Monthly Archives: March 2005

Can You Hear Me Now?

Verizon’s “can you hear me now?” ad campaign typifies the sorry state of the mobile phone industry.

Verizon’s implicit message is that they work and the other services will drop your call. To me it is crazy that mobile phone services are still trying to convince people that they can get reception. And it is crazy because in America, reception is far from good. Depending on your carrier, you’ll likely drop calls even driving down 280 from San Francisco to San Jose.

Ed Colligan, CEO of PalmOne, brought this to my attention the other day. You’d think that service is service. But it is not. People pick the service provider first and the type of phone and features second. This makes little sense in number portability where it is easy to change carriers. But people have an allegiance to a service that doesn’t drop their calls.

How many other mass-market industries that you imagine a slogan that essentially says “we work”?

Imagine a new Mercedes slogan — “do the brakes work now?”

Or .. “fly the friendly skies with United … we’ll actually get you to your destination.”

Or … “When someone uses FedEx to send you a package, you’ll actually get it.”

I’m looking forward to the day when mobile coverage is truly ubiquitous and voice is loss leader to sell other applications. Five years ago I would have said we’d definitely be there by today. Where will be five years from now?

Why Michael Powell is a rock star

Cimg3713Yesterday I spent five hours with outgoing FCC Chairman Michael Powell. this guy knows his stuff.

i don’t think i am out of line by saying that Chairman Powell understands technology better than any other government official — elected or otherwise. he understands where technology is going and the strains and benefits it will bestow on our society. Powell is also incredible articulate, candid, and thoughtful — another rarity in Washington.

Yesterday I saw him in three different settings. One was a private meeting with the top venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. The second was a meeting with the CEOs of some of the foremost technology companies. The third was a large evening reception where hundreds of Silicon Valley execs came to hear Powell discuss his views on the industry.Cimg3708

In all the meetings, Powell was incredibly charismatic, intelligent, and extremely engaging. Even people who were predisposed to be his critics were incredibly effusive after meeting him.

When Powell leaves the FCC at the end of this month, the government will lose one of its finest public servants (it lost another amazing person last month when his father also left government employ). Michael Powell is young and has a large opportunity ahead of him. He’ll probably go into the private sector and help grow the tech economy from the inside. But I hope he doesn’t stay away from the public eye — Powell is an incredible advocate of technology.

And I, for one, will be the first one on line to support Powell if he chooses to go back into public life by running for a Virginia US Senate seat or Governor.

Spme pics at:

SV100 article in GQ

Cover_gq_190GQ online ( published a fun article about the Silicon Valley 100 yesterday:

Geek Alert — What’s on Silicon Valley insiders’ radar


“Eighty percent of the first sales for products like the iPod, TiVo, and Netflix happened in just a few ZIP codes in Silicon Valley,” claims Auren Hoffman, adding that “the whole country looks to Silicon Valley for advice on these types of products.”

Wally’s Food Company

Logo_topWally’s Food Company does food prep and gourmet food delivery in San Francisco. what a fantastic idea.

Last month, Dave Popowitz and Julia Schwartzman introduced me to Wally Cheng, the CEO. And a few days after that Wally himself comes to my home to deliver some great food for me. He brings a mushroom stuffed organic chicken leg, a potato and caramelized onion gratin, cracked half Dungeness crab, and a molten chocolate cake. enough food for two meals.

the food comes in vacuum seal plastic bags with beautiful instructions on how to prepare it (put in microwave for 3 minutes or put in over for 15 minutes were the extent of the directions).

and overall taste – excellent!

this is a great service for people who want a good meal now and again or for families with young kids where the parents need to eat in and don’t have time to cook. essentially you get all the benefits of a personal chef without someone messing up your kitchen (and for a much cheaper price).

visit Wally’s Food Company