I went last Friday to the Techcrunch summer party in Menlo Park, sponsored by August Capital and many other companies. This is a very different event, compared to all the meetups I have been to. As illustrated by the picture, this is where money meets the Internet. Not what you expect in a geek world, by the way.
Famous people, not so famous people, VCs, journalists and known bloggers meet often in these parties in which big companies “donate” all types of stuff: from Grey Goos vodka to Pandora’s music, Silver Moon’s ice-cream and Stormhoek’s wine. Also the band was donated, though nobody danced over there. There was even Friendster (yes, the old-fashioned social network), making caricatures of attendees. I am sure that the security guards (there were lots of them) were not donated.
I arrived with a very old car, so I felt quite out of place from the very first moment. Already knowing some people in the valley helped me to not feel so bad later on I remember talking to Dave Mathews, Yossi Vardi, Cathy Brooks, David Hornik, Barak Berkovitz, Brent Tworezky, Javier Oliván, Deb Schultz, Shahar Nechmad, Hugh McLeod, iJustine (so so blonde), Steve Katz, Leigh Varney, DJ Patil, Nitin Borwankar, Ethan Gahng, Josh Breinlinger, David Hassell, Greg Biggers, Darius Dunlap and many others whose names I don’t remember any more. I could not shake hands with Michael Arrington and could not get to see Loic and Geraldine Le Meur.
The elite of Silicon Valley was there. This is a very closed environment, though. Somehow similar to the one you find in country clubs in most European cities. The only difference is that while in Europe the environment is related to more traditional industries, here it’s made out of successful and almost successful Internet entrepreneurs. I am sure I would have won the contest for the most horrible mobile phone
Two more interesting data about this party: it was over at 9.30 pm, which is really early. Even Germans from DLD know that the best parties start after midnight. Another difference with European events is that everybody was going home by car, which is not the best idea if vodka and wines have been served generously. Luckily, there were no cops around (weird, when you learn that the State of California is almost bankrupt) and the permitted blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 (twice the one in most countries in Europe).
This is a short video I took over there:
Photos: Mathieu Ramage and Techcrunch