At Red Herring, every startup is a winner — but publisher Alex Vieux is the one who takes the prize. Indeed, handing out prizes seems to be the main way Vieux is keeping it afloat. The once-vital technology publisher, which Vieux has all but run into the ground, no longer prints a magazine. A tipster says healthcare for its workers has been cancelled for nonpayment. Its website, which used to mostly carry wire copy, now produces a pitiful handful of stories each day. But the Herring is still flopping around with an events business. The next one, Red Herring 100 North America, due to be held in San Jose later this month, will celebrate 100 startups of Vieux's choosing. And how does he select them from a list of 204 finalists? A come-on email and phone call one startup received is revealing:
In short, Vieux pressures his "finalists" to attend the conference and pay $7,500 for a video interview. (No wonder his videographers quit all at once, citing interference from the business side of the Herring.) What's really shameful is that executives like Google's David Lawee and Microsoft's Dan'l Lewin lend their names to this farce.