Tidbits, tips and the way to a woman’s heart

Tidbits, tips and the way to a woman’s heart

Posted by John Cook at July 26, 2007 5:42 p.m.

Anything can happen when you get Internet entrepreneurs out of the office — especially if free beers and ribs are involved.

Following up on my earlier post on Tuesday’s "Naked Truth" party and, inspired in part by Redfin Chief Executive Glenn Kelman’s funny run down
of the events, I thought it might be worthwhile to pass on some of the
tidbits and gossip that I collected from the night. Meanwhile, Redfin
just posted the video from the panel.

Not since Loudeye’s over-the-top IPO party of 2000 had so many geeks gathered in a Seattle parking lot to talk shop.

Here’s a quick look:

  • WildTangent Chief Executive Alex St. John
    walked away from the panel inspired to start a blog, especially after
    TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington noted that he takes entrepreneurs
    100 percent more seriously if they have their own blogs.

    St. John, who before founding WildTangent in 1998 helped create
    Microsoft’s DirectX technology, already contributes a monthly column to
    Computer Power User Magazine.

    But his possible entry into the blogosphere could be interesting to
    watch. After all, the Redmond online gaming executive is known as
    provocateur, who is not afraid to speak his mind — especially as it relates to his former employer: Microsoft.

  • Yapta Chief Executive Tom Romary was quick to hand out
    new business cards. That, in itself, was an achievement for the
    entrepreneur. After all, his company’s Pioneer Square headquarters
    building caught on fire May 21, just a day before the startup was set to launch its Web site. PictureThe online travel startup set up temporary offices with an investor, plowing ahead with the Web site roll out on schedule.

    But now the startup, which lost almost all of its paperwork,
    computer equipment and furniture in the blaze, has found a new home in
    Pioneer Square at 315 1st Ave. S. The new office has a deck with a city
    view. And Romary joked that Voyager Capital, the startup’s new venture backer
    which is located a few blocks away, could look directly into their new
    building with a high-powered telescope to see if they are "goofing
    off." Now, that would be a new level of venture capital meddling.

  • Avvo co-founders Mark Britton and Paul Bloom — whose online attorney rating service has generated plenty controversy
    (including a class action law suit) — really wanted to hear the
    different perspectives of journalists on the panel. But they were
    nervous whether they would actually get into the party.

    After all, someone deleted their names from the wiki that was
    serving as the guest list. (Maybe a low-rated lawyer did it.) In an
    effort to make sure they would be admitted, Britton called Redfin Chief
    Executive Glenn Kelman — who was hosting the sold out party with
    Madrona Venture Group. At the event, Kelman expressed dismay that
    someone would go to such lengths and considered launching his own

  • SecondSpace’s Alexander Barnett explained why his venture-backed company, which launched ResortScape.com and LandWatch.com Monday, was so secretive for so long.

    The startup was founded last July with an investment from Ignition
    Partners and they started marketing the LandWatch.com service to real
    estate professionals several months ago. It has already generated more
    than $1 million in revenue, hardly the profile of a stealth mode

    But Barnett, who serves as director of corporate marketing at the
    Bellevue startup, said they kept things under wraps because they didn’t
    want to attract attention to the products before they were ready. Then
    why start marketing to customers?

    Barnett said while LandWatch.com was ready, they wanted to wait
    until ResortScape — which allows people to find second homes and
    condos — was robust enough to market.

  • Brad Silverberg, co-founder of Ignition Partners, offered some sage advice to those about to embark on a life journey with a woman.

    In a word: "diamonds."

    Told that movies such as "Blood Diamond"
    don’t always portray the industry in a positive light, Silverberg
    countered that there’s something about a diamond that just runs in a
    woman’s DNA.

    Of course, the former Microsoft senior vice president had other motivations. He’s also a board member at Ice.com, an online retailer of diamond rings, bracelets and pendants.


  • PhoneSherpa’s John Manning admitted that his company’s product
    was a bit esoteric. After all, how many people really want to take the
    time to create customized ringtones for their mobile phones. But then
    word started leaking out
    that Apple was working on a new custom ringtone service for the iPhone.
    All of sudden, Manning — who serves as chief marketing officer at the
    company — said his phone was ringing off the hook with potential
    partners asking about the custom ringtone business. I wonder what
    ringtone Manning uses?
  • Hot trends among startups? Robbie Cape of Cozi
    said everyone is talking about building applications for Facebook. And
    like everyone else, Cape — whose company develops calendars and
    messaging systems for families — is thinking of how to do something
    truly unique with the popular social networking service.
  • Of course, you can’t attend a gathering of Internet
    entrepreneurs and not find at least one company operating in "stealth
    mode." That was the case with The Green Couch Conspiracy, which is led by Serials Solutions
    co-founder Steve McCracken. The Web site at this point is pretty bare,
    though McCracken’s business card tells a little of the story. It calls
    the GCC the "intergalactic leader in local events." That’s a bold claim
    considering the service has not launched, though Crosscut founder David Brewster — a local news service targeting the Pacific Northwest — appeared especially interested in the idea.





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