Thursday, January 29, 2004

Keiretsu Forum...

So if you were an ex-CEO of Levi's... or an heir to the Schwab fortune... or have found your way into a few million dollars in the dot com boom... where would you go to find some interesting private investments? Today I spent my morning at the Keiretsu Forum -- self described as being about Great Association with Quality Deal Flow and watched the moneyed of Silicon Valley give the thumbs up or thumbs down on 5 early stage companies.

By their own admission, the section most members visit on their website is the "event calendar" -- including ski trips, golf outings, and trips to Hawaii... but the presentations today were all business with both self-made millionares and inheritors weighing in on the pros and cons of businesses that ran the gamut -- life sciences, software, financial services, even a new packaging concept.

It was a refreshing reminder of the dynamic form of capitalism alive in our country. A "swarm" of investors that self-organize and fund companies. The "K-Forum," as everyone calls it there, just creates a venue for the investors to see qualified deals. Investors make their own individual decisions to jump in.

Joining is easy -- have $1 million in liquid assets (that makes you an accredited investor) and give Randy Williams, K-Forum Founder, $1,000 a year. Oh, and there is a 2-3 month waiting list...

Lest you think that the $1 million rule is a way of keeping the club exclusive -- this is actually an SEC rule intended to protect less sophisticated investors from bad investments.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Reed Hundt on VoIP

An excellent interview by Paul Kapustka for Networking Pipeline -- Reed Hundt former chairman of the FCC...

Here is one thoughtful quote from Reed on regulation of VoIP:

So that's a huge regulatory issue. If the regulators say, "well, we sort of want to regulate VoIP," my view is: Be suspicious, be wary, be alarmed, be worried. Because what they should say is, we have no more business interfering with the flow of bits that are voice than we do with the bits that are the picture you sent to somebody to see if you can persuade her to go have a drink with you because you were connected by That's personal, and the voice call also ought to be personal.

So many people saying such sensible things about VoIP regulation (or non-regulation)... Where are the big, bad phone companies to insure that their investments are protected?