7 Things I Learned From The TechCrunch Party

(and I wasn’t even there)

One of the tech world’s most influential journalists, Michael Arrington, hosted a party at his house in Silicon Valley last night, and here are some things I learned from it:

1. Silicon Valley and Seattle are *nothing* alike from a cultural standpoint. Sure they both have thriving tech industries, but that’s where the similarities end. There is SO much more of the shmooze factor in San Francisco, and it’s becoming more and more obvious with each passing Foo Camp, Bar Camp, TechCrunch Party, and <insert catchy name here> Conference. Shmoozing is great, and I’m not disparaging events like this at all, but it really puts into perspective how much of a stage Silicon Valley is on. In Seattle, we seem to go about our work with much less showmanship, marketing, and social presence. Anybody else from either Seattle or S.F. notice this?

2. Michael Arrington is definitely the fastest rising market maker in the tech world right now. Think Mossberg with a younger target audience. He is also not a racist… just ask Scrivs. :)

3. Victoria Murphy Barret of Forbes is pretty hot. Note to Forbes: When you call us for your Newsvine interview, send her please.

4. I admire a man who feels comfortable inviting hundreds of people, a lot of which he doesn’t even know, to party at his house. I’ve had parties of 30 which got out of control. I can’t imagine the potential liability if the wrong sorts of people were to show up.

5. It would seem to me that Robert Scoble and Shel Israel definitely got their money’s worth of publicity for this event. Heck, I’m not even sure if they actually paid a penny for it given the other sponsors who jumped on board. In exchange for perhaps only their presence, they were able to get their new book “Naked Conversations” in front of just about every shmoozer in Silicon Valley… plus all of Michael’s numerous readers. Now *that’s* a great PR effort.

6. I hate to say it, especially given my position as CEO of a news startup, but the tech world in another bubble. Over the last several months, some have made similar assessments only to temper them with the observation that much less money is going in so much less money will be lost, but I’ve seen some flat-out ridiculous companies getting flat-out ridiculous rounds of financing lately. I’m not one to publicly disparage the efforts of others so I won’t name any names, but DAMN things are getting frothy! I’m really not speaking about any investments under a few million dollars, because let’s face it, that sort of money can and should be thrown into speculative investments from time to time, but I’m talking more in the high seven to eight figure range, and hell, even the mid nine figure range (see: MySpace). Seeing expectations build up to these levels scares me a bit because I’ve always seen the internet as creating *more* efficient markets, and not *less* efficient ones. More efficient markets mean less cost to consumers and less margins to producers. The only way for producers to make up for this is in increased quantity and alternative monetization models. I’m just not sure there is as big of a net gain for most producers as some people would have you believe. I do believe the little guy gets a lot more power in this model, but I’m skeptical that the big guy even gets better at all.

7. Stowe Boyd always seemed like a cool guy to me and I was happy to find out that he passed out on the couch after the party (with the hat on of course). Hard partying always leads to a good night’s sleep.

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15 Responses:

  1. Dan says:

    I’m bummed that I don’t live out that way, else I would have found a way to sneak into the party :-) I’m curious to see what holds for NewsVine though, I know that as a member I’m definitely stoked about it.
    As for Scoble, eh, what can you say ;-) I mean, I respect him, even though I have some diverse opinions myself with regard to the way that he sees the world. Nevertheless, good for him that he was able to get some press out of it.
    Keep up the great work Mike!

  2. Re #1: I wholeheartedly agree. I tire of all the hub-bub and lack of any sort of balance around here with the tech crowd. The northwest has gotten that one down much better.

    Re #6: Agreed. Can there ever *not* be a bubble though? Or is that just how things work? Lots of folks ramp up, lose money, and a few come out of the fray at the end.

  3. I agree somewhat with what your are saying Mike. There are differences in the Seattle and Bay Area Tech communities. I think a lot of that has to do with the amount of competition in the Bay area. Let’s face it, the majority of the “web world” is in the Bay Area. Well, except Microsoft, of course. I live in Austin and we had and have a vibrant Tech community here also, but because, like Seattle, we don’t have the amount of Tech media, Venture Capitalist and sheer numbers of Tech workers. We don’t get the attention that “they” do. That’s good and bad.

    As for schmoozing at the TechCrunch party or any of the other party/conferences; a certain amount of that stuff is necessary. You know, where else can you meet in one place, potential investors, business partners and learn about potential competition? Also, lets not forget Seattle has had its schmooze parties as well. Remember DEMO Club?

    As long as useful companies keep coming out of this new web era, then I don’t see a real bubble happening anytime soon. That’s not to say that some crazy money has been flying around lately.

    Keep up the great work with Newsvine.

  4. Oliver Z. says:

    Mike, if you decide to host a party down in Seattle, I’ll come over from Vancouver and bring the biggest moose you’ll ever see.

  5. Too bad for you Victoria has that huge rock on her finger.

  6. Sean S. says:

    Biggest moose? I won’t ask.

    And is it me, or does capitalizing the “v” in Newsvine seem pase, and perhaps irritating?

  7. Bruce C. says:

    “Let’s face it, the majority of the “web world” is in the Bay Area.”

    The “majority” of the “”web world”” by its very nature is in every city in the world…Bangalore, London, Berlin, New York, San Paolo, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Shanghai, Boston…even Austin.

    Both Scoble and Israel tip their hats to that fact throughout Naked Conversations, which is one more reason they deserve many a party like TechCruch to celebrate with others what a great breakthrough they have accomplished with this tome.

  8. Bruce C.- There are more web-related business’ in the Bay Area, per capita than any place in the “web world”. Sorry, I guess I should have been a little more specific. Maybe in Bangalore, Moscow or Shanghai they have more?

  9. I’ll second Oliver, and add a beaver. ;-)

  10. Umm, hard partying always leads to a good day’s sleep.

  11. dave says:

    Sean S you have a good point about the V

  12. Chad Edge says:

    Hey Mike, congrats on the mention in the lates Business 2.0.

    I don’t have time to comment on whether or not this is a good thing/bad thing (in my opinion). Maybe on Newsvine (which is what was mentioned in an article “The Next Net 25 – Social Media section”).

    I guess i’ve always figured that Newsvine wasn’t a media darling, nor a Web-only product (where Web-only tends to suggest ‘untested’ or ‘wholy new idea’). You’ve got communication, commenting, information exchange, advertising – all things real-world, it just happens to be wrapped up in a URL.

    Ahhh.. I said I didn’t have time to comment, so I’ll apologize for the long post – I didn’t have time to write a short one.

  13. Alex says:

    Its amazing what you can learn from a party :)

  14. Tom says:

    I would prefer that beer tap :-)

  15. Ron says:

    One thing I learned from this: Beer in Silicon Valley gives a new kind of perceptions.

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