Last night marked the launch of BIG (the Bay Area Interactive Group) and what a party it was. Over 525 people were packed the Mezzanine in San Francisco. I haven’t seen this kind of action since, dare I say it, the first Internet bubble. Are we in for a second Internet boom?
As Scot McLernon of CBS MarketWatch announced proudly in a kind of interactive theater on a platform in the middle of the floor, “Rumors of the death of the Internet are greatly exaggerated.” Sure looked it from the bodies swirling around the floor. John Durham added “It started right here in San Francisco, and we’re bringing it back”. Lynn Ingham, Advertising Age chimed in that putting on this party was like “herding cats” but it came together, while Brian Monahan of Universal/McCann said it all hinged around the “power of the brand”. All very obvious statements, yet immensely pleasing to the crowd. After such a miserable four years since the bubble burst in April of 2000, who could not be pleased?
So why did BIG start moving “big-time”? According to Jon Raj, Visa, there are a lot of “good indicators”. Highest in everyone’s minds – the IPO of Google validates the interactive marketing mechanism for ads on the Internet (see How Google Took the Work Out of Selling Advertising). BIG thinks that the continued high cost of TV / radio ads, coupled with the fact that more households are getting high-speed connectivity means we’re at a turning point.
One of the neater things that you can do with MinutePitch is to capture top startup CEO’s strut their stuff and compete for funding with a click of a button. I’ve been to a number of Pitch Competitions over the years, where I’ve watched the room gyrate like a whirling dirvish when a CEO hits a home run. I’ve always thought “Wow, I wish I could see that again in instant replay”. But the moment is lost, and everyone slumps back in their chairs. Sometimes, that CEO doesn’t even get a follow-on, because the next pitch is sooo boring it drives out everything else, including that great pitch just before.
So I was lucky enough to be off with my friend and fellow Berkeley physics alum Rick Bentley this weekend as they were shooting his company’s first pitch. And was it ever fun. He did it on the spot, on location, at the airport between flights. Why the airport? Because he’s serious about security and he’s a pilot. This is absolutely cool, and definitely the way pitches should be done – so you can capture the moment and make it last.
“Forget Google. The one to watch is PDI.” ExecProducer CEO William Jolitz talks about the “other IPO” happening soon right here in Silicon Valley – the PDI Dreamworks debut. One digital media success like Pixar is an anomaly. But are two digital media successes the start of Silicon Hollywood
Follow the money story from start to pay off, the excitement, the risk, and how consumer electronics, Sony’s “iPOD killer” and 3G fit in here. Join William Jolitz, ExecProducer CEO on his private MinutePitch channel William Jolitz on ExecProducer MVP as he discusses IPO Fatigue? Watch PDI!
Everyone’s talking Google – and Google decided to make a roadshow movie. But what do the critics say?
Mike Langberg of the San Jose Mercury News wasn’t impressed. He gave it a thumbs down. In his article “Investors get few details from Google’s somber video” on Saturday, he had this priceless critique:
“…The lighting was so bad in some shots that faces were in shadow. There was no bouncy background music. The PowerPoint slides interspersed among the talking heads weren’t animated. And the four never walked around or did anything more dynamic than gesture with both hands.”
Contrast that with the instant biz video I did for our partners at MinutePitch to inaugurate their service. It has jazzy music and good lighting and all that, and I used a *Canon A60* camara and ordinary lights and just emailed the clips and went out to my Forum for Women Entrepreneurs lunch – it was on the web and had been viewed by the time I got to Bucks in Woodside from Los Gatos. Gee, even my kids use A60’s with video clip for their own movies, and they don’t have a movie crew! And I did better than Google did? Wow!
Alan Saracevic’s article “Dancing to the Street Waffle” discussed the tendency in business towards “blaming the other guy” as a means to avoid facing hard business problems. So I asked him “One question – from my reading of your article, it seems that we’re heading towards a big fall again – maybe another Black October? Or do you think they can continue to invent more excuses easily digested by gullible investors until past the election?”
So what did Alan say? Well, he’s been around and I’m sure heard the “crash” worries time and again to be too worried about it. “I wouldn’t say we’re heading for a crash. A story I read today tells me a lot – insiders are buying stock at a pace unseen in two years. That means they believe it’s heading up – but if I knew anything about trading stock, I wouldn’t be working at a newspaper…”
Harry Domash wrote in the SF Chronicle today about how Intuit has “…apparently realized that it can’t make money by giving its products away”. So they’ve done some housecleaning, making some investment and banking tools only available to registered buyers of the product (so those who “borrowed” a copy are out of luck), and eliminating some other tools completely. Mr. Domash goes on to tout other places for free products to replace those that went away – “It’s too bad that Quicken deleted or restricted access to its stock tools, but as you can see, there are plenty of alternatives.”
But if Intuit, a very frugal company, couldn’t find a way to monetize the goodwill from it’s free stuff, what does that say about the software business?
Well, I asked you to check out my MinutePitch on ExecProducer’s technology. But I haven’t introduced you to Valux, our new partner who’s offering this grand service.
Valux, an ExecProducer founding partner, pioneered an intuitive service MinutePitch – Your Video Screen on the Web! to allow first-time business video producers to accomplish successful, high valued video programs. In minutes, introductory business programs can be taken through preproduction, production, post production, packaging, distribution and fullfillment.
In my discussion a few days ago about the Anita Borg get-together at Google, I discussed the impact of outsourcing, the loss of tech jobs, and parents refusal to pay for science degrees as interconnected.
Karl Schoenberger of the Mercury News SF Bureau actually decided to drill down on some of my assumptions. So for those of you who wanted more, I’m going to let him cross-examine me for your reading pleasure:
Karl: I can see how taxpayers subsidize free trade when the US Treasury and the Fed have policies in place that weaken the dollar against foreign currencies, making our merchandise trade more competitive.
Lynne: As seen with such stars as Enron, you can do a lot with clever macro economics. Lots of fast, little transactions add up fast. And it can take a while before the accountants with the eyeshades see the net conclusion.