This, the first of our regional blogs, is authored by the technology and financial journalist Dominic Basulto. Dominic is a New York native, has been a senior editor at Corante since day one and has written for a number of online and offline media companies. Send tips or story ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About this weblog
Here we'll report daily on the latest tech and business developments in New York City. Impossible we concede: comprehensive coverage of the city's every story. What we hope you'll find: tips, tidbits and perspectives you won't find elsewhere. As well as unique insights, original interviews and more that should be of interest to New York's vibrant community of technologists and those who track, invest in and report on them.
Government Technology points out that Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Gino Menchini have launched a new online database of registered City lobbyists and their clients.
According to Mayor Bloomberg, the new database ("NYC Lobbyist Search") is good news for concerned citizens:
"This is a big victory for open government. The lobbying industry has nearly tripled in the last five years, but access to its public records has been severely limited... We have created a user-friendly database that will put information about the activities of lobbyists, previously available only in paper form, at the fingertips of anyone with access to the Internet... This is a major step forward in our work to make government more transparent..."
What's a brand name worth on Wall Street? Apparently, either a lot (when things are good) or nothing at all (when things are bad). Credit Suisse First Boston will now be known simply as Credit Suisse, thank you very much. First, the Frank Quattrone IPO scandal and general discontent about the dot-com bust tarnished the company's image. Then, the Swiss banker-gnomes in Zurich didn't much like the cost-cutting and head-chopping mentality of the American investment bankers when Morgan Stanley-bound John Mack was trying to right the ship.
As Crain's New York points out, it's the end of an era: "Add First Boston to the growing list of Wall Street brand names that have been retired... The investment bank's Zurich-based parent, Credit Suisse Group, said that at the start of next year it will drop the name whose roots go back to 1932. First Boston will join such distinguished brands as PaineWebber, Bankers Trust, and Kidder Peabody that have vanished from the scene."
Steve Brotman of VCBall says that any entrepreneur only needs to remember two rules in order to be successful: "Don't run out of money" and "Don't be greedy with your equity."
Brotman, a successful New York venture capitalist, explains: "The root of every business failure 100% of the time lies in the breaking of one or both of these two rules... the rest really is commentary. I've never heard of a venture failure that did not boil down to breaking one of these two very simple rules. The solution to almost any business problem lies in these two rules as well, if you think hard enough about it."
(Note: Yeah, this post from Brotman is almost two months old, but it's timeless in its wisdom... Just re-visiting some of the folks on the ol' blogroll and ran across this entry.)
Steven Berlin Johnson returns from vacation and discusses how the media is responding to his new book, Everything Bad is Good for You. There's a "long and entertaining profile" in the Washington Post. And there's also a mention of his new book in a recent Doonesbury cartoon:
"You know you've hit some kind of weird zeitgeist critical mass when your book shows up in Doonesbury. (It's being spoofed, of course, but hey -- it's Doonesbury!)"
"Cameron Marlow (creator of Blogdex and a friend) is running a survey about weblogs. If you're a weblog author, it will take you about 15 minutes to complete and asks some straight-forward questions about when you started blogging, what you link to and why, etc. Don't worry, no essays are involved, you just check some boxes and click some buttons. Please consider taking a moment to participate if you're a blogger."
Reuters reports that Sirius Satellite Radio is launching Chinese and Korean language channels in order to "court a contingent of listeners generally underserved by mainstream media." Sirius will partner with MultiCultural Radio Broadcasting, which owns 44 U.S. radio stations, to create a mix of news, music, and entertainment in Chinese and Korean. These foreign language/ethnic channels will join the 3 Latin music and 3 Spanish language channels that Sirius already offers.
On the news, investors on Wall Street sent shares of the company up 5%. Memo to self: increase the value of anything by 5% by announcing some kind of tie-in to the Chinese market. Corante Beijing maybe?
Looks like everybody except John Mack has been voted off the Morgan Stanley island. The Financial Times is reporting that the big Wall Street investment bank will name Mack as its new head sometime within the next 48 hours. For Zoe Cruz and Stephen Crawford, the two other frontrunners for the position, it looks like it's time to pack your bags. The Morgan Stanley Tribal Council has spoken.
Rumors are already circulating that Mack plans to reinstall all the trappings of the Old Regime and bring back all of his Morgan Stanley cronies who have quit in recent months.
We're messin' with you, Red Sox Nation. The Concord Monitor reports that the Web site and phone lines for enrolling in New Hampshire's E-ZPass program could be down until Thursday, due to a burst water pipe in New York. So what do water pipes have to do with Internet pipes? Plenty, it seems, since the New York-based company responsible for phone registration and Web site operation for E-ZPass has been struggling to patch together a busted water pipe since Sunday.
Ahh, what will those Williamsburg hipsters think of next? Apparently, trucker hats were not enough. Now Capture the Flag games are springing up all over New York. In fact, 50-plus people showed up for the first game in Williamsburg. Gothamist has more on why Capture the Flag is taking over certain neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
Call it whatever you want -- grassroots content, user-generated content, a bottom-up creative process -- but Internet content created by and for the masses is all the rage right now. In fact, a senior executive at Yahoo notes that "sharing" (in all of its various forms) is everywhere: "It's the next chapter of the World Wide Web." Yahoo is putting its money where its mouth is, too: the company recently acquired photo-sharing site Flickr and is rolling out a new service called My Web 2.0.
Last week, CNET News.com reported that audio publisher Audible plans to offer New York Times podcasts via RSS. In addition, Audible plans to offer content from the Wall Street Journal, the "BBC News Hour," "The Charlie Rose Show" and National Public Radio's "This American Life" via syndicated feeds.
Maybe I missed something, but the New York Times has podcasts? I think the article is really referring to the "audio digests" of the New York Times, available at the Audible.com site. I guess it's just a definitional thing.
Virgin Atlantic is going after the hip, tech-savvy tourist with a series of podcasting guides to New York City that can be downloaded from the Virgin Atlantic site. The four guides include a look at the "10 coolest restaurants", a shopping guide, a guide to the city's unknown treasures, and a list of the 10 best things to do for the first-time visitor.
Shares of Google broke through the $300 barrier yesterday. It's been quite a ride at Google -- in the 10 months since the company went public in a blow-out-the-doors IPO, the stock price has skyrocketed, from $85 to $300. With that in mind, The Motley Fool considers a Google stock split to bring the company's stock price "down to more conventional tech stock pricing."
It's hard to get a true handle on Google's valuation, but plenty of Wall Street analysts say that Google is still "cheap" at $300. In fact, James J. Cramer of TheStreet.com says that Google is even "cheap" at $350.
In case you haven't noticed, games aren't just for kids anymore. Americans spend more money each year on games than at the box office on Hollywood films. Check out the nearest Blockbuster store -- see how much of the shelf space has been given over to video games? With this trend in mind, MTV has launched MTV Games, a new division aimed at developing and producing online and video games. The Viacom unit will also develop partnerships with independent game developers and work with publishers and other industry partners to produce and market original video game titles.
And that's not all: Viacom being the huge, advertising-dependent media conglomerate that it is, the move into gaming means that consumers should prepare for the next generation of "in-game advertising." The company is already working on a partnership with Midway Games.
Gothamist points to a Daily News story about the MTA's plans to use satellite technology and electronic message boards in order to give New York City bus riders real-time information about the arrival of buses. Basically, satellites will track buses as they navigate the traffic-clogged streets of the city, relaying real-time information to curbside electronic message boards posted at bus stops across the city. (London and Paris both offer this feature, apparently, so it's not rocket science.)
The SEC is investigating some of the accounting numbers at IBM, concerned that the company may have improperly accounted for stock options in the most recent quarter. Right now, it's only an informal investigation, so there's no need to panic and dump your IBM stock.
However, it does raise the rather thorny question of how companies can account for stock options in a way that won't raise any eyebrows at the SEC. (anyone with even a passing familiarity with finance knows that the valuation of stock options is really a black art, not a science) IBM actually seems to have been more cautious than it needed to be in expensing its stock options -- which makes the SEC investigation a bit unusual. In fact, one Wall Street analyst says that the SEC is "over-reaching" its authority in the matter.
This product announcement sounds like the nexus of three cool technology trends -- blogging, video, and online collaboration. At Gnomedex 2005, New York-based On2 Technologies and Vancouver-based NowPublic.com announced a partnership to create the "world's first collaborative video blogging experience for news."
The founder and CEO of NowPublic.com comments on the importance of partnering with On2: "Teaming up with On2 has enabled us to quickly build on the momentum we've created by extending high quality, collaborative video blogging to our members. We've created a next generation video blogging tool that promises to help bloggers all over the world to work together."
The Online News Association has opened up early bird registration for its annual conference and awards banquet, to be held October 28-29 at the Hilton New York. The ONA also released some initial information about the speakers and panelists at this year's conference. There will be panel discussions on Web analytics and ethics for personal publishers, as well as a blogging "how-to" and a closer look at changes afoot in the world of participatory journalism.
Does oil at $60 a barrel scare you? How about $70? At what price does the U.S. become susceptible to an oil shock? Remember, Wall Street analysts have been talking about oil at $100 a barrel for months. To get up to speed on the topic - or perhaps to prepare for a Hamptons cocktail party at a hedge fund manager's palatial spread:
BBC News: What does $60 a barrel mean to you?
Paul Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital: The U.S. is as vulnerable as ever to an oil shock
Guardian UK: The black stuff has world order over a barrel
Reuters: U.S. economy healthy despite high oil
In a case involving the FCC and Brand X Internet, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that cable companies are "under no legal obligation to share their lines with smaller Internet service providers, dealing a major blow to independent ISPs, extending the power of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and opening up the possibility of extensive deregulation in the telecommunications world." That's good news for companies like Comcast and Time Warner, who warned that having to share lines would "damage their business and discourage them from investing in new networks, delaying deployment of broadband across the country."
So is the court ruling in favor of the cable companies good for the typical consumer? ZDNet has provided a handy FAQ on the Brand X case to answer just that question.
Gregory Galant of Venture Voice interviews the controversial Philip "Pud" Kaplan, founder of the now-infamous F***ed Company Web site, in a 25-minute podcast. Anyway, Kaplan recently raised $4 million in VC funding for a new start-up after moving from New York to the West Coast and is ready to test the entrepreneurial waters once again. There's an MP3 available for download as well as fairly extensive show notes (i.e. podcast highlights).
We'll definitely be checking out future content from Venture Voice, which is bringing podcasting technology to the world of venture capital and start-up ventures. Interesting tidbit: the site is produced by Long Island's Gregory Galant, who was already an Internet entrepreneur/business prodigy at the age of 14.
The New York Times says that The Lawrence Journal-World of Lawrence, Kansas is rapidly turning into the newspaper of the future. The paper, which melds together the offline and online worlds to form a hyper-local resource for citizens in the local community, may only have a circulation of 20,000 -- but that hasn't stopped big city publishers from taking a hard look at what's going on in Kansas.
Anyone notice that the New York Times has signed James McManus, the author of Positively Fifth Street, to write a regular column on the world of poker and gambling? Interestingly, the editorial staff at the Times has determined that the column will be considered "sports" and not "entertainment." McManus, writing about the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, leads off by writing that "whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn poker."
Any coincidence that newspapers in general are confronting a lagging readership? That the New York Times has struggled to bring in more advertisers? Or that shares of online casino group PartyGaming are now worth upwards of 5 billion pounds after a wildly successful IPO in London? (For those keeping track, PartyGaming is now worth more than British Airways)
Newspapers, of course, will claim that they are only giving the American public what it wants. Which, apparently, is a generous dose of Michael Jackson, mixed in with the Runaway Bride, combined with a little gambling and NASCAR on the side.
Media executive Merrill Brown, a founder of Court TV and MSNBC.com, was named national editorial director of News 21, a new initiative that will go live next summer with the aim of helping journalism students get practical experience and training in the news business. The new program, funded in part by the Carnegie Knight Foundation of New York and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is also expected to help attract new and younger audiences to the field of journalism and bolster youth readership of newspapers.
NYWiki is a specialized wikipedia written by and for New Yorkers. NYWiki calls itself a "collaborative community that's writing the ultimate reference of every person, place, and thing in New York City. From Abe Beame to Zeckendorf Towers, this is an encyclopedia of New York and it's all written by New Yorkers like you." After launching last summer, NYWiki has already been profiled on WNYC radio and in Time Out New York.
Steve Lohr of the New York Times points out the symbolic impact of IBM's decision to lay off 13,000 workers in Europe and the U.S. while simultaneously adding 14,000 Indian workers:
"Those numbers are telling evidence of the continuing globalization of work and the migration of some skilled jobs to low-wage countries like India. And I.B.M., the world's largest information technology company, is something of a corporate laboratory that highlights the trend. Its actions inform the worries and policy debate that surround the rise of a global labor force in science, engineering and other fields that require advanced education."
Verizon Wireless has launched a next-generation high-speed wireless Internet service that will cover most of Long Island. It won't come cheap, either: Verizon has salted away close to $1 billion for future expansion of the high-speed Internet service in the New York metropolitan area. The new Verizon service, which uses a cellular-based EV-DO (evolution-data optimized) network, has been available in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens since early this year.
In Seattle, Verizon launched a similar service this week, which the Seattle Times calls "cool" and "speedy." (but also a tad expensive, if you start downloading games and TV clips and all the other goodies)
Some good news from CNET for any job seekers in the NYC metropolitan area: New York, together with Philadelphia and Boston, is one of three East Coast cities experiencing impressive growth in high-tech job listings. According to online recruiting company Dice, listings for jobs in the New York region increased by 38% to 8,644 during the first five months of the year. Moreover, the New York area ranked #1 overall in terms of total job listings on Dice.com, outpacing even Silicon Valley.
The folks at Fortune tipped us off about their upcoming Fortune Innovation Forum in New York City at the end of the year. Sounds like it could be interesting:
"How do you put innovation at the heart of your business strategy and culture? Neutralize the obstacles in your organization? Encourage your people to take risks on new ideas? Tune your antenna to spot the next Palm Pilot, iPod, or $7 latte? Find the opportunities in change and the lessons in failure? Incorporate customers in the innovation process?"
Maybe you've seen the Segway on the streets of New York City -- the NYPD experimented with them for awhile, and they're still available on Amazon.com and eBay. The problem is, nobody really seems to know what to do about them. They're cool, but a menace on the busy streets of the city. Even environmentalists are not so crazy about them. So... state lawmakers are huddled together in Albany, cooking up some legislation on what to do about the Segway:
"Lawmakers are making progress on something else: the question of how to classify Segways, the odd-looking, scooterlike contraptions balanced by gyroscopes, and whether people should be allowed to scoot around on them on sidewalks across New York State."
The big question for legislators is whether to define the Segway as an "electric personal assistive mobility device" or as a "motorized vehicle." Does it really matter, though? As one insider points out, "It's not like there's any real clamor from the public on this. This is a lobbyist-driven bill and it's getting play at the end of session when there's a limited amount of airtime for really pressing issues..."
The beta invitations to use Odeo, the new audio content/podcasting service created by Evan Williams (of Blogger fame), are going out fast and furious to all corners of the globe... Corante New York received an invite yesterday. Until we have a chance to play around with Odeo, here's some initial feedback from podcasters in Canada, Guatemala and Japan.
In the Wall Street Journal, William M. Bulkeley looks at how marketers are taking advantage of new technology solutions to find the "valuable insights" and "useful nuggets" lurking within blogs and other forms of consumer-generated media. There's even an ROI value proposition for these blog tools: "Purveyors of the new methodology and their clients say blog-watching can be cheaper, faster and less biased than such staples of consumer research as focus groups and surveys." As one PR executive explains: "We look at the blogosphere as a focus group with 15 million people going on 24/7 that you can tap into without going behind a one-way mirror."
Some of the folks on Slashdot, though, aren't quite so impressed by these blog-oriented marketing strategies:
"Behold the future of the internet: 50% while be whiny, angsty teens complaining about the world in blogs with poor grammar. The other 50% will be companies data-mining those blogs for insights about what kind of products to market."
Andrew Rasiej, candidate for NYC Public Advocate, unveiled the details of his city-wide Wi-Fi plan yesterday on the steps of City Hall. The Rasiej Wi-Fi plan has generated a fair amount of buzz, and not just in the local New York papers. For example, Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon has also picked up the story, calling the thinking behind the NY Wi-Fi Plan the "best description I've seen yet about why low-cost Wi-Fi should be considered a core issue of civil rights, economic fairness, and educational opportunity..."
For a total of $80 million (about $10 per resident), says Rasiej, it's possible to provide high-speed Internet access across the city, including free Wi-Fi in public places. The full text of the speech announcing the Wi-Fi plan as well as details about how it would actually work are available on the Rasiej campaign blog. (Thanks, Micah)
More on the internal mess over at Morgan Stanley: the latest frontrunner to become CEO of the Wall Street investment bank is the company's former president, John J. Mack, who lost out in the power struggle with Philip Purcell in 2001. According to CNN/Money, Morgan Stanley's board is under mounting pressure to name someone quickly -- either a long-time Morgan Stanley veteran or another respected name from a top-tier Wall Street investment bank.
A new report ("Stuck at the Turnstile") from the Public Advocate's office says that more than 25% of all subway MetroCard swipes have failed since the MTA replaced tokens with MetroCards in 2003. That's one in every four. Conspiracy fans will be heartened to know that the incidence of a "mis-swipe" is much higher in poor neighborhoods -- by some estimates, nearly 50% of all swipes fail in low-income neighborhoods. (The B/C subway stop on 116th Street in Harlem is, apparently, one of the worst places to use a MetroCard)
What's funny (funny sad, not funny ha-ha) is that if you ever ask a MTA station booth attendant (a disappearing breed) for help with a MetroCard, they look at you like you have the IQ of a piece of sushi and explain that the card is not working because you don't know how to swipe the card properly. This technique as a humiliation method is particularly effective during peak commuting hours, when the station booth attendant is speaking into his or her station microphone the way that a parent speaks to a small child, telling hundreds of swarming commuters around you that you lack the intellectual firepower and technological know-how to move a piece of plastic through a standard MTA cardreader.
Consolidation in the online brokerage industry continues: Ameritrade announced plans to acquire TD Waterhouse for nearly $3 billion after shaking off an earlier acquisition offer from E-Trade. The combined entity, to be known as TD Ameritrade, will become the largest online broker with 239,000 average daily client trades; annual revenue of more than $1.8 billion and about 5.9 million total accounts.
