Thursday, March 30, 2000

A night of Worlds, Discovery, Excite@home and TheSquare

Not many companies can host parties with live music in their very own office, but Exite@home is one of them. An additional attraction was the great view from their 23rd floor office on Fifth Ave overlooking Bryant Park. Their senior vice-president, John Kelly (the most senior officer of Excite@home in New York) talked to me about what they're up to: "with the Excite@home broadband portal launching next week, we will be offering the next generation of advertising opportunities, taking us well beyond the banner ad age". Among the eminent Silicon Alley-ites mingling with a good representation of Exite@home from Redwood City, were Josh Bourne, of global services at, Feisal Afzal of, Michael Cole of, Hunter Beall of Morgan Stanley and Ben Wallerstein, who works with Xerox CEO David Kearns.

Next stop was Harry Cipriani in front of Grand Central, the venue chosen by Discovery Networks for a party so fabulous that it included a huge luminous globe, a robotic baby elephant and the fuselage of a plane. Lynn McReynolds, the senior vice president of communications of Discovery Networks, explained to me how Discovery grew. They went from being one U.S. channel to a global media company with 15 different TV brands, a presence in 147 countries and a robust online portal that features content and e-commerce aligned with their various programming genres.

The other extraordinary event of the evening was offered by, the company of Steve Chrust: a Hanson gig at the Bowery Ballroom. If you are older than 19 you may not know the band Hanson, but not to worry: they're coming after you with a more mature repertoire, now that their original constituency is aging into the ripe early twenties (I quite like them, though, regardless of age).
And now it was about time to make it to Obeca Li for the party of, which is an online community for students and alumni of Ivy-league universities. Co-hosting the party was Lauren Giglio (of previous Downtown Alliance fame), the director of marketing of, said that TheSquare is trying to find a balance between online and off-line, and that this party shows that they can transform virtual traffic into actual attendance. Founder and CEO James Marciano promised that we are going to hear a lot about TheSquare in the next few weeks. Among the guests were Sarene Yablonsky of, Felice Carson of and Jody Kahn of 24/7 Media. I spoke with author and investor Jennifer Bawden about her recent book "Get A Life, Then Get A Man," is a rebuttal of sorts of "The Rules" that was featured on CBS earlier in the day. It made me think that writing a book is, among other things, a great way to have a rich conversation topic at cocktail parties. But hey, working on an Internet start-up is not far behind it, is it?"