Long, Hard Falls & Hope
May 30, 2001

thank you india
thank you providence
thank you disillusionment
thank you nothingness
thank you clarity
thank you thank you silence
óAlanis Morisette, Thank U

You know itís a warm night when you have to put ice cubes in the fresh water fish tank. Yin & Yang, my amazing 9-year-old calico gold fish were practically pointing at their thermometer with their fins on their hips. Yes, itís really hot. And just like any other third-world country, weíll be expecting rolling black outs this week. Did you hear Bush say that he didnít want to get involved in Californiaís power problems with legislation? I guess that whole medical marijuana issue didnít countÖ.

I was over at the British Bankers Club (BritishBankersClub.com) this evening knocking back some iced strawberry margaritas with fellow writer John Waters and we were comparing notes about how well (not) our cats are taking the heat. I actually cut Dakotaís hair in the summer and heís not so moody. We had a lot to talk about ó other than our cats ó lots of dives on the market today. Anyone notice the news today??? Gateway is planning to undercut Dell by ó get this ó $1. BFD, $1 wonít even buy a beer (on tap) and it certainly isnít going to buy loyalty to a brand. They stopped their rock and roll commercials ó that was a huge mistake. It worked for Apple. Gatewayís stock took a hit today and looks like itís dippiní further. A great time for Microsoft to make an offerÖ.

Everyone is down today and Iím predicting we wonít see the bottom until July and we wonít come up until Q4, if that. Greenspan is really overrated. Everyone watches in anticipation of his next move like itís going to save our skin, itís not. Only putting that trillion or so that was pulled from the public market will bring back a steady pulse. Oh well.

Itís going to be a long fall for some of these CEOs whoíve become one with their brand. Some of them will fall hard when they come back down to Earth with the rest of us.
Speaking of CEOs and egosÖI donít know if itís my imagination, or not, but (and correct me if Iím wrong) I didnít see any women CEOs losing perspective and building billion dollar mansions in a recession, and the women CEOs I know certainly didnít build up their mythologies larger than life, or build golden towers so high that a economic fall would certainly kill them on the way down ó and damage the company as well because the companies had become synonymous with them. When a companyís brand is the CEO, there are definitely the sins of the father to pay for. Silence and humility would have been a good master for these CEOs who will become poster boys for the crash.

Not too far off the subject ó in a roundabout way ó I just got a note that the FWE, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (fwe.org) is cutting back its staff. Now thatís a shame. Itís a great organization that sponsors springboard (springboard2000.com) a platform where women-owned and -operated tech companies are groomed to pitch to hundreds of VCs and angels. This yearís springboard was a bit thinner than the one before that was covered by media all over the world. It was held at Oracle again this year ó sans an appearance by His Majesty. I will never forget the Springboard 2000ÖEllison was something like 45 minutes late and Kim Fisher (cofounder, AudioBasket) was supposed to be introduced by him. Well, they waited as long as they could and she went on without him. Kim did great and even managed to slip in a few jokes about Ellison (I heard they actually had rehearsed the pitch with jokes just in case he didnít show up). Apparently he has an issue with time. He slipped in, entourage in tow, just in time to catch a few of the jokes, and I have these great pictures (which Iíll be posting soon) of Larry with his mouth open watching Kim pitch ó they are precious! Anyhow, Larry went on said something dissing Kim and went into this long speech. Okay, the theme of the event was entrepreneurs, right? Well, he went into this long diatribe about how he had saved these women in Japan who were serving him tea on their knees (spare me that imagery, please) and how he put them to work as worthwhile employees at Oracle, Japan. Okay, Iím pretty out there and see connections everywhere when people are using free association. But, I saw no dot-to-dot and actually felt like I was having a brain hemorrhage. He was addressing us as a group of women instead of entrpreneurs, he objectified the audience and it didn't go over well. I looked around the room and women looked around like, ďCan you believe this guy?Ē Well, I thought for sure that if one woman gave the sign, we would certainly all fall on him and feed. Sometimes silence, or humility is worth its effort in gold. Everything else about Springboard went flawlessly.

FWEís annual awards banquet is next month, although I couldn't pinpoint the event on the website. This event is always great, and of course Iíll be there checking out the scene ó it really is both a really great presence of digerati and new entrepreneurs. When I see these new women CEOs being mentored by the sage people of the industry, I see hope in the future. I see a future where CEOs don't offend entire rooms of people in one fell swoop of megalomania and insensitivity. I see CEOs who get the big picture. FWE companies are so full of enthusiasm and always go forward with one foot firmly planted in reality. If youíre not involved ó and, yes, they do allow men ó you should be. Fabulous people & a must go event.

Well, signing off for now,