Saturday, October 22, 2005

TechCrunch BBQ 3: This Dog Got his Dinner

Michael and Keith threw a great party for the 3rd TechCrunch BBQ. It's kind of amazing how fast things are moving out here - Just as an example, I met both Kevin Burton and Jeff Clavier for the first time at the second TechCrunch BBQ, and I've seen each of them so many times in the past few weeks that they're starting to feel like old friends.

I have been deeply conflicted about the whole Web 2.0 buzz. I think that a lot of us who have just been trying to build great products for the past 10 years feel like a dog that's been patted and kicked intermittently, and we're not quite sure if it's time for dinner or a beatdown. So everyone is working their tails off, but mixing it in with ongoing self-mockery and self-reflection. At my first startup ('96), we took to calling ourselves "the last software company" as we watched a bunch of "web" companies take over, take off, and fall off a cliff. Now Zvents is running as hard as it can, while looking around at some of the fluff and saying, "maybe we're... kind of... a web 1.3 company?" The Web 2.0 conference made things worse, not better. It was crazy -- at $2900 a head or whatever they were charging, it drew some people who think too much about money, and not enough about building stuff. People who needed to be talked to in big ballrooms by reassuringly profitable, public, branded figureheads, before going out to open-bar parties hosted by a bunch of cool 19-year-olds and saying, "so this is what '99 was like."

No, actually. For it to have been like '99 would have taken a lot more MBAs, a lot more New Yorkers, a lot more 24-year old sociology chicks making $150K in high-tech PR, with a vast fog of general cluelessness about technology AND business overlaying it all. Thank God it wasn't anything like that bad.

With all that angst rattling around in my head, Michael's party tonight was amazingly refreshing. It was pretty much entirely populated by real, genuine, Silicon Valley people. Startup people. Big company (Google, Yahoo, IBM, Ebay) people. People who've built stuff, and done stuff, and made things happen. People who understand that you have to cooperate to make standards, and compete to make great products. People who know that elegant solutions to computationally hard tasks matter, and that compelling end-user experience matters too. It felt very real. There are some great products being built, and we got some fascinating peeks at What is Yet To Come.

I feel much better about this whole Web 2.0 thing after tonight. This dog got his dinner.

P.S. A few pictures:

Michael Arrington

Dave and Kevin II
See Kevin's Feedblog for details on Dave Winer's $20

This post should probably be tagged techcrunchbbq or techcrunchbbq3 or somesuch.
It's the Tag Guess Dance, aka Bubble Up from the Bottom, Baby!

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