Dan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.
As Herb Allen’s Sun Valley retreat started to wind down Friday afternoon, some key executives were already boarding their Lear Jets and scooting home, missing out on speeches from the two RICHEST men in the world. They will all miss former Microsoft chair Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett tomorrow. Mediabistro will stick around in Sun Valley in beautiful weather (82 degrees and sunny) to gather up whatever crumbs can be taken from the rich men talks.
A presentation by Jordan’s King Abdullah II was well received by a few hundred conference-goers, but nobody wanted to talk about what the Jordanian said. Maybe they were concerned about their oil stocks. Security wasn’t especially heavy for the King, but the feeling on Herb Allen campus was that if any disruptions were started, the crack NYPD-filled security staff would take them down.
Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang showed up in Sun Valley just in time to get an earful of complaining in the media about the earthworm status of the Yahoo!/Microsoft merger talks. He did meet quietly with the Google boys, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as well as CEO Eric Schmidt, but that was presumably made to discuss the display advertising deal that the two companies cut a few weeks back.
Meanwhile, Yahoo! President Sue Decker practically threw her arms up and gave in to media queries about what’s going to happen.
“Forget tomorrow, but in six months where will you be and where will Yahoo! be?” asked one intrepid journo.
“I have no idea,” Decker moaned.