Ah, Internet World – the memories! I arrived at the Jacob Javits Center not sure what to expect for this year’s Internet World. IW, as I like to affectionately call it, was the gathering place for the last X number of years for new media types, entrepreneurs, risk-takers, eventual billionaire wanna-bes and, now, those few who were still making a living in the Internet field and those just barely making a living in the Internet field. I had been told by many, “Don’t go.” “It’s a waste of time.” “It’s sad.” “It’s a shadow of its former self.” And plainly, “It sucks.” So you can imagine that I didn’t have my hopes up very high for a good show. On my way in to the Javits Center, I had reconnected with Steven Wright-Mark who is with Schwartz PR and was working with Penton Media on the PR for Internet World. Steve and I had originally met about a year ago at VIC founder, Brad Nye’s birthday party at the Hudson Hotel. I also spotted Jen Runne, wwwac.org’s ListMom and a technologies analyst and writer and we chatted briefly (www.wwwac.org).
The first booth I went to was Silicon Alley Radio to visit my friends (and Silicon Alley Radio’s co-founders) Dolly Nielsen and Bon Ponce. They had graciously asked if I wanted to be interviewed regarding the organization, New York City Women in Technology (NycWIT), of which I am the Executive Director. Although it’s always good to see those two, it was especially reassuring that they were still there, broadcasting from Internet World as if nothing had changed these past couple of years. The Silicon Alley Radio booth was directly across from the WWWAC booth and I thought, “Now that seems just about right,” and I wondered if they had planned it that way, both seeking comfort in each other’s familiar presence after a year (or two) that was anything but comfortable for any of us. Jason Alves of VitalStream came over to the Silicon Alley Radio booth and introduced himself. Scott Bowling and Bob Frankel of wwwac wandered back and forth between their booth and SAR’s. It was reassuring to see that everyone was in good spirits and there was a focus on the present rather than the past. As Scott and Bob chatted and schmoozed, Nathaniel Baker held down the fort at the wwwac booth. Nathaniel and I had a brief conversation about his work as a web developer and search engine optimizer (www.proefficient.biz) and the current state of the market. I next met Bob Miko of Pacific Dialogue and then spoke with Bob Brino of Sprint about their new 3G phones with new color screens (and screensavers) and their new combo phone/PDA with Blackberry-like keyboard (get those thumbs in shape!). I realized that I had barely spent 45 minutes cruising IW and that, unfortunately, there hadn’t been too much to see (I remember the days when I spent two full 8-hour days going up and down the aisles at IW and then heading downstairs to the booths of interesting, start-up companies who couldn’t afford the prime real estate upstairs).
I headed upstairs to the X3d Technologies cocktail party as the booths were closing down. X3d has – you guessed it – 3d technology which they showed off in demos, featuring Spiderman jumping between buildings, medical demos and animation. I spoke with Barney Lehrer of the Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) and consultant Gerry Conte. I also introduced myself to marketers for the X3d event, Douglas Russell of InfinityPlus Consulting and Michael Winick of the Michael J. Winick Co. I commented on Douglas and Michael’s mode of dress as they were both wearing almost identical light tan suits with blue shirts and wondered aloud if that was the marketing “uniform”.
Speaking of suits, unlike previous IW cocktail parties, the room was heavy on “suits” and light on “khakis”. It was also a much older crowd than in previous years and, as per usual, was more heavily male. I spoke with Barry Baptiste about his business idea and then, exhausted with all the networking, headed out to catch a non-existent shuttle bus to 42nd street. When I realized that no shuttle bus was going to come and get me (another change from IWs of years past), I went to the corner to catch a city bus. Wouldn’t you know it, I bumped into old friends there. David Talon, whom I had seen at IW earlier, had just introduced himself to the man standing next to him and someone I hadn’t seen in almost 3 years, Stephen Miller of the New York Times. The three of us discussed the smaller IW show but did not dwell on the past. Instead, we discussed how busy we were these days and how glad we were of it.