He feels the piston scraping • steam breaking on his brow • Old Charlie stole the handle and the train won’t stop going • no way to slow down
— Jethro Tull, Locomotive Breath, Aqualung

Looks like the latest book is now into my editor. It’s always a relief when all the words come together and all of a sudden there’s a stack of paper (metaphorically speaking, that is, I run a paperless office), and that one file is off my (virtual) desktop. That moment when the “send” button is pushed and the thing is zapped into packets that miraculously reassemble in New York City at the desk of my fabulous editor, Jeanne. Jeanne is cool because she’s a geek, too. She knows all about technology and editing — a wonderful combination for an editor of vision. And I’m not just kissing ass.

So, officially, I’m still in the midst of my promotion for Dot-com Success! Surviving the Fallout & Consolidation! What a trip this promotion has been, and it’s early in the game. Sybex was great enough to hire personal publicist Jill Lublin for me who looks like she fell asleep at the wheel — these things happen. What I don’t get is why people who are trying to get an account — this was her first gig with Sybex and she was also trying to get in with my agent’s company — drop the ball so hard. It used to be that people really worked hard to keep their accounts happy.

So, this week has been the first week back at the desk, sort of. Sunday I went to Schmooze fest, Christine Comaford Lynch and Chris Lynch’s legendary big bash at the Legion of Honor — what a party!!!! That was the day I celebrated finally getting the book in, so enjoy I did — what a wonderful way to close a project! On Monday I went to the National Business Incubation Association Conference in San Jose and got to meet all the people in person that I interviewed for the book. What a fabulous organization — and I didn’t meet a single person turned off by the economy; they seemed to know innately that incubators are meant for the hard times. They all seemed to have their metaphorical sleeves rolled up for the hard work of fundraising that faces them. And they all kept pointed to Bill Gross as a lesson — no matter where I went they all pointed to him as the poster child for what happens when you get greedy in incubation. I have no doubt that idealab! will survive all of this and come out a better company on the other end. Bill Gross will pull a rabbit out of his ass and everything will work out in the end. I just hope he decides one day to reopen his Silicon Valley office, even if it is under another name….

The NBIA Conference ended in a tour of San Jose’s tech incubators and a completely fabulous party at The Tech Museum where nine of us close-down-the-party people got together. All of the people were from out of the state (all different states) and so one woman in the group, Anna from Ohio, had never seen the ocean — so we climbed in two cars and they followed me over the hill and we ended up in Capitola. I used to live right around the corner, so I though it was strange when everything was closed at 11:00 — everything. So we went down to the beach in our dress clothes and contemplated sticking our feet in the water…until we saw the water. It was foam, not glistening ocean sea foam shining under the moon, or pretty, pretty, sea green foam that surrounds mermaids like a shimmering aurora borealis — this was evil-looking foam. We walked a little further only to find a sign firmly planted in the sand saying that there was some sewage leak. I was completely freaked out by the situation. This was definitely the best first impression for Anna to have of our shoreline. Maybe the city of Capitola will comp a trip for all of them to come back with its shore is all scrubbed up. And then there was this grimacing freak giving everyone really evil looks as he lurked about waiting for one of us to fall behind...although we did leave Brian behind to put on his shoes and he wasn't mauled too badly.... So we all went to breakfast until the wee hours. What a fabulously fun group of people!

I received word yesterday that there was a great review for Dot-com Success! Up at www.webreference.com/new/010521.htmlreview — it is a great review by Andrew King. Well, this morning my email was stuffed with hate mail from “helpful” web designers, who questioned why they should buy a book on dot-coms from a person who has such a heinous website. I answered a few and pointed out that it is a site that is meant to be fun not designed for e-commerce, and the book is not about web design. Basically I told them to get a life, as most of them were offering their web design services. And this was all before a single cup of Java. But I also received some great comments as well, including a page a designer cranked out for my specific call for an MIS Cabana Boy...impressive ];->

So after this barrage of email came in, I had the most wonderful web reporter call — a visionary reporter in Texas by the name of Nettie Hartsock from www.ibizinterviews.com, where I’ll be featured in June — to do an interview about what was going on here in the Valley. Make note of her name, I think you’ll be seeing some books on technology coming from her in the upcoming years. It was so refreshing to see someone in the press who understands what cycles are and that this too shall pass. Check out some of her interviews with Craig Silverstein, Jakob Nielsen and Jon Nordmark at www.ibizinterviews.com/craigs1.htm, www.ibizinterviews.com/jakobn1.htm and www.ibizinterviews.com/jonn1.htm

One of the things I try and point out to people when I really reach back and point out cycles is that, yes, we had the Gold Rush of the 1849, but after the gold ran dry there were a lot of gold miners milling about with idle time on their hands. So the state — which BTW had been annexed because of the gold we were able to add to the coffers of the Union Army, without California gold I really doubt if the Union would have won the war — offered a $1M bounty to the recently unemployed. It would pay anyone $5 per head and $.50 per scalp belonging to American Indians. Soon gangs of rowdy, armed, unemployed miners went from tribe to tribe raping and killing men, women and children. Those they spared were sold to local farmers as slaves. The very thing we had been fighting in the south. Those were dark days, and it wasn’t so very long ago.

Today our aftermath of our modern-day Gold Rush ends with crushed dreams — one dot-com casualty recently ate a gun for breakfast in Woodside. I think the real losers in this crash are those people who didn’t know any better and were lured away from solid jobs in other states who bought in by the stories of California streets paved in gold where Hummers are double parked all day long. This loss isn’t about the angels or the VCs that invested, they knew better than to invest in companies that had no revenue models and led by people with zippo experience. The real dreams crushed were those green-behind-the-ear people who listened to the siren song of the recruiters who offered them more money and worthless stock than they had ever seen in their lives. And unbelievable titles that made them wet just thinking about their new business cards. Who could blame them? Now, housing prices have dropped 10%, I’m thinking it’ll drop to 20% by July — and now they’re stuck in their high-priced annual lease with no jobs. Luxury cars for sale by owner in the papers, and the number of people with time on their hands looking for others to play with has increased substantially on craigslist.org.

Not to worry, we’ll bounce back, but the companies that should have never been founded will be dead, and the people who didn’t make the cut will be gone. There will be more room on the freeway, and with the rolling blackouts predicted this summer and Texas’ hard sell from its city chambers to lure companies to relocate (coincidence? I think not), we’ll be losing companies to states that are willing and able to take full advantage of lower-cost energy. 3Com announced it was taking out its lobbyist office from DC — this sucks, this should be a time when tech companies are really stickin' it to Bush, weakening his credibility and helping legislators understand the needs of technology. Bush's ignorance of technology and his self-interest with his energy friends are sending one message to California technology companies — bend over.

You know, I was thinking…I doubt if we would have any more blackouts or cost-increases if for every one we did have Bush and Davis would be dressed in baby cloths and spanked by prominent CEOs on national TV. Maybe someone could get some legislation passed if they snuck it on a low key bill. Just a thought.

Well, it’s getting late and I’m sleepy. Tomorrow I will begin clearing all of the empty-half-empty Jolt cans from every flat surface in the house and the empty pop tab packets of Vivarin that are strewn about everywhere. The aftermath of a deadline is cleared away as I gear up for a new one. But not before I manage to take a little vacation time.

Hopefully, I’ll be putting some more time in on the website and getting things rolling. I have more guest columns that I have to post soon. I was really long winded this morning, but hopefully I managed to get something worth reading written down.

Until next time,

Ciao bella/bello