"Queen of the Internet" Mary Meeker Has Led Her Subjects Astray AgainS

Mary Meeker, the former securities analyst for Morgan Stanley who managed to evade the "grisly ends" met by fellow dotcom hype men like Henry Blodget, peddled some dubious misinformation in her latest annual report, earnestly studied by industry insiders as the "Internet Trends bible."

According to a report in SFGate, a slide declaring that the average smartphone user looks at his or her phone 150 times a day—you can almost see the dollar signs in investors' eyes—"never [had] any solid data to back it up."

Meeker's presentation used that false data, on stage at the All Things Digital conference at the ultra-posh Terranea Resort, to make a bullish case for wearable technology like Google Glass. Kleiner Perkins, the venture capital firm where she now works as general partner, recently helped launch the "Glass Collective" to share dealflow for entrepreneurs working on Google Glass.

But although the smartphone usage claim was breathlessly repeated in tweets and headlines from her "epic" presentation, it was based on opinion, not fact, says SFGate:

The person Meeker listed as the source for the slide, mobile consultant Tomi Ahonen, says he never saw any data to back up the 150 times-a-day number. It was a figure he had heard cited at conferences since 2010. The figures presented in Meeker's bar chart were "definitely only opinion," and "not intended in any way as a 'study' of consumer behavior."

Meeker's team at Kleiner Perkins defended the slide, digging themselves deeper (Jonah Lehrer style):

They said data from a key secondary source - Danielle Levitas of International Data Corp. - backed up the information Meeker presented, but that they didn't have rights to use it at the time of the presentation or they would have listed it as a source.

Levitas disagreed. Contacted by The Chronicle, she said her data, which tracked social media use on smartphones, could not be used to back up the 150 times-a-day statistic in any reasonable way.

After being questioned, Meeker's team changed the headline and sourcing for the slide, although SFGate says you can still find half a million Google results tying her to the claim. Lucky for Meeker, however, the self-interested bullishness that "utterly compromised her as a stock picker," is just another day in venture capital.

To contact the author of this post, please email nitasha@gawker.com.

[Image via Getty]