Category Archives: Friends

space walking in zero Gs

Zg127_0095On Sunday I had the opportunity to take a zero gravity flight … experiencing zero gravity in the same way NASA trains its astronauts. it was awesome.

My friend Georges Harik bid on a zero gravity flight to support the X Prize and he invited 30 friends and family members to join him on the ride of our lives. The flight gave us 15 experiences of about 30 seconds each … 1 simulating Mars (about 1/3 Gs), 2 simulating the moon (about 1/6 Gs), and 12 simulating space (zero Gs).

Zg127_0188I was able to do things I always wanted to (fly like superman, dunk like michael jordan, and levitate at will). it was a really amazing experience.

Also — the folks at Zero G are amazing. The really put together an incredible experience that i will always remember.

Check out all the weightlessness photos including James Hong doing some killer moves.


Introducing Cherno Jobatey

Hoffman_auren_u_jobatey_cherno_steamboat last night i got a few friend together in SF to meet Cherno Jobatey.

I met Cherno in August in the badlands of North Dakota and we became fast friends.   besides being one of the most well-known newscasters in Germany, Cherno is also incredibly interesting and friendly.   

Cherno is the anchor of the top-rated morning show in Germany on ZDF German television (one mutual friend said that "Cherno is the Matt Lauer of Germany" … but Cherno has a lot more hair).   he’s one of the only non-white newscasters in Germany and he has a great personality to fit his big shoes.

normally in Berlin, Cherno was in the US briefly to report on CES and Macworld.   

Cherno hadn’t had a chance to meet a lot of tech entrepreneurs and VCs before.   so we had a great 12-person dinner with Renee Blodgett, Saar Gur, Torsten Jacobi, Uwe Maurer, Patrick McKenna, Eve Phillips, Aydin Senkut, Seth Sternberg, Brad Stone, and Chris Tolles.

find out more about Cherno Jobatey: (English) (German)

Andrew Boer launches his blog

Andrew Boer — a long-time friend of mine and colleague from my BridgePath days finally enters the blogosphere with: The Emptor Blog.

Andrew also recently launched a new business:

Emptor, the Latin word for buyer, is a creative, full-service licensing agency focused on reaching both the traditional markets and the new frontiers in licensing: including video games, Internet, and mobile applications.

Brian Halla, CEO of National Semiconductor

I had the opportunity to interview Brian Halla at last week’s Silicon Forum.

Brian is CEO and Chairman of National Semiconductor ( — $2 billion annual sales and $7.22 billion market cap (as of today).  He serves on the boards of the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, the Technology Network (TechNet), and Foveon Inc. 

We had a wide-ranging discussion about China, its advantages, and what US policy should be. Brian is an extremely interesting and dynamic CEO who has a lot of insights into the world’s fastest growing economy. The boom in consumer products have been fueling the growth of National Semiconductor and other semi companies. And, of course, China plays a major role in the manufacturing of these products.

you can also view pictures from last week’s the Silicon Forum

Introducing Scott Kirsner

I met up with Scott Kirsner for lunch yesterday …. he just moved to the Bay Area from Boston where he has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and running tech conferences there. He’s also writen for Fast Company, Salon, Wired, Newsweek, the New York Times, and others.

he’s now “working on a book about new technologies have changed (and are changing) Hollywood for Random House/Ballantine Books.” To that end he just launched a blog entitled CinemaTech

Hunter Walk tries to drink all of Google

By day Hunter Walk manages AdSense for Google. Also by day, Hunter is attempting to drink every variety of drink in Google’s kitchen.

this is a pretty stupendous task.

Summation analysis:
Let’s say that Hunter has two drinks per day (as he might not always be motivated to try the latest watermelon cola). And let’s say Google carries 300 drinks right now and will add another 120 over the next six months (for those of you who have been to the Google kitchen, you know that this number is not an exaggeration). That means it will take Hunter 140 work days for him to drink all the drinks in Google’s kitchen. Given that he usually doesn’t go to the office on weekends or holidays,and given he’s probably already tried 50-60 of the drinks, that means that he’ll finish in on about September 30. I’m looking forward to hearing the result of Hunter’s quest then.

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: