Naked Buddies @ FastCompany

Naked Conversations co-authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel are finally co-working again, as video-bloggers @ FastCompany TV. Shel’s show will be GlobalNeighbourhoods TV (GNTV), while Robert’s is – what else? – Scoble TV.

Congrat’s and have fun! (naked or clothedsmile_wink).

P.S. On second thought, if they plan to do a lot of Naked business together, they might invite the CEO if Zivity.smile_tongue

Update (1/30):  Robert posted the same pic explaining that they were NOT naked.  Of course not!  I remember, as I was there, at the 5th TechCrunch party, which became the Naked Conversations launch party.  So it’s a promo shot at a promo party – and hey, there is strong symbolism in the title, the co-authors did not get undressed just for fun (or who knows?beer). They are the Naked Buddies – as in co-authors of Naked Conversations. 


TechCrunch 9(00) at August Capital

The wait is over: what was first dubbed as the Second Annual TechCrunch Meet-up at August Capital is now officially TechCrunch 9. If you attended TechCrunch 7 at August Capital last year, and are wondering what you may have missed… relax: # 8 was the New York Party – proof that there is entrepreneurial life outside Silicon Valley. (is there? smile_tongue)

When Mike Arrington published the participant list, I dropped it in a spreadsheet to get a quick count: it was 809! Considering that last year with 500 on the list we were 700 , I figured 1000 would be a safe bet.. and started to wonder if August Capital’s huge terrace is strong enough to hold 1000 people. Security was stronger than last year, so perhaps that explains why the final turnout was around 900. Here’s a snapshot of the TechCrunch 900, courtesy of Jeremiah Owyang.

I’ve made a strategic mistake: got “stuck” with some long-not-seen friends in a corner, and before I realized it, the party was already winding down. As I browse through the photos by Mike Arrington, Scott Beale, Jeremiah, Thomas Hawk, Dan Farber, Brian Solis and others, I’m surprised to see many familiar faces of friends I haven’t bumped into at the party.

I actually wonder if the best-informed “attendees” were those who were not even present. as well as competitor broadcasted the event to the World, along with a chat room, so the total number was definitely in the thousands. Centernetwork’s Allen Stern liveblogged the party – from 2958 miles away, based on the feed and chat room.

What a difference a year makes! Sarah Myers got thrown out last year as party-crasher; this year she was officially invited (hey I like the new hair-stylesmile_wink) what’s more, if anyone is interested in not just the party details, but the (mostly) startups demo-ing their ware, there’s hardly a better summary than Sarah’s video:

Wow, that’s 16 companies in 2 minutes. Congrat’s to Sarah and the interviewees, almost all were concise, delivered the message. If I may give some advice, when you have 10 seconds, don’t waste it on phrases like “revolutionary product”. It may very well be, but it does not tell me what you do…

But I don’t want to be the judge – much rather have you, dear reader pick the best and worst pitch. Please do it in the poll below – you’ll need to scroll down to get the full list, and if you read this in your feed, you may have to click through.

Update (7/30): Please vote based on the video pitch above, not what you’ve seen at the party, if you were there.

Last, but not least, this was the first TechCrunch party where tickets were “sold” for a nominal fee of $10 – the proceeds were matched by TechCrunch and a total of $10,000 was donated to Kipp Bayview Academy towards the purchase of new computer equipment.

See you at TechCrunch 10 martini

Update (7/30): I’ve just noticed a trend:

TechCrunch 3: approaching 300 participants

TechCrunch 5: 500

TechCrunch 7: 700

TechCrunch 9: 900

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TechCrunch: from 5K to 500K

My first TechCrunch party was in October 2005 – back than it was called the 3rd TechCrunch BBQ. The first two, which I had missed were (almost) impromptu backyard BBQ’s with a dozen or so entrepreneurs at Mike Arrington’s house. I’m not sure how I discovered these events, but it may have been Ethan’s blog, which led to a wiki with open signup. I started to monitor the wiki for the next one, and a month or so later signed up for the 3rd event.

The first parking spot I found was half a mile away from Mike’s Atherton house. Wow! This was no longer a cozy BBQ, the pace was cramped with about 200 people. Lots of food in the backyard, a keg that the geek squad could not force to produce beer, and lots of startup product demos inside. It was a great event – probably the last one right-sized for the house. The next one grew to about 300 people, the 5th, and the last at Mike’s place, the “Naked Party” was a crowd of 500. Oh, and Atherton police got smart, setting up a sobriety checkpoint just around the corner from TechCrunch HQ…

The Party is not all that grew… after the 3rd BBQ I wrote about what I considered phenomenal growth back then:

Mike Arrington started a blog in June with the mission of “ obsessively profiling and reviewing every newly launched web 2.0 business, product and service”. Since June, the blog has grown to close to 5,500 Feedburner readers, a Technorati rank of 566, and made it to the CNET Top 100 list.