Forbes has more on the musical chairs in the online brokerage industry, which left E-Trade standing as the only one without an online brokerage partner. Forbes hints, though, that the bulked up TD Ameritrade may make a run for E-Trade sometime in the future, creating a mega-supersized online broker.
Feeling overwhelmed by technology and all the bells-and-whistles that seem to come standard with every electronic gadget or household appliance? Lee Gomes of the Wall Street Journal provides tips for keeping up with the Technology Joneses.
The #1 rule: "Insist on keeping the machines around you as simple as possible. The simpler things are, the less time it will take to learn how they work, to use them and to fix them."
Gomes also suggests actually taking the time to read the instruction manual for your latest technology purchase -- taking the manual with you on a long airplane flight, for example, or simply carrying it around with you on the daily commute.
Adam Balkin of NY1 previews RadioTime.com, which hopes to do for radio what TiVO did for TV. The new Web-based service "consolidates radio programming from all around the globe - music and talk - and makes it very easy to find, and then listen to it when you like and where you like." The annual cost is $39, which sounds reasonable, until Balkin reveals that "sound quality is considered one generation less than what you'd hear over the air."
It's still pretty cool, if all you want is talk radio and not music. Say, for example, that you wanted to hear live radio updates about what was happening with democracy in Ukraine. Well, there are a number of Ukrainian radio stations that are available via RadioTime (including 14 in Kiev!). Theoretically, you could time-shift these radio programs to East Coast Time and then listen to them at your leisure.
At the BIO 2005 conference, the Milken Institute released a study that ranked Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York as the top four biotech hubs in the country. For both Philly and New York, the Milken Institute noted the importance of access to "New Jersey's cluster of drug companies." Newsday has more on the goings-on at the conference.
Search engine Oodle has released a new beta service that allows Internet users to comb through the classified ad listings in the Greater New York area (i.e. New York City, Southern Connecticut, Northern New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island) with a new, easy-to-use interface. The classifieds are not only from the usual suspects like the major New York newspapers -- the listings will also come from Craigslist and eBay.
The CEO of Oodle explains the motivation for rolling out the new geographically-targeted service: "Whether you're looking for a used sofa bed or a new apartment, you want to find exactly what you're looking for and be the first person to jump on great deals when they pop up."
Journalists are ashamed to admit that they read blogs -- yet, a majority of them use them regularly as part of their work. According to the most recent findings of the 11th Annual Euro RSCG Magnet Survey of the Media, completed in collaboration with Columbia University, 51% of journalists are using blogs to do their work, despite the fact that only 1% believe blogs are credible.
Moreover, 28% of journalists are relying on blogs for their day-to-day reporting; 53% of journalists use blogs to find story ideas; 43% use them to research and reference facts; 36% use them to find sources; and 33% of journalists use blogs as a way of uncovering breaking news or scandals. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Not only are blogs influencing online readers, they are now "influencing the influencers," says the head of Euro RSCG Magnet.
Micro Persuasion explains the changes afoot in the world of media: "Clearly, journalists are hanging out in the blogosphere looking for sources, scoops and more. There's no excuse - no excuse - for not monitoring blogs. And clearly those companies that choose to start positive blogging conversations and maintain them will get more press."
Internet connects Brooklyn Cyclones fans from around the world
Thanks to the magic of the Internet, the start of the minor league baseball season in Brooklyn was eagerly anticipated in far-flung geographic locales around the globe, according to the USA Today. These fans are not always Cyclones fans or even Brooklyn fans -- but they do remember the glory days of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The article even quotes one fan from Italy who plans to make the "pilgrimage" to Coney Island later this summer to see the Cyclones play.
The New York Post reports on the latest probe into potential wrongdoing by floor specialists at the New York Stock Exchange. According to an enforcement official with the NYSE, this probe is "similar in magnitude" to the one that occurred just a few months ago. In April, a probe conducted by the SEC, the NYSE and the Department of Justice led to the arrest and indictment of 15 specialists for criminal fraud.
For the NYSE, the second probe couldn't come at a worse time -- the exchange is in the process of merging with electronic trading network Archipelago and is under increasing criticism that the specialist system (in which traders match up "buy" and "sell" orders in stocks) is an anachronism of modern capitalism.
Henry Blodget is at it again with yet another piece on Internet stock bubbles and investment manias, this time in Fortune magazine. Wasn't it just last week that he was comparing the Great Real Estate Bubble of 2005 with the Great Internet Bubble of 1999? He wasn't afraid to put a price target of $400 on Amazon.com when he was a high-priced Wall Street stock analyst, but he's getting kinda nervous now that shares of Google are starting to push past the $300 level.
Congrats to Heath Binder and Adam Wills, the winners of the Curbed 'Hoodwinked contest. They came up with RAMBO ("Right After the Manhattan Bridge Overpass"), which ended up winning almost exactly 50% of the online vote. For those keeping track, this humble editor's entry (TRUMPO) finished a distant 10th out of 10, with a paltry 0.7% of the vote.
Now we know how the Tampa Bay Devil Rays feel -- 17.5 games out of first, out of contention before the All-Star break, and facing the daunting prospect of trying to catch up with the Yanks and Red Sox with a roster comprised almost entirely of minor league prospects. A tip of the hat to RAMBO for running away with the race.
How likely is it that the U.S. government will attempt to crack down on online gambling operations? Well, according to one insider, it's about "as likely as drawing four aces in a game of five-card stud." A law professor from the University of Buffalo goes one step further: "It's so remote that the chances approach those of being hit by lightning..."
Michael Kanellos of CNET has tips for anyone trying to get their company's name mentioned in the local newspaper. It's all a question of getting the media to work for you. A couple of ideas stand out -- like trying to pitch a news story or product before 9 am. It's true -- if it's waiting on my desk in the morning, I'm much more likely to consider it within that 24-hour news cycle. If it limps in after lunch, well, it better be a headline that basically writes itself. Two other tips - "leak like crazy" and "don't make up words."
Oops! The New York Post points out that the MTA forgot to close down the conductor's booth during a trial run of the Robo-Train: "The L train's single-operator maiden voyage, with MTA bigs aboard, was going without a hitch yesterday until a group of skylarking teens invaded the empty conductor's booth."
And, of course, the New York Post just happened to be there to photograph the scene...
(1) Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone is "midtown Manhattan's Mount Vesuvius of self-celebration"
(2) Viacom is "one of the biggest and ugliest outfits in the entire 'media conglomerates' space"
(3) The "wheels and fenders have been popping off the Viacom jalopy"
(4) Sumner Redstone never really cared about building strong brands or becoming a global leader in any category: "Redstone's game was all about making the price of Viacom's stock rise in the foamy bull market of the 1990s"
(5) Viacom has a "sprawling mish-mash" of entertainment-related businesses
(6) Under the Viacom corporate umbrella, there's a "kind of Mister Potato-head of media properties"
(7) Viacom was "fan-danced into the M&A brothel by Wall Street deal promoters"
(8) Redstone's spin-off plans are nothing more than "sticking one's investment mistakes on someone else"
(9) Redstone's strategy "really amounts to little more than a new and improved version of a form of financial engineering known as the tracking stock spin-off"
(10) Viacom's strategy is nothing more than a "new paper shuffle" and lots of smoke & mirrors
Andrew Rasiej plans to unveil his "New York Wi-Fi" Plan tomorrow afternoon on the steps of City Hall. If you're in lower Manhattan during lunch time, it's worth checking out. According to Rasiej, who is running for Public Advocate, the plan will bring low-cost wireless Internet to all New Yorkers.
The New York Times says that investors, Wall Street analysts and shareholders are puzzled by the Dolan family's $7.9 billion plan to buy out the public shareholders of Cablevision and spin-off the company's non-cable assets:
"So what are the Dolans really up to? Are the Dolans trying to put the company in play? Is the deal a result of the family's feud? Has taking the company private been the plan all along?"
If nothing else, the proposed break-up of the company into two pieces - one for Charles Dolan and one for James Dolan - could provide an "elegant solution to the family's squabbling."
With oil prices topping the $59 mark, there was a modest sell-off on Wall Street as concerns grew that higher energy costs -- especially during the summer months -- may slow U.S. economic growth.
Says one investment fund manager: "Oil prices going up and up is definitely going to slam the economy into reverse. Lower stock prices are certainly expected from higher oil prices."
The good news, though, is that these historically high oil prices may not last long. According to a report published in Forbes, there has been talk that OPEC may deliver an extra 500,000 barrels of oil a day and increase its production quotas in order to relieve some of the pressure on the market.
The New York Times points out that Zoe Cruz is one of the frontrunners to replace Philip Purcell as the CEO of Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley. For all the fellas out there, don't think working for a woman will be a piece of cake -- Cruz is a 24-year veteran of Morgan Stanley and is known as "Cruise Missile" (Cruz Missile?) to her peers.
About a month ago, the city honored four NYC-based small businesses that were named by Inc. Magazine as among the 100 fastest-growing inner city companies in the country: American Christmas Decorations, Artuso Pastry, Cynergy Data, and Mosaica Education. Two of the companies are based in Queens, and the other two are based in the Bronx. Yo, Brooklyn, what happened?
