Dinner and Chatting with Rupe (aka BoomTown's New Boss)
Did I wangle a seat right next to soon-to-be Dow Jones owner Rupert Murdoch last night at the Web 2.0 Summit dinner?
Of course I did, continuing in the shameless BoomTown tradition of trying to get gratis meals with moguls (like our ongoing efforts to raise money for DonorsChoose.org and get a free lunch with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang).
(Here’s a picture above that I nicked from Valleywag, as they called me “abrasive” in their post and said I was carrying water for News Corp.-owned MySpace with my incessant questions about rival Facebook’s business model and insane valuation. To the first, I say that’s like a commercial sander calling Comet abrasive and, to the second, I obviously now have to start slapping MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe’s handsome face around to maintain my scratchy cred.)
In any case, the News Corp. chairman and CEO could Web 2.0 it up with the rest of the geeks, as it turned out, and managed to touch on topics ranging from the Facebook valuation to the state of the media industry to the need for even more digitization across the landscape.
If you want to see Murdoch in action, here’s some snippets of his onstage interview, along with MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe with conference co-host John Battelle. It’s a little hard to hear, but worth the watch.
He talks about such topics as his love of Silicon Valley, the future of MySpace (owned by News Corp.), the renewal of DeWolfe’s contract, Google, Facebook, his hope for the New York Times (Would he like to kill it? “That’d be nice,” he answered.), the “half-dead” CNBC (the main competitor of his new Fox Business channel) and, of course, his plans for his newest shiny toy, The Wall Street Journal (more culture!).
I asked him, no surprise, about the $15 billion Facebook valuation, which prompted Murdoch to say News Corp. was drastically undervalued. That’s cheeky!
Thanks also to the other Web 2.0 Co-Host Tim O’Reilly for asking Murdoch when he was going to fire BoomTown! Job security? Nope! Rupe’s answer: “There’s still time!” (Hopefully, after he shivs the Times and CNBC.)
Here the video: