Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

"How To Manage Your Start-Up in the Downturn"? Well, Come to This Event and Find Out!

Tomorrow, BoomTown is trying to find a silver lining from a group of entrepreneurs at VentureBeat’s “How to manage your start-up in the downturn” roundtable event.

It will take place at the Stanford Park Hotel in Palo Alto from 8 a.m. to noon.

Toni Schneider, chief executive of Automattic (the company that makes the WordPress blogging software) will join Max Levchin of Slide, Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, O’Melveny & Myers’ Sam Zucker, and Nirav Tolia of Web 1.0′s Epinions.

Along with my group, for whom I am planning all sorts of verbal tortures (“Exactly how much do you make?”), there is also a panel of investors, moderated by VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall, which features: John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Ram Shriram, one of Google’s first investors, Ron Conway, Kittu Kolluri of New Enterprise Associates and Matt Cohler of Benchmark Capital.

Oh, it is sure to be a festival of Web 2.0 pondering.

Said Marshall in a post about the gathering:

One goal of this event is to provide context and advice for start-up CEOs and founders facing the recession. We’ve handpicked the speakers for their remarkable records and experiences in the previous downturn. …

While the Sequoia [Capital] ‘RIP Good Times’ presentation gave a broad overview of the economic problems facing the tech world, it provided mostly a macro analysis, and a general prescription for companies.

Now is the time to take the analysis one step further, and discuss the variety of situations we see among valley investors and their start-ups: How cleantech companies are different from Internet start-ups, and how under certain conditions, a profitable company may actually be poised for aggressive growth, hiring and M&A–and not necessarily ideal for cost cutting. We intend to explore all of this and more.

Given the fairly predictable ‘Silicon Valley is in circle-the-wagons mode’ story line we’ve been seeing so far in the media, this event is also the Valley’s opportunity to help dispel this myth and explain how the area’s start-ups are actually quite diverse and that there are a mix of strategies at play.”

The event is sold out, but it will be streamed live.

And, as usual, look for a shaky video report of the roundtable from me later!


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik