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So A Blogger Walks Into A Bar…

So A Blogger Walks Into A Bar…
Yesterday I was tipped off about a “secret meeting” between a group of “Super Angels” being held at Bin 38, a restaurant and bar in San Francisco. “Do not come, you will not be welcome,” I was told. So I did what any self respecting blogger would do – I drove over to Bin 38, parked my car and walked in. in the back of the restaurant in a private room was a long oval table. Sitting around the table, Godfather style, were ten or so of the highest profile angel investors in Silicon Valley. I certainly didn’t think anything was amiss and I expected a friendly hello and an invitation to sit down for a drink or two before being shooed off while they talked about whatever they thought should be kept off record. Me: Hey! I’ve never seen a more guilty looking group of people. This group of investors, which together account for nearly 100% of early stage startup deals in Silicon Valley, have been meeting regularly to compare notes. So what’s wrong with this? This isn’t minor league stuff. Related:  Articles Presse Divers et variés

Hooray For Mike Arrington The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small. The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists.

Disrupt LIVE Webcast, Day One (TCTV) Standby in 3 – 2 – 1: We are now live from San Francisco with TechCrunch Disrupt. If you can’t make the conference in person, you can still watch all the great panels, fireside chats, product launches, and the Startup Battlefield, plus a few surprises on TechCrunch TV. We’ll be webcasting the entire 3-day event and showing you all the action on the main stage. The guest list reads like a who’s who in Silicon Valley and the world of entrepreneurs. Plus, during the breaks we’ll have special backstage interviews and take you on a walking tour of Startup Alley. TechCrunch Disrupt will not get taken over by AngelGate according to Michael Arrington. Tech specs: We’ll have 7 cameras feeding into 2 Tricasters, live webcasting via Ustream, on demand video archives via Ooyala and tweet-able transcripts from SpeakerText. If you’re here, then enjoy the show. Today’s developments: Coverage around the web:

AngelGate dispute among Valley investors cracks wide open When TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington barged in on a secret meeting of super angels, the wealthy individuals who are taking an increasingly prominent role in startup investing, the facts were open to interpretation. Arrington alleged that he heard the meeting was about illegal collusion. That seemed so unlikely. But now an email sent by investor Ron Conway (right) shows that there is a real fracture in the angel group about whether there was an attempt at collusion, as Arrington alleged. Two days ago, Arrington wrote a post where he alleged that the secret meeting that he crashed was in fact an attempt by a group of super angels, or well-heeled investors with their own funds, to illegally collude by agreeing to hold down startup valuations. Dave McClure, head of 500 Startups, wrote a post that blasted Arrington’s credibililty. The significance of McClure’s message became clear as an anonymous source then forwarded the actual email from Ron Conway to the angel group.

Regarding That Facebook Phone That Still Isn't Being Developed It's been four days since Facebook denied rumors that a Facebook phone was in development. We still believe that the social networking giant doesn't currently have a branded mobile device in the works, but it's worth re-examining the situation. TechCrunch yesterday conducted a thorough interview with Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the rumor. A crucial part of the discussion occurs when Zuckerberg says: "…we invest differently in different platforms depending on how big they are, and how many users are there. The statement is a concise overview of Facebook's current approach to mobile, especially as it pertains to hardware. The story should have ended there — but, of course, it didn't. Bloomberg's report was enough to make TechCrunch question its own interview with Zuckerberg. When INQ Mobile released the INQ1 back in December of 2008, the level at which Facebook was integrated led many at the time to describe it as "the Facebook Phone."

Collusion Mike Arrington posted about a secret meeting of angels and super angels in San Francisco the other night. In the post he suggests that they are colluding to keep valuations down, terms intact, and traditional venture capital firms, such as ours, out of their deals. It's the kind of blog post that Mike has become famous for. It's a good read and even if it is partially true, it's a slap in the face of the individuals involved. Venture capital firms have been accused of colluding for years. I know that such situations have happened. The reality of today's VC market is that it is hypercompetitive. In the angel/seed market, that is less true. And yet I don't think that is happening. Our firm does invest in the seed stage marketplace. Of course, that may change on the next deal we want to participate in. I applaud Mike for raising this issue.

L'exposition «Our Body» est illégale Il faudra franchir les frontières françaises pour visiter la très controversée exposition «Our Body». Jeudi, la Cour de cassation a estimé que l'exhibition de cadavres humains à des fins commerciales était indécente, et à ce titre illégale (voir encadré). Elle a donc décidé de confirmer l'interdiction de l'exposition anatomique «Our Body, à corps ouvert». L’exposition avait déjà fait l’objet d’une interdiction en avril 2009 suite à la plainte déposée par les associations Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM) et Solidarité Chine. S. Respect, dignité et décence «Aux termes de l'article 16-1-1, alinéa 2, du code civil, les restes des personnes décédées doivent être traités avec respect, dignité et décence», or «l'exposition de cadavres à des fins commerciales méconnaît cette exigence» a jugé la Cour de cassation.