Senator Chuck Schumer is leading the crusade against violent video games, hoping to stop the next generation of hyper-violent games (especially the ones that encourage gamers to partake in all kinds of urban mayhem) from ever being sold in the city. Schumer singled out the new video game 25 to Life, which allows players to "attack police with an arsenal of Molotov cocktails, broken bottles and baseball bats." Last night's "Sixty Minutes," for example, had a segment ("Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?") about a 20-year-old kid in Alabama who played "Grand Theft Auto" so obsessively that he went on some kind of rampage at police HQ.
Senator Schumer explains why he's trying to block these games from being sold in New York City: "It's the worst in a series of violent and gruesome games that lower the common denominator of decency."
The Wall Street Journal counters the assertion that we're drowning in a sea of disposable news, gossip, unedited news snippets and sound bites. With 24-hour cable channels beaming news into our living rooms every hour of the day and small, fast-moving Internet news sites scrambling to send tidbits and headlines to your inbox, news has never been this fast and this furious: "Increasingly you can get your news however you want it pushed to your desktop, digested in your email or shot out to your Treo."
But are we really "oversaturated with news"? Is "bad media" really crowding out "good media"? The Wall Street Journal says NO: the press is more enlightened than ever before, readers are more educated on important issues of the day, and there are more technological tools available to track the news on a 24/7 basis. We're not being dumbed down, we're being smartened up. Who wants to go back to the day of one daily newspaper and three major news networks?
In a plan presented to Cablevision's board of directors, the Dolan family has offered to buy the remaining portion of the company that it does not already own for $7.9 billion. Currently, the Dolans hold 71% of the voting shares in the company. Under the terms of the deal, non-cable assets (e.g. the New York Knicks, Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden) would be spun off as a separate public firm known as Rainbow Media Holdings.
Newsday has more on the deal: "The $7.9 billion deal would give Cablevision stockholders $21 in cash for each share they currently own, plus shares in the new company, Rainbow Media Holdings. That company also would include the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, and several cable channels, like the American Movie Channel."
Not only will Cablevision be splitting in two -- it looks like the Dolan family will be splitting in two as well: Charles Dolan, the family patriarch, would become chairman of the private cable company, while his son James Dolan would become chairman and chief executive of the new holding company (Rainbow Media Holdings). And they all lived happily ever after...
Starting in mid-September, The Wall Street Journal will publish a new weekend edition that will concentrate on lighter topics, like sports, entertainment and food & wine. The goal is to "attract a more diverse base of advertising to pull The Journal out of its prolonged slump." With that goal in mind, the weekend version will have a "more airy, more casual feel." Karen Elliott House, publisher of the paper, explains: "The idea is to allow people to relax with The Wall Street Journal."
The New York Times' coverage of the new weekend edition from The Wall Street Journal is interesting -- mostly since The New York Times is facing the same kind of financial pressure to bring in more advertising dollars from different sources. According to the NYT, the WSJ is planning to "fluff up its editorial mix." The Financial Times already publishes a weekend edition, and that's not too fluffy. What's really fluffy is the new MarketPlace Weekly from the Times -- a few re-heated articles from earlier in the week and a ton of classified ads.
Game Daily Biz (via The Hollywood Reporter) reports on a new advertising technology ("the Big Picture") from New York-based Klipmart that provides marketers with additional ways to reach consumers with high-bandwidth Internet connections:
"When first encountered, the ad unit -- which automatically begins playing video as soon as the page loads -- looks normal. But when consumers accept the suggestion to roll their cursor over it, the video window expands dramatically and adds full audio."
"At first, we thought that the proprietors of the Chelsea Market, which occupies this entire block, were worried about organized criminal activity (the mafia). Then, prompted by remarks made by a news crew from CNN, we thought that the Chelsea Market was run by the mafia. our current hypothesis is that the Chelsea Market is (also) the homebase for a federal anti-terrorist (emergency response) team."
Venture capital money is no longer as easy to track down as it was during the late 1990's, so the founders of ClearContext, a San Francisco-based software start-up, are using their winnings from Texas Hold'em to bankroll their new venture. At ClearContext, the winnings from online poker really add up -- at a rate of $100 to $120 an hour. According to CNET News.com, "the company's fund-raising technique may be a sign of the times in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs with new companies are adjusting to a more frugal reality after the go-go '90s."
Anyone know of start-ups in the New York metropolitan area who use their winnings from Atlantic City or Foxwoods as a financing mechanism?
"Locking iPodders out of the public audio book circulation is inexplicable. I understand some of the motivation, of course. The NYPL has an existing relationship with OverDrive. Versions of Windows are also the most widely used OSes, particularly on commodity computers, so the eBooks will be available to many, many people who can't afford a DAP at all, let alone an iPod. If I were running a public Library that serves a largely impoverished population, I'd look long and hard at a Windows-based solution, too, especially if my facilities tended to have Windows machines installed as public workstations. But that's no reason to leave the millions (at least it seems that way, tens of thousands is probably more accurate) of New Yorkers with iPods out in the cold."
Anyone notice that yesterday's New York Post included a special section (NYP Biz) for small business owners and entrepreneurs? It looks like the section was pretty much bankrolled by The Small Business Team at Chase, but it's still pretty cool if the New York Post is planning to make this a regular feature once it gets more sponsors onboard.
Articles in this week's edition included advice on how to promote Websites, a how-to guide on becoming an in-demand public speaker, a case study from the Brooklyn Brewery, and tips for getting a new venture off the ground.
Upscale athletic gear manufacturer Fila is looking to generate some online buzz for its Filativa brand, which targets younger, hipper consumers. Fila's online campaign, timed to coincide with the launch of a new retail store in New York in July, features blogs from Filativa designers. The company is also working with word-of-mouth marketing firm BzzAgent to get the word out about Filativa. Fila comments on the use of blogs as a powerful marketing tool:
"The blogs play a dual role: they're to introduce the designers to site visitors and foster a sense of affinity, and they're providing a means of customer feedback on products... It's a way for the designers to tell consumers a little bit about themselves, and hopefully, have the consumer feel connected to one or more of the designers. The next generation of product will be influenced by the feedback we receive in the blogs."
City Council speaker Gifford Miller is using Web sites the way earlier generations of politicians used free mail. Whether it is to rally support against the West Side Stadium or to promote a "17 Seats" initiative to reduce class size in New York City public schools, Gifford Miller is putting up Web sites to educate voters about important issues. Normally, such use of the Internet would go unnoticed; however, skeptics point out that the campaign season has already started and speaker Gifford Miller is really using the Internet sites as part of his mayoral campaign.
Miller's spokesperson responds: "Using the Internet is an appropriate and innovative way to keep New Yorkers informed about issues debated in city government and to give them a vehicle to voice support for a better education for their children and for critical budget priorities over a bad West Side stadium idea. Gifford Miller thinks that's the best of democracy - citizens connecting directly with the people they elect."
Slate weighs in on the age-old question facing all media moguls: Is it better to be rich or famous? Given Sumner Redstone's recent decision to split media conglomerate Viacom into two different publicly-traded companies and Barry Diller's decision to sell off his stake in Vivendi Universal Entertainment, it appears that, for the time being, media moguls are "choosing cash over ego." According to Daniel Gross of Slate, media moguls like Redstone or Barry Diller "no longer think it's good to be the king of all media."
What's interesting is that "there seems to be a new conventional wisdom" for media dealmakers: "Old media sucks because it is condemned to slower growth." Who wants to be caught holding broadcast TV assets or traditional radio stations when your competitor is tapping into high-growth areas like digital music, satellite radio and even Podcasting?
If you make frequent bus trips between Albany and New York City, there's now free Wi-Fi service onboard buses from the Albany NY Bus Company. The wireless Internet service was originally marketed to SUNY-Albany students, and it fizzled. Now, the bus company is marketing the free Wi-Fi as a productivity tool for business travelers.
Internet software firm Intermix has reached a tentative settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer after being accused of bundling together spyware with its downloadable software offerings. As in other cash settlements that Spitzer has squeezed out of other companies, Intermix did not admit any wrongdoing or liability. By paying cash and agreeing to a few changes in its business practices, Intermix essentially removed the "overhang" from Spitzer's spyware investigation on its share price.
Under the preliminary agreement reached with Spitzer, Intermix will pay $7.5 million over three years to New York State. The company will also permanently stop distributing unwanted software programs that automatically redirect users' Web browsers to Internet sites.
Arik Hesseldahl of Forbes highlights a new partnership between Sirius Satellite Radio and Sprint PCS (Sirius will provide music content to Sprint's mobile phone customers) and hints at other product announcements that could be coming from Sirius over the next 12 months. For example, Sirius could launch a video service sometime in 2006, as well as a number of data services for radio listeners.
There's also a persistent rumor that Sirius and Apple are talking about a collaborative partnership of some kind:
"Sirius is also said to be talking with Apple about adding Sirius content to Apple's iTunes service and bringing the Sirius service to a future version of the iPod... Another possibility is for Apple to offer some Sirius programming within its iTunes software. Already, many streaming radio stations are listed within the radio section of iTunes, and Sirius, and indeed XM, might be natural targets for such an offering."
IBM opened yet another software development center in India and announced plans to hire 1,000 programmers in the new center by the end of the year. That's on top of the 23,000 other employees that IBM has at its four other software development centers in India. For some reason, that just seems like a big number. 25,000 people. Combine it with IBM's decision to sell off its ThinkPad business to Chinese PC maker Lenovo, and that's the future: cheap, high-skilled labor in India and cheap, high-quality products from China.
