Magazine

Howdy, Dot-Com Campers


Hey Sport! Whether your softball team is the only thing left of your dot-com or you work at Hewlett-Packard (HWP), Sun Microsystems (SUNW), or other Silicon Valley stalwarts that are enforcing "mandatory vacations" to cut costs, odds are you're going to need some help filling your free time this summer. Despite the slowdown, Digital Lifestyle knows that techies are notoriously disoriented by Don't Bring Yourself to Work Days. That's why we're coming to your rescue: Act now, and you can be a participant in our first-ever Old Economy Fantasy Camp.

Just as at those baseball and golf camps, you'll rub elbows with the greats. Talk the talk. Wear the uniform. You'll be drinking heavily at nightly receptions, but you won't be calling it networking. (New Economy jargon is frowned upon here.) Instead, you'll be calling it "drinking heavily at the nightly reception." But the best news is that instead of broken-down old right-fielders, we'll be bringing in Old Economy Hall of Famers: the Buffetts, the Iacoccas--hey, Ross Perot is gonna give the keynote: "Whadya Expect From People Who Call Themselves Dot-Commies and Yahoos?"

Not that we aren't hip: Old Economy prodigal son George Shaheen will be on hand hosting a New Economy pink-slip party. In fact, the former CEO of Andersen Consulting and online grocer Webvan Group will serve lots of tasty appetizers he grabbed on his way out Webvan's door.

You'll get reacquainted with ultraconservatively dressed Fridays. You'll learn that success for a CEO is about where you send your board of directors for fabulous boondoggles--not your dang employees. And in case you actually end up solvent again someday, we'll have a slide show of classic corporate-headquarter looks. It's time to paint over all those Gymboree colors and sell those ping-pong tables on eBay. Soon, you'll swoon at the smell of an old-growth mahogany conference table or the feel of executive-suite carpets deeper than the rough at Pinehurst.

What to bring: a razor (projecting retro-business competency begins with shaving off those goatees, boys); tattoo-cover-up cr?me; a notebook--not a notebook computer, but a real notebook, with lines and a curly wire hinge. Upon check-in, you'll be issued a gold Cross mechanical pencil with the logo of an Old Economy icon, such as Cargill or Cummins, welded onto the clip. It's the kind of benny employees used to receive only after 10 years of devoted service!

What to expect: In the first few days of camp, muscles you haven't been exercising for a while may feel sore--the areas of the brain controlling common sense, for example, and fiscal responsibility. But the business equivalent of spirit guides from Alcoa (AA), Chevron (CHV), and GM (GM) will help you learn such ancient traditions as padding your expense account instead of paying your bills with margin loans. Don't worry, our tougher seminars, such as "Undoing Disintermediation" and "The Perils of Innovation," come later in the week, when you're better acclimated to Old Economy thinking. Gals (and get used to us calling you that), it's no coincidence there won't be many of you.

The last night, we'll recreate the legendary bonfires of Bohemian Grove and cast away New Economy cares. You'll have a double Scotch and smooth the wrinkles from your chalk-striped, summer-weight grey wool suit. The mere mention of 24/7 will amuse you as you savor the novel old notion of 6.5/4.5. Surely, our $2,495 fee, excluding tips, is a small price to pay for getting in touch with your inner old economist. By Joan O'C. Hamilton


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