Yes, that five thousand is not a typo, that really was the readership in October 2005. The next stop is at 50k, in May 2006 – 53,651 to be exact, as so famously called by Josh Kopelman. Fast forward to summer of 2007, and TechCrunch has 450K feedburner subscribers – well, at least last I looked at it. Until this morning, when I saw this:

Yes, TechCrunch has reached the half a million mark. Congratulations, Mike! That’s quite a milestone, and a reason to celebrate tonight at the TechCrunch Party hosted by August Capital.

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Guess the eBay Bid and You May Win the Very Last TechCrunch Party Ticket

The TechCrunch party at August Capital will likely be the most lavish one – just look at the impressive list of party sponsors (see logos at the bottom).  There are 760 names on the attendance list, and yours truly holds the last position on the wiki – hey, I am a rock-solid Z-lister forever:-)

Mike Arrington put up the last two tickets for bidding on eBay, and he will donate all proceeds to the Entrepreneurs Foundation, a Bay Area non-profit organization.

And now the big news: there may potentially be one more ticket to win – right here. How high do you think bidding will go? Fill out the form below, and you can be the winner. (I’ve just realized that the script may not come through in a feed, so please click back to my post to access the form). The guess closest to winning bid amount will be awarded by:

  • A drink and photo with Mike Arrington if you are already on the attendee list (hey, there may be a kiss, too, but I can’t commit Mike to that )
  • The very last ticket, if you are not yet on the list.

Note: I will be closing the poll at 10am on the day of the party, The eBay bid will close at 4:15pm. Winner will be published and notified by email as soon as payment is verified. (i.e. the bid has to be real).   Update: The poll is now closed. The winner of the free

ticket is David Gobaud from Stanford, who guessed $537, and the winning

eBay bid was $501. Congrat’s and see you there!

Proof that this is for real:

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Lessons from the TechCrunch Wiki War

Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch Parties have become “THE EVENTS TO ATTEND” in the Valley – in fact not just in the Valley: last time around I remember participants driving up all the way from San Diego, and this time people will fly in just to be there. The last party as well as the next one this Friday both sold out within hours after the announcement, and a lot of readers felt frustrated:

  • Some felt that first-come-first-served is not fair enough with such a short notice (an hour or so)
  • Some publicly asked for special consideration to get in
  • Some proposed to pay for “tickets”
  • Just about everyone complained for the lockups in the registration wiki.

I don’t envy Mike in this situation. It’s his party, his house (well, at least for the previous events), it would be perfectly OK for him to have an invitation-only party. Yet he obviously wants to see new faces, so he opens it up to anyone, but then of course he can’t please all… This time around, for the seventh TechCrunch Party hosted by August Capital there was more than the usual rush: the registration wiki has become constantly locked up and Mike was forced to move RSVPs to comments on his blog, closing the wiki.

Mike received ample feedback on why the wiki was not the right platform to handle hundreds of almost simultaneous registrations, and several entrepreneurs seized the opportunity to announce new offerings. Central Desktop announced a free public event wiki, and since it’s a hybrid not-just-a-wiki solution, Founder and CEO Isaac Garcia claims they do not have lockup issues (they use a form with a database in the background). Zoho Creator would have been another elegant solution.

However, what almost no-one talks about is that this was not simply a technical glitch. Having been lucky enough (?) to wake up 4am the day the wiki opened I managed to register myself at exactly position #100 in the wiki, then observe the wiki-war that soon ensued. The major “sins” I witnessed were:

  • Individual users registering entire blocks (dozen or more) names
  • The same users sitting on the wiki (blocking), probably while coordinating with their buddies who else to sign up
  • Previously registered names getting deleted

One can perhaps justify registering others, although I don’t know where the reasonable limit is ( I only signed up myself), but deleting others is the absolute cardinal sin. Apparently fair play is a strange concept to some.

This raises another issue though: are these people not aware that wikis provide a perfect audit trail and what they did can easily become public? Or do they simply not care? Is getting in on the TechCrunch party worth being displayed on a virtual “hall of shame”?

This particular incident aside, I think the major learning here is the overall lack of awareness of a typical wiki’s capabilities and how to “behave” while using it. I know many who’d like the collaborative capabilities but are afraid of “chaos” and the potential lack of civility… in short a major ‘wiki war’ if they open up editing to anyone. Most wiki platforms offer technical controls to limit chaos: even consumer /community focused WetPaint introduced several security schemes in their latest updates, and enterprise wikis like Socialtext and Atlassian’s Confluence have for long had elaborate security schemes – heck, that’s why they are “enterprise”.

