Thursday, July 10, 2014

Allen & Company Conference

A bevy of media tycoons are getting together at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. The New York Times' DealBook column indicates that the attendees include some big names:
Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller and Harvey Weinstein are among those expected at Allen & Company’s annual conference.... 
... Brian Roberts of Comcast and Randall Stephenson of AT&T.
...David Zaslav, is a regular attendee of the conference – is said to have held talks about a combination with Scripps Networks.
... Time Warner’s chief, Jeffrey Bewkes, is also a regular at the Allen & Company conference. ...
Plenty of other top executives have been invited as well. Timothy D. Cook of Apple is again on the list, and if he attends, he will do so after having struck Apple’s biggest-ever acquisition, the $3 billion takeover of Beats Electronics. 
And Yahoo, which has made a big push into content under the tenure of Marissa Mayer, may be on the hunt for more media partnerships. Ms. Mayer is on the list and may be in attendance. 
Meanwhile, tech company executives – once a relative minority at the conference – are expected to make a strong showing. On the invite list are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg; Intel’s Brian Krzanich; eBay’s John Donahoe; and Martin Lau, the president of Tencent, a leader of the Chinese Internet industry. 
Some of the invitees will arrive born aloft on recent successes. Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s co-founder, recently raised funds that value his company at an astonishing $10 billion, while Pinterest’s chief, Ben Silbermann, got new capital at a $5 billion valuation. Nick Woodman of the exceptionally popular camera maker GoPro recently led the company’s hugely successful initial public offering. 
Still others are hoping to claim big achievements soon. Jack Ma, a co-founder of the Internet e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is on the invitee list, though it is unclear whether he will attend. And Renaud Laplanche of Lending Club, a titan of the peer-to-peer lending industry, is working on taking his company public later this year. 
Also on the list:
– The Google triumvirate of Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric E. Schmidt, coming after the Internet giant continues to expand, including through acquisitions like Nest Labs.
– Jay Lee, the heir apparent at Samsung, and Gregory Lee, the head of the Korean electronics giant’s American arm.
– Les Moonves of CBS and Philippe Dauman of Viacom.
– Brian McAndrews, the chief executive of Pandora Media.
– Wes Edens, a co-founder of the investment firm Fortress and a new co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.
– Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, whose predecessor, David Stern, has been a frequent attendee; Roger Goodell of the National Football League; Bud Selig of Major League Baseball; and Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League.
 It reminds me of this quote from Adam Smith: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

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