"Digits" Column

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[ Wed. Feb. 23. 2000 ]

You don't have to be a billionaire to get invited to the "Billionaire's Dinner" tonight in Monterey, Calif. But you do have to know literary agent/author/entrepreneur John Brockman, who makes it his business to know who is among the digerati. The dinner coincides with the 10th annual Technology, Entertainment, Design or TED, conference, which brings together Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

Last year's dinner guests included confirmed billionaires Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com Inc. and Steve Case of America Online Inc. as well as likely contender Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft Corp. "It's just a fun gathering for a few of my friends," Mr. Brockman says. The stock market has made new billionaires out of some previous centimillionaire guests, so Mr. Brockman doubled the size of the dinner but claims he still has to turn people away. To add suspense to this year's event, Mr. Brockman promises two surprise billionaires who prefer to remain unidentified. Hint: at least one is unmarried.

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