the "line of site" problem that is encountered with simple but natural obstacles like trees with leaves, rain and other obstacles that can reduce data rates. Thus, the need for higher frequencies that can deal with those issues are required.]

And then the clock struck 6:00 PM and our esteemed panelists were thanked for all their insight and expertise offered on the topic.

We were then encouraged by Olle to retire to the living room for a glass of wine and some tasty Swedish hors d'oeuvres. More fun ensued as guests began the delightful activity of networking in the recently redesigned room by four young female designers from the Stockholm's University College of Arts, Crafts and Design: Ms. Bodil Karlsson, Anna Kraitz, Asa Lagerstrom and Gunilla Lundberg. Each won a competition in different areas for design and the accordion-like wall-length covering.

Invest in Sweden Agency's Erik Enroth and Inger Savitt chatted with Carnegie Stockholm' VC Annika Lindmark. Silicon Alley Seed Investors' Ramana Jamala was there mingling with Technology Strategy CTO Hans Erik Karsten and Strategic Advisors' Mark Rudnitzky and Industrial Capital's Lee Mirman exchanged cards. Deutsche Bank Trust Company John Nolan, Nordberg Capital Peter Nordberg, Sandler Capital Management Richard Keller, and Anthem Venture Partners' Craig Danuloff were among investor-types present. Business Week's reporters Heather Green and Peter Ekstrom mingled and garnered more information from VPVP's Ken Kharbanda and MobileSpring's Mark Caron. Norwegian Trade Council's Antonio Raposo brought along some colleagues and introduced them around to other guests who came to the networking reception like The Eon Company's CEO Mitch Sonies and Melissa Grossman. Consect's Mark Frieser came out to meet and greet fellow Silicon Alleyites like Andrew Weinberg, Andrew Gelman, Nicole Berlin and Amy Fried. They all added a positive vibe to the already buzzing room. The silver-tongued James O'Connor of Mercury Interactive and I chatted with investment consultant Jan Mardh and Mille Capital's Lawrence Simon.

Olle and his charming wife, Ingrid were the perfect hosts, as usual, being to sure have greeted all the guests and make the rounds to see how everyone was doing. Olle spoke once more thanking the guests for coming, stressing the importance of trying to resume our lives as before September 11th, continue conducting business and all doing our part to keep an already world-strong economy strong.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

The Great Big World of the Next Smallest Thing

October 3rd was one of the last warmer days this Fall-or so the weatherpeople promised-and it was the first of the Small Talks panel series that I produced with Mark Modzelewski's NanoBusiness Alliance on the scintillating topic of Nanotechnology. I know-try and contain yourself! Topics like this are not to be trifled with for the promise of infinitesimally small amounts of excitement. Our star lineup of speakers were Ardesta founder and CEO Richard Snyder; Nanocs founder and CEO Eric Sun; New York University director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Department of Chemistry, Stephen R. Wilson; JP Morgan Partners' Jason Friedman and Lux Capital managing partner Josh Wolfe. The compelling group of panelists were moderated by the very knowledgeable Small Times VP and managing editor Steve Crosby. The evening kicked off with a report read by Nathan Tinker on survey results done in the nano space.

The panelists conversation drew a wide variety of issues to the forefront of this vastly new area of technological development. Among the main points were that nanotechnology is not to be confused with microtechnology. As usual everyone is looking for the next killer app (perhaps it's so small it can't be seen?) The long-term future for companies utilizing nanotechnology is very bright but investments in this area need to have the long-view in sight of at least ten years. Another overriding comment that carried through into the networking afterwards was that the nanotechnology industry is in desperate need of these sorts of panels and events. The academia, business and investment communities haven't been talking with each other too successfully. You can be sure we're planning on meeting that need too!

After the panel broke the networking resumed and the significant crowd that attended passed business cards, enjoyed hearty sandwiches and wine and commented on the good turnout for the event. (By the way, did you all enjoy the cold cuts? We went through a great deal of trouble to import them from a gourmet boucherie.) Sponsored by Ardesta and Small Times the event, held at TechSpace's 11th Street space, was a big success in the first of the Small Talks series. Future panels on Nanotechnology are being planned for Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and the Silicon Valley for later this year. The NanoBusiness Alliance has a strong team-Mark Modzelewski, Nathan Tinker, Josh Wolfe-and an impressive Advisory Board to boot: Steve Jurvetson leads the array. As the techie crowd mingled a buzz was being created by one firm in particular that showed a lot of promise and potential for investment opportunities. Care to know which firm it is? Email me for the answer!

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Filthy Rich and Loving It

What do former mayor David Dinkins, Scientific American founder Gerard Piel, France Telecom retired President Marie-Monique Steckel and Iris Weinshall, NYC Commissioner of Transportation (and Senator Chuck Schumer's wife) Iris Weinshall have in common? Well, on Tuesday, October 2nd, they all gathered at the sprawling penthouse of Wave Systems' chairman Peter Sprague to celebrate the book launch of Dorothy Samuels' first book "Filthy Rich."

With a grand terrace and views North, East and South, over 150 guests came to meet Ms. Samuels, a New York Times editorial board member, spoofed the celebrity and reality-crazed media. Her heroine partakes in the wildly popular "So You Want to Be Filthy Rich!" as the lifeline for her boyfriend, but gets dumped on national TV when she gives him the wrong answer. All the major talk show hosts and an overbearing Jewish mother also figure largely in this satire. And other guests of the book party who enjoyed mingling with other media-savvy sorts were General Manager for WFUV 90.7 Ralph Jennings, Donna Hanover's divorce lawyer and leading first amendment lawyer Victor Kovner, Seniro Vice President of the Lillian Vernon Corporation David Hochberg (Lillian's son) and Co-Chairman of The Museum of African Art Jason Wright. Organized by Cristine Cronin, director of, which is the Internet disaster relief site for NYTimes 9/11 Neediest Fund and for United Way International, the party drew together a unique mix of New Yorkers who were able to laugh at our society in the midst of what are largely grim times.

Cyber Scene Spotlight: Emanuel and the Georgia Peach

The soft afternoon light that streamed into the lobby bar of the Union Square W Hotel softly lit the faces of the few business people meeting for an afternoon coffee or tea on Tuesday, October 2nd. I had the pleasurable experience of chatting with Emanuel Citron of This relatively new online service is just one of the newer functionality offering for a traditionally run business in the age old arena of personal matchmaking.

Since the days of Jane Austin and her meddling but delightfully good-hearted heroines, matchmaking that's done well is a personal art. It's something that required the busybody, er, matchmaker, to know enough about two people to place a bet that they might benefit from becoming acquainted. Sometimes this enviable, enjoyable (detestable?) task is left to Aunts who don't have enough going on in their lives to keep them properly occupied.

Emanuel's mother, Beatrice Gruss, founder of Traditional Matchmaker, has taken this to a professional level. Starting her now burgeoning business in 1983 she has built up her business based on the strengths of her personality. To wit, starting in Atlanta, stressing the personal interaction/intervention was precisely what was the lead selling point to local clients. She states, "Making good matches is about understanding people, their priorities, and how they deal with their inner and outer circumstances. Nothing is more important than someone's personal life. Our reward is that what we do really makes a difference."

Starting with a forty-five minute interview with a Personal Matchmaker (PM), each client gets very personalized treatment. Each client is also rigorously screened in a thorough process that includes background checks (including criminal, credit, marital status and occupation checks). After submitting a photograph (required- however you qcontrol distribution) and of course submitting the nominal fee, then you're off to waiting land while your PM finds the perfect mate for you.

This is where Traditional Matchmakers differs from many of the other online and offline services. They carefully consider each match for you, based on knowing the people involved. Their database is not open for clients to peruse, rather, they offer you up to three tailor-made matches per month and your PM is available via e-mail or telephone anytime. The site's design is reminiscent of pop-art-UK style and throughout the site you're reminded you can finish registering at any time.

But since the company's key differentiator is the personal approach, I figured I'd find out a bit more about one of the key people behind the personality-driven matchmaker team. Emanuel has lived in New York City since January 1988 when he returned from a 15-month stint motorcycling throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Try, if you can, to imagine a more exciting time. Imagine motorcycling up the Eastern side of Africa Cape Town to Cairo. The arid air and deeply tanned Emanuel and his two good friends from Penn State found some of the more exciting stops were Cape Town and Harare, Zimbabwe. But the countryside is where the real magic happened-like the amazingly beautiful country of Zimbabwe that is full of outstanding people. The kindness and generosity of these people, who would offer anything-when they had nothing--struck Emanuel. And Exposure to raw nature, the elements and animals was quite humbling and, at times, almost frightening (like when they were surrounded by hyenas while camping in the Kalahari Desert one night).

And some of the most important things he learned from this journey? "Separation from all of the well-intentioned friends, family and other advisors that I had always been previously surrounded by enabled me to become familiar with myself and the way that I make decisions in a way that I never had before. I learned to value perspectives that were very different from my own and to value character in people, no matter how dissimilar its form. I learned that often when people tell you that you cannot do something, it is often because they have thought about doing it themselves but just couldn't take the plunge.

So having completed his studies at Wharton (Magna Cum Laude) and traveled exotic lands extensively, Emanuel got down to business here in the international exotic land of Manhattan where a trip from Battery Park to the Fort Tryon Park can include just as many international experiences as a trip through Africa (or the World for that matter). He worked for a while at The Beacon Group, a private equity/M&A advisory firm.

Then it got to the point where he was at a cross roads and his mother asked him for assistance in bringing her business online.

Already with Traditional Matchmakers business plan as a case study that he presented as part of his entrepreneurial management course-work Emanuel had his new calling. He set to work getting the site ready and establishing the secure database with Faucett New Media, a top-notch 30-person shop in Atlanta. Now Emanuel's new challenge is to break into the New York market. A tough nut to crack in general, the dating and matchmaking world is an even harder one. Between the noise from fly-by-night organizations to ones set up temporarily in a cold suite near the Port Authority Terminal to Learning Annex and other "educational" services to the hyped-up online services to the elite agencies already in existence, Emanuel and this Georgia Peach--Traditional Matchmakers-had their work cut out for them.

Fortunately Emanuel started making inroads the way his mother did-through personal connections and word-of-mouth, which is how they expect this service to grow initially. Of course, some well-placed ads and stories don't hurt either, do they?! ;) What's next for this 28-year old savvy world-traveler? Well, in his time off, he's exploring NYC, reading foreign policy, business biographies or golfing when he's not traveling or mountaineering.

You can find more about this personal service, and perhaps a qualified mate, at: Stay tuned to this space for a special deal for Cyber Scene readers next week.