RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK -In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, the world became a more serious place. In the wake of that day’s anniversary, last week’s high tech business news reflected that attitude. Things are serious, the gloves are coming off, and everyone is rolling up their sleeves. It’s enough to make entrepreneurial leaders wonder, why bother?

SpectraSite Holdings’ missed intereste payment and $2.5 billion debt have some suggesting a possible bankruptcy announcement, and the resignation later in the week of six of its board members added to the buzz. In today’s business climate, debt, bankruptcy and leadership shuffling have become routine. But in this post-9/11 world, business woes are being dealt with by focusing on the nitty-gritty of organizations’ infrastructure. Managers seem
to be saying, if we can’t control the market, let’s go after what we can control – our security issues, the appearance of our employees, the behavior of our CEOs – and hope that all this will eventually set the market straight.

So much time is being spent on rules and regulations these days that it’s no wonder entrepreneurial spirit is disappearing. Who wants to start their own company when Big Brother is watching intently?

Last week’s highlights read like a how-to-manage primer. Dress codes are being reinstated at big companies, the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance bill is making corporate leadership tougher, the future threat of cyberterrorism is making Internet security the hot topic of the moment.

“Since the Internet has exploded, companies have got to take an in-depth look at how to protect everything,” said Brian Murray, business development executive for Alphanumeric. “Not just with technology, but with policy and procedures.”

Venture activity significantly dropped this month compared to August’s boom, and when viewed in relation to the tight-laced policy announcements made by so many companies last week, you can’t help but wonder if the reluctance to float new business ideas might be connected to all the new rules and the serious bent of business today. It’s hard enough to start a new business, in
a climate of layoffs, cutbacks and bankruptcy, but take fun out of the equation, and few seem ready to jump in the deep end.

But despite all that, other events proved that the heart of start-ups is still beating, no matter how faint. Cisco CEO John Chambers donated $1 million to Wake Forest University to encourage student entrepreneurs, CED raised $4 million for its “Innovation to Impact” campaign, and Harvey Singh, co-founder of MindLever, is launching Nanowave, his third start-up, and hopefully successful, company.


“I wish I could say that August was notable and is presaging things to come. But I don’t see any wholesale changes in the market, just a steady evolution of trends that have been around for some time.” _ Ford Worthy of A.M. Pappas & Associates on August’s uptick in venture deals closed in the southeast

“It’s an aberration that all of those closed in August.” _ Jeff Clark of Durham-based Aurora Funds on the high number of local venture deals.

“There will be a lot more scrutiny of all the awards a CEO
receives. I guess you could ask if it is worth it to be a CEO as the awards are less and the penalties are greater.
Billy Parker, partner in the information, communications and entertainment practice at KPMG in Atlanta.


September 20: Debating Wireless, Phone Costs and CRM: B2T Attendees Get Plenty of Advice

September 20: Even in a Tight IT Market, Security Offerings Still Getting Plenty of Attention

September 20: Motivation for the Madness: Hackers As Terrorists?
Sometimes It’s More Than Fun or Money.

September 19: FCC Grants Approval for BellSouth To Sell Long-Distance in NC, SC

September 19: At B2T Show, VoIP Gets a Boost from Meredith While Other Companies Talk Security and Disaster Planni

September 18: Mass Resignation at SpectraSite: Six Board Members Resign; CEO Clark Is Named Chairman

September 17: SpectraSite Holdings Skips Interest Payment, Ponders


September 20: UNC Spinout Inneroptic Tech Opens Up Surgeon’s View Inside a Patient

September 17: Trimeris, Roche Push Ahead With New AIDS Drug


September 20: Raleigh Biotech Firm Lands $4M in Funding, Partner for Its Artificial Tissue Product

September 20: Ziptronix Gets $3.5M To Help Its Pursuit of 3-D Chips

September 18: On the Mark, Get Set: BioMarck Says It Wants To Stop Coughing and Choking

September 17: Atlanta Software Firm Rides Big Blue Wave to $1M Funding Round

September 16: One Month Wonder: Experts Say Rush of Venture Deals Won’t Last


September 19: New Rules, Regulation Mean Tougher Scrutiny for CEOs – and Boards

September 18: Want To Be CEO? Your Feet Will Be Closer to Fire in Hot Scandal Climate


September 20: The Spectator Disappeared Long Ago . May It Rest in

September 18: Entreprenurship Is Down, Dress Codes Are in. Is There a Connection? www.localte

September 17: Another Deal for iEntertainment: Contract with IBS Puts Its Games on 53 TV Station Web Sites

September 16: A Shot in the Arm for RTP Tech: IBM, Red Hat To Expand Their Partnership Today


September 18: MindValve Is Presenting Its Case Across the State – and Banking on Getting Attention

September 17: Recent Acquisition Helps Peopleclick Land Contract With Global Company


September 20: Scandal Fallout: Analyst Scrutiny Could Put Pinch on Local Companies

September 19: Sermon on the Stage: Red Hat’s Szulik Talks About the Future – and not Everything Is Bright

September 19: Some Entrepreneurs Just Can’t Say ‘No’. Harvey Singh
Launches Another RTP Company.