Yah, so I wrote this story about venture capitalist Allen Morgan at the Mayfield Fund, and it's finally - finally - available on the Internet. The way they hold those stories back is like torture, I tell you!
With venture capital stirring again, the Mayfield Fund's Allen Morgan says the best place to find the next big thing is in the dust of the bust.
Between the time I finished writing the piece and the time the magazine came out, Jim Marggraff, the inventor who the story is about, left LeapFrog to take a job as the CEO of Anoto, the company that came up with the pen-paper technology the Fly is based on.
Back from a reporting trip to New Zealand. Gorgeous country. Maybe like northern California 100 years ago or so. Met some excellent people there and got a lot of great juice for the story.
Got skunked on surf and Air New Zealand put a little hole in the board Mags gave me for Christmas. Argh. Had much better luck fishing, though. All in a day's work.
Here's the redacted, wacked-out lede from an early version of what became my controversial little essay on Apple and the advisability of arrangements with other companies:
Every 47 months or so, Near-Earth Object 4179, a.k.a. Asteroid Toutatis, goes whizzing past the earth at alarmingly close range. Next September, the closely-watched three-mile-long hunk of stone will come within four moon-orbits of the earth before heading back toward Jupiter. Toutatis is unique among the set of space rocks classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids by NASA in that it is peanut-shaped and, rather than spinning on a standard axis, tumbles awkwardly around the solar system like a hurled bone.
With roughly the same regularity, Apple Computer comes to market with a product that alters the trajectory of the technology business and makes observers rub their eyes in amazement...
Ho-lee shee-it. Wrote a piece in Wired
about how Apple rocks and how some distribution muscle from Sony could
help them boost their market share, whether it be via a Sony
investment/purchase or a deal like the Disney/Pixar arrangement. I had
heard about what happens to one when one writes about Apple. But since
the piece was pretty complimentary, it never occurred to me that I
would get gooned. Wow. Scores of emails. The piece got picked up by a bunch of blogs, and the emails started pouring in. Here's one:
-- From: Mark Dymowski Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 Subject: Apple shouldn't be bought period
Leave the Apple buyout thing alone. Steve Jobs IS Apple, and nobody
else should control that. We don't WANT everyone using the Mac. It's
special! It's unique! And to lose that niche would destroy the
Mac. Don't destroy a good thing. This is our little secret place that
nobody else knows about and once you ruin that, you'll ruin what the
Mac is all about. Get it?
You can almost see this guy shaking a pitchfork.
From: Ian Bruce
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 10:33:49 -0700
As we know, an acquisition of Apple by Sony is a pleasant little
though[t] experiment and unlikely to ever occur. But, applying your
logic to yourself, wouldn't it make sense approaching Rupert Murdock [sic]
and NewsCorp to pitch the sale of Wired? Even though Wired clutches much
less than a meager 3 percent of the Magazine market, I�m sure you can
manage to sweeten the pot somehow.
Sure, he's a rabid conservative scumbag, and is fundamentally opposed
to virtually everything Wired is known and respected for, but hey,
bidness is bidness.
What a blast. Apparently, not only is it verboten to say bad things
about Apple, it is, with some people, verboten to write about Apple at
all. Amazing. There have been a bunch of anti-Apple responses as well,
and a few civil ones, though just a few. I must say that nothing I've
written has caused such an immediate and vociferous reaction. I like it.