Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Delightful Cocktails in DC

We had a hard time deciding if we should go into DC proper, Baltimore, Reston, Tysons Corner, Herndon or any of the other thriving areas outside the Nation's Capital. The High Tech Corridor has grown considerably so that AOL's not the only game, and Democratic or Republican aren't the only parties. Cocktails with Courtney in DC was co-sponsored by, which is working to become the nation's only deep portal for federal policy, politics, and government information and news. It’s organized in a logical friendly manner for the public.

Jock Friedly, CEO of the startup, and I met the first time I came to DC on business in 1998 with Denise Seidler (when we were at Y&R New Technologies) for the "24-hours in Cyber Space" book and exhibit party, complete with Al Gore and much Capitol Hill fanfare.

I thought it only proper to head into DC, our nation's capital, on Flag Day and the 225th birthday of our Army, for our inaugural cocktail party, June 14. We had an intimate gathering of professionals in DC proper. People from there and the surrounding areas joined us for cocktails at the National Press Club. After settling into some early discussion with Adam Rubinson, Ed Kopf and John Beckwith of Fed2U, I met Daniel Hines and Holly Reddington of Pencom, Rakesh Khanna of McKinsey, and Selwa Masri and Leo Rydzewski of Holland & Knight. Douglas Toombs of NetArchitect Consulting, Frank Doane of Radware, and Erin Murdock and Monica Gonzalez of Web-on-Site came to check out the inaugural soiree. Timothy Maloy, editor of the Internet Newsroom, came in from Maryland, and said he remembered me from my earlier writing days. Christopher Parente of came in from Baltimore, as did Heather Zahn of Richardson, Myers & Donofrio, with Alicia DiFolco of Trahan, Burden & Charles and her clients Sheldon Altschuler, Brian McComas and Frank Belen of Stay tuned for a Cocktails with Courtney in Baltimore in the coming months! Lisa King, president of DC Webwomen, came with friends, and I met Michael Doyle, Deborah Foster and Lisa Messenger of Continental Resources. Michael introduced me to his friends who have a nightlife broadcasting network -- George Kennedy and Naveen Kumar of

Coming all the way from Upper Saddle River, NJ, just for this cocktail party, Christy Schaack and Tc Leszczynski of Financial Times Prentice Hall were enthusiastic about meeting some DC folks. And coming all the way from London, but not just for the party, was Martin Bloom, managing director of Emblem. Virginians came up too: attorney Bruce Deming from Arlington; CEO Mary Knebel and COO Tom Gillespie of in Reston; and Chris Heuer, chief gadget guru at in Alexandria. The biggest surprise for me was when I saw Billy Rubenstein, assistant programming manager of AOL’s Teens Channel in Dulles, Va. We hadn't seen each other since my sophomore year at Skidmore College! After catching up on the last 10 years, I met some other AOLers--Jimmy Lynn, director of account services and interactive marketing and T.K. Gore, programming manager, e-commerce, for AOL.

Thomas Timmons of The Heritage Foundation and Eric Imperial of the National Journal were there, and Dave Shuman, EVP of, and I chatted about the ebullient Sacha Cohen, my original Cyber Scene writer for DC. TV production professionals Michael Skehan and Richard "Oz" Ouzounian and I discussed my online show. Laura Champe of Interactive Applications Group and Elizabeth Viertl Beckwith of Deloitte Consulting and I also had an opportunity to chat for a while. Mark Horner of Bozell Kamstra and Felix Gorrio of Washington News Bureau helped give me a better sense of the DC scene. James Harper of, who I initially met at an Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce on September 15, 1999, brought me up to speed on his new company. Our Fall Cocktails with Courtney in the DC area was a great success. It was intimate and focused and everyone had the chance to meet, talk, and learn about other people and companies in the area.