Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

NetSuite CEO on Life with Larry

What’s it like to run a public company majority owned by Larry Ellison, Oracle’s founder and the world’s 4th richest person? Fairly hands-off, NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Wednesday. SaaS provider NetSuite,  seeded with Ellison’s cash when it was private, went public in December of 2007.

“As we got larger and larger, the relationship changed from him calling me to me calling him,” Nelson said. “So today he rarely calls me, although I will pick up the phone once a quarter, once every six months if I have a question about strategy or what we’re doing in the business to get his pulse on it, and so obviously that’s very valuable access to him.”

Ellison and his family own about 61 percent of NetSuite, but his influence is limited by design. Before the company’s IPO, Ellison put the 52 percent that he directly owns in a “lockbox” company, reducing concerns about a potential conflict of interest with Oracle.

Nelson said when he first joined NetSuite in 2003, Ellison was very engaged, calling him every month to check on the company’s numbers. “He was very engaged in a positive way… One thing I’ve noticed about Larry or about other entrepreneurs, is they are the most optimistic people on the planet. He was the anti-VC if you will…, he was all about, “No, how much more money can I put into this?”

Apple’s iPhone takes slow boat to China

In China, Apple’s iPhone commands a strange presence. Perenially “coming out”, already widely available on the black market, viewed with trepidation by local telecom players but with undisguised lust by affluent consumers.

Sanford C. Bernstein Toni Sacconaghi thinks the wildly popular device will arrive in the Middle Kingdom before the end of the year, after a long haul of negotiations with state-run telecom carriers keen to control the content to be sold over the gadget.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg talks MySpace, Twitter

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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.

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