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.