Early Briefing: The Man Behind The Man
It's Monday, the day we turn the Business section over to news about local companies and trends.
* It's early on a spring morning and Peter Kirsch is busily overseeing the fast-moving life of AOL founder James V. Kimsey. Seemingly everything that touches the mogul finds its way to Kirsch's desk in his ninth-floor penthouse office overlooking the White House, from philanthropy to investments, from politics to friendships to the management of the sprawling Kimsey household.
As chief of staff in the Office of James V. Kimsey, Kirsch is a quiet force on the local scene. Staff writer Tom Heath spends time with Kirsch and reports on a growing cottage industry: the family offices that tend to the affairs of the very rich.
* Mark A. McHenry, the chief executive of a Vienna company called Shared Spectrum, is challenging claims by the broadcast networks, the NBCs and CBSs of the world, that a new technology to provide Internet service over the air will interfere with TV viewing.
The Federal Communications Commission is weighing a proposal that would allow companies to share airwaves. McHenry said his eight-year-old, 30-person firm has already received $30 million from the Defense Department to develop the concept. The broadcasters' position is "not what the DoD thinks," McHenry said. "It works in the harshest environments."
* Staff writer Sarah Halzack takes a look at how corporate blogging has evolved in recent years.
She writes that Jason Calacanis, who got into blogging early and big, has quit.
He co-founded a network of blogs called Weblogs in 2003, before the medium cracked the mainstream, and then sold it to AOL in 2005, working there until 2007. Today he is chief executive of Mahalo, a search engine guided by editors rather than algorithms.
After five years of writing on tech industry topics as well as personal ones and building an audience of 10,000 to 20,000 daily visitors, Calacanis said he got tired of all the nasty commenters and opportunistic "link-baiters," people who post just to promote their own blogs.
So he signed off, leaving the blogosphere to others. One group that has been firing up its keyboards is corporate types. Of the approximately 112.5 million blogs on the Web, almost 5,000 are corporate, according to blog indexer Technorati. Calacanis blogged to start conversations and be a part of a virtual community, but corporate bloggers are in it for other reasons: talking directly to customers or giving a personal touch to a big business.
* A new technology being tested by the Genetics & IVF Institute in Fairfax could help women put their biological clocks on hold by fast-freezing their eggs.
Current freezing methods used to preserve embryos also produce ice crystals, which can damage less-resilient unfertilized eggs. So the institute is testing a process, called vitrification, that cools the eggs quickly so that the transformation from liquid to solid is immediate, without creating those hazardous ice crystals.
Early last year, the institute chose nine women, between the ages of 38 and 48, for an ongoing study. Today three have become pregnant using these fast-frozen eggs.
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