The Secret Life of Punky Brewster

Ryan Tate · 01/04/10 12:16PM

For a former child star, Soleil Moon Frye has done some very impressive networking. Her celebrity buddies in Hollywood have kept the 1980s actress in the media spotlight. But she's also insinuated herself atop the Silicon Valley power structure.

Uh Oh, Google's in More Antitrust Trouble!

Owen Thomas · 05/04/09 06:59PM

Google's G1 is the biggest enemy of Apple's iPhone. And Apple is making a big push into the Web. So it's totally hunky-dory that Google and Apple share board members, right? Wrong, say antitrust cops.

How Eric Schmidt funds Wendy Schmidt, tax-free

Owen Thomas · 08/05/08 09:00AM

We always wondered what, exactly, Wendy Schmidt saw in her husband Eric, the billionaire CEO of Google who sometimes prefers the company of other women. A review of the couple's charitable ventures makes things clearer. The Schmidt Family Foundation, which reported $84 million in assets in December 2006, has handed out some grants since its formation two years ago. But its biggest charitable project seems to be Wendy Schmidt herself.The foundation's two main programs are the 11th Hour Project, an organization which publishes links to information it deems "scientific" about global warming, and Greenhound LLC, a bus operator on Nantucket Island. Schmidt is the founder of the 11th Hour Project, and a longtime summer resident of Nantucket, where she is also an investor in downtown real estate. Both superficially good causes. But if Eric wanted to give Wendy, who has a master's in journalism from Berkeley, a job writing environmental press releases, why didn't he just hire her at Google, as he did with ex-girlfriend Marcy Simon? And if the Schmidts want to boost the value of their Nantucket real estate with bus service, why don't they just pay for it themselves, rather than with the help of a tax-exempt charitable foundation? Eric Schmidt complains about the lack of investigative journalism today. This seems like a good place to start. Compared to Bill and Melinda Gates, whose charity reaches around the globe, the Schmidts don't just come across as small-hearted. They look downright unimaginative.

When flacks attack! Marcy Simon vs. Elliot Schrage

Owen Thomas · 05/28/08 03:20PM

CARLSBAD, CA — I'll be unabashed about it: Part of the fun of a conference like D6 are the casual mogul sightings. Look! Barry Diller in a schlumpy brown sweater! Say, isn't that Jeff Bezos chatting up a Googler? But my favorite happenstances are the reunions of frenemies. Take, for example, this chance encounter between Marcy Simon, the former girlfriend of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Elliot Schrage, the head of Facebook PR. (Sandwiched awkwardly in the middle is Google VP Susan Wojcicki.) Simon and Schrage's back story, and more pictures from the hotel lobby at D6, after the jump.

Invading D6, the Wall Street Journal's posh pooh-bah conference

Owen Thomas · 05/27/08 02:40PM

CARLSBAD, CA — D, the Wall Street Journal schmoozefest which opened today with a round of golf at the Four Seasons Aviara Resort, is not the conference for the rest of us. It attracts a host of tech and media CEOs who agree to be harangued onstage by Walt Mossberg, the sexagenarian of sexy gadgets, and Kara Swisher, the diminutive media commentaterrorist of In exchange, they get to seem classy and witty, if only by comparison. It is the sort of elite event to which Valleywag is not invited. We showed up anyway.

Elliot Schrage, Google's top flack, interviewing at Facebook

Owen Thomas · 05/05/08 12:40PM

Are Elliot Schrage and Sheryl Sandberg about to stage a policy-wonk reunion in Palo Alto? When she worked at Google, Sandberg, now Facebook's COO, helped recruit Schrage from the Council on Foreign Relations. Having taken charge of Facebook PR, Sandberg is looking to hire a VP of communications with experience in public policy. Since most Valley flacks are weak in knowing the ways of D.C., that job description is tailor-made for Schrage. Sources tell us he has already interviewed at Facebook. And we hear he's more than ready to leave Google, chiefly because of its philanderrific CEO, Eric Schmidt.

Eric Schmidt's ex-girlfriend sets her sights on Facebook

Owen Thomas · 03/10/08 10:00AM

She's back! Marcy Simon, Eric Schmidt's ex-girlfriend, has always aimed to be with the hot tech company of the moment. In the '90s, she was all over Microsoft (and, we hear, Bill Gates). Then it was Schmidt and Google. Now that Facebook is looking to hire a VP of PR, could she be angling for the job? We hear she was rebuffed when she tried to land Facebook's outside PR account — San Francisco-based Outcast got the gig instead. But Simon is still relentlessly trying to work her way into Facebook. She's signed up Peter Thiel's Founders Fund as a client, hoping to use Thiel's influence as a board member to get tighter with Mark Zuckerberg & Co. I don't know about this, Marcy. Isn't Zuckerberg a little young for you?

Google CEO's bikini-clad gal pal dislikes philanderers

Owen Thomas · 12/17/07 09:03AM

It's not that we're appalled by married Eric Schmidt's role as Google's adulterer supervision. Rather, we're amazed. Impressed, even. Where does the man find the time? Though he's broken up with Marcy Simon, the girlfriend he gave a PR job in Google's New York office, we hear he's now squiring Kate Bohner around. Including, publicly, to one of the presidential debates Google's YouTube site has been running with CNN. We don't think this relationship will last very long, either. Just watch this video to see why.

Eric Schmidt, PR side bit have split

Owen Thomas · 12/12/07 01:15PM

Marcy Simon, the publicist romantically linked with Eric Schmidt, has broken up with the Google CEO. We wouldn't take such interest in Schmidt's affairs, if they didn't make him obsessed with privacy and prone to making foolish hires — such as the time he installed Simon as a PR consultant in Google's New York office. A messy breakup with his wife, Wendy, would also put his considerable stake in Google in play, which would seem to make keeping an eye on Schmidt's wandering one well worth investors' while.

Is Eric Schmidt's love life putting shareholders in danger?

Owen Thomas · 09/19/07 04:24PM

We hear that Marcy Simon, the PR consultant briefly installed in Google's New York office, is more than a mere mistress to Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The rumors are resplendent: That Schmidt funded Simon's acrimonious divorce; that he is separating from his wife Wendy; that he is buying a $25 million Manhattan apartment in which to live with Simon. But why should anyone care about such tawdry personal details? If the latter two bits of hearsay have any truth to them, then shareholders should be extremely worried.

Does Eric Schmidt have a new girlfriend?

Owen Thomas · 09/18/07 12:17PM

Marcy Simon, left, the girlfriend of married Google CEO Eric Schmidt, is no longer a PR consultant at Google. So much for her reign as the Duchess of West Chelsea. The terms of separation are unclear: Simon has maintained to friends that she quit, while other insiders say Google executives Elliot Schrage and David Lawee fired her, with Schmidt stepping out of the matter. Schmidt's recusal may not be the only way in which he's staying out of Simon's affairs. Rumor is that Schmidt is now seeing Kate Bohner, right, a journalist and ex-wife of author Michael Lewis. No word on whether a Google gig is forthcoming for Bohner, though she does have a channel on the Google-owned YouTube.