As a rule, I don't date readers. But last night, after a long and
increasingly torrid correspondence with a leggy blond from the great state
of Washington, I relented and took my visiting emailamour
. The show was playing at the Golden Gate Theater, which is
one of the city's most important theatrical venues, and which bears an
unfortunate resemblance to a high school auditorium. I was
somewhat embarrassed as my date and I settled into our lumpy upholstered
steel seats, and I mused that a paltry hundred million or so from some
local tech bon vivant
could do wonders for the place. There are
worse names for a theater than "The Oracle."
My date either didn't notice or didn't mind the shabby setting (perhaps
Redmond has nothing better to offer its residents). But her deep
sensitivity became apparent at a certain point later in the evening when I
declined to remove my trenchcoat and fedora.
"What are you, some kind of pervert?" she cried. "Stand back--I know
I guess some long distance romances are better left in pixels than in
person. And some such romances are better called off altogether, as the
recent drama at WhoWhere shows. As of yesterday, Dale Fuller, once CEO of
WhoWhere and--since the directory's August acquisition by
Lycos--a vice president and general manager of the WhoWhere division, is
walking out the portal door.
Following the acquisition, Fuller had waxed optimistic about the future
under Waltham, Massachusetts-based Lycos.
"We saw the strength of management that Lycos had, compared with all the
other portals that were out there, and the fiscal responsibility they had,
and a shared vision very similar to ours," Fuller said way back when.
But that shared vision seems to have gotten a little blurry over the
subsequent three months, according to a Skinformant familiar with the
departure (which was announced to teary staffers yesterday). Life under
Lycos, which has been compared to immersion in a jar of mayonnaise,
evidently didn't suit Fuller.
"Lycos is the stereotypical East Coast company," opined my source. "If you
take a bunch of people out of DEC and Lotus and Wang and turn it into a
company, that isn't necessarily going to mesh very well with a West Coast
firm like WhoWhere.
"Dale basically didn't see a role for himself at Lycos," he continued.
"He's much more of an evangelist, and the folks at Lycos couldn't see him
playing that role over Bob Davis."
From what we know of Davis's evangelical
fervor, it may be true that there wasn't enough room for Fuller and him
in the same mayonnaise jar, even 3000 miles apart.
Meanwhile, one wonders what Lycos's buttoned-down East Coast establishment
types are going to think when they discover some of the treasures
they've acquired along with their other
left coast purchase.
The funny thing about this cozy trio of Lycos, WhoWhere, and Wired Digital
is that WhoWhere and Wired are rumored to have been getting that urge to
merge before Lycos swiped WhoWhere.
Speaking of corporate romance, some venture capitalists apparently are
moonlighting as executive matchmakers. One of the hottest start-ups to hit
the Valley in years is an online security software firm called TriStrata. How hot is it? Until
recently, founder and chairman John Atalla was fighting off hot-and-heavy
VCs who wanted in on the goods. The lucky suitor wound up being Benchmark
Capital, for the sole reason that
Benchmark general partner David Beirne also happens to be chairman of executive
matchmakers Ramsey Beirne Associates, according to Skindustry scuttlebutt.
(Rumors that Beirne moonlights as an art-pop singer are false.)
The story is that Benchmark's winning strategy involved un petit quid
pro quo: Benchmark got to make the $8 million investment if Beirne
former SAP America CEO Paul Wahl to the altar as TriStrata's CEO. Just a
rumor, folks--but so far, from all accounts, the honeymoon is going nicely.
What isn't going nicely is the situation over at PointCast. A report floated
in that the departure
s of Jaleh Bisharat and Doug Boake had been followed
by the departure of the architect and technical lead of the company's
While confirming the departure, PointCast PR laughed off the idea that it
was part of a trend and minimized the importance of the dearly departed.
"He was absolutely not the architect of next generation client," averred a
PointCast flack. "Nobody here has that title. He was the Client 3.x
manager. This guy was manager-level, with a number of levels of management
above him. He certainly was not some sort of dream child in charge of the
Whatever the responsibilities of the erstwhile engineer, our source reports
that company morale is in the proverbial can. After this week's dating
debacle, I can relate.
You can cry me a river, but quite frankly I'd prefer it if you'd just send me a rumor.