This is my old blog. My new ones are or

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Launch Party 2.0

Did you hear a booming sound or was that just in my head? The TechCrunch party last night was good and there were some signs that technology optimism is back.

ConWorks, the hip South Lake Union venue where the TechCrunch people (are there people or it is just Michael Arrington by himself) held the party was perfect - a big, artsy (apparently it is usually an art gallery) warehouse. Talking with the bartender (on her smoke break) and some guy who works there in the alley behind the place I was told it was supposed to be held somewhere else; ConWorks was a last minute replacement. I don't know how it could have turned out better, though. They also said that some students of a digital art program at the U were busy assembling their exhibits for some kind of show this weekend. Sounds interesting.

Demos and evangelizing by the sponsors, Redfin (who paid for the hefeweizen and pizza I'm told), TripHub and Farecast, were available on the corners and edges of the rooms. I like TripHub; it's sort of an Evite for trips with lots of extra features. I wonder if it would work for planning mountaineering expeditions? Farecast looked more like an economics research project than something I would use. The idea is that is uses historical data to figure out when airfares go up and down for particular routes on particular days, and then recommends when to buy tickets. I'd think that the cyclical trends this thing tracks would be overwhelmed by changes in fuel prices and structural changes in the industry. The airline business is known for major changes which would make previous data pretty useless. In any case I'm not waiting a week to buy airline tickets because some software is confident that the price will drop $20. Sounds like a hassle.

Quite a few conversations about interesting startup ideas were happening and - funny thing - the founders were admirably keen to talk in detail about what they are working on and why it's good. That was unusual - getting people to tell you what they are building can be impossible. Winter Founders Program investee Chris Smoak was there, plotting his move to Boston and mulling over the virtues of other towns, like Portland and Pittsburgh. I met up with John Wulff whom I had previously met at the Seattle Ruby users group, and Ruby on Rails podcaster Geoffrey Grosenbach and Tom Lianza also from Seattle Ruby. Tom will soon launch his startup, Wishlisting which sounds like a useful service. The founders of this hotornot inspired site drove down from Vancouver and seemed to think it was worthwhile. UPDATE: Thanks to TechCrunch and Jay and Silent Rob for links...

A good party - and the abundant free beer and pizza didn't hurt.