Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Last Words on SDForum Event

In my first post about the SDForum’s annual Visionary Awards, I forgot to add a few things that were interesting to me, including a short snippet of video I forgot to put in the first one, which appears after the jump.

First, Heidi Roizen–at whose luxe house in Atherton, Calif., the event took place–was also honored. Roizen’s close friend and onetime VC Ann Winblad gave her the award, and Roizen gave a gracious speech about her house, the award and the need for community and connection.

It was good she got an award, too, as I made a joke onstage right before about the diversity of the honorees this year (four middle-aged white guys whose differentiating elements were blazer colors and facial hair) and throughout the awards’ 10-year history. Most of the nearly five dozen SDForum honorees overall have been men, which is no surprise in the tech industry.

But the accomplished women are: Donna Dubinsky and Esther Dyson (1998); Ann Winblad and Kaye Caldwell (1999); Cate Muther (2001); Sandra Kurtzig (2002); JoMei Chang (2003); Carol Bartz and Carly Fiorina (2005).

Second, Mike Moritz wasn’t quite as flat as some reports noted, such as here (and note to Valleywag: I am not kissing up to the uber-VC).

His speech was too short, but he did get a good line off about his more nearsighted qualities as an investor, noting some of his bad choices by saying it took “a lot of vision to fund Webvan, PlanetRx, eToys and RedEnvelope.”

And it was nice that wireless legend Craig McCaw was introduced by his wife, Susan, who is also a big wheel in her own right as U.S. ambassador to Austria. She was diplomatically gracious–as in no really juicy stories–about McCaw, who is unusually sassy compared to a lot of tech figures.

And games exec Trip Hawkins got off two good ones. First, he noted perfectly deadpan that the disaster at his once-hyped 3DO “enhanced my faith in God.”

And he poked fun at former boss Steve Jobs, telling a story about how the computing legend asked him one day: “You’ve never taken LSD before, have you?” Then, without a pause, Jobs added, “No, I didn’t think so…”

Lastly, as the clever Tom Foremski writes about the event in this post on his great blog, Silicon Valley Watcher, that I “looked very rock star, arriving in black shades and jeans, in a rebellious disregard for the smart attire suggested for the event.”

Actually, Tom, if I am what passes for glamorous in Silicon Valley, we are all in trouble. And it was totally unplanned.

I had just come back directly from a trip to Los Angeles, where I stayed out too late at the Joost party there Tuesday, where I learned about some interesting new content initiatives for the online video site from budding entrepreneurs, and then elsewhere (this is L.A. after all–hence the much-needed sunglasses). I also simply forgot to pack my power suit, because I am really absentminded.

Also here is another piece on the event from Dean Takahashi of the San Jose Mercury News.

And here’s one very short video snippet I left out of Walt, Craig and Susan McCaw and former Microsoft resident brain Nathan Myrvold yukking it up, with me not being able to get a word in edgewise (which can, I realize, be seen as a good thing).


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus