1Webtrash Party Review by sfboy
Disclaimer: No company budgets were harmed in the crashing of these parties.
A little dot-com history: sfGirl.com was the go-to website for internet / dot-com parties and launch parties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Below are past sfGirl.com party reviews. Not posted in any particular order. They all occurred during the dot-com bubble,1999 and 2001.
About the author: sfboy wanted to write about dot-com parties but also worked at a popular party throwing Internet startup, so he asked to write anonymously. His Webtrash article was extremely popular and portions of his entertaining reviews were often quoted by news and print media.
While the local webtrash wept at their misfortune and despair in having to watch an industry grow old and tired sfboy remembered a time where the offbeat was encouraged, debauchery was celebrated and chaos reigned supreme. And it soon became apparent that not every party was stiff, forced and uncomfortable! The folks at TheGlobe.com drove this point home last Wednesday night by inviting internet heads to the Blind Tiger for what proved to be the first sleeper shindig of 2000. Bartenders soaked the crowd with pint-sized tubs of Belvedere and Jameson while DJ 80. Bugg thrilled the crowd with her freestyle mischief and mayhem, a sweet serenade that flowed over drum and bass like butter.
Add to this picture, several parts shrimp cocktail, equal amounts of devastating Asian appetizers and a touch of alcoholic bliss and you had a gathering that brought out serious lookers and perverts alike. We should only hope that future I-parties have taken note.
*If anyone has any information as to the business model, functionality or just plain what TheGlobe.com does, please email me email@example.com.
Phone numbers acquired by James Bondage: 3
Percentage of webtrash that could tell you what TheGlobe.com offered: 10%
Time sfboy got into work the next day: classified
In a midweek show of military might the up and coming Salesforce.com stormed San Francisco last week with a party that forced the white flag on many other enemy sites. The end to software as we know it translated into the beginning of a major hangover for sfboy as well as countless other revelers. Touted as a potential rival to software giant Siebel Systems, the Salesforce crew staged an impressive carnival forecasting the end of software in the form of big-top games, party band spoofs, and general military garb.
Held on four floors of the posh Regency, Salesforce.com took home countless medals for creativity (note the Prisoners of War declaring the end of software as we know it), decadence (sfboy counted twelve desert tables stacked high with grenades of chocolate and fruit) and the bizarre (alright who hired the 16 couples, salsa dancing on command in the Main Ballroom?).
Kickstarting the night (and the company’s reputation) into high gear was the surprise announcement of the B-52s as the headlining act. Though thoroughly aged (and visibly) tired the band burned through all the mid-80s favorites in the band’s first public appearance in 11 years.
(editor’s note: in a telling indication of how close-knit the Webtrash community truly is, sfboy noticed his father’s name on the invite list.)
As sfboy stumbled for the door, ditching his dogtags on the way out, it occurred to him that the cold war was truly over….and Salesforce had raised the stakes once again in the ongoing dispute over who can burn the most money in the new internet game that threatens to rival military spending in its excess.
Cost of Battle: $250,000
Casualties: true B52’s fans
Chance of IPO: 100%
Number of Soldiers: 1000
Topica 3.0 erupted as a screaming success Saturday night as the employees celebrated their expansion into the space next door with close to 12 hours of blessed techno. Steeped in mystery requisite for a brilliant e-party, the Topica rave was accessible only by fire stairs leading up to an expansive floor covered in vibrant visuals and all-encompassing light show. Refreshments included Organic Wine and water, water, water! Breathtaking views were available from the Rooftop smoking lounge. Breathtaking beats were distributed all night. While the party was thrown at little to no cost to Topica the outcome was priceless and attendees were not shy about contributing to the passed plate.
Note to potential Topica applicants: apparently, past DJ experience puts you on the fast track with Topica HR as all 12 DJs were permanent employees (promote from within!).
Drum n Bass snobs: 20%
Rave Hours: 8pm to 6
LA-Internet World, Vic @ The Mayan
Constantly aware that the Internet community looks to Sfboy for ongoing trends in the industry and sensitive to the fact that Webtrash may create large fluctuations in the stock market, the party thrown last night at the Mayan theatre in Los Angeles provided some clear indications of the path ahead.
Provided as a mixer for Internet World attendees, tickets were harder to come across than a viable business plan. This was ironic because despite the congregation of more than 12 companies who came together to co-sponsor the party the budget failed to allow for free drinks (why am I here?) or more than cheese and crackers as sustenance for those who had battled their ways through endless booths that day. Add to this a Kenny G. cover band and endless video propaganda and we were left with what was the most disappointing gala since Y2K failed to create widespread economic and technical chaos.
While part of the disappointment lied in the party planning, the true drawback was the crowd itself. As Internet World changes its focus from B2C to B2B it also ushers in a new crowd complete with their jean button-down shirts, khaki pants and boundless enthusiasm to explain the intrinsic value of their advanced transaction-based revenue models. Gone were the geeks in pajama bottoms and private Beck shows from Internet World of years past. While I nursed my watered down cocktail it occurred to me that the future did not lie in B2B but rather the next wave, B2Me.
Disillusioned with arcane business models coupled with work environments that represent the banks, law firms and consulting firms that webtrash left in the first place, the B2Me revolution is made up of those who choose to distance themselves from the mere money making (or choose to create wealth for themselves rather than VC/ Executive circles) and focus rather on creative utilization of the web instead.
So the next time you’re asked to quantify your project using hypothetical numbers and unrealistic assumptions based on little fact and less reality I urge you to ask yourself…. why would I work for a company larger than 10 employees where profit-sharing wasn’t a more equitable equation?
And isn’t it time for a little B2Me?
Sfboy refuses to rate a party that paints itself as exclusive and charges for drinks.
Free greetings, Free Drinks, Free Love! The folks at everyone’s favorite digital greetings site raised the roof (and the credit limit) at their Valentine’s Day bash last night held on three different floors of the Egreetings World Headquarters in downtown sunny San Francisco. Located on one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the world, the Egreetings team staged the grand opening of Club-E which promises to provide an important new revenue stream for the newly public company. Also provided for the entertainment of the masses were several bands including JoJo and The Cheeseballs, and DJ Otter in Club E who spun his own version of show-tune house music with a retro hip-hop twist. Other rooms were filled with Godiva chocolate and strawberries bathed in decadence. Investigation into random corners discovered fortune tellers, An Oyster Aphrodisiac Room and everyone’s favorite….. Larry the old guy in a pink cupid costume with a warped sense of romance!
Party Honors went to key members of the Marketing department (The Irish and the Italian) as well as the Creative department (Brian “lock me down or set me free” K. and Mike G.) for literally tearing holes in the dance floor as Club E erupted in a burning inferno of flailing limbs and lost inhibitions. James Bondage was seen leaving the premises in a blaze of glory. Also seen on the scene was co-founder Tony Levitan who was fresh in from teaching his “How To Start a Top 50 Media Metrix Website in 6 Easy Steps” seminar and on the way to the Pebble Beach Open.
While the party delivered on several different levels there was a noticeable absence of top-shelf liquor and red-bull to keep the party going. Cupid’s arrows hit home early as various webtrash found attractive partnerships and compatibility and went home to seek deeper vertical integration. Conversion to click through and repeat usage numbers to follow.
Price of party: $145,000
Kids in attendance: 20
Adults acting like kids: 80%
People in attendance: 600
Oh my god! Look at the size of that Pickle (pilot launch party)!
The outlandish boys of Picklepilot redefined the term Launch party last Saturday at the standing room only first appearance of the boys behind the pictures. Stone Johnson, Torque, Cid Towers, Peter “Colby” Longfellow III, Richard O’Toole and Dr. Heinkel Breedlove welcomed bottomfeeders everywhere to show early or stay home as the doors slammed shut early (10pm) due to capacity being filled at the historic B-film studio/loft, The Werepad.
Billed as “The Only Launch Party Where They Won’t Wonder What Your Site Does”, the gathering delivered like Kozmo on speed. Attendees brought in the noise with stellar costumes consisting of small samples of latex and faux fur strategically placed over the most desirable parts of the anatomy. Open bar til 4am raised the bar for other sites who failed to realize that drinks stimulate talk about your site! (Thanks for the one drink ticket Wired Planet, real swell.)
Sfgirl’s posse added to the madness with full prom gear complete with the requisite drunk princess (it’s not trendy to soil your dress!). Heightened levels of sexuality were measured by many members of the crowd and summed up by one partygoer by stating “I don’t think a lot of people here are going home with the people they came with!”. Body art lighting by Cable King provided hours of amusement as Lady Di played the crowd like a Tech Sector Market Maker. Sfboy looked downright sexy.
While the size of one’s Pickle did matter to the unfortunate 750 folks that weren’t able to make it into the first Picklepilot party, the founders have assured me that future Picklepilot events will have room for everyone to cum!
Cost of party: $6,500
Pickle phun phactor: High!
Those lucky enough to secure a pass for two to the Thursday night showing of the Icast National Hip-hop/ Turntablism Competition were treated to a mind-blowing exhibition of local talent. Held inside Space 550 (known as Barneveld to pacifier sucking ravefreaks) Icast had webtrash talking all night. Headlined by Invisibl Skratch Picklz, the east bay trio made up of Q-Bert, Shortkut, & Mixmaster Mike tore shit up! While most of the white folks struggled to find beat, the Piklz ruthlessly turned mad RPMs on the unsuspecting crowd resulting in utter audio mayhem.
Providing a stark difference to most e-parties, much of the crowd seemed to be familiar with Icast’s streaming content play and several guests praised the site’s layout and feel. Sfboy praised the virtual waterfall of Redbull & Belvedere that kept his posse marching til the wee hours.
Catering from Niebaum-Coppola fell short of Sfboy’s expectations. One dish, in particular, that was described to guests as “sort of like ham” was “sort of, like, weird.”
High awards go to Icast party planners for door prizes in the shape of hip lunch boxes complete with shirts and Skratch Piklz cds. Prizes were limited in quantity and trading on eBay approached a high of $210 near midnight.
Apparently, the venue and entertainment confused several full timers who felt that Friday would not require their full concentration at work. Which brings up a serious topic that needs attention. As the possession of full-time employment becomes increasingly “not cool” and the number of sfboy’s friends who choose not to work to pursue “other activities” increases, Sfboy would appreciate a little consideration. This involves not taunting the working class with offers of all night mid-week debauchery.
Remember, if it wasn’t for the working class who would keep the internet pyramid scheme alive.
Size of party: 1500
Cost of party: $200,000
Lamest song: Some Cyndi Lauper crap
Best Tune: Tribe’s Award Tour Mix
And webtrash throughout the city cried at what their good fortune had become! What once was a golden opportunity for companies to shine through creative party planning resulting in astounding and breathtaking gatherings and celebrations had fallen to the new low set by……Venturesurf.
Despite their whole-hearted attempt to play by the rules (“sfboy told us not to have a long speech so we won’t”…) the planners behind the Venturesurf.com beach blanket bingo party drowned an ugly death Wednesday night. In an attempt to convert the Ruby Skye venue into a surf safari, the company shredded on the reef through a careless combination of cheesy props, inedible food and a crowd that might have been imported from Des Moines.
In an industry that celebrates the new and risqué the largest party foul is to imitate a dental convention from Tampa yet that is exactly what this start-up in its early stages of funding accomplished. Credit must be given to party promoters for attracting a crowd that filled the cavernous ballroom to capacity. However, sfboy suspects that partygoers were paid a placement fee to attend. In addition to the ridiculous sunglasses handed out at the door, partygoers were subjected to two lipsynching surf bums who assaulted the crowd with surf tunes. Sfboy was truly impressed by the full ice sculpture bars but not by the bartender providing virgin cocktails.
A word to the wise. Want them talking bout your tech gala weeks from now? Then fire the party planners who think that roast beef sandwiches and slow jazz are the themes that will set your overfunded dot.com at the front of the buffet line. Instead, hire firethrowers, exotic dancers, trance dj’s and a stellar caterer that’s off the beaten path. Find a new venue that you can pick up for a dime and throw a ground-breaking e-party that makes ’em take notice. Because at the end of the party if you’re wasted $100,000 and your party was indistinguishable from the Joneses then your PR efforts fell flat anyway. And you’re wasting my time.
Now SURPRISE ME!
Cost of party: $50,000
Number of dancers too painful to watch: 35
Number of older married gentlemen looking to score: 45
Goofy Factor: High
As in ” I didn’t chell out much cash for this party….but it looks like I did!”.
Winning the prize for making the dollar spread the farthest was the midweek spectacle held by Chell.com last week. Held in the recently renovated Ruby Skye ballroom, the venue provided a stellar backdrop to one of the least impressive desktop applications to hit the market in some time. (Note to industry: saving the users clicks is not compelling, nor is directing users through an artificial mall in the illusion that you’re providing a service).
Including a fine fare of salmon and couscous (accompanied by plenty of Belvedere and cranberry) the Chef/Owner created a wonderful atmosphere in which to take part in the new Silicon gold rush (party promoters take note: Ruby Skye management accepts stock options for your next engagement). Which prompts one to consider the obvious: let’s all incorporate with no more hope of going public than your grandmother having a sex life and trade worthless options for a night on the town at Ruby Skye.
Full Disclosure: Sfboy.com is currently being underwritten by CSFB and may be unavailable for comment due to quiet period restrictions.
Smart thinking Chell, and thanks for the drinks.
Making the largest impression to parting guests were the party favors in the form of large oversized crystal ashtrays. (oh, those weren’t favors? Don’t tell sk8trchick….).
People over 30 who couldn’t be trusted: 50%
Party size: 300
Cost of party: $30,000
Drink price max: $7/drink
Possibility of IPO: nil
Always one for a free nighttime invite into the SFMOMA, sfboy lined up with the rest of the VC bottom feeders and various webtrash last Wednesday evening to try his hand at the new phenomenon sweeping the city called “Let the Dot Coms Pay for Your Drinks”. Inadequate staff with bad planning only worked to our advantage as CM slipped past the guest list like a bad desktop application business plan past an overzealous venture capitalist. Once inside sfboy experienced the largest spread of food yet to feed the frothing crowds shoved uncomfortably into a small room. Picture fields of ahi, buckets of fresh smoked salmon, oysters galore, cheese from every udder imaginable, sushi, dumplings, and chocolates, oh my! Add several ornate ice sculptures with internal martinis luges and you’ve got a real crowd pleaser! Hear, Hear, my stomach cries for Mediaplex! Take me in nightly, feed me completely, shower me with your VC cash!
