Wednesday, March 28, 2001

The Cyber Scene in Los Angeles ~ by JoAnna Minneci

Rocktails ~ March 20, 2001
You know, I'd always heard that the Rocktails events were more about Meat Market than Meet & Greet. This was my first Rocktails, and I have to tell you, the rumors aren't true! I had a lovely time at the Tuesday night gathering at Barfly, and met lots of friendly, intelligent and straightforward people. One of the first people I met was Jeffrey Cheen (executive vice president, He politely opened a space for me at the bar so that I could order a drink. We chatted for a few minutes, and before I moved on, he gave me a lead to someone who would be an excellent contact for me! I also had the pleasure of meeting Brett Cohen who is the General Manager of Rocktails ( He said that the group consists mostly of middle managers who want the opportunity to network in a relaxed setting. Well, it was a relaxed vibe, but I certainly didn't "relax" (or drink!) enough to think I could dance. Well, it was a "school night", and I had a client meeting early the next morning, so I cut out of there at about 9pm.

Layoff Lounge ~ March 21, 2001
There are a LOT of people out of work these days, as evidenced by the crowd at the Westwood Brewing Company. People were crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder, and there weren't nearly enough seats. Rohit Shukla of LARTA ( spoke at this, the 2nd Layoff Lounge event. ( Rohit wore his traditional black on black, and from the gist of his speech, he WAS in mourning. His opening statements included "De omnibus dubitandum" (doubt everything). He left the crowd with a few significant points: The internet is about lowering costs. It allows smaller companies to compete with the big guys. Be very wary about wireless. When he said that Finland is an anomaly, to be taken with a grain of salt, Keren Taylor (manager of West coast sales, CareerBuilder called him on it, admonishing him about being so pessimistic, saying "Ignore Finland at your own risk!"
Shortly afterwards, the recruiters in attendance took the stage, and each gave a short introduction and mentioned a few jobs they were filling. The candidates were as attentive listening to the recruiters as they did Rohit. In the other room, Kelly Perdue needed a bullhorn and a bell as he monitored the Venture Capital room, shouting "ONE MINUTE!" over the chatter of the crowd. A couple of people were disappointed that they couldn't talk with the folks with the money unless they were pre-approved by Kelly and Jeremy Gocke... "How did the guy with the cussing teddy bear get approved?" ...but perhaps those who didn't get an interview won't be too discouraged and wi ll come again another time.

AIM - Dinner & a Deal ~ March 28, 2001
The group that met at i Cugini in Santa Monica strained to hear the unamplified voices of the panel, which included Tony Greenberg, CEO of Ramprate (, Michael Terpin, CEO of Internet Wire ( Lisa Crane, Principal of Media Ventures Advisors ( After the panel's presentation, the wine flowed and the schmoozing began. Servers with trays of appetizers circulated around the room, and hungry networkers noshed a bit before the dinner was served. What a fun dinner! I sat at a table with a group with lively conversation... but what struck me as odd was that there were t wo couples at my table! I couldn't justify spending $75 per person for a Dinner and a Deal, and then sit with someone from my own company! I don't know about the other tables, but not much dealing went down where I sat. I wish there had been a bit more mingling, but once you were seated, you were pretty much stuck. Also, about 75 percent of the crowd left before dessert. Not exactly a crisis... but dessert would have been an opportunity to switch tables and meet more people. Near the end of the evening, I had the pleasure of talking with Alexis Bonnell and Ben Isaacson of AIM ( Ben seemed quite pleased with the turnout and caliber of attendees. Brad Nye (founder, VIC also spared a moment to say hello. (It really did take me a moment to recognize him!) When the evening wrapped up, I gathered my things, retrieved my car from the valet, and began my trek to Laguna Niguel....

Economist Magazine's E-Business Conference ~ March 29+30, 2001
If I had to attend a two-day conference, I can't think of a nicer place to spend my between-session free time than at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel. Beyond the lush accommodations at the conference and the beautiful ocean views during breaks, I was privileged to be able to hear the words of wisdom from some of the top e-business professionals and to see their powerpoint presentations. The audience was very much a suit-and-tie crowd, but it was appropriate to the assembly of CXO and EVP professionals. On a lighter note, I've never seen so many powerpoint presentations, or heard so many NEW words with the "e-" prefix ! There's no way I could summarize such an intense 2-day conference here, but I will tell you that I was very impressed b y both the caliber of the speakers and of the attendees!

