Tyler hits the roof on bad publicity

Dressed down in dotcom style (jeans, loafers, no tie), an emotional Tyler this morning addressed, in front of a merciless press gallery, a flurry of damning reports that Tyler and many others believe have seriously undermined his reputation.

The pot, his involvement in the history-making demise of Canadian-listed dotcom Lessonware, supposedly unfulfilled promises to shareholders, rumours of his intended dismissal by Telstra -- one by one Tyler sought to ensure the truth be extracted from the "myopic articles" surrounding him in recent weeks.

In keeping with the age-old tradition of theatre, he started small and finished big.

First, the share price promises: did Chris Tyler once pledge to Solution 6 shareholders their stocks would soon grow from 10 dollars to a whopping 100? Absolutely not. Except for that one time. That one time he still (vaguely) recalls, when he announced at a shareholder meeting that he was "thinking of a hundred-dollar share price".

This does not, according to Tyler, equal a promise -- something he claims to have qualified immediately after. There were journalists present at that meeting. Fair enough.

Next, Tyler tackled rumours which surfaced last year of his dismissal and subsequent replacement on the Solution 6 board by Telstra. All untrue, he said.

So what about the pot?

Did Tyler feel he was obligated to let Solution 6's shareholders, a quarter of which happens to be Telstra, know he had been convicted for possession of more than 20 kilograms of marijuana back in 1985?

No. He ran a nightclub back then, you see. And more importantly, as he explained: "It (marijuana) was part of the recreational and social scene at the time." (Unlike, of course, the present time.)But that was 15 years ago; those "couple of garbage bags-full" are a "distant part" of his past.

Tyler said he had not felt any pressure to reveal his previous involvement with drug possession to Telstra, even as the Australian telco giant's interest in his accountancy software company grew to 24 per cent. Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski is reported to have made claims to the effect that he would have liked to have known earlier, but Tyler said, "I was never asked."

True, Tyler was not required by law to disclose anything. The law is something that Tyler clearly regards highly.

Next, there was Canadian software company Lessonware, a full-blown business disaster of Tyler's that many present suggested cast the darkest shadow on his resume. "It was a high-quality endeavour that didn't work out commercially."

One journalist asked Tyler if he considered it of "material" interest to shareholders that he had effectively sent a dotcom to bankruptcy. No, was the answer, it is not material.

Tyler admitted that much of this recently uncovered information, particularly regarding his involvement in Lessonware, had been instrumental in the sudden withdrawal of Melbourne-based Sausage Software from being acquired by Solution 6.

Solution 6 is unconcerned by the Sausage rejection, Tyler said. That acquisition would have been better suited to the dotcom-crazed market of yester-week, anyway.

(Solution 6 is still required by law to submit an official statement outlining its intent to purchase Sausage -- even though both companies agree the deal's off.)And finally, his voice quivering with emotion, Tyler confronted those who had written about him. Individually. It seems he can instantly recognise, by face, anyone who has written on him. In fact, he can just as easily recognise the face as he can recite, as an insecure actor might do, the most damning passages from the most damning articles.

Then the lights and cameras went off and the performance was over.

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Byron Kaye

PC World
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