Inside the museum itself child labor laws were overlooked at several dozen grommets flipped, spun and generally amused the masses with what appeared to be an orphanage filled with circus rats in training. I promptly notified the proper authorities.
Sfboy reluctantly admits that he has no idea what Mediaplex pretends to possess as a business model but he wishes them well in their attempts to create a virtual circus accompanied by a fine buffet.
Party Bill: $100,000
Professional Clowns: 25
Party size: 650
In order to convince International webtrash readers that technology in America is larger than the utopia found west of the San Francisco Bay, sfboy traveled to the world renowned Rockstar Video Games Loft party held over the weekend. The top secret party made public its location late in the day Saturday at the tip of Battery Park overlooking the icy waters holding back the massive ego island of Manhattan. Proving once again that it wouldn’t be NY if you couldn’t complain about it, Rockstar took it’s sweet time in opening the doors to the public (1 ½ hours late is Rock Star late) and making the masses wait in sub-zero temperatures for the magic inside.
Once past the ex-convict bouncers the party propelled itself through five hours of heavy rotation led by DJs Heller and Farley and DJ Deep. Seen on the scene were various SF ex-pats including Miss Wolfendale from Rentnet (now move.com), the lovely Miss Chase and Ravegirl from Xoom providing a new definition of pop culture as she endlessly bounced around the dance floor. Longboard Matt worked the crowd like a spiritual guide and all became healed.
Party Favors included the new teaser CD from Groove Armada that kept our posse twitching and screaming til the broad daylight.
Models and Actresses: 30%
Trash from Long Island: 10%
Profit from Party: $4,000
Party Hours: 11pm-5am
What began as a cordial e-gathering (a little heavy on the informational presentation thanks) held in a private room of the W hotel quickly turned into a bad segment from Johnny Depp’s hotel bashing days as the local webtrash revolted and demanded that the internet revolution be run by the young and the restless. Coaxed by hordes of jumpsuit clad Fusion.com employees (Style note: if you’re concerned about cameltoe then opt for the larger size) several keys members of the ongoing webtrash clan chose to wreak havoc on the generally older (and visibly offended) crowd by changing the default pages on the multiple display computers to unsuitable viewing material for the weak at heart. After knocking centerpieces off tables, attempting to MC the gig with the aid of the main microphone and general swaying and spilling, members of sfboy posse were asked to leave. Over and over.
Price of Party: $35,000
People in attendance: 200
Fusion.com employees: 50
The new year started off ominously with the mid-week gathering thrown by the site that promises to make everyone their own boss, as long as it can be yours. Guru.com displaced horny marina types from Romolo’s within the shady Basque Hotel to provide the internet paparazzi with….. a place to act like horny marina types. After making his way through usually tight security at the door sfboy was faced with the look of longing and despair in the faces of oodles of gurus. That is, Guru.com had apparently invited the people who use its service to meet other people who use its service in search of contract work. This would have been novel except for the fact that no one that sfboy met had actually been placed by the service. This fact was only dampened by the reality that none of Guru’s staff had been invited to their own party. The century was looking grim indeed.
VC Cash : 20%
Sfgirl Backlash: light
Alcoholic Gurus: 4
Alright, alright…. sfboy apologizes for starting the New Year off with such a poor attitude. It was bound to get better and it didn’t take long. Saturday evening provided a wonderful opportunity to dive deep into the techno-hippie community with a birthday bash held for the founder of Macromedia, Mark Cantor. Held at Cantor’s Potrero Hill home/office/funhouse the occasion was merely another testament to the age-old truism that the freaks come out at night. Downstairs, face painting and live techno and drum circles driven by Noah entertained the masses while upstairs guests laughed away the heavy rain with heavy drinking. Despite having put most of his neighbors up in hotels for the evening to avoid noise complaints, Cantor’s residence was visited by S.F.’s finest fairly early on in the evening. Mark merely laughed, charmed and offered them prosciutto and stories of the city’s past.
The full sfgirl posse was in effect due to the overwhelming kindness of a secret informant. Sfboy wishes to thank Nina, Ariel and Sonia for the dance floor extravaganza yet expresses disappointment that the trio failed to repeat their flashing tendencies first unveiled at the Broadband Xmas party at LuLu’s. Also at the gig was James Burgant of Soma Yoga proving that flexible people do have it better.
By 4 a.m. the disco slowly faded and the anti-SUV bashing dimmed and the poorly prepared clamored to find taxis in the transportation tundra known as Potrero.
Joints per capita: 2/5
High-Output Servers on the premises: 3
Police Officers in attendance: 2
Old school techno-hippies: 30%
In a fitting finale to a stellar winter season of free crashable e-parties the Christmas blowout at Mecca Saturday evening was a star-studded event. Not even the desert flat performance of their recent IPO could dampen the mood that led sfboy to redefine his interpretation of top-shelf with 30 year scotch flowing like VC capital into the pockets of the internet mafia. From the hip-hop crew in tails to bulldykes in velvet, the party was an affair to be pissed.