Jason Calacanis “Jason McCabe Calacanis was CEO and co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., a network of widely read blogs including Engadget – ranked # 1 by Technorati, Joystiq, Autoblog, and Blogging Baby. Founded in January 2004, Weblogs, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL in November of 2005. Calacanis maintained editorial supervision over Weblogs, Inc. as a senior vice president of AOL. In June 2006, Calacanis relaunched Netscape, the iconic browser owned by AOL and was named its general manager. As of June 2008 Jason is now CEO and Founder of Mahalo, Inc., a user-powered search engine. Prior to forming Weblogs, Inc., Calacanis was CEO and founder of Rising Tide Studios, a media company that published print and online publications including the Silicon Alley Reporter, a must-read monthly that chronicled New York’s internet and new media industries. Calacanis was born and grew up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Milestones Jason Calacanis added a position as Advisor at FamilyFinds . (1/1/11)

TechCrunch editor walks into meeting of “super angels” engaged in alleged collusion Mike Arrington, editor of TechCrunch, sure knows how to ruin a party. He evidently walked in on a meeting of prominent Silicon Valley investors and discovered they were allegedly colluding to keep a lid on startup valuations, cartel style. In a blog post, Arrington said that he was tipped off about a secret meeting of “super angels,” or well-heeled investors who are competing with the best venture capitalists to find early stage investments in hot companies in Silicon Valley. Arrington was told he was not welcome at the meeting at Bin 38, a restaurant and bar in San Francisco. “I’ve never seen a more guilty-looking group of people,” Arrington wrote. Arrington said the topics included: Arrington said two of the people attending were extremely uneasy about the meeting and told him they were only there to gather information, not participate. We don’t know what’s true here.

Scaling the Microfinance Debate Fire in The Valley, Fire in My Belly... and Yes, Mike, I Have Stopped Beating My Wife So i've been debating whether to write this post all day. Unfortunately i probably have more balls than sense, but it drives me fucking insane to see some bullshit superangel conspiracy theory get whipped into a frenzy by people who weren't there, have no idea what the hell was discussed, and are ready to believe anything when someone yells FIRE! so here goes nothing... first a few clarifications: - mike arrington is a friend, an imposing figure, and a hard-nosed, hard-working journalist. that said, he's dead fucking wrong about there being some story around " collusion" (def'n). makes for great red meat on TechMeme & Twitter, but it's just so much horseshit. - startups & investors bitch & moan about price (aka valuation) all day long, but i don't really give a damn what other people think most of the time. buy or don't buy. negotiate or don't. in short: if it Bleeds, it Leads... and Fuck. naah, screw that shit & lets get back to Collusion cuz that sells newspapers. as for lil ol' me?

Mineurs chiliens: «Des contacts réguliers avec le monde extérieur devraient permettre d'éviter un stress trop important» Comment s’organise la vie pour la survie dans un espace confiné comme la mine dans laquelle sont piégés 33 mineurs chiliens depuis le 5 août? Les expériences menées avec des personnes seules dans un espace confiné et sans repères spatio-temporels ont montré que, dans ces cas-là, l’organisme s’organise seul pour générer un rythme qui lui est propre et tourne en général autour de 25 heures. Dans le cas d’un groupe, les individus se synchronisent entre eux sur un rythme d’environ 25 heures également. Le ratio veille/sommeil est-il toujours le même? Oui tout à fait. Le sommeil occupe environ un tiers du temps pour 2/3 de temps de veille, mais sans forcément le respect de l’alternance jour/nuit du monde extérieur, puisque le corps suit son propre rythme ou celui du groupe. Comment les individus gèrent-ils leurs angoisses liées au fait d’être prisonnier d’un environnement qui n’est pas habituellement le leur? Propos recueillis par Armelle Le Goff

Mitch Kapor Mitchell David Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, the "killer application" often credited with making the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world in the 1980s. He is known as an entrepreneur, investor, social activist, and philanthropist. Kapor has been the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation since its inception in 2003. He founded the Mitchell Kapor Foundation to support his philanthropic interests in environmental health. He also co-founded, and is on the board of, the Level Playing Field Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to fairness in education and workplaces. In 1990 Kapor's new company On Technology introduced their new product On Location, an application designed for the Macintosh that contained an indexing system that permit quick retrieval and display of text on the Mac's hard disk. In 2006, Kapor founded his latest startup, Foxmarks, based in San Francisco.

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