To be completely fair to Kleiner, hands-down the best panel at AlwaysOn, almost worth the price of admission on its own, was Roger McNamee’s on Wednesday about dislocations in the entertainment market. Granted, Roger isn’t really a Kleiner partner — he is a partner in a Kleiner-related fund, Elevation Partners — but I’ll still give him a pass.
Why was that panel so good? It was lively, provocative, informed, combative, entertaining, and well-run, all the things you hope for (and virtually never get) in a panel. And Roger, unlike certain other AlwaysOn panel moderators I can think of, didn’t imagine he was the star of the show, instead generally keeping out of the way while working hard to maintain order and forward velocity. Proving his puissance, Roger somehow kept Mark Cuban under control, which is sort of like running herd on a hurricane.
The only thing I couldn’t quite figure out was Roger’s bizarre hip acoutrements. He sported four cell-phones on his right hip, which, at a distance, looked more than a little frightening, almost like a raygun of some kind. I had this vision of Roger getting four calls at once, then his molecules being disrupted, and all that would be left on the stage was a puddle of water and McNamee’s mullet.