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Odetics Goes Prime Time

Sleepy old



was suddenly a hot presentation at the

the Roth Capital Partners Growth Conference after a story

here led to a run on the stock Tuesday.

CEO Joel Slutsky tried to take the sudden attention in stride, but was clearly surprised that such attention had been heaped on his company. He presented to a crowded room and, though he couldn't talk about the impending spinoff of


, gave some more details about the Odetics broadcasting subsidiary.

The broadcasting subsidiary had built a comfortable business focused on helping television stations manage their libraries of footage. But no more. It's quite clear that the new focus for this business is on the Internet. "We're trying to get ahead here," said Slutsky. "Think of the demands for content management and delivery in an Internet World. The very thing that you have to do in broadcast is going to have to be done in the Internet."

Slutsky talked about the hidden difficulties about editing and manipulating video on the Internet. "The standards of Quicktime



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product and


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don't even speak to this. Our sustainable advantage is that we have established relationships with the broadcasters who've been doing this. We do not have every I dotted or every T crossed, but we're further along than anyone we know."

Slutsky says that the company is already making headway, preparing for more broadband Internet business. "We're working with a lot of content providers who want to put their libraries online and they want to sell or rent those libraries," he says. "We want to position ourselves between the Network Infrastucture (an


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Network Appliance

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) and the content owner and ad brokers."

He gave no indication, however, as to when this Odetics division would be spun off as


and Iteris already have been.

Party to End All Parties

I've been to all sorts of investment banking parties, in penthouse suites, hotel ballrooms, beach front resorts and yachts. I've seen them with gorgeous views, incredible food, liquor flowing like floodwaters, and entertainment by the likes of

Willie Nelson


Jay Leno



. I've seen more ice sculptures than an Eskimo.

But I've never, ever, been to an investment banking party as rocking as Roth Capital Partners dinner party featuring the band

Sugar Ray

on Tuesday night. I'm still recovering. The party was held under at tent in the Ritz Carlton parking lot, and seemed to be standard fare. After all, a few years ago, the firm hosted a saccharine show by one of the surviving

Beach Boys

, that was greeted by collective yawns.

No more. Under the Sugar Ray tent, a fake-tattoo parlor worked on the arms and necklines of some women, and the heads of some bald men. Hip-hop music cranked on the sound system, with a big stage setup at the end of the tent. Liquor flowed from the open bar, and neon lights wrapped around standing tables throughout the tent. Scattered around the room, were a half-dozen elevated stages where scantily clad dancers undulated to the music (and to the delight of the men in the room). The crowd was also beefed up by Sugar Ray fans, and a bevy of Southern California women who had friends inside the firm. And the show he had ready was a lot more powerful than his dippy-little reggae inspired hit

"Fly" from a few years ago.

When Sugar Ray hit the stand, with throbbing guitars, a DJ scratching records in the corner and lead singer Mark McGrath prancing around the stage with his microphone tucked suggestively in his jeans, the crowd went wilder than


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shareholders. No more conservative investors here. The ever-preppy J. Carlos Cannell of San Francisco's

Cannel Capital Management

, resplendent in an Orvis salmon colored blazer, threw off his shoes and did the something resembling the Lindy with wild abandon.

Near the end of the show, with all the band members jumping, the lights and smoke from the stage surging, McGrath screamed at the climax of one anthem "DON'T F*** WITH ROTH CAPITAL!!!"

"Did he say don't f*** with Roth Capital?" said a guy next to me. He had a soul patch growing below his bottom lip, two earrings and an eyebrow piercing.

"Uh, yeah," said the Nicole Kidman look-alike, who was draped on his neck.

"Cool," said the pierced dude. (Dude turned out to be Ziggy Kormandel, the VP of news media at

, a company that was presenting the next morning at 8 a.m.)

The party didn't want to end. People hung out long after the music stopped, dancing to

Naughty by Nature's

"Hip Hop Hooray," a 7-year-old, but probably new and eminently danceable hit, to much of this crowd. Afterward, the library at the Ritz-Carlton was filled with beautiful people, money managers and some drunk who kept yelling "Seven days at sea, and that old salt tried to bugger me ..."



a party.

Cory Johnson files weekly from's San Francisco Bureau. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he neither owns nor shorts individual stocks, although he owns shares of He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Johnson welcomes your feedback at

For more columns by Cory Johnson, visit his column