Even billionaires suffer from bad reception.
That’s the takeaway Friday after organizers at the Allen & Co. media and technology conference tried and failed to get Secretary of State John Kerry on a remote connection from Kabul, Afghanistan. America’s top diplomat was slated to attend the Sun Valley gathering of moguls and investors, but had to cancel his trip in order to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.
Technical hiccups have pushed the video chat with Kerry until Saturday, according to one conference-goer.
Instead, guests such as 21st Century Fox chief Rupert Murdoch, Yahoo head Marissa Mayer, former Sony Corp. chairman Howard Stringer and Imagine Entertainment co-founder Brian Grazer watched Willow Bay grill former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
His advice to the assembled was “don’t confuse the office with yourself,” noting that the phone doesn’t ring like it did when he was in City Hall. He’s found new purpose by becoming more engaged in philanthropy and at Bloomberg media. Among the pet projects he discussed was the importance of gun control.
Bay asked Bloomberg how he would grade his successor, Bill de Blasio, whose tenure has focused on liberal issues such as universal pre-kindergarten and housing costs.
The former mayor didn’t take the bait, explaining that one of the biggest favors that his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani did for him was to remain silent on the subject of Bloomberg’s leadership of the Big Apple.