Friday, October 20, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Denver ~ by Suzanne Lainson

On October 20, I hit two events in Boulder. The first was in the
afternoon at Benchmark Storage Innovations (a provider of midrange
tape storage solutions) to celebrate their new headquarters. Among
those enjoying the food and wine were Jesse Aweida, who co-founded
both StorageTek and Benchmark, Lew Frauenfelder, Benchmark
president, and Steve Berens, executive director of marketing, who
recently came from IBM. Michael Moy, Benchmark advisory engineer,
and Stan Zemler, Boulder Chamber of Commerce president, were
talking about how they came to the rescue of the Boulder Star
(placed on Flagstaff Mountain in 1947 and turned on every Christmas
season since then). Turns out the star needed new wiring and they
got the job done. Never let it be said that Boulder is too cool to
care about tradition. And speaking of cool, Benchmark deserves
kudos for its neat souvenir: a business card-sized emergency kit
with letter opener, scissors, ruler, tweezers, toothpick, nail
file, pen, and straight pin. It's packaged in its own little
Victorinox Swiss Army metal box. Freebies come and go, but I'm
actually carrying this around in my wallet. Emergencies, data
backup. I get the connection.

About a hour later, I headed over to the monthly Hi-Tech Friday.
This month it was in Boulder at the Foundry, a popular bar and pool
hall where, a few days earlier, MTV held auditions for "Real World"
and "Road Rules," attracting more than 1000 hopefuls. Luckily, not
as many turned out for the tech event, though it was still packed.
FrogMagic was one of this month's sponsors and the frog was
partying hard, but I passed on kissing him. I preferred to chat
with Brad Dupee, VP of business development, and Anne Greenhaw,
directing of marketing communication, from Evoke (one of the
event's founding sponsors). We were comparing notes on life on the
East Coast versus here in Colorado and smugly concluded we had it
good. Lots of sunny weather and it only snows when we want it to.
And speaking of local lifestyles, I met Taylor Keen, founder and
CEO of the Boulder-based, a website featuring
Native American art. Taylor is a member of the Cherokee Nation and
a Harvard Business School alum. I also had a chance to say hello to
John Robinson, a principal with ProMotif, an advertising and design
agency in Boulder. His company did a great job on the "Convergence
Corridor" multimedia presentation commissioned by the Metro Denver
Network. The freebie of the evening: a Hi-Tech Friday glass beer

On October 25, I checked out Catapult PR's open house to show off
their new Gunbarrel offices (which, for those of you unfamiliar
with the area, is a subdivision of Boulder out near IBM). The food
was excellent, especially the spring rolls. Hanging out near the
food table, I spent my time talking to Jay Bright, VP of marketing,
Daniel Twing, COO, and Erin Ramsey, sales and marketing coordinator
of NETdelivery, which provides secure electronic document delivery.
The message they want to get out is that the future of the
electronic post office starts with their technology. (In addition
to NETdelivery, Catapult has a number of other tech clients
including Agilent, Benchmark, Ereo, and Finali.) On a more
frivolous note, I also talked toys to David Warren, of David Warren
Designs, a Denver firm. (He's got a neat business card which
contains a miniature portfolio of his work.) We were discussing
Into the Wind, a wonderful Boulder store notable for its inspired
collection of low-tech toys. Speaking of which, each Catapult guest
received a Slinky.

Also going on that evening was the Internet Chamber of Commerce
meeting, held at the Denver Design Center. Executive director Terry
Freeman reports that more than 700 people showed up. I checked in
with Mike Gellman of SpireMedia to see what I missed. He told me a
furniture company was handing out good yo-yos.

The next day was chock full of networking opportunities, none of
which I was able to attend. In Boulder it all focused around the
Esprit Entrepreneur awards that the Boulder Chamber gives out each
year. In the morning, the Boulder Technology Incubator and the
Colorado Capital Alliance had a breakfast and panel on
entrepreneurship. In the afternoon, several local companies offered
tours. And in the evening, 720 people turned out at the Omni
Interlocken Resort in Broomfield to network, eat, drink, and watch
awards given to five companies, including several which are
Internet related: SiTera, Gold Systems,, and
Exodus Performance Optimization Solutions.

That same evening, ISP ViaWest held an open house in a tent outside
at its new $2 million co-location facility adjacent to the Pepsi
Center in Denver. Some 500 people toured the place, partied to the
Legendary 4-Nikators, munched on food from Mountain Thyme Catering,
and drank beer from that local institution, the Wynkoop Brewery.