Hope That Clears It Up
Friday, October 24, 1997 by Dave Winer.
In A Message to Washington, 10/22/97, among many other things, I asked: "Is the DOJ lawsuit the result of lobbying by Netscape and Kleiner Perkins? It seems that way. I don't hear them protesting."
From John Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins: "It's absolutely, positively not true that Kleiner Perkins has lobbied regarding Microsoft anti-trust issues."
Well I guess that clears it up!
First, to John and his partners, I wish I had asked the question more carefully. Some people read that excerpt and assumed the answer to the question was Yes. I didn't know the answer, that's why it was a question, not a statement of fact.
Further, I apologize for going down the "seems" path. I don't like it when people do that to me. It was unfair.
However, at the time, I felt the question deserved asking because KP and the KP companies are becoming more active in Washington, hosting dinners, parties and press events for Senators, members of Congress, the President and Vice-President, often behind closed doors and off the record. What do they talk about? I don't know.
Later that day the depositions of execs at Compaq, Micron and Gateway became public, offering a more likely theory as to why the DOJ filed their suit. If the piece had come out later I probably wouldn't have asked the question at all.
I spoke with Doerr, who lives just three houses down the street, late last night after returning from a Silicon Valley party hosted by Upside magazine. It was a great party, so elegant, so much food, so many happy people!
The party invite said we had to kiss David Bunnell, the publisher of Upside, so I did! I did it in front of the San Jose Mercury gossip columnist, Chris Nolan; who was stunningly radiant in a boa feather black dress and bright red lipstick.
Marney Morris looked like a Kennedy, she's so beautiful. The world is loving her new Sprocketworks encyclopedia for kids, and you can see the glow. She was on ABC Nightline last week!
I met Gary Reback, the crusading attorney who's been working on Washington for years, and now is gaining traction. And I met David Bank, the Wall Street Journal reporter who covers Microsoft (from San Francisco, of all places).
I talked with Elm Yeh, the Taiwan moneyman who was thinking about Apple in the spring, and Karen Katz, who just raised $9 million for her website, thirdage.com. She says she's going to live to be 100! She's only 47 now. What a baby!
Jodi Mardesich, the investigative reporter from the San Jose Mercury, was coy and doing it reallly well, looking like the cat that just ate the canary!
I kissed Lori Fena, the executive director of EFF, I did it publicly! (It was authentic but not encrypted.) We talked about privacy and I suggested we do a live event with interviews and demos and really get the issues out there in a focused way.
Oh I know this sounds drippy, but what the heck. It was such a happy party! Everyone seemed to be in love with me. I just spooned it out in huge scoops, and it was delicious!
Thank you Upside for such a colorful experience and a wonderful evening.
At the end of yesterday's Moral Arguments I said: "Someday maybe the computer world will be driven by personalities and personal reputations as the entertainment world is. People make software and people use it. Someday maybe it will be that simple."
Ron Lachman, email@example.com, said: "Huh? Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Larry Ellison, John Doerr. What are you saying here? It already is dominated by personalities."
Good point! But how can I respond to this and still be respectful to the men he mentions?
Let's put it this way -- variety is the spice of life.
You're right, personalities do drive the industry (I don't like "dominate"). But most of these guys are singing the same tune. After a bunch of years, breast-beating and fear get pretty boring. I'm hoping for more creativity and fun-having among the personalities of the software biz.
Hope that clears it up.
PS: KP has a website, http://www.kpcb.com/.
PPS: Upside is at http://www.upside.com/.
PPPS: Third Age is at http://www.thirdage.com/.