Notes from the field Bobby finds his true self

Notes from the field Bobby finds his true self

Recently I've been bombarded with information about vendors' plans for the coming show season. My primary impulse is to stick my head in the sand and wait for things to quiet down around holiday time.

After all, what vendors bring to market usually bears little relation to what they announce in advance.

Take Siebel Systems, with a sales effort to go after the mid- and low-end market apparently in turmoil. I'm told that many of the strong performers who were hired away from Oracle are leaving or have left. In some sales groups the turnover has been as high as 50 per cent - and yet, Siebel's quarter is going to beat all Street estimates, according to a well-placed source. How do they do it?

It looks like Siebel already has uses for the cash it's collecting. I'm told that it is eyeing both the configuration and the enterprise resource planning (ERP) markets for acquisition candidates.

Of course, some products fail because the vendor runs out of cash. I hear that LivePix - LivePicture's sister company with which it recently merged - is trying to figure out how to pay its bills. Last week, a source tells me, the company had a choice: make payroll or fulfil customer rebates.

Thinking ahead

Of course, other strategies fail because vendors don't, as a rule, think very far ahead. I mean, when did Network Associates' CEO Bill Larsen decide it was worthwhile to spend a million dollars a year for a 10-year lease on the naming rights to the Oakland Coliseum? I wish he'd thought about it before the company picked the Network Associates name, then the city of Oakland wouldn't be saddled with such a stupid, clumsy moniker for the stadium. San Francisco's 3Com Park sounds positively elegant in comparison.

I'll be in New York shortly for Internet World, and Rose is coming along for the ride. She's not planning to attend the show, but will do some consulting for me from her "office" in Banditos, a Mexican bar on Greenwich Avenue. Stop by and say "hi" if you get a chance - she'll be the one under the table next to the empty margarita glasses.

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