January 12, 2000
The May Report
by Ron May
The May Report: 1/12/2000: A teaser and test run. Scoopmeister hits the
This is a big test and an even bigger tease.
I am bursting at the seams. In the last two days, quite by “accident,” I have
gotten a ton of good scoops. I had so many that I was euphoric last night,
high on scoop endorphins. Sometimes it just all hits at once. Much of this
is the by-product of building trusted relationships over the years, but it is
exhiliarating when it all comes together. Some of this is from the last two
days, the rest goes back to mid-December.
Here is a list of teasers for what the scoops are. My fear is that I need to
do a test run here first so that the e-mails don’t take five days for
delivery (as they did in many cases last week). I did meet with my ISP and we
are in the process of crafting a solution. I need a bigger server and maybe
That’s what happens when the list starts getting up there in size. When I am
officially over 10,000 names, I will announce it and say “three cheers.”
The only thing that keeps me from that official status is the task of adding
the rest of the people who have requested subscription.
The next article(s) will answer these questions. We also have some work-a-day
business to conduct, like people looking, companies that want money and more
events coming up.
1. What the key reason was that EBS Public Relations decided to go with
Porter Novelli as their acquiring firm? How many other suitors did they have?
The deal was officially announced Monday and I met with them at their new
offices, 225 N. Michigan, 19th floor.
2. What firepower will some of the Porter Novelli people will bring to the
table? Who are some of their high powered clients and connections? What new
client has EBS (next Monday to be called Porter Novelli Convergence Group),
acquired? Hint: the name starts with a “Z” and has Boston connections.
3. What is the name of the guy who runs part of Porter Novelli and who is
related to the CEO of Clear Communications. When Erica says they are going to
be more choosy about selecting clients, what exactly does she mean? How will
this deal help Chicago high tech firms?
4. What is the name of the Chicago-based internet firm for which David Hale,
the Kemper economist and pundit, is Chairman? Hint: the CEO’s mother is
Melodie (or is it “y”?) and daughter is Harmonie. Second hint: She flew into
the Melbourne Cup by helicopter to make a good impression. She had a
beautiful dress and a lovely hat and the Australians couldn’t resist…They
4. How much money is this firm is raising which it plans to close on in the
next two weeks? What is David Hale’s comment about the local VCs and their
understanding (two years ago) of the internet?
5. What firm has closed a week or two ago on another round of funding? Hint:
they have a site with the name “baby” in it.
6. What firm does the opposite of spend, has lost its recruiting staff and
has several headhunting firms ready to sue it?
7. How did this same firm go through a ton of PR firms as well? Hint: One of
the heads of this firm has the same first name as a famous rabbi.
8. The story of what Len Zacks has been up to since I reported on his Y2K
problems. The lawyers he has talked to and …. The number of people who have
called me to say, “Here, here” on my report about Zacks.
9. Why David Hale said that he is concerned about George W. Bush becoming
Hint one: it has something to do with his being from Texas.
Hint two: it has something to do with a word we use when talking about what
hardware has become in the market.
10. Who is going to sue art.com and why? This is a doozey. Hint: it has to do
with getting paid what your counterparts get. What other firm, based in
Evanston has had legal problems based on some of the same issues? Hint: What
can you do with the baseball cards you collect?
11. Who did sue art.com for breach of promises and got a favorable settlement?
12. What company tried to hire a marketing guy and was told not to do so by a
firm we all know and love?
13. What firm did Bill Lederer just invest $5MM in and what they do? Hint:
the entrepreneur knows Bill from Lake Forest and their wives know each other
and their kids know each other. The CEO’s last name rhymes with Payton and
his first name is in a movie title John McCain refers to a lot. What is the
name of the web development firm that did work for this dot com, using what
they call a Concept Lab?
14. The name of the Chicago dot com that just was bought by headhunter.net?
15. What firm can say that “We did not go four hours last week without good
news”? The week being referred to was the week ending December 17th. The
partners wrote down 17 things that went right that week!! Three of them were:
Not one, but two of their portfolio companies went public.
One portfolio firm received a terms sheet for a $7MM investment at four times
the valuation that this firm had gotten when it made its investment.
Another portfolio firm received a terms sheet at three times their value.
16. What company’s attorneys regularly send out notices to the employees
warning them not to talk to a particular local “reporter”? Hint: the people
at VCapital are not happy with this firm. Why?