Citing the need to create shareholder value and boost a lagging stock price, the board of directors of Viacom voted to split the company into two pieces, a growth company and a value company. The faster-growing company will include Viacom's cable networks (MTV, Nickelodeon and Showtime), Paramount Pictures and Simon & Schuster. The slower-growing company will include CBS and its television stations, outdoor advertising, radio and Paramount Television.
The Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, the flagship of the Sheraton hotel fleet, became the first hotel in Manhattan to use environmentally-friendly high temperature fuel cell technology. Apparently, PPL Corporation recently installed a high temperature 250-kilowatt Direct FuelCell power plant inside the hotel that is capable of providing 10% of the hotel's electricity and hot water. It sounds like some pretty cool technology that's environmentally-safe:
"Fuel cells generate electricity with no combustion. They are, in effect, like large, continuously operating batteries that generate electricity as long as a fuel source, such as natural gas, is supplied. Since the gas is not burned, there is no pollution commonly associated with the combustion of fossil fuels. Because hydrogen is generated directly within the fuel cell module from readily available fuels such as natural gas and wastewater treatment gas, FCE power plants are ready today and do not require the creation of a hydrogen infrastructure."
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been eager to create an image as an invincible crime-fighting machine, especially when it comes to cleaning up Wall Street. Last week's acquittal of ex-Bank of America broker Theodore Sihpol on 29 counts of illegal trading in mutual funds, though, surely put a dent in Spitzer's armor. It was, after all, the first major courtroom loss for Spitzer -- and a potential sign that Spitzer is overreaching his prosecutorial authority. For more on Spitzer and his political ambitions, check out the article that I wrote over at Tech Central Station: The Attorney General Who Would Be King.
"Mr. Rasiej also talks of the need to expand computer use and high-speed information technology. He also said he would seek to create wireless Internet access throughout the city and in the subways. "I think this office has the most potential of any office on the New York City landscape," Mr. Rasiej said. "If only the imagination of the person in office could be expanded."
Wired News takes a look at how old fashioned street graffiti is merging with Internet technology to produce a 21st century, Internet-enabled graffiti:
"Next time you're walking down a city sidewalk, look out for the internet. It's all around you -- and not just in the phone lines and cables running under the streets or in the airborne Wi-Fi streams. In recent months, several services have sprung up to allow a communion between the real world and the internet, with cell phones acting as the medium."
One of the high-tech graffiti services profiled is Grafedia, created by a recent graduate of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications program. According to the founder of Grafedia, the world around us will continue to change as more people experiment with these kinds of interactive experiences:
"Digital signposts to interactive experiences are likely just the beginning as access to the internet becomes more ubiquitous. The boundaries of what we think of as the world wide web are arbitrary..."
Gotham Gazette adds to its Campaign 2005 coverage with a handy 26-question quiz to check whether you're "civic-minded" or "gossip-minded." If you know the names of at least four candidates who are running for Mayor, have a handle on NYC tax issues and have ever placed a call to the city's new 311 line, odds are that you're at least relatively civic-minded. If, however, you know which celebrities attended New York City schools or care about Mayor Bloomberg's dinner parties, you're probably not.
In this week's New York Magazine, Kurt Andersen takes readers for a backstage tour of the media sausage factory... You really don't want to know how sausage is made, just like you really don't want to know how journalists create a well-written article out of anonymous sources, sketchy information and less than reliable contacts. If you enjoyed the media barrage after the revelation of the identity of Deep Throat, this article's for you. If not, here's the money quote:
"The reporters craft isnt a clinical process. Journalism is like sausage, and if youre squeamish, its better not to see it being made. Responsible journalists will try to make sausages that arent contaminated or dangerous. And some of us will prefer to make and eat kosher or organic sausagesbut only some of us."
MetroChai experimenting with blogs for real-time updates
Online community MetroChai ("New York's site for mixing pleasure with business") is launching several new Blogger-powered blogs in order to provide real-time updates of new job and real estate listings. There's also an NYC Dating blog and an NYC Event blog.
Sirius Satellite Radio is extolling the virtues of hierarchical modulation, a new technology that will enable the satellite radio company to offer more programs and expanded services to its subscriber base. According to a press release from the company, the new technology will maximize network capacity by 25%, thereby giving the company more capacity for data and video transmissions, and allowing it to add to the 120+ audio channels that are already available.
"Anyone with a library card and a Windows media player can now borrow audio versions of everything from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Zane Gray on Fishing. The MP3 files, which can be downloaded at any hour of the day from the librarys Web site, at ebooks.nypl.org, are good for three weeks, after which they can no longer be accessed. Users will be able to burn the files on to CDs for personal use."
It's all part of the changing nature of libraries, says a NYPL official: We see the future of circulating materials starting to head toward the Web and remote access, as opposed to people coming in to check things out. Were trying to stay one step ahead of the curve."
The founder of Monster.com, Jeff Taylor, is launching a new venture in August that will likely become an integrated part of parent company Monster Worldwide. For now, there has only been high-level discussion of what shape this venture will take. While the new venture will probably not be employment-related, Monster Worldwide will provide the seed capital to get the new venture off the ground. Moreover, Taylor will continue to serve as an outside adviser to Monster on strategic and brand issues.
Hot off the wires: Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell has offered to resign. As soon as the company finds a new chairman and CEO, Purcell will retire and ride off into the sunset.
Over the past six months, just about everything that could wrong did go wrong for Purcell. With investors breathing down his neck, it's probably the best thing for the future of the firm to bring in someone new. There's been a constant exodus of talent out of Morgan Stanley and a full-blown revolt by the Morgan Stanley old guard. To top it all off, 2Q earnings are going to fall short of Wall Street consensus estimates.
Campaign contributions via the Internet could be the difference maker for many New York politicians during the current campaign season. City Council speaker Gifford Miller, for example, has already pulled in $675,000 via online credit card contributions for his mayoral bid. This is apparently a city-wide trend: "Almost five times as many credit card contributions have been made so far this campaign season in New York compared with the last citywide election four years ago."
What's interesting is the psychology of the campaign contributors -- most of them would balk at the notion of writing a check, finding an envelope and licking a stamp, but think nothing of tossing around a hundred bucks if they can put on their credit cards.
Cafes that once provided free Wi-Fi access to patrons as a way of encouraging customers to linger over coffee and dessert for hours at a time are finding that, quite often, the costs outweigh the benefits. In places like Seattle and San Francisco and New York, laptop users clog up tables meant for four or more people. These laptop users don't talk to anybody else, just clack away on their keyboards incessantly. Moreover, some "sit for six to eight hours purchasing a single drink, or nothing at all. Even worse, when lingerers were confronted, they were bellicose."
It's all part of a Wi-Fi backlash, in which cafe owners are even going to the extreme of disconnecting the Wi-Fi connection on weekends. Surely, somewhere, there must be a guide to Wi-Fi Etiquette. How long should you be able to nurse a single drink without being expected to pony up for another purchase? 1 hour? 90 minutes? Is a big tip enough to avoid being kicked out?
The American Council on Science and Health points to an article in the Wall Street Journal about financier Leon Black's $10 million gift to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The funds will be used for the creation of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute. Black, a trustee of Mount Sinai, has high hopes for the new institute: "Stem cell research might one day produce treatments and cures for a host of human diseases, conditions that cause suffering and premature death, such as cancer and Alzheimer's Disease."
There's egg on the face of mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner, who has been front and center in the fight to keep Wal-Mart out of the city. (The New York Post has dubbed him "Mr. Anti-Wal-Mart") It turns out that Weiner has pocketed more than $30,000 from two families with close ties to the big box retailer. That's not good news, considering that he's one of the sponsors of "Wal-Mart bashing" legislation that will be voted on in the House of Representatives this week.
Is the timing of the Wal-Mart revelations a coincidence? Probably. As the summer heats up, look for the candidates vying for Bloomberg's mayoral post to ratchet up their campaign vitriol. Try to stay clear of any drive-by mudslingings.
"We used to be one nation, undivided, under three networks, three car companies and two brands of toothpaste for all. Today we are the mass niche nation... Increasingly the brick-and-mortar world resembles the virtual one: an infinite landscape of microscopic subcategories, in which one loses oneself, twice."
According to Schiff, "there's a niche born every minute."
Christopher Byron of the New York Post takes a closer look at Lifeline Therapeutics, an OTC Bulletin Board stock that has skyrocketed more than 500% in the past eight months. The only problem, writes Byron, is that the company "has a lot of big plans for the future but not much else." Unless, of course, you count a nutriceutical product called Protandim, which is being touted as a dietary/nutritional supplement that can help you cheat death and live longer. (In fact, it's already been featured on ABC television as a new "fountain of youth.")
So what's in this miracle drug Protandim?
"According to the label, Protandim seems to consist, in part at least, of green tea and a spice called tumeric found in pickles. And I say, hey, if green tea and pickles can help you have funky sex at 92, then shouldn't we be looking for more such cures from the spice racks of America's kitchens? Anyone for a smoothie of fennel seeds and 7-Up?"
The takeaway lesson: don't believe the hype -- especially when it comes to exotic new health supplements that claim to have all kinds of anti-aging properties. By marketing a product as a nutriceutical and not as a pharmaceutical drug, companies can also avoid the long regulatory arm of the FDA. Byron calls the whole racket "Immortality, Inc."
The New York Daily News finds that New York dog lovers -- afraid that their pets could be snatched off the streets at any time -- are giving consideration to a new high-tech dog collar that makes use of global positioning system technology.
