Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro says her agency has its work cut out to compete with the massive amounts of money that private firms, policed by the SEC, pour into the latest technology.
“Can we keep up with Wall Street? I think we have a fighting chance. We’ll never have, under any circumstances, the kind of budgets that would allow us to spend a billion dollars a year on technology as some firms do, I mean that’s just not going to happen, and I totally understand that,” she said at the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit.
“If we can build a forensics lab for our enforcement people to be able to download data off of iPhones and iPads and other instruments, then we will be a lot better able to pursue insider trading potentially and other securities law violations,” she said.
So how technologically plugged in is the SEC chair personally?
“I have an iPad,” Schapiro said.
“No I don’t do Twitter, I don’t have a Facebook page. You know, in my position it would be complicated,” she said with a laugh. “So maybe I’m kind of middling in terms of technology.”
You'd think fast-racing Twitter would keep one eye firmly fixed on the rearview and side mirrors.
With the Internet landscape littered with also-rans -- from pets.com to AskJeeves.com to a Facebook-steamrolled MySpace -- you'd imagine the one thing overnight Internet microblogging phenomenon Twitter would fear the most would be to get displaced by an up-and-comer with the same alarming speed.
Got access to a couple million bucks and want to be a venture capitalist? A miner of start-up business gold? Then get used to being wrong.
That’s one lesson we learned during a discussion with Venture Capitalists at the Reuters Technology Summit: even the most successful investors — those who finance the bandwagon others jump on when it comes to the likes of Facebook, Myspace and Twitter — meet with entrepreneurs, like what they hear, write a check, and watch the investment go up in smoke.
The founder of the hot social gaming company, which is operating at a more than $200 million yearly run rate according to sources familiar with the matter, said sharing such information would contribute to the kind of hype that would be bad for the nascent industry.
“I just hope that we can all partner to try to get the story out in a balanced way, so that the media doesn’t necessarily have to go back and forth, ‘This is the next great coming,’ and hyping it, and then two or three months later, ‘Oh they didn’t deliver on these very high expectations that we’ve all put out there,’” Pincus said in a conversation with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit.
But not all companies see a need to buy their way in, as Electronic Arts did with its $275 million purchase of Playfish last month (the deal could be worth as much as $400 million if the company meets certain future financial milestones).
Broadband subscribers want as much speed as they can get their hands on, even if it’s way beyond what’s needed by the most avid downloader of music, keen watcher of video or biggest Facebook addict, reckons cable operator Liberty Global’s CEO.
Maybe he would say that, but Mike Fries says today’s subscribers are signing up for speeds of 100-200 MB to be safe in the knowledge they won’t be left behind whatever the next stage of the Internet — a bit like owning a car with a top speed way beyond the limit.
Northern Trust has thought very carefully about how to communicate with its wealthy clients. In the U.S., it says it has people within a 45 minute drive of 50 percent of all of the millionaire households.
It advertises on NPR, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and local newspapers.
Now it might start “friending” people on Facebook.
“We had a client earlier this year who asked if we could be a friend to their child on (her) Facebook page because the child is a beneficiary of a trust that we manage and they said what better way to get to know my child when they’re awfully remote than to do this through the Facebook page?” said Lee Woolley, President of Northern Trust Bank’s Personal Financial Services division in Boston.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke to the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Tuesday and while he wouldn’t touch TechCrunch’s report about financing and valuation, he did opine about a few of Facebook’s Web peers:
On the difference between Facebook and MySpace:
I think MySpace defines themselves as more of a media company and a media portal. A way to see the different content that is going on, or a way for a News Corp parent company to spread content through the network. Facebook has always been more focused on helping people build out their identity, helping people maintain their relationships and communicate really efficiently. We have talked about ourselves as a technology company a lot as opposed to a media company.
Virgin Mobile USA CEO Dan Schulman told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit today about a new advertising partnership with AOL’s Third Screen Media.
We asked him how big a deal it was. Schulman was enthusiastic, to say the least.