What started out as an effort for me to see my friends in the industry at least once a month, since the rest of the time I am running around to one event or another, has turned into apparently quite a popular professional networking party. "Cocktails with Courtney" started with the thoughts of "Cheers" TV show -- there'd be events where you could go and "everyone would know your name," they would be a chance for me to stay in one place for a night, instead of four. They would be the opportunity to see old friends and make a few new acquaintences. Well July's event, on Wednesday the 28th was a marked departure from these intimate affairs. Over 300 RSVPs including many bankers, investors and consultants came to crowd the Never Bar on East Houston Street and meet and greet all the other attendees. Sponsored by vINTRANET with wine donated by Gundlach Bundschu vineyards and some sushi samplings thrown in from Never, the aggressive bunch were hot (literally and figuratively), hungry and thirsty!
Not everyone complained of course, and those who chilled out a bit were given a chance to hear first hand about some of the changes that have been occuring with my businesses. First of all, if you haven't been to my site in a while, I encourage you to do so! You'll see a brand new look and design. My new corporate identity package, done by LPNYTHink, was unified and strengthened by a strong new logo that carries through all my properties. Once the designs were settled on, Dmitri Don (seasoned programmer and technical wizard, currently at SenseNet.com) and Chip Lewis (seasoned television producer, consultant and HTML master) helped me crank out the code behind the glitz. Heather Linnell was instrumental in her assistance with the "Cocktails…" site and Octet helped throughout with technical hosting and server issues.
I am also indebted to Dawn Kersting and Mary Beth Barber of eRSVP for helping out at the door, Stacey Schrader for helping manage the event and Jon Spooner of NetMix.com for the most excellent DJ-ing.
Among some of the guests whom I did get a chance to briefly chat with between other introductions were Jack Hidary, president of Earthweb, Nate Brochin, of RareMedium and Chris Bryant, CEO/Managing Director of T3 Media. Steven Miller of the New York Times and I chatted for a while about our experiences of working (and living) in Moscow between 1990 - 1991. Some CWC regulars like Rich De Sanctis, Doug Propp, William Lopez (who just recently left Qwest for Globix), Lydia Sugarman, and the lovely brother and sister team of Cherie and Sam Alcoff braved the hot NYC night. Mary Dawne Arden stood out, as usual, in her striking summer dress and warm personality. The vINTRANET crew of Zol, Suzanne, and Michael drew a large number of guests and made the party a lively one. The network of party-attenders is growing geographically too, as Bob Roberson came with a guest from Philadelphia for the night. He updated me with information about the panel I'll be speaking on in Philadelphia -- the mayor introducing us.
Garnet Heraman of University Ventures and Amy Brownstein of KPE came, I chatted briefly with Scott Ettin and met a bunch of people from Germany, Sweden and Luxembourg who are involved in various ventures to help get companies to know about Internet firms in their respective countries, among other duties.
When the clock struck nine o'clock we had a little ceremony and cut the cake, especially made for me by renowned pastry chef Francois Payard. As part of Chip Lewis's newest show, "Unblinking Eye" filmed Francois making this cake for me, which was originally designed for Milton Berle's 90th birthday. Substituting my picture for Uncle Miltie and adding a feminine touch with flowers, the strawberry shortcake melted in the mouths of some lucky guests who craved something sweet.
Thanks again to all who came to make the July event a successful one, and stay tuned for upcoming event info!