17. What was the deal, as described in the S-1, for a local entrepreneur who
heads a consulting firm? How many shares did he end up with, and how much
money when the firm goes public? Hint: This person had a big argument or
“discussion” with a guy named Bill in 1990 or 1991 about Windows vs. OS/2 at
Comdex in Vegas.
18. What local fundraiser for high tech will not have one of its key people
in attendance and why? What does the organizer of this event say the
government’s role in high tech should be?
19. What dot com, just starting out, will sell specialty foods, high-end, in
the same way that Peapod sells day-to-day groceries?
20. What company CEO in the travel business has hooked up with the CEO of a
dot com in the meeting business to do something for Chicago?
21. What firm with a local operation of 50 people will file an S-1 in about a
month? Hint: two of the clients of this firm are dataharbor.com and
intelisys. Hint 2: two of the letters in this firm’s name are the name of a
popular candy that melts in your mouth not in your hands.
22. Who quit PWC to start gotprogrammers.com?
23. Who is starting rationalinvestors.com?
24. Hey is not just for horses. It’s an exclamation, as in “Hey you!!” What
is this firm, who are their high profile investors and what kind of funding
are they closing on?
25. Planning a wedding? What major contract did MyWeddingPlans.com just sign?
26. Who is the Kevin Bacon (six degrees of separation) of Chicago high tech?
Hint: UBID and U…?
27. What is going on with UBID? The stock is dropping like a rock.
28. What company got paid for a big contract with the Justice Department, but
has not delivered the product? What person did this firm hire recently whose
last name is that of a famous Chicago shoe retailer? Hint: the best thing
that happened to this firm was a Mr. Hopkins, but when Mr. Hopkins went on
vacation, the CEO went through much of the money and could not make payroll
the next week.
29. What are the names of three Chicago high tech players against whom sexual
harrassment charges have been brought? Hint: if you think I am going to write
about this without having the “i”s dotted and the “t”s crossed, you need your
head examined. I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.
30. What local high tech reporter is going to take a vacation finally, having
been invited by some friends to go on a sky trip in Beaver Creek, Colorado on
January 25th through 28th, staying at The Charter Hotel? Hint: I hear he is
looking forward to this adventuresome interlude. I also hear that if he gets
bored, there may be people to meet and greet.
31. What firm attended an event of its competitor, and then turned around two
days later and explicitly UNinvited this competitor to its own similar event
which was scheduled for a week later? What argument did this firm use for why
they did it? How did they contradict themselves? I call this one, “Holy
Double Standards, Batman!”
32. What company did Richard Ross end up at?
33. How many people has CloserLook hired through this report in the last year?
34. What percentage of total market capitalization is made up by internet
stocks? What percentage of start-ups in Silicon Valley are headed by
35. What does the expression “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three
36. What company does Ian Drury want to cut a deal with and how does this tie
into the early announcement of the mvp.com deal? What was the panel vote on
funding bigedge.com in the TDB/Illinois Coalition review and what was the
major reason it was turned down by them? What was the response of the guy at
the PR firm in San Francisco when I asked him about why bigedge’s name was
left out of the WSJ article? What title will Drury and Hill have at mvp?
37. What is the business of appointments123?
38. What is a “mulligan” and how does that word relate to a possible dot com
39. What are the top five domain names that came up in my bounced mail
messages when I was cleaning up my e-mail list?
40. Who is Paul Maritz and what did he have to do with a $25MM investment in
a local internet firm?
41. What was the reaction of Crain’s Chicago Business to the possibility of
writing about a recent story when they figured out that the Trib would beat
them on it?
42. What is the main reason that the industry analysts think digitalwork.com
has built an advantage over its competitors?
43. What local web developer generally does not do projects for under $1MM.
44. What was the stock deal of the COO at Lante, Peter G., when he left?
45. What is the connection between a meeting held by a former employee of a
local dot com and the dismissal of the CEO of that firm?
45. What famous Chicago socialite attended the SMA economic forecast last
46. On what TV station are you likely to see a local high tech and internet
Got your attention? I certainly hope so. I have not been goofing off. Quite
the contrary. I had twenty calls, some anonymous, yesterday morning between 9
a.m. and noon. I hope this mailing works with no glitches. If it does, we
will crank it up and get the rest of the mailings out.
P.S. No law suits. If you don’t like what I write, Len, Chris, Bill, Steve,
Russ, and others, send a letter. I will print it.