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Speakers Talk about Business on the Web

By Angela Liao
Advertising Manager

Two prominent multimedia and Internet industry executives - Dan Kaufman, chief operating officer of Dream Works Interactive, and Gary Kremen, president and founder of Electric Classifieds - spoke Thursday about business in the digital world.

Held before a packed audience at the Tang Center's Wong Auditorium, "Rewriting the Rules of the Digital World" was the fourth and largest event of The Distinguished Venture Speaker Series. The series is sponsored by Sloan student groups.

Kaufman, who is also Dream Works' founder, discussed his plans for developing multimedia games, interactive stories, and other software designed to "grab you emotionally," he said. The company is a joint venture backed by Microsoft and Dream Works SKG, the multimedia company founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen.

Merging entertainment and multimedia may be the secret to success of Dream Works Interactive, Kaufman said. He made references to earlier projects that combined the talents of both the gaming and entertainment industries.

"Remember Explora with Peter Gabriel? That was one of my first Hollywood projects," Kaufman said. "Thanks to Spielberg and Katzenberg, we can produce emotionally [moving] video games," he added. "Who else is better at grabbing you emotionally than Spielberg and Katzenberg?"

Kaufman commented on his experience as a lawyer in the Silicon Valley law firm Brobeck, Phlieger, and Harrison, where he specialized in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property rights. He now guides Dream Works' strategic vision and negotiates many of its business deals and partnerships.

During his career, Kaufman negotiated many match-making deals among different industries in the interactive arena. These have included joint projects in movie software between Paramount and Spectrum Holobyte and in television software with Electronic Arts and ABC/Capital Cities.

He also talked about his experience in representing and advising numerous venture capitalists and investment bankers in the emerging area of multimedia entertainment.

Kremen explores Web marketing

Kremen is "one of Silicon Valley's most colorful entrepreneurs," according to the event's organizers. With experience in marketing, Kremen gave a lively speech detailing his journey and his plans for profit on the World-Wide Web.

"My first company was, an online personal ads service," said Kremen. That company is less than a year old and currently has over 64,000 active members worldwide, and has started charging them for its service.

"Our marketing strategy is [to] focus on women. [Our experience] is that men will follow the women," Kremen said.

Kremen's new company, Electric Classifieds, Inc., is one of the leading online classifieds advertising technology outsourcing company on the Web. Kremen has recently raised over $10 million in funding from venture capitalists and leading corporate partners for the venture.

Kremen gave an example of his marketing strategy as well as his Web plans by means of and ECL to demonstrate the profitable future of the Net and answered audience questions.