Socialites of the digital greeting arena included the glassy-eyed Digital Cowboy Dan B., Club Marc looking decidedly downtown and Mike D sporting the latest in cranberry polyester. The increasingly photogenic J and M added to the gay atmosphere as did sk8trchick in her blue wig and Lady D spreading her elegant backless cheer. Crashing attendees included the sfgirl posse in full force as well as delegates from Planet Cygent.
As the party spilled out on to the Castro streets, sfboy reflected with a tear in his eye that it would never be this good again. Not since the lost generation of the 20’s or the lost and found generation of the 60’s had a group of hedonists gathered with the same financial backing that would allow them to expect mid-weekly parties with budgets approaching the GNP of Third World nations. And we never will again.
Cost of party: $35,000
Grateful Dead parking lot ratio: 80%
Bartenders bedded by Egreeting staff: 1
Hedonism factor: High
As I entered the Glass Kat venue for the Spinway gathering it occurred to me that two monumental events had coincided. The last week of hardcore e-parties of the millennium was also the moment I passed the $10,000 mark in terms of free drinks. To celebrate, I ordered a cocktail.
As the internet circuit came to a close, the mood was hyped as attendees scrambled to answer the question of “When will it end?”. While the Spinway gathering provided no answers it did raise the bar in more than one way. What began as a band entertaining the masses (note: bands do not encourage mingling) quickly turned into some sort of mad DJ that frothed the crowd into a mad frenzy of abandon. (At this point cameras were turned off due to security reasons, however, sfboy will attempt to reconstruct the evening from his tattered memories). Leading her people to the stage sfgirl claimed prime real estate as the walls went up in flames. Jim Beam promptly took hostages of funk and soul in the cage o’ dancing and the presence of large lollipop party favors gave the impression of post-pubescent children playing with large amounts of other people’s money (so realistic!).
In the outer lobby and decadent smoking lounge, the top sales guys from VA Linux flashed their name tags in an effort to secure some immediate female profit taking from one of the most impressive IPOs of recent weeks. Elsewhere the women of Snowball danced with wild abandon and Dexter from Scent.com tried to sell me a unit that would include smell in my daily internet experience. As I quietly exited the scene, I caught view of a woman in a long dress being pulled off of the dancing cage for the second time and I noted to myself that the internet crowd would do well with a couple weeks off of the party circuit to reflect.
People trashed: 90%
Cost of party: $15,000
People in stage cage: 8
People on top of cage: 2
Cost of food provided: $35.00
First impressions led me to believe that the MyPoints.com crowd was similar to how I like my drinks…stiff. However, further investigation allowed me to expand this observation to include overdressed and far too professional. This led to confusion. Had I tripped upon an insurance convention? Did I overlook the “Jacket Req’d” instruction on the invitation I never received? Had e-parties gone upscale?
Perhaps I overreact. The reality of this situation was that the MyPoints gala held at the Mercury Lounge set new heights for culinary consumption in the internet realm. Picture towering bowls of shrimp, acres of salmon and enough red meat to make any Texan homesick (and any San Franciscan sick). Later on waitstaff circulated large bowls of bonbons as we laughed ourselves silly at our luck in being in truly the right place at the right time. One can only hope that party planners have realized that a sure-fire method of retrieving any security deposit is to feed the masses food if you’re going to drown them in top-shelf alcohol (also quite prevalent).
In an effort to make the party somewhat more exclusive, MyPoints brass decided to close off the legendary Mercury basement which merely provided another hurdle in which the e-crowd had to cross. Which raises the issue of how can they expect mere recreational party-goers to compete on a level in which deceit, alcoholism and rampant work absence are de rigor? Maybe that’s the challenge that keeps us all coming back for more.
Oh, and the fact that it’s free.
Cost of Party: $30,000
Men wearing tight underwear: 80%
Women wearing no underwear: 5%
Fallen bonbons: 45
The fact that sfboy didn’t know exactly what essential service Productopia provided didn’t prevent him from crashing the holiday season gala at the Mercury Lounge last night. Which is probably just as well because if I had known I would have written the company off as another bad business model that slipped through the scrutiny of peninsula VC capital to take its place in the age where everything gets funded. However, the caliber of the Productopia gathering has led sfboy to provide a new theory about e-parties that has been well tested over many mid-week nights and proven by the tolerance of Wall Street as well. The thought train goes as follows. It would serve the modern party-goer well to read the S-1 of any upcoming party-thrower before attending the event. Because the best shindigs to date have been thrown by the companies with the worst chances of ever creating a profit. I don’t mean to dampen the mood but please consider my notion.
