Last Call: Back and forth: techies compete for bragging rights

There surely must be a number of hi-tech executives who have reacted to the news of myriad firms crashing and burning by playing with their balls - but at least now it's legitimate.

And when hi-tech companies do play with their balls, they play with small white ones and two wooden paddles.

TSI and Mindstorm Communications hosted the Internet Ping-Pong Olympics this month in New York, inviting their hi-tech clients to come and chase their gold-medal dreams.

The victor, B-to-B Video Networks, took home a trophy and earned a donation for the charity Kidz Online. But perhaps more importantly, the company won the respect of its opponents, which included Internet Appliance Network, cPulse and Broadserve.

Ping-Pong has emerged as the sport of champions in the tech world, and it was two PR agencies that recently stirred up the hunger for competition among the sport's devotees.

Ari Fishkind, senior vice president of TSI, said the agencies wanted to bring their clients together to 'compete, network and cross-pollinate.'

In spite of its name recognition and imported cheerleading section, Juno Online did not perform well. Fishkind speculated on the lackluster showing, saying 'maybe the reason is there isn't a Ping-Pong table in their office anymore,' bringing to mind a school principal confiscating contraband booty.

B-to-B was said to be humble in victory. 'They clearly wanted to win, but they were very diplomatic about it,' Fishkind said.

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