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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Parsons’

Gates, Buffet Speak, and the Moguls Listen

SV200815.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

On the closing day of the Sun Valley Media Conference, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett held court with individual speeches about — what else — money.

Gates spoke about collecting it for his Gates Foundation, while Buffett discussed how it could be spent to help the country, according to people who listened.

GatesBuffet_7.13.jpg“Bill said amazing things,” said James Robinson III, former chairman of American Express. “He had all sorts of things to say about raising money for such things as medicine and diseases. He was very engaging and interesting, as he is every year.”

About 200 of those left at the conference attended the speeches, which had a ridiculously inordinate amount of security, with every entrance and exit to the speakers’ hall watched by four guards. Mediabistro, which was kept out by at least three different guards at entrances, thinks that’s what billionaire-type money brings.

But a few who stuck around to listen to billionaire mentality included William Morris Agency’s Jim Wiatt, Yahoo!’s Sue Decker, ICM’s Chris Silbermann, Page1Media’s Isaac Lee, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Starr & Co.’s Ken Starr, News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, Time Warner’s Richard Parsons, media chef Rachael Ray, Scripps Co.’s Ken Lowe, former Disney chair Michael Eisner, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Though almost half the invitees departed on Friday night, some stuck around to celebrate host Herb Allen with a special dinner last night. And, as every year, a special outdoors ice show (in the middle of summer!!!) took place behind the Sun Valley Lodge.

Friday night, Murdoch and Parsons were secluded at a table in the Sun Valley Lodge bar, discussing either some pending deal or the mixed drinks they wanted to order.

Parsons, who stepped down as Time Warner chair a few months ago, earlier told a reporter he was happy to be an observer at the conference this year rather than a corporate participant.

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Inside The Time 100 Party

America Ferrera and John Mayer

It’s arguably the most exclusive magazine party of the year. (Graydon Carter‘s Vanity’s Fair Oscar party perhaps being the other.) John Edwards mingled with John Mayer. Sir Richard Branson (just back from dogsledding in Alaska) commandeered the corner of the bar like a Virgin spaceship, and allowed Henry Kissinger to ride co-pilot. Craigslist’s Craig Newmark chatted up Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick walked through the cocktail hour unrecognized. Michael J. Fox, too, virtually unnoticed, chatted with Elizabeth Vargas near the glass window overlooking Central Park. Arianna Huffington was noticed. (Line uttered in every pre-dinner conversation: “Is that someone? It looks like someone, I don’t know … do you?”)

Time Warner execs — like Richard Parsons and Jeffrey Bewkes — buzzed along the edges as the usual media-on-media action (including Ad Age‘s Nat Ives, WWD‘s Stephanie Smith, Jossip’s David Hauslaib, New York mag’s Jesse Oxfeld, Gawker’s Lockhart Steele and Doree Shafrir, ETP’s Rachel Sklar, Glynnis MacNicol, Julia Allison, Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici, NYO‘s Michael Calderone) made nice use of the open bar.

But as much firepower as there was at last night’s Time 100 party at Jazz at Lincoln Center, just 36 of the 100 to make 2007′s “most influential people in the world” list made it, and there were plenty of notable no-shows: No Obama. No Borat. No Queen of England. Rosie. No Leo. No Gore. No Timberlake. No Tyra.

But impassioned speeches — delivered over dinner by Elizabeth Edwards, Brian Williams, Bloomberg (with an ode to late Boston Celtics’ exec Red Auerbach — huh?) Branson and others — and a three-song set by Mayer more than made up for the relative lack of A-listers.

Others spotted during cocktail hour: Cate Blanchett, Mayor Bloomberg, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Simon Fuller, Charlie Rose, Tina Fey, Mario Cuomo, Martha Stewart, Brian Grazer, Gayle King (no Oprah), Matt Lauer, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Ziyi Zhang, Police Commisioner Ray Kelly, Suzanne Vega, Harvey Weinstein, David Lauren and Lauren Bush.

FishbowlNY’s Coverage Of Last Year’s Time 100:

  • Inside the Time 100 Party
  • Diddy’s Time 100 Posse Bigger Than Most Posses
  • Time 100: The Most Influential People in the Room

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