The gathering at Mercury conveyed the wonderful mood of the impending Holiday party crush while offering a little something for everyone. Whether it was Chad’s love for lounge music and shrimp skewers or Sierra’s lust for breakbeat and ahi sandwiches the party did not disappoint. Armed with at least five bars (did you find them all?) and a stellar smoking lounge the venue was maze-like and magic. Fashion awards go to the delightful threesome in bright jumpsuits (still the sleeper hit of the techie community!). As sfboy stumbled out onto the taxi-free streets of the most beautiful city on earth it occurred to him that given the outcome of the party perhaps there was room for Productopia in the party-planning business. Because after the Christmas online rush leaves them holding an empty bag they’re going to need a new business plan. And fast.
Price of party: $20,000
Crowd size: 500
Favorite Product: Red Bull and Vodka
% of crowd loaded: 60%
In an effort to seek out new e-venues sfboy traveled to the City of Angels this week in search of innovative ways to spend VC money in extravagant surroundings to celebrate the greatest hemorrhage of wealth that has ever been experienced by the western world.
Detour.com secured the Argyle Hotel for their midweek gathering that followed the first day of the Jupiter Entertainment Conference. Traditional celebrities were scarce unless you counted Sinbad, Sam Donaldson and MTV’s Dr. Drew. Internet celebrities were everywhere. Aggressively marketing their pre pubescent teen site the Chickclick chicks Heidi Swanson and Caroline Frye were out in force.
The décor was 1950’s Hollywood and the atmosphere festive. Strong showings from the Entertainment community made for an aesthetically pleasing crowd helped in part by some of Playboy.com’s best talent Played out against the backdrop of the Los Angeles valley the webtrash ratio was low yet the existing partygoers were the heavy hitters. This included the Director of marketing for AltaVista, I-Fuse Business Development Chief and head strategist for Nokia.
Over cocktails with several strangers, sfboy encountered the saddest of all webtrash, the hysterical Stanford MBA whose self-pity lies in his fear that he will be the only member of his elite class not to have joined the ranks of the new internet wealth before his 30th birthday. To those who feel that they share the sentiment of this sad soul, I offer this advice. Leave the industry now before your sanity is compromised. Because the large creation of wealth was never guaranteed and there is nothing worse than hearing 20 somethings with large amounts of disposable income complain about $ over free drinks. The irony is maddening.
Web-Illiterate Aspiring Actors: 40%
Writers who really want to direct: 5%
Business Developers who really want to write: 5%
Lost Souls: 100%
Interactive weak? The venue choice alone should have been warning enough but sfboy is a pure sucker for a free drink. From the very outset the vibe Thursday night at Broadway studios was tense, angry and uptight like the employees of Beyond.com (Please see Wall Street Journal shredding Beyond,12/10). Whether it was the overdressed crowd or the inedible food (that was food?) is immaterial. What is important is the fact that the Interactive Week gathering failed to get off the ground despite desperate attempts by Lady D, sk8trchick and Jim Beam to jumpstart the gig by drowning themselves in spirits. (partygoers take note: you have not truly partied until you don’t make it to work the next day).
What began as a brief history of the internet (When I was your age traffic was a bad thing) by the Interactive Week founders soon erupted into a soul-funk party with partygoers taking turns in the stage cage of gyrations. Drink lines were small yet harsh words were exchanged at several bars leading sfboy to believe that the party possessed a large number of New Yorkers in the house. And you know that can’t be a good sign…….
Number of hired skank dancers: 7
Cages for Dancing: 2
Hedonism Factor: 8
And respond they did. The tickets to the much hyped Respond.com party were harder to come by than a gold wrapper entitling one lucky contestant to view Willy Wonka’s sick and twisted playground for young children. Ironically, once inside the entertainment wasn’t that much different than what one might expect to find inside the temple of chocolate. Once sfboy squeaked through the army of bouncers out front (heaven forbid someone might crash a net party and make it interesting) he was exposed to a slick marketing ploy highlighting all the ways that Respond.com might make capitalism easier for the typical working fool tied to their computer all day long.
After the drink line was endured (please train the bartenders before the party) sfboy was ready to experience the circus inside. Thanks to Cirque the atmosphere was light and frivolous as the crowd marveled at the flexibility and disregard for gravity that was displayed on a number of stages. In addition to the clowns and jugglers, the crowd was primarily websnob sporting post-IPO duds accompanied by the fourth (and perfect) wife. Also in attendance were Guido the pseudo skateboarder who was eventually thrown out for bad behavior, M and J who provided the gathering with a little ball and chain display (lite S&M with your apéritif?) and Bill Gurley (Heavyweight VC from Wit Capital).
Food for the masses included moo shu duck, and biscuits, gravy and mashed potatoes (Have the Southerners arrived in town?). Drinks were fairly top shelf until the vodka ran out around 9:30pm forcing sfboy to cry in pain. I will say that Respond.com found the nicest portapotties in town (Take note organizers of Burning Man!). The bottle of Veuve-Clicquot upon departure was a brilliant touch and Sk8trchick was seen departing the premises with a mile-wide smile and three bottles for herself.
