SNS in the News - May 20, 2002

Tully's borrows rival's Wi-Fi ; Download

20 May 2002
The Seattle Times

Building a business in the shadow of a giant has its advantages.

At a Northwest Entrepreneur Network breakfast in Bellevue last week, Tully's Coffee Chairman Tom O'Keefe said customers at some stores are bringing in their laptops and logging on to high-speed wireless networks -- even though Tully's doesn't provide Wi-Fi access.

O'Keefe said Tully's, which has pursued a real-estate strategy of opening stores close to Starbucks outlets, eventually will install its own Wi-Fi networks.

But "right now, ironically, because of some of our strategy of where to site our stores, we are providing it to our customers," O'Keefe said.

"It just so happens that they're sitting in our stores, drinking a wonderful cup of Tully's coffee, eating our bagel -- and they're tapped into the Wi-Fi at Starbucks across the street. As you know, Wi-Fi travels."

If they can do it, anyone can: This year may be the best yet for chief executives attending Bill Gates' annual CEO Summit on Wednesday. Gates usually gives them a trinket, such as the Compaq I- Paq handheld computer last year.

This year's goody bag includes a Tablet PC, a state-of-the art laptop-like machine that will cost about $3,000 when it goes on sale this year. The catch: The CEOs will have to insert a "smart card" into a reader to get their Tablet working.

Gates joked at Friday's Technology Alliance luncheon that the execs will be a test group for the smart-card technology: "I think if it works for them, it will work for everyone."

Initial public optimism?: How do the IPO markets open and, perhaps more important, when?

Those questions were mulled last week at a WSA Investment Forum panel moderated by Strategic News Service scribe Mark Anderson. The consensus: Wall Street's in a holding pattern, but transactions are slowly coming back.

George Lee of Goldman Sachs said tech companies looking to go public have a new set of requirements.

  1. Profitable now or very soon.
  2. At least $10 million in revenue per quarter.
  3. Well-funded.
Lehman Brothers analyst Michael Stanek said IPO markets open when the stock of market leaders (think Microsoft, GE) becomes too expensive, causing investors to rotate to the IPO market to find discount investments.

No word on how long it'll take.