As a first step in shepherding my son Vermel's open source development, I decided to send the kid to the Hole/Marilyn Manson concert at the Cow Palace, an august San Francisco venue. I was briefly concerned that the satanic antics of Manson and the, shall we say, joie de vivre of Courtney Love would be inappropriate fare for a 12-year-old on a school night, but the swarm of minivans dropping off tongue-pierced and chain-smoking preteens made me feel like the model parent. Call me a conformist.
Two of our favorite nonconformists (and indubitably superior parents) not only have baby No. 2 in the oven but are cooking up a new media venture, according to whispers and a few snickers. Wired founders and potential Lycos shareholders Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe are said to be planning a magazine about...hold on to your space helmet...spirituality!
In the spirit of Madonna, who never saw a trend she couldn't run firmly into the ground, Jane and Louis are rumored to be throwing in the towel on this digital thing and pouring their considerable talents into another truly California concept. While the pair is remaining tight-lipped on their plans, they have registered the "forca.com" domain (that's pronounced "force-uh dot com"), which, Rossetto explains, refers to "força da imaginação," Portuguese for "power of imagination."
"It's Brazilian," Rossetto explained to a News.commie before clamming up for good.
So one wonders--have the Wired wonders found God? Has the Supreme Being usurped Marshall McLuhan, Alvin Toffler, and other futuro-libertarians in their devotions? Is it parenthood that's gotten to them? Or Berkeley?
Meanwhile, the Metcalfe-Rossettos have a little extra time to hammer out a business plan, since worries over Lycos/Wired woes and their financial stake in the matter have effectively grounded them and foiled plans to visit Southeast Asia.
Another of our favorite entrepreneurs is expected to declare pregnancy, sell her company, and go home, according to a Skinformant in the know. None other than Katrina Garnett's CrossWorlds is rumored to be up for sale. Garnett, known equally for her modeling and executive prowess, is preggers with No. 3 and is said to be shopping around the company to IBM and quasi-competitor STC.
Everyone deserves a fair price for her company or labor, and stock analysts are revolting over the issue. According to a trustworthy Skinformer, Andrea Williams from San Francisco-based Volpe Brown Whelan is demanding that her due diligence propel her into a higher salary cap. Does opportunity knock at Oppenheimer for this rising star and part-time News.com columnist? Williams is in a breakneck game of musical chairs currently gripping the industry: Henry Blodget left Oppenheimer for Merrill Lynch, Jonathan Cohen left Merrill Lynch for Wit Capital, Alan Braverman left Deutsche for Montgomery, David Readerman left Montgomery for Thomas Weisel (following Thomas Weisel), and very tall Texan William Gurley has abandoned Hummer Winblad for Benchmark Capital, home of headhunter David "No Talking Heads Jokes Please" Beirne. I haven't seen this much turnover since I was last at an Internet start-up.
Was Jerry Yang reading the Rumor Mill? The day after we ran our column entitled Yahoo's sticky fingers, chief Yahoo Jerry Yang related the following anecdote to his Jupiter Communications consumer online forum keynote audience:
"[Jupiter analyst Adam Schonfeld] told me, 'Why don't you speak about stickiness on the Web?' What?" Yang exclaimed. "Stickiness on the Web--of course, being the old timer that I am, the only thing I associate with stickiness on the Web is something that teenage boys do on their computers."
Icky! On a far more innocuous note, the floor was sticky at the 20 Tank bar in San Francisco's South of Market district last night after CNET and Ziff-Davis staffers squared off over an issue more important than scoops, market share, market cap, or any of the trivial concerns that drive their cutthroat rivalry. This time it was about beer, as in who could drink it faster.
Alcohol-related memory loss has obscured exact results of the match, but by all accounts it was a CNET rout. Not only that, but CNET staff were seen actually holding their beer while witnesses in the ladies' room reported that ZD folks were not so strong of stomach.
Perhaps CNETters were spurred on by the cheerleading of their top executives, who were in attendance; Eric Hippeau was nowhere to be found. But this spared him the sight of his minions spilling beer all over their brand-new business-casual get-ups. Hippeau had lauded the switch to casual as a sign that ZD was finally becoming an Internet company. Could his staffers' beer-drinking abilities be a sign that they're making progress with this journalism thing too? Send me some rumors and help me wiggle out of 'em.