Friday, November 2, 2007

Strike Out

The Writers Guild of America is having severe problems negotiating their union contract with the major studios, production companies and networks that produce and distribute their content.

Cry me a river of tears.

The level of sympathy that I have for these writers is at its very best minimal. I am more concerned with the ancillary industries that will be affected by their proposed strike than I am with the WGA or Teamsters themselves. The employees of businesses in the San Fernando Valley, the cleaners, the deli shop workers, the florists for the sets: these are the people I care about. They are not the ones fighting over inflated salaries or residuals. Many of the people who work in these related fields - the service industries - are the ones who will get hit worst by this strike.

Oh no, The Daily Show won't be so funny. Movies will decline in quality. How will we adapt Harry Potter from a book into a movie script without these essential bastions of society?

All these possible atrocities concern me terribly. Life simply will not go on without a steady flow of terrible sitcoms, satirical news and crappy mega-movies with overpaid movie stars, directors and writers.

Considering that I have not had a television for 10 years and my movie intake is very minimal I do not think this strike will affect me in the least. Luckily Americans have vast libraries with readily available books that can be consumed through reading.

A strike would be a wonderful reason for people to take a step-back from their remote-controlled existences and take a step-forward in pursuing intellectual delights.

The NY Times cites a rise in reality television, cartoons and a higher reliance on non-union writers as reasons for the decline in the need for the WGA. It is a sign of the times that technology has progressed, the need for writers to be in a union has progressed and the evolution of this industry is omnipresent.

Good luck at the picket lines. I'll be in the warmth of a library reading a book.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NY Magazine: Check your facts!

Tonight, like most Monday evenings, I sat down to thumb though my weekly intake of New York Magazine.

There is always some sort of editorial piece about a quarter of the way into the issue.

This week they f*cked up in their reporting of the Web 2.0 big time. It really pisses me off to continually read all these doomsday reports about how the web is blowing up (for all the wrong reasons) and everyone is about to be screwed in the start-up market.

The web for sure is expanding at a lightning fast speed. Facebook is expanding by 250,000 new users each day! No wonder they recently received a valuation of $15B (albeit a very high valuation). But still, certain web properties are going to go for extravagant sums of cash. Everyone thought that $560M for Myspace was ridiculous, only to see Youtube purchased months later for $1.6B. These aren't old companies either. Facebook was valued by Yahoo at around $1B only a year ago, but Zuckerberg knew better. He knew his company was worth more and held out, because he could.

Reading the misquoting of Howard Lindzon (whom I work with through Biltmore Ventures) and Fred Wilson, whom we have done deals with (Wallstrip, AdaptiveBlue) provides me with a reality check. John Heilmann presents the New York tech scene as a sad backwater for start-up companies. The debate about Silicon Alley versus Silcon Valley has always been playful in certain aspects. However, we do not need a New York based report debasing a burgeoning moment in our tech history.

Heilemann failed to take note of Doublclick's recent buyout by Google for $3.1B. Did he fail to notice that they are headquartered out of New York? Its not just Palo Alto and Menlo Park that have multi billion dollar companies. Isn't a little company called Microsoft headquartered in ... Washington State, oh and lest we forget Big Blue our friendly upstate New York counterpart. Where were Google and Yahoo when IBM started?

More money may be pouring into the Valley, but that is not stopping the Valley from coming to the Big Apple. Google has approximately 560,000 feet of office space in NYC. At our rental rates that is a major investment, even for a company of their dearth.

Next time (and I expect more misinformed reporting soon) someone decides to deride the efforts of all the start-up companies, the entrepreneurs and investors who strive each day to make the New York tech scene vibrant and meaningful, I hope they call Scott Heiferman or participate in an online discussion on NextNY before they call a our existence inconsequential or dead.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tweet of the day: Alley Insider

Each day Silicon Alley Insider highlights one of their Community Twitter members for a twit of brilliance or stupid. Not sure which category my twit from this morning fell into, but I think there is a point to my comment.

"I don't care how long I drink coffee at Starbucks; a medium is not a 'grande' never will be."

Its been how many years since Starbucks has been attempting to brainwash the United States into changing our vocabulary? I just don't get it and perhaps I am an old-timer, but we do not live in Italy or France. This is America. We like our coffees in Extra Large and Jumbo sized containers.

As a person who loves linguistics I am happy to watch as words and languages evolve. A Word A Day provides me with many great and oft-not used words. There is also Urban Dictionary for lets just say, less than scholarly worded phrases. It is taking me longer than my parents to accept the terminology for coffee that Schultz has pressed down my throat. Someday I might capitulate, until that day: One medium sized mocha, please.

PS. If you want to follow my antics on twitter check me out here.

Las Bruja Alleycat and Bike Kill 2007

The mass of masked alleycat hooligans met amongst the steps of Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn on Saturday, October 27th to compete in the 13th annual Halloween race.

It had been raining most of the day. The roads were slick and sometimes muddy, many riders were soaked and a cool breeze floated in the air.

Comprised of angels, zombies, witches and ghouls - the race provided great amusement to many Brooklyn and New York City passer-byers.

The check-points on the manifest were numerous and highly circuitous from 7 Hanover Square in the Financial District to the 107th Street Pier off the FDR Highway. We finished a number of hours later at Sanford & Willoughby in Brooklyn for the 5th annual Bike Kill Party.

Bike Kill is best described as a crazy day of partying, biking and mosh-pit madness. Located on a cul-de-sac behind Home Depot, the event is host to every imaginable two wheel, three, four and six wheeled contraption known to man.

One bike had a functioning flame thrower, while many were chopped-up and welded together to form multi-tiered tall bikes.

It was a righteous event and a must for anyone that loves bikes and a good party. Until next year...