All Agog Over Google

"Googling for gold" (Cover Story, Dec. 5) had me giggling with glee. Venture capitalists bypassed! Could it be that Googlers find the meat (engineers and techies) tastier than the sauce? On top of that, treating the "business types" like second-class citizens -- what an outrage! Is it possible the engineers and techies can run a business as well as or better? Maybe we will have to declare business types a special interest group and install an affirmative-action program to stop this disgraceful prejudice!

Ken Grieshaber

Bethlehem, Pa.

I was tickled and unnerved by the comments made by Silicon Valley venture capitalists regarding Google Inc. (GOOG). When one berated the Google "punks" complaining about the food and drink, and another discussed Google's "height of arrogance" in having VCs complete information spreadsheets, it's simply a case of "turnabout is fair play." In my eight years with three VC-funded startups, I have found that many VCs are simply lucky imbeciles hiring other lucky imbeciles to run most of the Valley companies. Google is on to their games.

Frank Petkovich

San Francisco

Your article must set some sort of record for wretched excess. It is as if the La-La Land of the 1990s bubble never happened.

John Endean


American Business Conference


My wife and I are Google investors, so the article provided a thought-provoking new context to its corporate culture and strategic planning. The piece did nothing to allay my concerns about the Google tag line, "Don't be evil." Why did Messrs. [Larry] Page and [Sergey] Brin not choose to coin a more positive phrase, such as "Be good" or "Do right"?

Jim Rowbotham

New York

In "The great rebate runaround" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 5) you were far too kind toward rebate promoters. Rebates have all the characteristics of a classic scam, where the mark (victim) is made to pay money up front upon the promise of getting it back later. We should perhaps give credit to much-maligned Wal-Mart for refusing to stoop to using rebates.

Claude Y. Paquin

Fayetteville, Ga.

You mentioned Staples (SPLS) as a company trying to do better, but Costco Wholesale's (COST) program should be called out as a model for everyone, as they avoid pitting the retailer against the manufacturer. You buy it at Costco, and Costco sends you the rebate. You simply go online and confirm the information contained on your receipt. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes, and you have your check in two weeks.

Craig A. Vickers

Fairfield, Calif.

Having delivered mail for 25 years and also received quite a few rebates myself, I know what rebate checks look like. In my experience rebate checks have more addressing errors than any other kind of mail I deliver. You warn that rebate checks look like junk mail. Most of the time they are junk mail, meaning that they are discarded if not deliverable.

Bob Zepernick

Oakland, Calif.

Spencer Ante's article ignores a key fact about cable-TV franchises in New York: New York State regulations provide a "fast-track" process that would give Verizon automatic approval to deliver TV service in any municipality in the state in just 30 days if it would simply agree to the same terms as the existing TV provider. Instead, Verizon wants to cut special deals eliminating local control, allowing it to pick and choose which neighborhoods to serve and failing to protect towns and villages from liability. Clearly, the only thing slowing down Verizon is Verizon itself.

Richard F. Alteri

President & CEO

Cable Telecommunications

Association of New York

Albany, N.Y.

Toyota's Hydrogen Man
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