Can Salim Ismail locate reality at Yahoo?

A press tour is oft the last refuge of a scoundrel. Salim Ismail, the pushy head of Yahoo's Brickhouse incubator in San Francisco and newest Silicon Valley Tool, is still talking up Fire Eagle, an admittedly useful software tool for broadcasting one's location to websites. Never mind that Fire Eagle isn't actually ready, and that Ismail's still omitting any mention of Tom Coates, the project lead. Smartly, Ismail is peddling his tale to gullible New York journalists at outlets like BusinessWeek, for whom Silicon Valley must seem too far away to bother with factchecking.

Ismail told BusinessWeek that Fire Eagle took three months to develop, "65 percent" faster than similar Yahoo projects. Sweet if it were true. A prototype version of Fire Eagle was already out in June. Which means that if the Fire Eagle team actually meets Ismail's made-up release deadline for the end of November, he'll only have have mislead the magazine by half. In other words, Fire Eagle's engineers won't have to miss that deadline to make a liar out of Ismail. He's already saved them the trouble.

(Photo by Timothy Archibald/BusinessWeek)