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The Cutting Edge | SPECIAL REPORT: The Tech Coast 10

10 More to Watch in the Coming Year

April 12, 1999|KAREN KAPLAN

The future of the Tech Coast depends on the efforts of many more than just 10 people and institutions. Here are some others who merit watching:

Los Angeles Unified School District: The Tech Coast's prospects for producing a technology-savvy work force depend greatly on the initiatives of the state's largest school district. Last fall, LAUSD Chief Administrative Officer David Koch moved Assistant Supt. John Nagata out of the district's Information Technology division to make room for a new chief technology officer. That job remains open six months later, though the district plans to fill it by the end of the month. In the meantime, staffers have been pushing ahead with Y2K compliance, deploying local and wide-area networks and other initiatives. And Jim Konantz has been tapped to head the district's efforts to bring technology into classrooms. One of his first goals is to use the Internet to enhance training for teachers.

David Bohnett: The GeoCities founder has already joined the boards of directors of Stamps.com in Santa Monica and NetZero in Westlake Village. He may lend his expertise to more Tech Coast start-ups once his firm is merged with Yahoo.

Buy.com: The Aliso Viejo-based electronic commerce company's business model of undercutting competitors' prices and making up the difference through online advertising will either be much copied or fail miserably.

Barry Diller: The USA Networks chief is trying to blend World Wide Web properties, such as Pasadena-based Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch and the Lycos portal site, with real-world television assets to bring a measure of economic rationality to the Internet.

Esther Dyson: As interim chairwoman of the fledgling Internet Corp. for Assigned Names & Numbers, Dyson is instrumental in shaping the Los Angeles-based nonprofit group, which is set to take over some key functions for administering the global computer network.

EToys: If the Santa Monica e-commerce phenom becomes the next Amazon.com, Chief Executive Toby Lenk could create scores of Internet millionaires who would then be able to spin off their own Tech Coast start-ups.

John Hwang: With a staff of 730 and an $80-million annual budget, the general manager of Los Angeles' Information Technology Agency is responsible for building and operating computer networks feeding critical agencies such as the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Benjamin Kuo: The electrical engineer is uniting the Tech Coast with SocalTech, a comprehensive Web site (http://www.socaltech.com) about high technology in Southern California, and with a daily e-mail newsletter delivered free to hundreds of subscribers.

Qualcomm: With a new truce with Swedish rival Ericsson under his belt, Qualcomm chief Irwin Jacobs has his best chance yet for making the San Diego firm's technology--code division multiple access, or CDMA--a global standard for digital wireless phones.

Tech Coast Alliance: The Costa Mesa-based group aims to strengthen and promote Southern California's high-tech industries through conferences, networking events and a splashy marketing campaign. Founder Chip Parker must show tangible results before interest in the alliance starts to fizzle.

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