Meet The People Who Met MediaCast
By Allen Whitman
Dorothy Star says: "I know I've read about you in the San Jose Mercury News... now, who did you just get into bed with?" I blush. "That's kind of personal," I reply, though I am pretty confident she's asking about MediaCast. She goes on to explain that it's time for her to make a website about her cooking. I suggest some quicktime videos that show her creating culinary delights. "No," she says, "you lost me there, too much like an infomercial." She says her honey cakes sell to caterers for upwards of fifty dollars apiece. "People ask me for my recipes," she says, "and I don't tell 'em. I say: buy the cakes!". We swap cooking stories. Her badge pegs her as an "event planner." She reminds me that, at a computer-oriented conference, I need to be clear about the difference between menus and recipes. We part friends.
Roger nervously asks what MediaCast does. He tells me it's an interesting niche. He tells me that he gets people to agree to accept several pieces of advertising email a week in exchange for points that can be redeemed toward frequent flyer miles.
Paul pitches me on whether or not "my company" would be interested in a three-to-ten thousand dollar package of encryption and fulfillment software. He tells me about an archive of photographic maps his company put on the Web for Lockheed. He's wearing a nice golf shirt. I tell him to leave his card.
I didn't get the last guy's name. "Why are people wandering this floor so nervous?" I ask myself, rhetorically. He had an involved conversation with himself from about ten feet away before circling in and asking questions. He kept saying that he was "really interested in all this stuff" and I keep trying to verbally corral him into hiring MediaCast for an event. He shows me his packet of promotional paper and mentions Penguin Book Publishers, apparently apropos of nothing. I ask for his packet and he tells me it's his last one and he's gotta hold onto it.
A. cautiously asks me about the audio stream we are using. Our conversation devolves into a dialogue about music, the record industry and copyrights on the Net. She asks what I think is the best way to approach being a musician and using the Web. She plays guitar, sings and writes her own material. I tell her that advice is a dangerous gift and that her worries about Web piracy, coming, as they are, from an unknown artist, are moot. I tell her to tour. There's no substitute for live performance. She tells me she's a web designer and a journalist and that if I ever want a woman's perspective of a male dominated industry (at this point I am nodding my head vigorously) to email her. I concede the point and she leaves her card as well.
M. tears my head off with visions of thousands of Home Depots, wired in a proprietary Intranet, streaming video and audio from the head office in Atlanta. He wants to buy thousands of Sun Microsystems desktops and install them in every store (and there are over five hundred presently) with a touch screen for customers to get information on potential employment. He says he wants Java applets, video and audio, to run on these Sun boxes. I ask him why does he want to stream audio and video from a desktop under a kiosk to a touchscreen three feet away. He nods his head, "yes," he says, "I don't know."