The eruptors: 11 companies. 11 puff pieces.
Hey, nothing against the eleven corporate leaders profiled in Business 2.0 Magazine's latest feature, "The Disruptors." (Except you, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. Nobody likes you.) It's just that "glory stories" like this make us giggle, because by definition they have to play down the arguments against their subjects. And B2 added Wired-worthy hero shots like the one shown here. So here's a guide to the most egregious idolatry:
Disruptor 1: Netvibes (Custom web portal)
Hero (pictured here not knowing he'll be Photoshopped to look silly): Founder Tariq Krim
B2 says: "Netvibes currently doesn't accept typical Web ads — the kind Krim denounces as 'Advertising 1.0, in your face.'" Instead he gets "sponsors."
B2 means: "Netvibes took $15 million in funding. It doesn't have income, just pointless deals that get media attention until a conglomerate buys the company."
Netvibes competitors B2 doesn't mention: Goowy, mobileGlu, Pageflakes, Protopage, Start, and over 30 others
Disruptor 2: Salesforce.com (Customer resource management/application platform provider)
Hero: CEO Marc Benioff
B2 says: "It's true that Benioff is known throughout the tech business for his bombast, and he's always predicting that Salesforce is about to do something amazing. But he's not all talk."
B2 means: "Benioff is about to launch a product update that will bring his company up to speed with competitors Microsoft and Oracle. Yawn."
Favorite Benioff quote: "We will destroy Oracle and SAP because they won't be able to respond to the innovation we are about to unleash."
Disruptor 3: Clearwire (Wi-Max broadband wireless provider)
Hero: Founder Craig McCaw
Actually, this guy's story checks out as far as I know — real business plan, real success. Feel free to correct me in the comments.
Disruptor 4: Zopa (Person-to-person loans)
Hero: The business model
B2 says: "Zopa is closing that gap by using the Web to allow personal lending on a massive scale. The startup was the first company to introduce peer-to-peer lending in the United Kingdom 18 months ago and is about to launch in America."
B2 means: "In America, Zopa will compete with Prosper, a personal lending site that already has a head start and funding from the same venture capital firm."
Proper term for Bessemer Venture Partners, investor in Zopa and Prosper: Player