Even more exclusive was the afterhours party held in the swanky Blue Bar underneath the Black Cat where one needed to be tagged to enter. Not one for labels sfboy crashed and was immediately asked by the man in the black turtleneck how I was entitled to be part of such a scene. When I bluffed, “I know the VP of Marketing,” I was immediately called out….by the VP of Marketing. While he was kind enough to let me finish my evening one might stop to ponder the lesson learned here. Always bluff your way in because they’ll never know if it’s sfboy they’re throwing out and the valley is too small to make enemies.
Because that guy running off copies could be your next boss.
Respond PR: 5%
Price of Party: $170,000
Over 60 yr. old men in leather pants: 4
Under 20 yr. old women in leather pants: 4
The gathering Wednesday at the white trash bistro Butter was just like the Shockwave site, colorful and loud highly entertaining and easily navigatable. Add to this a lack of overt PR for the site, no guest list requirements and mad trip-hop from the lovely DJ and the party was soon off and hopping. Spotted on the scene were programmers for the original Mac, Marcus from SFBayHappyHour and no one from Shockwave. An extremely novel concept, the folks at Shockwave apparently reasoned that if they didn’t crowd the scene themselves, there would be more room for others! Bravo!
Sfboy found himself sfboytoy around 10:30 as the web crowd quickly dispersed leaving him in the middle of gay night.
Price of party: $3000
Crowd size: 100
Shockwave site: Top shelf
% of crowd loaded: 80%
The DJ saved my life tonight.
Adding to the widespread mystery of how promising sites throw disappointing parties while other sites with no viable means of supporting themselves through crazy bashes, Epitonic went platinum last Thursday with the help of an equity investment from Cnet. Like Qualcomm stock, the Epitonic party outperformed all expectations. Due largely to the blurry line defining Epitonic employees’ work and pleasure, the vibe was ecstatic, the drinks flowed like Valley venture capital and the drum ‘n bass was hardwired into party-goers heads upon arrival. Set in the loft-like setting of 511 Harrison, the party built slowly (trance) steadily obtained momentum (ambient) and finally lost it’s cool in a flurry of light, sound and energy (hard house). Noticed in effect were the bad boys of Cygent (Tequila delivered to the dance floor is so personal), the international playboys of Booz-Allen, rave girl from Xoom, as well as the usual delinquent posse provided by PCWorld. Employee of the month award goes to head Epitonic techie Scott for providing mind-altering visuals through-out the entire party. Food was provided by the same caterer as the Tixtogo gig several weeks ago and was nearly as odd.
As the night progressed boy and girls alike adorned themselves in “Epitonic Blue” nail polish and apparently convinced themselves that fighting a hangover would allow them to observe Veteran’s Day in bed. After Epitonic becomes acquired or goes under I hope they become available to DJ internet parties on a nightly basis.
Dance to wallflower ratio: 50/50
Webtrash %: 90%
Approximate cost: $45,000
Crowd size: 400
Possibility of IPO: 0%
Hedonistic Index (1-10): 8
While most of the crowd that gathered for the re-opening of the Gucci store in Union Square didn’t know the difference between the internet and fishnets, felt it was his duty to infiltrate the fashion scene (SF has a fashion scene?) to gauge the effect that technology and new cash is having upon the most frivolous and decadent of all industries. And what better way than to crash the party of the company that currently enjoys topline status due to the direction of Tom Ford. While initially stuffy and dry, the party quickly jumped into high gear aided by ample amounts of cheap champagne and air-kissing. The strategic positioning of drop-dead models (with killer applications) came to a fever pitch when the upcoming swimsuits were revealed. (Note to upcoming I-party planners: why not differentiate yourself with scantily clad men and women at your next launch party?)
Other webtrash in attendance included the CEO of Epitonic, the Co-Founder of NetAbacus as well as key players from WorldRes and Egreetings proving that man cannot live on a pretty line of code alone. Sfboy can only hope that the further deep integration of fashion and hi-tech results in a beautiful nirvana where everyone looks great all the time and everyone’s website experiences mad traffic.
Knumb-knawing models: 10
Model Internet Knowledge: Still Loading
Price of door prize: $65
Webtrash %: 10%
Approximate cost: $60,000
Crowd size: 230
Glam Factor: Stiletto High
Sounding more like a professional S&M self-help group, the party last Thursday at the Butter Bar was the sleeper hit of the season. Who knew that IT consultants knew how to take the kids out and reach for the Goldcard at the end of the night? While past gigs at this venue have failed to arouze.com, the boys at Bind delivered. Top shelf liquor, phat beats and an electric atmosphere that actually looked liked networking. (Note to Event Coordinators everywhere: Top shelf liquor guarantees an electric, chatty crowd.) Classy ladies navigated the masses while sly gentlemen prowled for introductions and although the crowd was primarily webtrash, the requisite crashers added value like an over-hyped acquisition. (read: Amazon mounts Beyond). As the night crawled on, the smoking party poured out back and the serious trash-talking began. No not the Bind boys trying to thank the crowd for coming without a microphone, but the sincere high-pitched babble of the SF e-crowd ushering in the weekend the only way they know how. Prematurely.
