A few final items from last week's
Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium
The stock market's topsy-turvy week left investors at the conference a little shaky. It was a week in which the Internet stocks were hot and cold. And CEOs, analysts and money managers traded whispers about what to believe as they circulated in New York's
Some companies played up their efforts to be Net companies while others stressed that they had little or nothing to do with the Internet. And everyone wondered if another stock market correction would decimate the highflying Net stocks.
"I don't think
other investors at Goldman Sachs are participating" in the craze, says Sy Schlueter, managing partner with
, an investment firm based in Frankfurt, Germany. Schlueter doesn't participate in the market much himself -- he thinks stocks look pretty expensive these days.
"Unfortunately it's not a good environment to be in, if it's not driven by people who know what's going on." Rather, he says, retail investors and day traders are in control.
Just recently Schlueter, a fan of Dutch history, was moved to read up on the oft-cited tulip phenomenon of the 17th century.
"What people don't know is it was driven by private investors," notes Schlueter. They feverishly paid steeper and steeper prices for the chance to deck their homes with flowers. Like the Internet, tulips seemed a great improvement in quality of life.
Why did tulip speculation stop? Schlueter doesn't know. "I have to do more work when I go back."
A Case of Me Too
New Era of Networks
, which sells enterprise software -- a recently struggling market -- is trying to get into the Internet fray.
"Yes, you can think of us as an Internet company," Chief Financial Officer Steve Webb told investors at the conference on Friday. He says 70% of Web activity eventually hits an
mainframe at some point, and NEON sits in the middle of it.
NEON's partnership with IBM is going to ramp up this year, Webb says. IBM jointly developed with NEON a product called MQIntegrator to help companies integrate various systems they may have, and part of that business includes linking newer software systems to old mainframe computers.
"Around midyear, IBM is going to start a systems integration campaign," he said. "IBM has spent tens of millions of dollars on this, and its sales force will be highly motivated to sell this product because it has a higher average selling price
than current products in that series and they get commissions."