The $350 device -- available from Long Island-based GPS Tracks -- also includes a built-in temperature monitor that sends a warning message whenever the temperature around the dog becomes too hot or too cold. Moreover, by dialing F-O-U-N-D on any PDA, a user can get the coordinates of the pet at any time.
Thanks to a tip from Bucky Turco, Ad Rants points out the apparent incongruity of two vodka ads - one for Absolut, one for Stolichnaya - that appear on the same corner of East 14th Street:
"On both sides of the same [bus] stop were vodka ads, one for Absolut, one for Stoli. Not only were both vodka ads, but both we're for their new lines of Peach vodka. And another interesting twist was that both ads had polar-opposite creative: Absolut pushed for a tropical and bright feel, and Stoli for an arctic and monotone feel."
Frequent readers of the Corante New York site may have noticed a little purple blog widget that we've installed on the main page and on each of the individual entry pages: Y!Q Search. Yahoo! Search is beta-testing Y!Q (think Yahoo! + IQ), a new contextual search technology developed for niche publishers like Corante. Take it for a spin and let me know what you think. As best as possible, the search results have been optimized to be New York-centric.
A big hat tip to Jeremy Zawodny and the other folks at Yahoo! who made this possible.
"Come re-charge your battery after a long week! We will be celebrating a new generation of public Wi-Fi in Battery Park. In addition to FREE Wi-Fi, there will be music and drinks, featuring a new Biergarten that will surely beat the heat. It will be a community event featuring community leaders and a speech from New York City Public Advocate candidate Andrew Rasiej. Come out and show your support for Andrew and New York as it becomes a leading digital city, and don't forget to bring your latest Wi-Fi enabled gear!"
Looks like Sirius Satellite Radio has picked up "Cousin Brucie" (Bruce Morrow) from Infinity Broadcasting after he cleared waivers in the radio world. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it looks like the music DJ will get three weekly shows on Sirius: a talk show and two music programs that play music from the '50s, '60s and '70s.
Bruce Morrow spent more than 40 years with traditional radio, but now claims that he's converted to the satellite radio religion. In fact, he claims that he has five Sirius radios in his home and car. This is your destiny, Bruce.
"Launching on June 16th and open to the public on June 17th is BreakThrough Wireless, "New York's BlackBerry Center." Located on 109 West 39th Street off of Sixth Avenue and across from landmark Bryant Park, BreakThrough Wireless will offer a variety of BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds from carriers including Nextel, T-Mobile USA, and Cingular Wireless."
Gothamist braces for the arrival of MarketPlace Weekly, the new advertising-filled tabloid from the New York Times:
"It will be full of classified ads, supplemented by articles culled from The Times's Job Market, Real Estate, Automotive, Business and Dining Out sections, among others. Hmm, so it's like a reverse paper - mostly small type ads, with some content; we're officially in the bizarro world."
The New York Times plans to distribute tens of thousands of these "papers" every Thursday afternoon (3:30 to 7:30) using roving packs of street teams at strategically important commuter hubs.
UPDATE: The New York Post says that the Times tabloid launch was a bust. That's what happens when you try to force "recycled news and old ads" on New York commuters.
Adam Balkin of NY1 takes the world's first single-use video camera -- available exclusively at CVS -- for a test spin:
"Using this camcorder, you're able to record up to 20 minutes of video. You then bring the unit to a CVS pharmacy, where they take the camcorder and give you a DVD of the footage in as little as one hour. CVS then recycles and reuses the camera after the video is processed."
The 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side recently launched the 92 Y Blog. Could be an interesting way to drive membership and increase participation at events, classes and readings. Recent posts included an interview clip from Eric Bogosian, highlights from BookExpo America and a pointer to an article on music technology in The New Yorker. (Hat tip: Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion)
Alan Meckler, CEO of Jupitermedia, says that online gambling in the USA is an inevitability:
"The growth of online gambling is assured. It might take several more years, but legalized online gambling is coming to America. And when it does become legal, one of the great "land rushes" of all times will take place as casino companies and investors fall all over themselves to get a piece of the action."
Unless, of course, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer decides to get more involved in the matter. He's already been aggressive in clamping down on online gambling -- just imagine what he could do if he's elected governor in 2006.
Long Island-based Computer Associates is paying $350 million to acquire a West Coast software company called Niku. That's not a typo -- it's Niku, not Nike. It's the company's fourth acquisition of note in the past 12 months.
By the way -- when will the writers at the New York Times stop referring to Computer Associates as "scandal-scarred"? It must drive the executives at Computer Associates nuts -- they're spending almost half a billion dollars for a new software company, and all anyone wants to talk about is accounting improprieties that happened a few years ago.
The New York Times has launched an interactive exhibit called "Tribes of New York." It's kinda what would happen if an anthropologist living in the big city also happened to be a photoblogger. In the first of a series, Fred Conrad discovers the ladies of the Red Hat Society on a little jaunt around Times Square.
Yet another company exploiting the youth demographic with a pitch involving a FREE iPod Shuffle... This time it's Chase, with an offer for free checking with direct deposit (as seen in the print edition of the New York Times). If you're interested in getting your hands on that free iPod Shuffle, Slick Deals has a scanned image of a young, jeans-clad female "shaking her bank thing" with an iPod Shuffle.
Cable mogul John Malone, chairman and CEO of Colorado's Liberty Media, is stepping down from the board of directors at Cablevision after only a few months, citing "conflict of interest" issues. Insiders, though, are buzzing that the move is actually a signal of "conflicts of interest" to come in the near-term future. Maybe some kind of deal involving Cablevision subsidiary Rainbow Media (which owns cable stations American Movie Classics and WE: Women's Entertainment) and Malone's Liberty Media:
"Strategically, it could be that (Cablevision's) Rainbow is contemplating some kind of partnership with Liberty Media in which there would be a conflict of interest... Rainbow could get folded into some of Liberty Media's networks, as Cablevision tries to create more value for its Rainbow networks... Specifically, Rainbow assets could be combined with Liberty's 50 percent stake in Discovery and QVC, which are to be spun out in a separate stock."
These media mergers and acquisitions are always head-dizzying affairs as media moguls divide up the spoils of war, but suffice it to say that John Malone is probably up to something. Stay tuned.
By now, most people have forgotten whether Martha Stewart sold shares or bought shares of ImClone. Well, it looks like it's finally time to buy shares of the scandal-tainted ImClone. The company confirmed that a late-stage study indicated that its Erbitux drug is effective in preventing the spread of head and neck cancer. On the news, shares of ImClone spiked 13% in Wednesday trading. (The news had been reported earlier in the year, but investors were unwilling to act until an independent review panel had confirmed the results.)
There's also more good news for ImClone: controversial finacier Carl Icahn could triple his stake in the company, from 6% to 18%, in a renewed sign of confidence that the company has put the worst of its troubles behind it.
Curbed gives a heads up to New York's unscrupulous real estate brokers to clean up their acts:
"Craigslists's Craig Newmark, vigilante for apartment listings justice, reports on his blog that he's paying surprise visits to NYC brokers on his shit list this week: "I've been 'dropping in' on a coupla apartment brokerages, like 'sure is a nice place here, sure be a shame if something happened to it. The heat is getting to me."
Sumner Redstone, the 81-year-old CEO of Viacom, is expected to appoint his daughter, Shari Redstone, as the vice-chairman of Viacom next week, according to Crain's New York. Currently, Ms. Redstone is president of the Redstone familys movie theater chain National Amusements.
It's pretty much guaranteed that the board of directors will rubber stamp the move. After all, Sumner is also the controlling shareholder of the company.
Sirius Satellite Radio is running huge full-page ads in all the local New York newspapers, urging traditional radio listeners to make the move to satellite radio. The impetus for the move was a decision last week by Infinity radio station WCBS-FM to abandon its oldies format in favor of a new "Jack format" (i.e. Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M.) -- without giving listeners any say in the matter.
For Sirius Satellite head Mel Karmazin, the move is sweet payback: he is the former president of Viacom, which owns radio giant Infinity. And there's also the matter of keeping an eye on the competition: "Sirius' move came one day after XM took out similar ads in two papers in New York and Chicago. XM plans to continue to bait Infinity with an extensive print and radio campaign."
Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp will sell its 5.4% stake in TV, movie and theme-park business Vivendi Universal Entertainment to NBC Universal for $3.4 billion. As the New York Daily News points out, the move is a direct result of Diller focusing his energies on Internet retailing and e-commerce. Once a film and TV mogul, Diller is now putting all of his eggs in the Internet (oops, "interactive") basket.
In addition, the transaction settles the vexing matter of tax litigation between IAC and Vivendi, furthering opening the door for Diller to close on the Ask Jeeves deal and spin off one or more of his online travel businesses. For now, Diller has not indicated how he plans to spend the $3.4 billion windfall, other than to point out that "IAC doesn't have 'big eyes' for another acquisition."
This definitely falls into the "shameless promotion" category. The folks over at Curbed are running the 'Hoodwinked contest in which readers submit entries for possible names for NYC neighborhoods, along the lines of TriBeCa, Nolita, etc. The winner gets a two-night stay at a new luxury hotel on the Lower East Side (i.e. The Hotel on Rivington).
