Wednesday, April 25

Update on the CNN thing: turns out it was the real deal. Mark from Polyvision TV Watching*, an excellent fellow, has decided to lay that VHS tape on us free of charge. It was actually CNNfn, where someone from eTour (the guys who brought Mahir to America) went on and talked about us and a couple of other sites. Groovy. That's why we got all those emails at the end of March.
Thanks for the tape, Mark. The chances that we'll offer the streaming video of the show on our site are slim, due to the technical limitations of the team. Ah, well. At least we'll have some fine times sitting around the TV and watching it at buzzkiller HQ, once we get that thing built.

*The company hooked us up with the tape and then asked us to not use their name. Okay.

Monday, April 2

We received an email this morning alleging that had been featured on CNN on Friday and offering to send us the videotape for $187.50. A day-late April Fool's trick?:

> >> From:
> >> Reply-to:
> >> To:
> >> Subject: Segment on CNN
> >> Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 11:02:56 -0400
> >>
> >> Hello,
> >>
> >> On Friday, was featured on CNN. Our company, Polyvision TV Watching*, is a nationwide monitoring service that offers video clips and digital delivery to companies that are featured on television. I would be happy to send you a professional copy of the segment on VHS tape and via digital delivery. The cost is $120.75 for a VHS copy, or $287.50 for VHS with digital delivery (RealPlayer) which I can have to you as soon as this afternoon.
> >>
> >> If this is of interest to you let me know, and I can simply bill you for what you need.
> >>
> >> Thank you,
> >>
> >> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >> Mark

> >> Polyvision TV Watching*
> >>

*Name of company changed in exchange for them hooking us up with the videotape. We were saddened that they feared being mentioned on our site, but we really wanted the tape.

Tuesday, February 13

The site was mysteriously mangled. eEzD raised the alarm. Our main page, buzzsaw.html, had somehow disappeared. So had this blogger page. Hmm. We'd suspect foul play, but we can't figure out who on earth would have a motive to mess with the site. We fixed it. Oh, yes, we're taking precautions. You betcha.

Thursday, February 8

[A-ha! This just in from "Steve Jones," the journalist who posted that ridiculous query to Prof Net on behalf of Vice Magazine. As suspected, "jones" was and agent provocateur, fishing for credulous buzzword-mongers -- and finding them.]

Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 02:02:06 -0500 (EST)
From: steve jones
Subject: Vice Magazine ProfNet


I just checked your site for the first time in a long while and I wanted to let you know that the ProfNet I sent for Vice magazine was indeed a load of hooey. I did it to see how many people would respond sincerely. In the end I only received two responses calling my bullshit, out of a total of roughly 20 responses. The rest were "legitimate" pitches.

I sent it for a story I was working on at the time, but never finished. If it ever makes the page, I'll be sure to let you know.

"Steve Jones"

[note: No wonder he abandoned the story. The obliviousness to buzz badness exhibited by 90% of his respondents would have been soul-crushing to anyone with an innate faith in human nature.]

Tuesday, January 23

[This stern rant astutely identifies buzzword abuse as the root of the recent tech sector meltdown]

Subject: You are not the only victims
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 18:56:16

I would be less concerned than I am if the problems you identify were limited to incompetent flaks. After all, it's easy to ignore them, and, as most people do ignore them, they cause little harm.

Unfortunately, the problems have spread to the real world where real people try to raise real money and consume real assets that might otherwise be dedicated to something productive. These real people, many of whom otherwise are smart, waste their time producing business plans for start-ups that actually are based on useful, viable technologies but which go into the recycling pile because they tell us nothing meaningful about the technologies.

I don't know if this is because they view venture capitalists as Pavlovian-trained lemmings who respond best to buzz words or because they hire flaks to edit "marketing-oriented" business plans. Whatever the cause, the shame is that decent engineers with decent ideas that they could articulate reasonably well produce "polished" business plans that incite no interest.

Keep up the fun.