Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Anchors Away AlleyCat!

Ahoy! Maties! As the digitally reproduced ship's horn teetered off, the
cocktails were flowing and the guests were just beginning to find their
sea-legs. The women of AlleyCat News offered an OpSail Salon this month on
July 18th for about 50 members aboard the Romantica for some fun,
free-wheeling networking and views to write home about. As I was stumbling
from one side of the boat to the other, I chatted a bit about future
business plans with Steve Brotman of Silicon Alley Venture Partners.
Alley-ite about town Justin Model came over to say he was recruiting me
for our Skidmore reunion! Uh-oh! Meanwhile Henry Bar-Levav of Oven Digital
boarded the boat, and I told him about the lovely Londoners I met at his
company. Oven just moved into new New York offices, so stay tuned for a
write-up of them. Betsy Silverfine of Brown Raysman Millstein Felder &
Steiner was enjoying the cool air outside on the Aft Deck. She introduced
me to new full-time associate Gayle Taylor. Sharing the table were David
Meadows of Mimeo.com, who presented me with a slick new CD-biz card, and
introduced me to Andrew Koopman of Beroff Associates.

Also enjoying the river breeze were Victor Boyajian, Daniel Biglin, Allen
Quigley and Dean Sipe of Genuity, one of the sponsors for the evening.
Dean explained that Genuity is the new name for GTE Internetworking. I
chatted for a while with a personal friend of Anna Wheatley and Janet
Stites -- Catherine Hipp, a fashion forecaster -- and with the
always-debonair and smartly-fashioned Vincent Grimaldi of The Grimaldi
Group. Leslie Sherr (director of marcom at the Carbone Smolan Agency),
also was looking quite smart in her black shift dress and summer tan. She
told me how her firm just redid the Childrenís Television Workshop's site
and identity to be branded as Sesame Children's Workshop.

Mo Krochmal of CMP Tech Web was snapping photos of guests and a
partner-in-crime as he took his own notes on the party. Amazingly Anna
quieted down the boisterous bevy of boaters (hard to do when your cruising
under the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges) with a cocktail in
hand. Nonetheless, we dutifully simmered down to hear the sponsors say a
word and the presenters present. Familiar Alley-ite about town, Steven
Negron, spoke not about his day jobs with ABC News or with his non-profit,
but pitched us with his network for gaming aficionados. Now there's a
niche waiting to be filled. We were making our way up to 51st Street and
completing a wide U-turn ... he's looking for $5 million. Justin Segal,
co-founder and VP of corporate development of Startups.com, took the mic
and let us know this Silicon Valley-based firm has just opened offices in
New York. He added that they are looking for strategic relationships and
developing their presence in New York. Jody Brown (dir. consulting
services) and Barbara Close (dir. biz dev) for Startups.com told me how
this firm has women in its director roles in its New York office. Between
presentations I met Van Shell who's in the investment services group at
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

I didn't get to hear Bryan Thatcher of Fusebox speak, so I went up to him
afterwards. In his trendy, rectangular, yellow-tinted glasses, and a head
taller than most guests, it was easy to find him. He told me how this
10-year old firm has been in the web business for four years, and Fusebox
just incubated UDefine.com, an information knowledge assistant. As we
chatted about his firm and the industry, we stepped outside so he could
get a better picture of the Statue of Liberty -- which we were right at
the base at that moment. The boat began its turn back, and I got to meet
Conrad Everhard and Jonathan Spanbock of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue.
Patricia Hall, managing director of Hallmark Capital, told me she
discovered that while there are many talented professionals out there, not
many are interested in temporary work. She's utilized this void and made a
business out of acting as an interim management member for new companies.

We were pulling into the North Cove at the World Financial Center. While
there was no shortage of fun, the trip did go on a bit longer than most
boat rides, and a few people gathered at the door, eager to escape. Sails
(or chartered boat rides) around the New York rivers and Harbor are
lovely, but the problem with seafaring networking parties is that there's
no escape once you've had enough. Despite this drawback, most would agree
it was a fun and unique event, and a nice break from the concrete jungle.