Obama networks with Silicon Valley eagles

Feb 18, 2011
Finance

Back in 1956, the eagles gathered at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tenn. In an unprecedented move, singers Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry “Killer” Lee Lewis and Johnny “The Man in Black” Cash got together to make music. It was called the Million Dollar Quartet. Something akin to this unfolded Thursday in Silicon […]

Back in 1956, the eagles gathered at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tenn. In an unprecedented move, singers Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry “Killer” Lee Lewis and Johnny “The Man in Black” Cash got together to make music. It was called the Million Dollar Quartet.

Something akin to this unfolded Thursday in Silicon Valley as the eagles of tech gathered to meet with President Barack Obama. Call it the Trillion-Dollar Social Network meets the Multi-Trillion Budgetmeister.

In any case, Steve Jobs, the Apple (AAPL) co-founder and CEO, who technically is on a medical leave; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, no doubt looking forward to the upcoming Oscar lights being shined on his story in The Social Network; Eric Schmidt, soon-to-be former Google (GOOG) CEO; John Chambers, CEO and chairman, Cisco Systems (CSCO); Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter, and Obama’s fellow Chicagoan; Chief Executive and co-founder of Oracle (ORCL), Larry Ellison, and other luminaries flocked at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers VC John Doerr’s digs in Woodside, Calif. outside San Francisco.

(For a list of attendees, see Los Angeles Times.)

The White House confirmed the guest list for the working dinner, but the press corps pool was kept away. Jobs remained out of sight, even as the National Enquirer published photos that allegedly were of Jobs arriving to be treated for pancreatic cancer at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, according to Reuters.

READ  Increasing Accessibility to Cryptocurrencies with Monaco

What happened? Did they agree to friend each other at Facebook? Did they discuss Verizon’s (VZ) new iPhone? Or their favorite apps? The quality of their broadband service? Oscar picks?

Maybe former Chicago South Sider Ellison, a drop out of both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois, and Obama, a former U. of Chicago law professor, discussed White Sox pennant chances or Chicago’s elusive Silicon Prairie. And where was Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates from Microsoft (MSFT)?

Maybe all of the above. Or none.

The Washington Post said: “White House officials said Thursday night’s meeting was mainly to discuss Obama’s innovation initiatives. He has promised to fund tax credits for research and development; to reform the bogged-down patent system; and to blanket the country with high-speed wireless-Internet connections.”

The White House characterized the meeting as “a part of our ongoing dialogue with the business community on how we can work together to win the future, strengthen our economy, support entrepreneurship, increasing our exports, and get the American people back to work. The President and the business leaders will discuss our shared goal of promoting American innovation, and discuss his commitment to new investments in research and development, education and clean energy.”

Obama is currying support for his $3.7 billion budget, strongly opposed by the GOP. Also, the President is looking to mend fences with business interests in general and for help in encouraging job growth. Obama may find the Valley friendlier than your typical Chamber of Commerce gathering.

READ  Cryptocurrency Apps for iOS

Just like Sun Records in 1956, this meeting generated lots of heat. Watch the pre-President’s Day stock market today for some light on the economic issues at hand.

Search for more

Howard Wolinsky

Howard Wolinsky is a Chicago freelance writer specializing in health and tech topics. He covered those beats for the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Home Apps Games