Culture

Jerry Sanders earns his stripes

There's something about late-night TV that entices me away from much-needed sleep and a social life.

After a long day of wandering about in the Valley of silicon, I stumbled home at an ungodly hour, collapsed on my Corinthian leather couch, and got into some heavy programming with the old-school TV clicker. There's something about late-night TV that entices me away from much-needed sleep and a social life. An hour after some dedicated surfing, I found myself ordering a tube of Didi Seven.

Quelle domage, I thought--the things salespeople will do. These organisms are perhaps our closest Darwinian links to plumage displays, as seen among many of our fowl friends. Except with the sales flock, it's Armani suits, pinkie rings, and pomaded hair instead of fancy tail feathers.

What better example of evolution at its finest than the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, W. Jerry Sanders III. The one and only Jerry once told a bewildered audience: "Intel is the gorilla, Motorola is the chimp, and AMD is the monkey." But there's a darker secret to this champion of low-cost microprocessors and Versace ties.

Never mind his salary. Thanks to a masterful stitching job by his tailor, Sr. Sanders has topped Skinny DuBaud's CEO ego poll. One of my Skinformants spoke one-on-one with him after a confab keynote and noticed something peculiar about the chairman's blue pinstripe suit.

On closer examination of natty Jerry, it was discovered that the pinstripes were not merely stripes, but a series of letters that spelled "JERRY SANDERS JERRY SANDERS" ad infinitum. Talk about self-promotion!

Tech execs are a mixed bag when it comes to charisma, however. There are überhedonists like wannabe shogun Larry Ellison, but there are others who have not completely shed their geek persona for suave Italian apparel.

Take 3Com CEO Eric Benhamou, for example. During a media open house at the Palo Alto English Tudor manor of one of the company's executive VPs, journalists were treated to a high-brow poolside party. At the event, Benhamou opened up to some reporters by telling them of his own household projects. Instead of hedge trimming or lawn manicuring, Eric giddily said that his next project was to ramp up his home to "accommodate a convergence of voice, data, and video." Convergence may be inevitable, so I guess it has to start somewhere.

Up in the Great Northwest, thousands of miles from the grenade-lobbing melee between Microsoft and RealNetworks over whose bug is it anyway, it seems employees from both camps are planning to take matters into their own hands. The two companies are planning to face off this Sunday afternoon for a bit of a rumble on the Olympic golf course in Gorst, Washington.

The rules of engagement: "1) Resumes will not be exchanged during the round, and 2) the Senate will not (nor will PC Mag) be the official arbitrator of disputes." Let the games begin. May the best spin factory win.

Meanwhile, the bloatware at Netscape keeps ballooning. With the company's new Communicator 4.5 browser, it seems its code is big and complex enough to be filled with--a Skinny favorite--Easter eggs. This rumor hound has found one: If you've downloaded Communicator 4.5, type in "about:rmw" into the "smart browser." Surfers will be treated to a Charles Manson interpretation of Apple's cheeky "Think different" campaign.

Story has it that there are many more eggs in Mozilla's basket, including pages created by Netscape employees that can be accessed via the new browser. But an easier way to get to these pages is by clicking here. Without these silly software developers, where would I be?

Finally, you'll want to know that either the result of a gutless prank or some late-night venting among Microsofties means the URL "women.are.evil.and.icky.net" goes straight to an NT 4.0 product page. It could also be the work of a Sun Solaris groupie who still can't get a date. I may not need a date now that I have Didi Seven, but I definitely need quick and dirty rumors.