Friday, September 15, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Denver ~ by Suzanne Lainson

On September 13 I went to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver
for an event hosted by the Internet Chamber of Commerce, the
Colorado Software Association and the Total Technology Expo. Since
it was really more of a trade show than a party (although there was
free Mexican and Italian food compliments of Clarus Public
Relations and ManagedStorage), we spent most of our time checking
out vendors. Brandon Shevin, SpireMedia's marketing director, and I
went in search of the best giveaways. Topping the list were the
light-up bouncing balls featured at the Idea Integration booth.
Next best were the Rubic's cube-like devices revealing scenes of
downtown Denver as you rotated the blocks. I chatted with Nikki
Maloney, economic development specialist with the Denver Mayor's
Office of Economic Development & International Trade, who told me
how proactive her office has been in working with start-ups to keep
them happy and downtown.

On Friday September 15, I was doubled booked. First I headed down
to Denver to check out Zoa TechMedia's launch of its new training
center. Zoa is a full-service technical communication firm that
provides documentation, online help, interface design, and
training. Their offices are in the Central Platte Valley, down the
block from REI's new megastore and across the street from Denver
landmark My Brother's Bar. Zoa's offices, which appear to be very
classy to begin with, were done up for the party. The theme was
"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," complete with Old South
decor, low country southern food, and a jazz swing band. To promote
the area, Zoa drew upon LoDo (lower downtown Denver) businesses for
the wine, microbrews, party decorations, and catering (Gourmet
Alternatives). I had to leave early, but more than 100 friends,
employees, clients, and members of the local tech communications
community came to party in style.

Then it was back to Boulder to attend Hi-Tech Friday being held at
the offices of Tesser (billed as an I-builder, incubator, and
I-funder according to a Boulder County Business Report article),
this month's co-sponsor along with venture capital fund iBelay,
which is located right across the street. (Founding sponsors are
Evoke and Centennial Ventures. I spotted lots of Evokians there.)
The evening was quintessential Boulder. We were on Tesser's balcony
overlooking Pearl Street, eating pizza, having beer and wine, and
enjoying the spectacular Colorado weather. In addition to the great
location, the office space itself is very Boulder (open, airy, and
high tech) and was designed by Tesser CEO Tre Musco (who graduated
number one in his class from the school of industrial and art
design at Stanford). I had a chance to catch up with old friends.
Joe Pezzillo, founder of GoGaGa and The Eclectic Radio Company, and
Andrew Currie, co-founder of MessageMedia; we chatted about the
Boulder Internet scene, circa 1993, when we all met through Apple's
OneNet. Then Andrew introduced me to his friend, banker, and Audi
guru Frank Amoroso, vice president of Silicon Valley Bank.

In addition to running into Ann Thompson, marketing director, and
Carl Kalin, CEO, of The Jedi Group, I also talked Ryan Pyle,
Internet manager for Freeskier magazine, a print publication which
is kicking its website into higher gear. Since I'm involved in
sports marketing with SportsTrust, we talked about Boulder being
the center of the universe for this sort of thing. The highlight of
the evening was watching the Olympics opening ceremonies on a big
screen TV in Tesser's conference room. I had a great time with
senior creative director Adam Brown and his wife Elizabeth. They
flew in from San Francisco, home of Tesser's other office. Around
eleven the show was over and we grabbed our Hi-Tech Friday sports
water bottles and headed home, although Boulder's night life on
Pearl Street was still going strong.