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Wherein I look a gift horse in the mouth

This evening I attended an event at the Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto. I was looking forward to something similar to Yahoo’s Design Expo from a bit back — demonstrations of cool new mobile technology, things to play with, people to chat with.

Instead what I got was a ’99-era party with boatloads of free food (I stuffed myself on nigiri and dipping sweets in a chocolate fountain), all taking place in an overcrowded tent, populated mostly by Silicon Valley types with no soul. There were only three things being demonstrated (2 game thingies and a cameraphone picture service). It was utterly unclear to me what the point of the event was (and why I was invited). The buzz was that this was a recruiting event in disguise.

The most interesting thing for me was hearing the depression of various Yahoo employees who happened to be there. Supposedly the last all-hands earnings meeting was a remarkable downer (with good reason). If you’re looking to hire someone, and you know Yahoos, this might be a good time to give them a call. (Which is a little sad — there’s amazing talent there, but from what I can tell, there’s just swaths and swaths of unnecessary middle management getting in the way of getting things done. And no, I don’t know when my blog turned into a bland Valleywag.)