Anyway, one of my entries (TRUMPO) has already been selected as one of the 10 finalists in the competition:
"From the folks who brought you DUMBO... What do you give a man who has everything? How about a neighborhood? The Donald adds to his collection of Eastern European beauties, #1-rated reality shows and glamorous Atlantic City casinos with a boutique neighborhood wedged in between the UN and Trump World Tower. In a marketing move worthy of any Apprentice, prices for Trump's luxury high-rise condos are sure to skyrocket."
Voting officially begins Friday, so until then, it's OK to lurk in the shadows. On Friday, though, don't forget the old Boss Tweed maxim: "Vote Early and Vote Often."
In connection with its series of articles about class in America, the New York Times has provided a handy interactive graphic for anyone still confused about which class they're in. Hint: if you have a high personal net worth, a six-figure net income and some kind of degree from an accredited educational institution (it doesn't matter which one), there's no need to worry.
If this were continental Europe or the U.K., someone might care about your accent, about the way that you hold a fork, about your knowledge of the art world or classical music, or about some other Old World notion of what constitutes good breeding. But this is America, where the only relevant question is: How Much F***ing Money Do You Make?
This is more inspiring than a triple espresso... Mark Cuban of Blog Maverick has some inspirational thoughts about success for entrepreneurs everywhere who are trying to hack out a workable business model:
"It doesn't matter how many times you strike out. In business, to be a success, you only have to be right once. One single solitary time and you are set for life. Thats the beauty of the business world... It doesnt matter how many times you fail. It doesnt matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because All that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are."
According to AlterNet, there's a new reality TV-style competition in town: Ultimate Blogger. One of the 12 bloggers competing for a $500 prize is Mimi, a 26-year-old Brooklyn resident who writes on her blog about New York's immigrant community and various eXXXtracurricular activities that involve poles and one dollar bills. Apparently, her participation in Ultimate Blogger has already paid off: Mimi already has a literary agent and a column in the Village Voice.
Every month or so, the New York Times brings back "Circuits" in its full-section glory instead of burying it in the middle of the Business section each week. Today's edition focuses on digital photography: digital cameras, photoblogs, and 10 tips from tech guru David Pogue on how to get better pictures.
The article on photoblogs mentions the "Guess Where NYC" game at Flickr:
"New York photobloggers have created a group photoblog game called "GuessWhere" on Flickr.com, where people post photos from specific cities and others have to guess where they were taken (often with hints). The original, and most vibrant, is Guess Where NYC, with a hundred or so members... In New York, all five boroughs qualify. And the photos are sometimes well-recognized places with a twist - in a reflection, say, or close up."
This seems to happen all the time on the Internet. You read a site regularly, learn how to navigate it easily and efficiently, recognize the different authors and voices on the site and then... one day, you wake up, and it's changed. Not really gone -- but somehow different. Either you've been reading the site via RSS feeds on Bloglines, or you've been on vacation, or your reading interests have changed, but somehow, you don't really recognize the site when you visit it again.
So has something happened to the Gotham Gazette site? It looks, well, somehow blog-like today. Like somebody replaced the old Web infrastructure with a Typepad template, added XML feeds, arranged news stories in chronological order and installed a blogroll of news sites and informational resources. Looks good. It's crisp and readable and might actually make New York public policy fun. Since the Gotham Gazette is funded by the Citizens Union Foundation, my guess is that the Gotham Gazette caught the citizen journalism bug that's been going around lately (just ask Dan Gillmor or Jeff Jarvis).
"Todays Daily News contained a lovely surprise: Rush and Molloy are reporting that my large-headed gimpmaster is searching for my replacement. This was news to me, of course but, just as Jennifer found out Brad was fucking Angelina in Africa thanks to US Weekly, Ive learned that Nick Denton has hired Radars token hetero, Chris Tennant, to replace me. Seeing as Ive caught on to the master plan, I expect to be bound, gagged, and shoved in a trunk any minute now."
The South Bronx, once a metaphor for everything that was wrong with the city, has turned into a beacon of economic growth over the past three years. Intrigued by signs of new retail and industrial development in the South Bronx, Jonathan Bowles of the Center for an Urban Future interviews Neil Pariser, SVP of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), to get a glimpse of what's ahead for the borough. Parisi explains:
"Were no longer the same borough they saw back in the 70s when [sportscaster] Howard Cosell talked about the Bronx burning. We have turned a huge corner in the economy. Just recently, the Fulton Fish Market moved to the Bronx. The borough has one of the fastest rising populations in the city and land here is becoming increasingly scarce. Were not the stereotypical South Bronx."
Parisi also comments on the broadband gap in the South Bronx:
"We dont have sufficient Internet access. In Hunts Point, as an example, some companies still rely on dial-up. So if youre an international company that must buy fruit in Guatemala, or in South America and you dont have broadband access on a fast turnaround, youre in big trouble... Theres a lot of companies that need to learn about how to function in the electronic marketplace. Our people arent doing that, because they dont have access to fiber optics or to DSL. Its ridiculous and its going to hurt us. The winners in this global economy will be the ones that are in touch with the rest of the world, not with their neighbors across the street."
Z100, a Top 40 radio station in New York, is experimenting with podcasts, making the station one of the few Top 40 stations to embrace podcasting as a way to attract and retain a mainstream audience. Micro Persuasion has more:
"To my knowledge, they're one of the few Top 40 stations that have done so. They may even be the first. What's unique is that they include interviews with big stars like Kelly Clarkson and J-Lo."
Irvington, NY-based medical device maker Electro-Optical Sciences filed with the SEC for a $33 million IPO. Electro-Optical, founded in 1989, makes a non-invasive medical device used to detect skin cancer.
Former Viacom president Mel Karmazin, now the head of Sirius Satellite Radio, explains why he thinks satellite radio has a chance to disrupt the audio broadcasting industry. At the D conference on the West Coast last week, he also shared some insights on the economics of the $100 million Howard Stern deal: "For the Stern deal, Sirius only needs 1 million recurring subscribers paying $12.95 to make it work. If that happens, Howard Stern will add to our profitability."
"Dow Jones is expanding ad inventory and co-branding options at recently acquired MarketWatch with new sub-channels (Industries, Life & Money) and sections that zero in on specific industries or topics. Two of the new sections are being co-branded with the company's own StartUpJournal.com and CareerJournal.com; the new tech section is co-branded with CNET... Meanwhile, the site is doing its share as a promo vehicle for the Online Journal; part of the company's hopes for success with the acquisition hinge on tapping into the unduplicated readers."
Billy Martin's, the boutique Western wear retailer with stores on the Upper East Side and in East Hampton and plenty of celebrity clients, has launched a new e-commerce marketing program with the help of Strategic Growth Ventures. According to the terms of the deal, a subsidiary of Strategic Growth Ventures will provide design, hosting and e-commerce marketing services for Billy Martin's using its proprietary Net Launch Program.
After surveying over 4,000 Americans about their e-mail habits, AOL concluded that, by and large, Americans are addicted to e-mail. However, that might not necessarily be a bad thing, says Arik Hesseldahl of Forbes:
"In general, a connected person is a productive person. On a typical day, most people I know monitor both personal and work-related e-mail accounts, and most of the time one bleeds into the other. To me, a heavy e-mail user is better informed about current events around the world or in the office, and therefore better prepared to respond to changing situations."
If you missed the Tony Awards this weekend ("Spamalot" won for Best Musical, "Doubt" for Best Play), there's still time to catch the 2005 Stevie Awards tonight in New York. The Stevie Awards have been called the "business world's own Oscar Awards" by the New York Post. We hear that Donald Trump is scheduled to receive the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Stevie Award at tonight's ceremony.
NYU received a $10 million grant from the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation to create a new program in social entrepreneurship. As part of the program, NYU will fund a number of fellowships for both undergraduates and graduates. In May, the foundation also awarded a similar $10 million grant to Harvard.
"Got a minute? Make a movie. The 2005 New York Minute Film Festival wants your 60-second masterpiece. A new online film festival will offer cash prizes, cool gear, and a NYC gala to celebrate the art of rapid-fire storytelling."
Entries are due October 1, with winners announced November 17.
"While we knew the website that promoted an undersea train/subway from Paris to New York was a hoax all along, Adrants reader Bruno points us to a story in LeJournalduNet which reveals the prankster to be a travel site called Voyages-sncf.com."
According to Tom Zeller Jr. of the New York Times, Internet users are still far too gullible when it comes to evaluating online come-ons. So, if you're still being duped by phishers, scammers and other Internet rip-offs, you have nobody to blame except yourself:
"Most people who use the Web are ignorant of how Web sites are created, URL's rented, e-mail addresses manipulated and the like... Technological ignorance, and not just from newbies, prevents many people from recognizing a well-designed phony mimic. Add to that the usual mix - social life depends on trust, people are greedy and self-deceived about their ability to recognize a con - and you have a very inviting arena for crooks trolling for victims."
At last week's D3 tech conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal, Barry Diller of IAC/InterActiveCorp hinted that Ask Jeeves, the search engine that he acquired for $1.85 billion earlier this year, could be getting a new name sometime soon: "We're thinking about renaming it. It probably won't be called Ask Jeeves... Might be one of those words without the other. The new name has not been decided."
Any suggestions out there on how to re-brand Ask Jeeves?
Improv Everywhere details how they staged a U2 concert on May 21 that was even better than the real thing. The rooftop U2 concert across from Madison Square Garden had it all -- press, security, sound crew, cameramen, you name it. That is, everything except the actual U2 band members.
