Monday, August 3, 2009

So Skip Gates calls

And he’s like, You racist motherfucker! I’m riding across Harvard Square on my giant tricycle and I’m waiting for your call — because don’t you even think that Henry Louis Gates Jr. is going to call you; you call me, cracker — and now I’m thinking to myself, Has this crazy-ass ofay totally lost his goddamn mind? I mean really! Have you seen your board of directors lately? Or your management team? Noticed anything unusual about it? Like, perhaps, a certain sameness? Has it occurred to you that you might take steps to address this egregious situation? When I read about Schmidt this morning I figured it’s a slam dunk that I’m going to be getting the call. I’ve even prepared my list of demands: housing allowance, transportation, a public apology and a promise to attend sensitivity classes. Well, white devil, I certainly hope that you are just very busy this morning. But I’m warning you: I will not be toyed with. You have until the end of the day. If I haven’t heard from you by then, I’m going nuclear. I’ll call the New York Times and I’ll unleash a “teaching moment” on your ass. I swear to God I’ll do it, and you know I’m not bluffing. Your call.

So Jim Goldman calls

And he’s like, Let’s not dance around it. I’ll blow you. Okay? I’ll bring my own stepladder. And I’ll stop editing Katie’s scripts. I’ll read them exactly the way she writes them for me. Word for word. I promise. Steve, I’m standing on a box outside your office right now with jumper cables attached to my nipples. Look out the window. Yeah. That’s me. I’ll do it, Steve. I swear I will.

So Jon Rubinstein calls

And he’s like, Hey, it’s your old pal Ruby, your best pal, remember me? Just wanted you to know that I’m sorry about what Eric did to you. Really. I mean he fucked you hard, didn’t he? Well, just so you know, everybody thinks it was just seriously uncool on his part. I mean, first he’s all acting like he’s your best friend, and pretending like he’s totally loyal to you, he’s working side-by-side with you on strategy and product development, and then what? Boom! He just goes and starts making products that compete directly with what you’re making, and worse yet, he starts talking smack about how your stuff is old-fashioned and out of date and his stuff is the cool new thing. And he tells everyone how you’re all secretive and monopolistic and exploiting customers, whereas he’s all open and friendly and siding with the consumer. Oh wait. Um …

So Randall Stephenson calls

And he’s like, Come on, come on, come ON! It makes a HUGE amount of sense. We lock up, we extend our exclusive relationship through 2050, and we take on the world. Put Verizon out of business, and then Sprint, and then we raise monthly rates on iPhone to five hundred dollars. By the way, did I mention that I know karate? Well I do. And I’m fucking good at it. Someone you want taken out? You give me the name, and bam! I knock him out. Think about it. That’s all I’m saying. Just think about it.

So Chris Anderson calls

He’s like, Here’s why you need me on your board. You’re making one very big mistake, which is, you’re charging money for products. And that is just sooo 20th century. Okay? The model of the future is you should be giving this stuff away free. Macs, iPods, iPhones, software, hardware — everything. Do you have any idea how big the iPhone market would be if you gave them away at no cost? So here’s the thing. I want you to go pick up a copy of my incredible new book — it’s $26.99 on Amazon — and get yourself up to speed on the concept of free, which is the radical price of the disruptive future. You’ll need to read it a couple of times for the concepts to really sink in. They’re that upsetting and esoteric. And, frankly, it’s pretty wonky, intellectual stuff. So you might struggle with it. But press on! It’s worth it. When the bit flips, and you finally grok my theories, have your people set up a call with me. It’s $20,000 for a half-hour on the phone with me, $50,000 if you want me to talk to you in person. I’ll be sitting by the phone, in a black turtleneck, waiting. Oh, and did I mention I’m (sort of) British?

