NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Looking for inspiration

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Looking for inspiration

Things are not getting any better. I'm finding it hard to keep up with Randi. Without so much as a goodbye, she leaves a note saying she's taken a spontaneous vacation with some "friend" - to Australia! Apparently Survivor, The Crocodile Hunter, and cheap travel packages were enough inspiration for her. It's only been a few months since her last vacation, but she's got the travel bug.

AOL after Lucent?

Meanwhile, my travels around Silicon Valley this week have yielded some interesting scuttlebutt. How's this for a juicy rumour? One of my spies, who has Lucent Technologies Inc shares, mind you, claims AOL Time Warner Inc is in negotiations to acquire Lucent. Lucent is not performing very well of late and is apparently looking for a white knight.

"AOL wants to become the General Motors of the Information Age," my source asserted. But of course when I floated the idea through official channels it revealed nothing. Anyone else heard anything?

A Russian connection?

And while I'm talking travel, a number of online travel services have come under fire from my spies. InfoUSA received a blast from one, who complained that the site couldn't accurately provide a map to a major hotel in Rosemont. In response, all InfoUSA could do was blame partner

Another spy claims a registration page leading to "IMPORTANT Account information" at EarthLink is highly suspicious. After being directed to enter his user name and password, my friend thought he found a case of Cold War espionage. The Web site was served from a strange URL that contained links to Russian-language pages.

Finally, a frustrated Google user claims the popular site is losing its edge and failing to return responses for all his usual searches. He needs emotional support, so e-mail me if you've had similar search-engine troubles and I'll play therapist.

Sun-ny days

If you can't fire ‘em, make ‘em figure out how to save the company money. My diggings have uncovered a confidential e-mail, from Scott McNealy to all Sun Microsystems employees thanking them for responses to a request for money-saving tips.

Like all leaders of companies under financial pressure, McNealy writes it's a great time to sharpen the company's focus on "investing, not spending."

So here's the lowdown on changes at Sun, straight from the horse's mouth:p US employees will be required to take vacation the first week in July, as either paid vacation or time off without pay.p Salary reviews for US employees in fiscal year 2002 will be pushed back at least one quarter. Salary reviews for international employees will also be deferred subject to local practices.p Based on current performance, employees' bonuses will be minimal and/or could possibly be zero for fiscal year 2001.

"I'LL BE BACK real soon," Randi explained in her note. Hmm, sounds like famous last words from a fired dot-com exec to me. Like all good rumours, there has to be a dark side somewhere.Got some antipodean gossip? Send it on to

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