This is obviously the work of an obsessive-compulsive personality: 80 years of The New Yorker in an 8-DVD set. We're not just talking about a random cartoon here and there or a nice article or two: "The collection, titled "The Complete New Yorker," will consist of eight DVD's containing high-resolution digital images of every page of the 4,109 issues of the magazine from February 1925 through the 80th anniversary issue, published last February. Included on the discs will be "every cover, every piece of writing, every drawing, listing, newsbreak, poem and advertisement."
There are a number of ways that small, under-funded start-ups can choke off growth without even realizing it. One is by having the CEO spend too much time in conferences rather than spending time in the trenches with customers and business partners. Another is by chasing the dream of VC financing. Quite simply, spending too much time in pursuit of VC financing can act as a brake on growth for young start-ups, explains New York venture capitalist Ed Sim. Fundraising becomes a distraction, a diversion of scarce resources that could be better used to build the business:
"When you are a lean and mean startup where you are just beginning to build your management team, every second you spend fundraising means more time that you are not working on your business. I have seen too many entrepreneurs go on the VC tour, spend too much time on fundraising, and consequently miss important milestones. In the end, the extensive fundraising process ends up backfiring since the VCs get concerned about lack of progress."
The folks at Forbes.com have deployed a vertical search engine for IT professionals that will be powered by IT.com. Apparently, a special search box will pop up on certain tech-themed pages at Forbes.com, giving readers the chance to search for info related to IT purchasing decisions.
We applaud Forbes.com for playing around with vertical search engines, but frankly speaking, do IT managers really plan to make "significant enterprise purchases" while browsing the Forbes.com site? Maybe on the CNET site or on some other site like InfoWorld, but Forbes.com? Someone explain this to me.
The Village Voice suggests some summer reading for cubicle dwellers everywhere: How to Be Idle, by Tom Hodgkinson, founder of British magazine The Idler. If you believe that "clocking in, being paid by the hour, and depending on a single employer for your wage" is an artifact of the Industrial Revolution, this book's for you.
Gerald Putnam, CEO of electronic trading upstart Archipelago, is trying to make the transition from "maverick" to "market establishment insider," says the New York Times. After the upcoming merger with the New York Stock Exchange, Putnam will become one of three co-presidents of the 213-year-old Big Board, and that carries with it a sense of responsibility and a certain gravitas. For Putnam, that means no more youthful, fratboy-style pranks:
"Early in Archipelago's history, the firm briefly planned to hire a helicopter to toss Archipelago-logo toilet paper onto the New York Stock Exchange building, people close to the company say."
Oh, and there's more. In 1997, a big-time fund manager showed up to discuss using the Archipelago electronic trading system. What did he find? "Four guys in T-shirts, Teva sandals, baseball caps."
Internet grocer FreshDirect has named Richard Braddock, the former CEO of Priceline.com and a former top executive at Citicorp, as its new chairman. CNET News.com speculates that the selection of Braddock could be a sign that FreshDirect is getting ready to launch an IPO. (Apparently, the financial markets respond well when Internet firms hire people with Wall Street cred.) In August 1998, Priceline founder Jay Walker called Braddock one of the true superstars of American business.
Another reason to head down to Atlantic City for the weekend: Crain's New York points out that high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. plans to open a 3,000 square-foot store in Atlantic City next year in an effort to reach a "burgeoning luxury market" at the seaside gambling resort. The new store will be located in The Pier at Caesars, a luxury retail center next to Caesars Atlantic City.
"To help hospitals and health systems better understand the impact to their physician and consumer relationships, and navigate the challenges faced in this digital age, Manhattan Research announces the launch of a new advisory service titled The Future of Digital Medicine: The Role of "E" in Hospitals and Health Systems."
According to the company's press release, the online seminars will look at consumer and physician Internet utilization trends; email, communication, and connectivity by consumers and physicians; and PDA, EMR and mobile health applications.
In case you missed it: in Monday's Washington Post, there was a profile of Buzz Machine's Jeff Jarvis (aka "Blog Boy"), who recently quit a corporate job with Advance Publications to do some blog consulting work for the New York Times and About.com. Even if you're a regular reader of Buzz Machine, there's still plenty to chew on about citizens' journalism and the give-and-take between Old Media and New Media.
Yes, it took a while, but I finally figured out why Mr. Six, the mascot for Six Flags, is always so hyperkinetic and full of energy on those increasingly annoying TV ads for the New Jersey theme parks. Mr. Six is actually the normally sedate Alan Greenspan letting off a little steam after a tough day of questioning in Washington... For those not familiar with Mr. Six, USA Today has a brief summary of the theme park's mascot:
"For the ads, Six Flags enlisted a bow-tied, tuxedo-clad 'senior citizen' who looks like an octogenarian and dances like a twentysomething clubgoer to the song We Like to Party!, a 1999 hit by the Vengaboys. When the dancing dude called "Mr. Six" by Six Flags shows up in a neighborhood driving his tricked-out antique Six Flags bus, people drop their chores, get on board and head for the theme park."
Is that Alan Greenspan or what? He likes to party.
According to the print version of The Wall Street Journal, toy maker Lego Holding will sell its Legoland theme park business to New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group for a cool $468 million. The Lego Group, though, is denying these rumors that a sale has already been made: "Our negotiations continue to be with several interested potential investors, and we can therefore deny media speculation that a deal has been reached."
Grist for the Internet gossip mill: Sarah Boxer of the New York Times scours the Internet for sites that specialize in online confessions. According to Boxer, the Blogger-powered PostSecret is easily the most entertaining of all the online confessional sites. The blog, which encourages readers to mail in their secret confessions anonymously on one side of a 4-by-6-inch postcard, is part confessional, part collaborative art experiment.
Gawker Media continues to hatch new blogs unabashedly catering to the lowest common denominator. This time it's gambling-obsessed Oddjack:
"Oddjack is our unlucky thirteenth site. We've covered a range of other vices, from gossip to porn. And our legal department is understretched by libel and obscenity suits. It's time for gambling.
One day, everything will be a wager, from a hand of poker to the likelihood you'll be struck down by a bioterror attack before the next brain backup. One day. For now, there's Oddjack. It's a sneak peek at the future of gambling."
The New York Times stoops to conquer: the paper is making a last desperate grab for advertising dollars with the launch next week of "Marketplace," a free weekly tabloid newspaper stuffed to the gills with classified advertising. The Times plans to hand out 150,000 copies of the free paper every Thursday afternoon, hoping that bored commuters will take pity on a once proud newspaper. Basically, it's the same strategy used by Metro and AM to snag young readers in the 18-to-34 demographic -- lots of photos, a minimum of content, and lots of classified ads for employment, automobiles and real estate. Oh, and did I mention that it's FREE?
Interested in the commentary of local New York bloggers -- but don't have the time or patience to sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs to find a local New Yorker writing on a specific topic? Search Engine Watch points to the launch of a new local search function for Blogdigger, a blog search engine:
"Blogdigger local attempts to locate individual bloggers writing from specific U.S. cities or zip codes. This makes it easier to locate someone writing about beer in Boston or soccer in San Francisco than it would be using a general purpose search engine, or even another blog search service like Daypop or Feedster."
"The tours, known as Tech Tuesdays, have allowed chamber members to observe things they normally would not, such as how fire trucks are built, how paint is canned, how blunt needles are made, how the county disposes its wastes and how the local telephone company operates. They have visited places such as Nathan Littauer Hospital, Benjamin Moore & Co., Epimed International and the Fulton County landfill."
While visiting the local paint store may not be all that exciting, it's an interesting way to get government leaders more excited about local technology businesses and to showcase the practical implementations of disruptive new technologies. In New York City, I'm not aware of any similar programs -- although there have been attempts to extend the "I Love NY" campaign to specific niches of the tech world (i.e. nanotech).
According to Newsweek, Wall Street is turning into a street just like any other street. The notion of "Wall Street" as a distinct location is losing its relevance as institutions decamp to other parts of the city or even to New Jersey or Connecticut. The move to electronic trading will only accelerate this erosion of Wall Street's power base:
"For generations, the Stock Exchange has been the anchor of the financial district, and its homeon Wall Streethas evolved as shorthand for an entire industry, in the same way Broadway has for theater. But now that the NYSE is headed to an electronic future, Wall Street's status as a power center will inevitably slip."
JD Lasica of New Media Musings points to a story in the Los Angeles Times about "Internet bad boy" Pud Kaplan, who moved from New York to San Francisco, landed some VC financing, and is now in the middle of turning AdBrite ("the Internet's ad marketplace") into the next great online advertising play:
"Remember f***edcompany.com? Philip Kaplan got rich on his edgy mockery of failing dot-coms. Now he has a 'legit' start-up of his own, complete with venture capital backing... Now, instead of tearing down companies, Kaplan at 29 is building one of his own... He persuaded Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip Silicon Valley venture capital firm that backed such companies as Google Inc. and Apple Computer, to invest $4 million in his method of placing ads on websites."
In May, the pace of economic growth in New York City fell to its lowest level in the past five months, according to the National Association of Purchasing Managements New York Report on Business. In April, the index of current business conditions was 74.2; in May, the index had dropped to 42.3, signalling a contraction in business activity. According to survey results, the six-month outlook is at best, cautiously optimistic. Let's hope this is just a typical summer slowdown in the city.