Just as important as the permissioning is the role of social- behavioral norms, which clearly are more common and more forceful in a corporate environment, where all wiki “contributors” work for the same company. “Ross Mayfield said that in four years of building wikis for corporations Socialtext has seen precisely 0 trolls and 0 instances of vandalism.” He also maintains a Best Practices wiki (hey, it’s the new skin!). Now, remember, it’s a wiki – you can contribute, not just read.

As for the TechCrunch Party, the guest list is currently at 738(!) and here’s a preview of who’s coming, courtesy of (who may have intended to keep this a surprise, but I found it anyway….)

Update (7/28/2007): Here’s another case of wiki “who done it”.


TechCrunch Party at August Capital – Poll

Mike Arrington is throwing another TechCrunch Party.  These events are legendary, and while his house is a great venue, this time it will be hosted/sponsored by August Capital.

There will be a bunch of announcements at the party, including some very big surprises,

and plenty to eat and drink. We’ll announce more details as the date

approaches. Also, a limited number of demo stations should will

available for companies to show off their new products.

This is an open party and at least the first 500 people to sign up on the wiki will be admitted.

These parties normally “sell out” (the are free) within hours of announcement, so if you wanna bet, why not do it right here, while you’re waiting for the locked wiki to free up

Update (7/21): Wow, I am #100

Update #2:  The votes are not coming in, and the registration wiki isn’t quite growing either, but that’s not for lack of interest. Comments at TecCrunch and my own IM flow indicate the wiki is permanently locked up.  A single user can lock it up for 15 or so minutes.

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Naked (?) Party at TechCrunch

It only took 40 minutes for the 5th TechCrunch Party to “sell out” after Mike announced it on his blog. 200+ people registered on the wiki, and those left out left out are asking for unused slots or even offering Mike $$$ to get in … Wow, talk about popularity! (see my notes on a previous party).Nc125 On a hunch I checked eBay – nothing yet

Departing from the original formula, the 4th one became a launch party for Riya – this time it’s a celebration of the launch of Naked Conversations, the new book by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble.

Having just seen Chris Pirillo’s Naked Review, and knowing there will be a heated tent in the backyard makes me wonder .. hm.. will there be a format change? Just how naked will this party be?

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TechCrunch 3rd BBQ

The TechCrunch story is really amazing. Mike Arrington started a blog in June with the mission of “ obsessively profiling and reviewing every newly launched web 2.0 business, product and service”. Since June, the blog has grown to close to 5,500 6733 Feedburner readers, a Technorati rank of 566, and made it to the CNET Top 100 list. In September he moved from LA, rented a house with a large backyard in Atherton which now became “the place to be” in Silicon Valley, having just hosted the 3rd TechCrunch BBQ. The event was a blast. Here’s a pretty good roundup of the new product demos – Philippe adds some of his commentary. So many bloggers wrote about it, not much more to add, just a few of my impressions. This was my first TechCrunch event, and the intensity of the 200 or so crowd was a bit overwhelming in the beginning … in a positive way:-) The demos were really exciting, but these meetings are also about meeting people, and with the tight demo-schedule, one had to make a tough choice between watching the demos or mingling in the backyard. I did my homework, and made a list of companies / people I would definitely want to meet – yeah, right… try to do it in a crowd of two hundred, in the dark. In this setting the social interaction is more accidental, unless you know most of the participants, you talk to whoever you bump into, forget seeking out anyone in the crowd. I think having name-tags printed would facilitate more targeted introductions. In fact Mike could just ask the guests to get creative and bring their own tags next time. Wow, I’ve just created a new acronym, the BYONT Party:-) Back to the demos for a minute: too many cool products / services… where do I get the time to try them all out? One of my personal favorites is zvents Zbutton, and I am tempted to try Goowy, as a way to get out of Microsoft-slavery ( Scoble noted This crowd isn’t using very much Microsoft stuff “ ) – but wait, do I sign up for Goowy, or Zimbra, Hula, Open Exchange, Kolab, RoundCube .. or …? Ahhh … so many choices… Anyway, the crowd, the energy level, the interaction was great…. this is what the Bay Area is all about. If you did not make it, you can still buy the T-shirt , and come to the next one Zbutton. Ok, this is a joke: Ethan and Tyler created this event as part of their demo, and if they don’t delete it, the TechCrunch HQ will get raided come December:-))) Thanks Michael, Keith, Fred for hosting us. Update (10/25) the TechCrunch blog has picked up another 1,300 Feedburner subscribers since yesterday!

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