Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Shhhhhh! Media, Tech Moguls Meeting Today. Don’t Tell Anyone!

Under normal circumstances, if the CEOs of big public companies–like, say, Cisco (CSCO), Microsoft (MSFT) and Comcast (CMCSA)–speak in front of an audience of bigwigs, it’s news.

And who knows? Maybe John Chambers, Steve Ballmer and Brian Roberts will indeed say something important today and tomorrow at Quadrangle’s Foursquare conference. Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli is speaking too. He might have something newsworthy to say.

But you are unlikely to read about it.

That’s because there’s no press allowed at the private equity shop’s annual conference, which starts this afternoon at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

Or rather, there’s some press at the event. But they’ll be on stage. And they won’t be telling their readers and listeners what they saw and heard.

CNBC’s David Faber, Becky Quick and Maria Bartiromo, for instance, will be moderating panels over the next few days. So will the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin. And network TV news bigshots Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos and Brian Williams will answer questions themselves (Portfolio’s Matt Cooper will be moderating that one).

Am I crabby because I asked (nicely) and couldn’t get in myself? Nah. It’s Quadrangle’s event, and they can run it any way they want. But it does look like a pretty good gathering of worthies. Maybe I’ll park myself in the Plaza’s lobby and see if I can bump into some of them.

Want to join me? Here’s the agenda for next two days:

Tuesday 11/11
2:00 PM WELCOME
Joshua L. Steiner (Quadrangle)

ONE ON ONE WITH JOHN CHAMBERS (Cisco)
Moderated by Jim Citrin (Spencer Stuart)

WHO DO YOU TRUST: INFORMATION AND NEWS IN AN  OPEN WORLD
Tom Glocer (Thomson Reuters), Nancy McKinstry (Wolters Kluwer) and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook)
Moderated by David Faber (CNBC)

ALL ABOUT WIRELESS
Jean-Bernard Lévy (Vivendi), Naguib Sawiris (Orascom Telecom) and Ben Wolff (Clearwire)
Moderated by Steven Rattner

4:15 PM BREAK

GOING IT ALONE IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD
Philippe Dauman (Viacom), Charlie Ergen (EchoStar) and Robert Kotick (Activision)
Moderated by Becky Quick (CNBC)

GLOBAL E-COMMERCE: $500 BILLION AND GROWING
Barry Diller (IAC) and Hiroshi Mikitani (Rakuten)
Moderated by Steve Hasker (McKinsey)

6:15 PM COCKTAIL RECEPTION
Grand Ballroom Foyer
The Plaza

Wednesday 11/12

8:30 AM WELCOME
ONE ON ONE WITH STEVE BALLMER (Microsoft)
Moderated by Ken Auletta (The New Yorker)

INNOVATION AND THE NEXT BIG IDEA
Jean-François Decaux (JC Decaux) Robert Stephens (Geek Squad founder?) and Jim Wiatt (William Morris)
Moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times)

A CONVERSATION WITH SAM ZELL (Equity Group, Tribune Co.)
Moderated by Joanne Lipman (Portfolio)

10:00 AM BREAK

COOP-ER-TITION: A CONVERSATION WITH PETER CHERNIN (News Corp.) AND BRIAN ROBERTS (Comcast)
Moderated by Ken Auletta

REBUILDING A BRAND FROM THE TOP DOWN
Dan Hesse (Sprint) and Robert Nardelli (Chrysler)
Moderated by Maria Bartiromo

NOON Concluding Luncheon
CAMPAIGN 2008: IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AND BEHIND THE SCENES
Katie Couric (CBS), George Stephanopoulos (ABC) and Brian Williams (NBC)
Moderated by Matt Cooper (Portfolio)

[Image Credit: PinkMoose]


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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