Register scotches Esther Dyson armed robbery rumours

And she's not a KGB agent either...

Scanning the local trade rag New Media Age this week we noticed that it's published a brief CV for our old chum "Queen" Esther Dyson. But perplexingly, there's a big hole in it.

In 1983 it reports Esther bought Rosen Research, but then there's nothing until she's listed as publishing her first book in 1997. Naturally, with a gap like that most people will suspect armed robbery, resulting in a protracted spell in the State pen, but we know that isn't the case, so we thought we'd do a little research to set the record straight.

This turned out not to be particularly easy. We vaguely remember a salacious story that may have been told us in a pub by evil former-hippy capitalist running dog Felix Dennis. But it's assuredly actionable, and involves La Dyson and the late Bill Ziff.

Trawl the Web for the paired names and you get a disappointing "once dated Bill Ziff" - but we need a financial connection here. So thank goodness for Google, and Wired.

Says a 1993 piece: "For a brief time in the mid-1980s, Release 1.0 disappeared. Ziff-Davis, the Microsoft of computer-magazine publishers, bought out EDventure holdings and turned Esther loose on what was to be an exclusive (and expensive) daily newspaper for the computer industry, Computer Industry Daily (CID). It was to be delivered through the MCI mail network, and for reasons ranging from its being headquartered on the wrong coast, to its getting scooped regularly, to its misusing Esther's talents (instead of analyzing technology, she was managing a 29-person newspaper staff), the project was stillborn. Release 1.0 returned to Esther after the demise of CID."

That's not quite what we think we recall Felix telling us, but it does account for some of that big gap in the CV. Standard bios of Dyson (including the one on the EDventure Holdings site) mysteriously don't tend to include the corporate Ziff-Davis connection, and are somewhat coy about the personal one. But we're happy to set the record straight. Hell, considering Esther's interest in investing in the former Soviet Union, people might not just misinterpret the lacuna as representing a long stretch in jail - she could have spent the time being trained by the KGB, a sleeper brainwashed into convincing Western capitalist to give all their money to the Russian mafia, thus allowing Communism to triumph after all. NB even though Esther isn't really a KGB sleeper, we think this could turn out to be the eventual result anyway.

Still, apart from that, she's entirely innocent, OK?

By the way, although we'd come up largely empty prior to finding the Wired archive piece, we tripped over a deliciously over the top and French piece of sustained hyperbole in Liberation. "Esther Dyson, the queen of the Internet, the high priestess, the Madonna of the keyboard... Esther - she is one of those women, like Hillary (Clinton), Tina (Brown) or Martina (Navratilova) who don't have need of a family name..." A bromide required for author Patrick Sabatier, evidently... ®

See also:
Wired does what it's good at in Dyson profile
Liberation falls for Queen Esther (en francais, exceedingly)

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