Several centuries ago, executives behind the AOL-Time Warner deal met in private at the annual Sun Valley oligarch conference to plot their own demise. To this day, business reporters are still flown to the sleepy Idaho town, hoping something, anything, will happen. But it doesn't. Sun Valley is fucking dull.
Biz reporters (who must watch the event from behind velvet ropes) love to lightheartedly refer to the monied media conference as "summer camp for billionaires." This is true in the sense that some billionaires show up and it's July, but false in the sense that summer camp is fun and interesting and if you send letters home to your parents, they'll read them. If you send your mom a letter from the Sun Valley gathering, she'll rip it up and renounce you. You'll bore your mother. Sometimes people get to second base at summer camp—no one gets to second base at Sun Valley.
And yet journalists persist in pretending things are happening—UPDATE: Tim Cook just tossed a tennis ball to himself!—probably to justify the expense of flying them to a ski resort year after year.
Just take a look at the headlines gleaned from this year's white-men-in-ill-fitting-fleece-vests confab, and wonder how we'd get by, had this truth not been shouted at power:
Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes lays to rest today's buzzy Sun Valley rumor that Google is in talks with TWX about an acquisition: "They're not"
— Doug MacMillan (@dmac1) July 9, 2014
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) July 9, 2014
Unfortunately, Thursday night offered few clues on any deal talks between AOL and Yahoo. As for the last CEO to leave the bar, it was Drew Houston, founder of successful backup and storage company Dropbox.
L'affaire Mayer didn't stop there:
"Mayer laughed when reporters asked her to join a game of poker" http://t.co/UcLWp2Dogt I confess this is our new SunValley reporting tactic
— Doug MacMillan (@dmac1) July 11, 2014
Marissa Mayer turns down a game of poker from the reporters standing around and waiting for her to do literally anything. Sneeze, Marissa! What could it mean? "Marissa Mayer: if you are going to buy AOL, say you won't play poker with us!"
Bloomberg snagged a good Warren Buffet exclusive:
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) July 8, 2014
Mark Zuckerberg was seen making a "deal" of sorts—a deal with his wife, to be happy for the rest of their lives:
— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) July 9, 2014
CNN caught this thriller on video:
What is Sheryl Sandberg hiding, besides the truth?
Tim Cook also seems downright cagey:
"I love CNN!" Oh, do you Tim? Enough to buy it? Can you confirm that Apple is going to buy CNN? I'm going to take your brisk walk away from me as confirmation that Apple is indeed acquiring CNN. You heard it here first.
Well, it's been a crazy week at billionaire camp. Warren Buffet learned how to do a lanyard box stitch, Jeff Bezos almost capsized his canoe, and absolutely no news of any worth was extracted. Now, let's all file those expense reports.