Friday, October 18, 2002

Ryze Event at Remote Lounge ~ by Danielle Cyr

Upon arriving at Remote Lounge on the Bowery for the recent networking event, I greeted Andrew Kraft, the head of the New York Tribe, paid my $5, got a name tag and descended into the depths of the basement bar to spend the next 2 hours mingling and schmoozing. For the most part it was a group of people I did not know. Many old networking buddies had been signing my Ryze guestbook in the week leading up to the event and popping out of the woodwork to add me as a "friend" on their personal page. I expected to see many of these old friends at the event and was slightly disappointed when I did not. I then remembered that I was here to make new contacts and not to mingle with old friends (although a little of both is always enjoyable!).
Ryze is an online business networking tool which actually makes sense. You wonder why nobody thought of a website like this 3-5 years ago. Everyone who signs up is asked what they "have" and what they can "give". There are also inquiries about your industry, your interests, your hometown, and you can upload photos onto your page. Everyone has a virtual guestbook where other people can write you short, public messages. If you want, you can also send a private message but it's been my experience that many people use the public method of communicating at first to reconnect. It's also quite easy to add people as a "friend" or "contact" (although I haven't figured out the difference ramification for adding people as one or the other on this site).
The first person I ran into at the bar was Jason DeLuca, cousin of bad-boy, Michael DeLuca of New Line Cinemas. Jason and I discussed his work with Rockstar Games, and my former employment at a company in the videogame industry. I next introduced myself to sales executive, Michael Spitz, and connected with PR lady, Dara Tyson. I bumped into David Nadel whom I had met at this summer's FAN networking event and asked him to make me some marketing tchotckes for the holiday season. I introduced myself to Vineet "Vinnie" Joshi who promotes graduate school parties at hip clubs around town. I thought I recognized Rebecca Pridmore with her beautiful, long red hair, but she and I could not figure if we had, indeed, met before and, if so, where. Jen Leibhart was sitting with David Flores in front of the cameras which are all over the Remote Lounge, videotaping and broadcasting all the "goings-on" in the club (and sometimes posting photos on their website of same so be careful!). Jen pointed to an on-camera couple who were incorporating their own version of dirty dancing against the bar for the benefit of the cameras (and the rest of the bar patrons). David and I discussed his work at the Wall Street Journal Online and the pros and cons of moderated chat rooms on that site. Sitting across from us was a father-daughter networking duo, Amos and Elizabeth Sattelee. Elizabeth was a new college grad and dad was trying to instill in her the importance of networking. (Smart!) I introduced myself to sportswriter, Michael Griffin and then made my way back to the bar to speak with Matt Sapero and Chung Ng. The smoke overtook me and I ventured out into the night and took a cab to Rise at the Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park City to breathe the fresh harbor night air from the 14th floor bar balcony bar.