Software Council of Southern California ~ April 3, 2001
The 405 is not my i arrived late to the SCSC's seminar Bootcamp: Developing Successful Strategic Alliances Another batch of powerpoint presentations by another interesting panel. The conversation focused on the differences between a strategic alliance and a joint venture, and the legal implications of these alternatives. The auditorium-style seating didn't really afford a lot of networking opportunities, and I'm not sure what I missed by showing up late, but the audience cleared out pretty quickly afterwards. Their full calendar of events can be found at their website.

American Society of Training & Development ~ April 4, 2001

(This is the shameless plug section of my Cyber Scene article) I gave my Networking Skills seminar ( to a very energetic and motivated group of training professionals at the Dept. of Water & Power in Downtown Los Angeles. There were so many attendees, they had to bring more chairs and make more copies of the Networking Bingo game I use as an ice-breaker. Ladies and gentlemen, let me give you a bit of advice: be very cautious when you give an ice-breaker game to a bunch of people who do ice-breakers for a living! I had to ask that the lights be flickered just to get this crowd's attention again! They were a great audience though, great audience participation and some excellent questions during the Q & A...and who'd have guessed that I'd have gotten some really great networking leads, too!

IWirelessWorld ~ April 4, 2001
Later on the same day, I attended the iWirelessWorld conference at the Beverly Hilton. Although I missed the day's keynote address, I thoroughly enjoyed the panel I attended. Mark Wilson (vp business development, Infinite Technologies, Dick Gossen (CEO,, Randy Boyer (vp business development, FunMail and Michael Becker (vp business development, ecrio, Although the audience for the last session on the last day was sparse, I was thoroughly impressed by the speakers' enthusiasm. Each time a quest ion was asked, they were just itching to comment. Michael Becker caught up with me in the exhibit hall, and as we chatted, he consolidated the panel's remarks to a couple of significant points: As prices become more competitive, carriers can no longer offer discounts to attract and retain new customers, it will be the content and services unique to each provider that will induce customers to make their choices. Those services will likely include rich Instant Messaging over wireless devices. Wireless carriers will need to provide consumer oriented services, and they need to provide services to retain their clients.

Women.Future ~ April 5, 2001
Have you ever attended a live, international videoconference? I hadn't, and as this was my first experience with such an event, I was thoroughly impressed. London, Paris, and several US cities were all connected by satellite for an interactive seminar about the self-empowerment of women. As is to be expected, the satellite connection had its faults, but they turned out to be blessings in disguise: Had we been forced to stare at the "talking heads" on the screen for the entire time, we never would have had the chance to interact with each other (and with the panel!) during the downtime. [I was a guest of panelist Melodie Woods (senior vice president of programming and development,] It was pleasant to see a handful of people that I knew, but I was lucky enough to meet some new people, too. Of course, the group was primarily women, but there were handful of men in the audience. The roster of " satellite speakers " was very impressive, and you can read more on their website, The highlight speaker was Tom Peters, who did some men-bashing, advertising-bashing, and stereotype-bashing. He used the phrase " old white guy " a lot, usually in the context of old white guys not " getting it " when it comes to communicating with women. This was a great event, and while I didn't torch my bra that afternoon, I did feel a little better about being a woman.

VOJO ~ April 5, 2001

$2 Coronas and free pool makes a great event. I showed up early, and immediately met Kelly Welton (Recruiter, OceanFront Jobs, LTD. We played a game of pool and I won. In fact, I made a few really good shots, which were witnessed by Matt Winslow (Client Consultant, Society of Multidisciplinary Artists, who immediately challenged me to a game, and I lost, with three balls left on the table - not too bad.  I ran into a few "regulars" that I often see at these networking events...and they shall remain nameless as I don't want to be responsible for tarnishing their reputations by labeling them as barflies (even though this was at  Gotham in Santa Monica).

That was a really REALLY busy couple of weeks, but isn't it funny how it goes - I have nothing at ALL scheduled for next week -  so you'll have to wait a bit for another report.  If you've got any suggestions about events I should be covering, I'd love to hear about them!  Just send me an e-mail and I'll follow up.  You might see your group listed here next week!