Last night Fred sat on a panel and he invited me to come along.  The event was hosted by NYSIA (New York Software Industry Association).  It was moderated by Howard Greenstein. The topic was basically about the economy imploding and how that would affect the technology industry.  There were four panelists.  Fred, Steve Hamm who is a writer at Business Week, Dwight Merriman who was the founder of Doubleclick and currently Chairman of AlleyCorp and Ceo of 10gen and Gerry Cohen who is the President  and CEO of Information Builders Inc.

The questions were what you would expect.  Where is the growth, what are the investment trends, are valuations changing, is it going to be okay in NY, what are the challenges, etc. 

I have not been to a panel in the tech industry in quite awhile.  It was entertaining for a while.  Maybe because I have lived through the bust of 2000 and the growth of the tech industry under my roof for so long that I could have answered a variety of the questions similar to the panel but it is always interesting to hear other comments from panelists that I never met before. 

Gerry Cohen was great.  He has been in the software business for over 30 years.  He is literally watched it all.  Ups, downs, bubbles, explosions, etc.  He told a story that was a classic New York tale.  At the end of the day, there is no doubt that Michael Bloomberg is the ultimate entrepreneur.  Bloomberg came to see Gerry in 1969/1970 when he was the VP at Goldman Sachs.  I believe that was when Bloomberg was fired from Goldman. He told Gerry back in 1969 when there were generally a variety of computers around and not that many people using them and he wanted to see one computer on a desk with everything feeding through that one piece of hardware only.  Fast forward many years and that is exactly what Bloomberg did. 

What is most impressive is how many people came out last night and how many worked in start-ups.  Probably 90% of the audience.  Good to see that the technology industry in NYC is still booming and connecting through places like NYSIA. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Howard Greenstein

    Joanne: thanks for coming out last night, and I’m sorry if the questions were too predictable – I wanted to start the panel off with a few basics, hoping the audience would have more to ask (and they did!). Let me know when we can have *you* on a different panel!

  2. fredwilson

    i believe Jerry spells his name with a J and he is an amazing guy. I love him too.while i am correcting (sorry) Bloomberg was at solomon brothers i think, certainly not goldman.thanks for coming. it was great to see you in the front row

  3. bruce bernstein

    thanks to Fred for taking part and Joanne for coming. And Joanne, thanks for the nice write-up. I too love hearing Gerry’s war stories.Fred provided great insight. I was surprised (but pleased) when he picked an argument with some of my comments from the audience about national funding for science and technology. these are the arguments worth having.