Webtrash ratio: 75%
Drink scale: 10 (Red bull must be offered to achieve the perfect score)
Tail Scale: 8
Length of Founder’s Gargled Speech: 8.5 minutes
Ewaste. Echeap. Ewhy?
Proving once again that you never know until you go, the well-funded Evite continued to raise money Thursday night with what appeared to be a beer fundraiser. Although Sfboy refrained from the charity bar (Bind Network had conveniently provided a to-go cup) Evite apparently invited a large number of internet professionals to the Potrero Hill Brewing company to show off their employee’s new Bowling shirts and Evite beer openers. Now while the company uniform is not always a negative (please reference the Supa-cool Bigwords jumpsuit and Rouze.com’s lack of uniform) Evite should refrain from further fashion attempts. The lack of food, utter absence of free drinks and muffled atmosphere quickly brought out the worst in my small entourage. While Sfboy profusely apologizes for the stain on the pool table, he can not be held responsible for the actions of xxxxx and xxxxxx as they blatantly ignored anti-smoking statutes and general rules of etiquette. At the end of it all, the irony was almost maddening. How could a company who made party planning its business fail to hold a memorable event themselves? While it isn’t the first time that a well-known, highly respected e-firm with superior technology falls on the dance floor, Sfboy sure hopes it’s the last.
Party Profit: $43.50
Cost of Bowling Uniforms: $400
Cost of Evite logo Beer Openers: $85
Gap Factor: 80%
Possibility of IPO: 50%
The week proceeding the non-stop madness we know as Halloween was an exercise in the dos and don’ts of web party etiquette. While many have come to expect free top-shelf drinks, a pre-screened crowd of web-geeks and requisite DJ all played out before the backdrop of one of San Francisco’s wired nightlife venues, several companies took their chances at the PR game this week and one got lucky while the other should have stayed home.
The Bay Area is spoiled like a Dallas debutante and the Tixtogo gig held on Treasure Island was like taking her shopping at Gucci. Held in the former air hanger, the party was supposedly an excuse to rename the company but its true purpose was to burn money as only an internet concern with little hope of ever achieving impressive market share can. Thus the company was reborn as Acteva, and one lucky (yet unexcited) winner was the recipient of a new Porsche Boxster for the honor of beating out 120,000 applicants in the mad rush to rename the previously aptly firm. (Authors note: One well-known CEO was recently overheard exclaiming that the Boxster failed to attract him any tail as previously expected and merely attracted other middle-aged car enthusiasts. Stop the presses!).
While the crowd was visibly unimpressed with the new identity, they did revel in the other attractions including trapeze arts, pig races, exotic dancers, non-existent drinks lines, a rave-like atmosphere and a vast array of inflated toys and un-inflated egos. For while the amount of money spent on an I-gig can affect the outcome, the attitude of the party overall is what keeps me coming back for more. (Alright I enjoy a free drink as well) The interaction was strong, as was the caliber of the turnout.
Those seen on the scene included the CEO of Evite, the inventor of Push technology, the soon to be former Mayor of San Francisco as well as several intriguing dancers from the Gold Club. Who says technology is cold and heartless? What began as a world-class funk band evolved into hard house music that lasted close to midnight when we boarded the very hospitable party shuttle who was kind enough to drive our posse all the way to North Beach so we could further quench our thirst. Long after the company goes belly-up due to a lack of revenue, the renaming of Acteva will be remembered as a lesson in corporate debauchery and a refuge for those seeking the ultimate free Thursday night.
Approximate cost: $200,000
Crowd size: 2,000
Possibility of IPO: 35%
Hedonistic Index (1-10): 8
Webtrash %: 80
Freeloader Index: (1-10): 10
In sharp contrast to the previous description of the proper way to woo a crowd, the high-tech recruiting firm Braintrust did the disservice of holding what appeared to be a dating service for recent arrivals from the Northeast (Thanks for Coming) shuttle. While the West Coast has always been a welcome wagon to those who would readily adopt the Left Coast mentality of leaving your conformist and judgmental ways at the door, it is unacceptable to bring one’s prep school manners to an I-party. Apparently, no one told Muffy.
The Braintrust gathering was chock-full of women in tight anti-fun circles and men in khakis and boat shoes. What merely added to the dismal Velvet Lounge venue was the tight-fisted allocation of drink tickets and the inedible spread of day-old lunch meats and potato chips (Bull market folks!). The most intriguing characters were trapped behind the bar and at times I wished I could join them.
While sfboy plans to continue to experience the social life created by the most optimistic economy in the nation, he sincerely wished that those who choose to hold field trips from the Marina would indicate their intentions in advance.
Capri pants ratio: 95%
Drinks per person: 3
Venue Velveeta Factor: High
Approximate cost: $1200
Webtrash %: 15
Freeloader Index: (1-10): 5