So Scoble calls

He’s like, I totally love my iPhone, and I’m a huge Mac enthusiast, plus I’m an entrepreneur, so I can give you loads of good advice about how to deal with small companies and also how to reach out to the apps developers and how to be more transparent and open and less secretive, except when you want to be secretive, which is also a good thing, in the right context. I mean seriously, Steve. I am just bursting with good ideas. What’s that? No? Okay. That’s okay too. Love you, man.

So Guy Kawasaki calls

And he’s like, Steve? Don’t hang up, okay? I’m serious. Don’t hang up. Steve? Steve? Oh! Goddammit!

So Jon Shirley calls

He’s like, Hey, lots of free time, not much to do, and look at me, would you? I’m tooling around in these funny costumes and polishing my old-fashioned sports cars. And who is this terrifying woman standing beside me? Sometimes I look at these photos of myself and I can’t believe what a total freak I’ve turned into. Anyway, I’m still pissed about Vista, and I’m not on Microsoft’s board anymore but I’ve got lots of inside dirt, and I’ve always wanted to meet Jon Ive. Steve? Hello?

So Kara Swisher calls

And she’s like, Look, you need Boomtown on your board, and I know you don’t like journalists but the truth is Boomtown doesn’t really think of itself as a journalist, even though Boomtown is widely acknowledged as the leading journalist in tech and breaks more scoops than a drunk-on-power Keebler elf with hands made of cement. In fact what Boomtown is is more of a consultant-slash-advisor to leading tech CEOs, and frankly, as you can tell if you read Boomtown, Boomtown pretty much knows more about how to do their jobs than they do. Boomtown has advised Jerry Yang at Yahoo, and more recently Boomtown has worked with Carol Bartz, advising her on how to transition into the leadership role there. Carol and Boomtown have a great relationship and have had some really frank conversations. Just a couple months ago, Boomtown was pressing Carol on some key issues and apparently struck a nerve — because one of Boomtown’s strongest strengths, other than breaking news several minutes before it’s announced in official company press releases and referring to herself in the third person, is the ability to zero in on the single problem that’s holding everyone back, the thing nobody else has seen yet because they don’t have Boomtown’s years of experience, and, frankly, they’re just not as smart as Boomtown. But anyway Boomtown zeroed in on Carol and she turned to Boomtown and said, “Fuck you.” Which frankly Boomtown considered a huge personal triumph and a validation of its genius. And you know what? Soon after that, Carol realized that Boomtown had been right, and she called Boomtown to tell Boomtown that Boomtown’s tough medicine is indeed very tough but also very necessary. Boomtown also has worked closely with Steve Ballmer, and before that with Bill Gates, who often needed Boomtown’s help understanding some of the more complicated technical issues, like the difference between AJAX and Java. Bezos? Glaser? Palmisano? Immelt? Close personal friends, who all frequently call Boomtown for advice. Plus, you may or may not know this, but Boomtown’s wife is a big shot at Google, so if you ever want to know what’s going on over there, or maybe get a little payback on Schmidt, you’ll want to consult Boomtown, which always has the official Google party line on any topic, gleaned from play-dates and Sunday brunches. Plus, Boomtown’s years of experience and close personal connections with a tight network of Valley insiders makes Boomtown uniquely qualified to serve on your board and work closely with you in developing forward-looking strategies. I’m Boomtown, bitch. Call me.

So Woz calls

And he’s like, Hey, um, so I heard you have an opening on the board now, right? And I’ve got a little bit of free time, or actually quite a lot of free time, now that the dancing show is over, and I’ve been working on some really amazing new product ideas and I think maybe it would just be a great idea if I could get back in the saddle again, right? Like it would be just like old times, right? Jobs and Woz, back in the garage, envisioneering the future. What do you think? Huh? Okay. Yeah, sure. I know. Sure. Lots of applicants. Not your decision alone. Sure, I understand that. Well, let me know. I’ll be happy to come in and meet with the board, pitch them directly. What’s that? I’m losing you. Are you in your car? Can you hear me? Steve?