June 3rd, 2002


The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy

Quick movie review for The Sum of All Fears.

I needed an escapist movie to pull me out of my own head for a bit. And this movie delivered. Perhaps it was the movie, perhaps it was my own need, but the story was engaging enough that without any thought on my part, my usual nit-pickyness and inability to apply suspension of disbelief was not in attendance.

The only thing I didn't like about the movie was a bit of the cheesy, guy gets the girl, Hollywood ending scene. I don't really mind Jack Ryan getting the girl at the end. It's just that the scene was on the maudlin side.

I love the nuclear missile shock wave special effects. The movie managed to maintain an amount of tension, even though everyone in the theater knows that the good guys will win in the end. And they kept the trite plot devices to a relative minimum (except for the "bad guy kills the doubters amongst the cabal" device). Or maybe I just didn't notice them.

I also appreciated how they portrayed being a President of Russia and the US as a nuanced thing. Too often, people think it is a black or white affair. I am thinking of comments on the crack bored recently about President Pervez Musharref of Pakistan and Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority. In this movie, the President of Russia must walk a delicate line between various elements within his Army. They act somewhat independently, but the Russian president cannot allow that to come to light without risking losing control even more. I believe that Musharref and Arafat are in similar situations. Even if they wanted to, they cannot even attempt to take certain actions without setting off a civil war.

Also, the behind the scenes Russian guy looks a lot like Gerald R. Ford. Just my opinion.


Business news

The wire services are now running a story, where USA Interactive</a>, which owns a majority of the stock of my employer, Expedia Inc., has offered to purchase the portion of Expedia that it does not own, and take us private.

What does this mean? Well, a couple of months ago, our biggest competitor, Travelocity, was taken private by it's majority owner, The Sabre Group. In that case, it was partially because Travelocity was not doing as well as Expedia.

In our case, we are doing rather well. Why they want to take us private, I don't know. Lots of things could happen though.

  • Stock option holders could get screwed. I hold a number of unvested options. We could also receive a premium on our options (such as early vesting).
  • We could be merged with Hotels.com (formerly Hotel Reservations Network), which is a competitor of ours in the hotel arena that USA Interactive also owns. They could merge us into them, or them into us.
  • Management would almost certainly be less independent that it now is. We would have no independent directors of Expedia. Independence would only be from the independent directors of USA Interactive. Perhaps our management will be stripped down.
  • The company could be relocated. Centralized at USA's headquarters. I doubt the entire company, but perhaps upper management might be moved and the rest of us remain in Bellevue. Boeing, a large Seattle based company, recently moved it's headquarters to Chicago. They still have a large presence here, but the high mucky-mucks are all based elsewhere now. Perhaps that will happen here.

There will be lots of speculation amongst the employees tomorrow, and likely little work will be done. I figure my job is safe. However, day to day operations could be drastically different six months from now due to this. Working in corporate America can be somewhat exciting. Prior to this, I've only worked for smaller, non-public companies that had from 5 to 100 employees. They had their own upheavals, but they were of a very different nature than the ones at a larger company such as Expedia.



Purchased Saturday


Previously purchased: