Zach Goldfarb wrote a great post over at the Washington Post and popped me an email to see if I had any comment on it. I did! The article was posted on Friday last and is called TechPost: Washington’s Twin Tech Towns. My comment starts right below the following video:
I attended the Spank party for Robert Scoble and Gary Vaynerchuk because I wanted to hang out with Robert and Gary.
I really must remind the reader that this is what the gathering was, a small get-together that mushroomed into a big event.
Unlike the Pulver Breakfasts or PodCamps, this gathering started as the ultimate cult-of-personality fest — even I popped there to meet THE Robert Scoble — and to meet folks I have known online, on Twitter, on Facebook, and in the blogosphere, for almost ten years!
Then it became an amazing schmooze-fest! I not only got to meet the Scobleizer and Mr. Wine Library TV but I met a dozen people I had only known virtually online!
I am very pleased to see things like this happen spontaneously in DC. It was fun, playful, generous, and I got to connect to people I had met a couple weeks prior at Geoff Livingston’s BlogPotomac such as the amazing and enthusiastic Shana Glickfield.
I must rush to mention that there were very few PR and marketing folks. There was the lovely Rachelle Lacroix from Fleishman-Hillard and a couple others — this was a group of people who were hard core geeks and nerds and programmers and developers and all the most choice horse meat in the world of entrepreneurs and programmers.
I may have read the crowd wrong, but we were all there for an audience with A-list blogger Robert Scoble and A-list video blogger, Gary Vaynerchuk.
I am still giddy that Gary Vaynerchuk recognized me from across the room and that Robert Scoble bragged to his friends that we had finally met after knowing each other online for close to 8 years.
According to TechCrunch, Mark Andreessen is joining the Board of Directors of Facebook. Announcements will be made this week. Anrdreessen will keep his position as Chairman over at Ning, the group social networking site.
This is a key development for Facebook, Ning, and Andreesen.
Facebook gets a seasoned and highly succesful, yet still relatively young entrepreneurial internet executive in Andreessen. Not too long ago, Andreessen was the darling of Silicon Valley as Zuckerberg is somewhat today.
Andreessen, 36, can lend Zuckerberg, 24, a ton of insight as to how to manage a social technology company that’s serving as a change agent. More specifically, how to manage it through these initial growth stages to maturity.
A problem Facebook has had is its “apologize rather than ask permission” strategy that can backfire. Leaders have to know when and how to do that – and when to hold back.
Facebook’s groups and fan pages also suffer from lack of vitality. Ning specialized in them. Ning, however, completely lacks the panache that Facebook has. I have no idea if a merger or a purchase is in the works, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.
This move once again solidifies Andreessen’s stature as a true player in the business world as well.
As always, some of the best outcomes from an event are a result of the interaction with other delegates. There is something special about a group of actively engaged, newly informed individuals. Going into PodCamp Ohio, I hadn’t been sure about the people I would meet. I wasn’t a podcaster, would I have things to share with my fellow attendees?
As it turned out, I was incredibly engaged and impressed with the folks I met. There were folks from a wide background, all united by their passion for social media. The entire conference was very engaging and social, including the automated podOhioCheckIn twitter feed. As I mentioned, the first session I attended was incredibly interactive, with the attendees offering their own best practices and advice. I enjoyed putting faces to screen names, and realized that there is an entire community of like-minded individuals here in town I should get to know!
As someone who has worked on fostering online community for a long time, I have weathered all the comments about how technology throws up walls between people. Rather than interacting directly, we’re sitting in rooms on our laptops or mobile phones. However, how we do we explain the coming together of this group of technophiles? One fellow had driven from Nashville, another is based in Berlin and D.C. The Internet is the communication medium that allowed these individuals to find this information, and brought us together to share and network.
While the day passed quickly and I know I didn’t meet as many people as I could have, I have confidence that we will all leverage these online tools to continue to communicate and share our thoughts and insights from PodCamp Ohio moving forward.