There's a war being waged for San Francisco's soul these days, and its old, free-wheeling spirit seems to be losing out. Artists are leaving town, chased away by high rents, while dot-commies are moving in, demolishing lofts and building expensive, fiber-optic-ready cubicle parks in their place.
Did somebody say, "What'sup with those cryptic McDonald's TV commercials" showing employees dancing to 'N Sync for no obvious reason? Now it can be told: starting Aug. 11 the fast-food chain will offer (for $4.99 with purchase) an electronic music system called HitClips.
If the White House were involved, we'd be calling it Mogulgate. Over the past year, Washington, D.C., lobbying firms supporting Microsoft in its antitrust battle against the Justice Department repeatedly found themselves the victims of what looked for all the world like industrial espionage.
The first IPO boot camp, held one year ago, featured zero jumping jacks and little pain. CEOs and CFOs of local Internet start-ups flocked to a ritzy conference facility on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif., to learn the ins and outs of riding the nosebleed Nasdaq to a successful, millionaire-minting public offering.
If the e-commerce numbers that emerged last week are any guide, Internet execs should be quaffing the bubbly well into the new year. Online holiday sales tripled from 1998, and overall customer satisfaction nudged up slightly. "Consumers came out in record numbers, and so did merchants," says Chuck Davis, CEO of Web rating guide BizRate.com, which crunched the data.
It was, of course, an arrogant thing to say. But this was the bold, booming world of Seattle high tech, and Patrick Naughton was very rich, very powerful--and only 34 years old. "The decisions I make change the world--and I've never made a wrong decision in my life," a colleague recalls Naughton recently boasting at a meeting.He wasn't all wrong.
Like most Americans, Alan Johnson didn't know a thing about the nasty brawl between America Online Inc. and AT&T over who will dominate the Internet. But earlier this month, the 37-year-old registered nurse from San Francisco was waylaid by an AOL representative in the parking lot of a food mart near his hospital and asked to sign a petition to prevent AT&T from "monopolizing" the Internet.
SOCIAL SECURITY is Often called the third rail of American politics--if officeholders touch it, they die. So it's not surprising that President Clinton last week rushed to assure the nation's 48 million pensioners that their checks won't be affected by the Year 2000 computer glitch. ""The Millennium Bug,'' he said, ""will not delay the payment of Social Security checks by a single day.''But the truth is more complicated.