Look Whos Talking: February 19, 2001

Looks like the technology labor shortage could soon become a surplus.

Looks like the technology labor shortage could soon become a surplus. Even technology workers in Atlanta, one of the nations fastest-growing cities, cant outrun the economic slowdown.

Recent layoffs at Amazon.com, AT&T, Covad, iXL and Lucent have hit Atlanta hard. The city has lost nearly 3,000 high-tech jobs this year, according to industry estimates. Today, Atlantas hottest company is (gulp!) Old Economy giant Coca-Cola, whose stock is trading near a 52-week high. Whats Cokes secret formula? The company refuses to waste money on Super Bowl ads. The dot-coms would have been wise to follow that example.

> Speaking of football, have you tuned in to the XFL? If so, you probably noticed that Priceline.com. is one of the leagues bigger advertisers. Its a perfect match: Bad football and bad business.

> Looking to sell your company—or to buy one? Youre not alone. Some eager businesses are hanging "For Sale" signs on their Web sites. Just ask Tushaus Computer Services, a privately held Internet consulting firm that landed on our most recent Smart 100 Companies list. The firms Internet site includes the following message: "Tushaus is currently interviewing capital sources regarding opportunities for M&A and expansion activity." Maybe Tushaus should call EarthLink. The ISP is using its Web site (www.earthlink.net/about/acquisitions.html) to recruit potential acquisition targets.

> Data Systems Worldwide (www. dsw.net) is in the mood for a little gumbo. Sources say DSW company executives are flying to New Orleans for this weeks Oracle AppsWorld conference. Look for DSW and Oracle to announce some type of hosting agreement.

> Compaq Professional Services VP Steve Mahoney is heading for a smaller spotlight. Hes joining systems integrator Tanning Technology as VP of client services for North America.

Separately, Tanning recently recruited Guy Kurtz as director of alliances. Kurtz is getting up to speed—fast. He recently returned from a meeting with BEA Systems and is heading to BEAs user conference in Dallas next week.

> Want to learn how to work with the press? Call Lorin Coles, the alliance guru at iXL. Coles returned my call within 15 minutes last week and even shared his cell-phone number for future reference. Careful, Lorin. Good journalists never lose a number. I could still be haunting you decades from now.