A Celebrity, A Party, And Web 2.0
It took a "cewebrity" to get the Web 2.0 party started this week in Washington.
The occasion for his appearance in Washington on Wednesday night was an event called MashMeet DC Remix, a party held at the offices of Ogilvy PR on 19th Street for the local Web 2.0 crowd.
Several hundred people showed up for the party, which was heavy on booze, iPhones and geek talk. (The party migrated to Science Club down the block afterward.)
True to form, one woman meeting him swooned to a friend, "He certainly looks charming."
"It's the British accent," Cashmore said.
Standing by the entrance during the party, and by the exit at the end, Cashmore diligently handed his Mashable business card -- to everyone who passed him by.
That was the true purpose of the event, after all. Washington has been trying to build a Web 2.0 community for more than a year. A cluster of AOL alumni, local college graduates, and people in their 20s and early 30s are trying to show that D.C. can be, if not Silicon Valley, a major presence for social networking Web sites, user generated content and cutting-edge Web apps.
The local crowd has been holding events like this week's for months now--though this was one of the most ambitious--to promote the kind of creative culture and cross-pollination of ideas that is a feature of nightly life on the West Coast.
The efforts have bred a number of local online media tracking the movement. One of the better known is 2005 American University alumnus Nick O'Neill's Social Times. The blog is trying to be for the East Coast what Mashable, and to a greater extent, TechCrunch, is on the West Coast. O'Neill is working to hold a Social Times venture capital pitch event in the next few months, among other happenings.
Therein lies one of the big issues facing the local Web scene. Local venture capitalists are pretty skeptical of these companies, many of which have big ideas for the Web but little idea about how to make money from those ideas.
At Wednesday's party, few well known venture capitalists were in evidence.
The crowd nonetheless seemed to have a good time. Five companies made presentations: Lumifi, a collaborative research tool; Kluster, a system for harnessing collective knowledge; Searchles, a social search Web site; Mixx, a social news Web site; and Voxant, a news clipper and aggregator.
Unclear what some, or all, of those companies do? Join the club. (Hey--I'm not a luddite--I use a bevy of Web 2.0 tools in my daily life and know what the programming framework Ruby on Rails is. I even like white boards, the method of choice for diagramming sites in meetings. But it's not clear how all these ideas are going to turn into businesses.)
In any event, the founders of these companies aren't afraid to make their best pitch and did so during presentations at Wednesday's event.
Here is the introduction by Adam Hirsch of Mashable. Below that, follow the link to watch the presentations by the companies or peruse as you wish.
In our comments section, let us know which of the companies you found most interesting!
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Posted by: Tim Sampoy | March 8, 2008 4:51 AM
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