Boom Town: At the Growing Billionaires' Dinner, Tech Stars Move to Grown-Ups' Table

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[ Sun. Feb. 27. 2000 ]

MONTEREY, Calif. — Like a lot of things in the frothy Internet world, it didn't take long for an annual get-together at one of the industry's trendiest conferences to show mindboggling growth —in this case a change in its name from the Millionaires' Dinner to the Billionaires' Dinner.

And why not? Sure, precious few of the people at the dinner supping on ahi tuna and shrimp scampi on Thursday at Cibo restaurant actually had billions in net worth. But the crowd was sprinkled generously with those who had amassed wealth beyond imagining in a historical eye blink. The muscle and money behind tech stars such as Microsoft, America Online, Sun Microsystems and others had gathered at the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference here. 

When the host, New York literary agent John Brockman, added three zeros to the dinner last year, there was more than a bit of giggly discomfort among the attendees. The general agreement was that the provocative Mr. Brockman, who also runs a discussion Web site called Edge.org, was poking fun more than offering a description. . . . .

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