The invite from Conn Fishburn, Senior Partner, BIG/Ogilvy, read: ... "a BIG/Ogilvy sponsored event bringing together professionals from the entertainment, technology, gaming and mobile industries. It is the first in what we hope to be many evenings bridging LA's diverse creative and technology communities."
How could I pass up an invite like that? Especially an invite coming from Conn Fishburn, who has the most creative, passionate and business-like mind I've met in a long time. Considering this networking opportunity could result in highly creative products and/or ventures I quickly replied, 'Yes!' and made my reservations online of course for flight to Los Angles and stay at the Westin's Bonaventure.
I was greeted with a firm handshake from Conn. The room was just beginning to buzz and Conn proceeds to make introductions. My impressions of the evening: great space located in the down 'n out section of Downtown LA, any true New Yorker would appreciate the grittiness. There was a hint of new "old" media industry, but not the cache of the deal making late nineties, thank goodness. I did see several younger 20-something men roaming the event searching for some kind of deal with someone or anyone for that matter for something or anything.
One such incident I did witness up close. While Mark Jeffrey, author of the famous "The Pocket and The Pendant", dear friend and wonderful escort for the evening, and I chatted about life beyond the "new media industry", an old colleague from Mark's Super Sig days interrupted. He seemed to desperately want Mark to give his client, Michael consul on his new venture and fund raising. He cornered Mark pressing him to be nice to his client but give helpful suggestions. My first question to Michael was, "Do you have a patent?" you would have thought I cut his legs off at this knees. I thought the days of "Irrational exuberance" were over, but I was wrong. I get calls from investors on a regular basis telling me they will invest in businesses that have cash flow provided by real paying customers, products with patents, and intelligent business plans with a strategy for profitability. Who would have guessed investors finally sobered up, but it would seem some entrepreneurs are still drinking from the grandiose well.
As attractive as I am...to new ventures I hated to be the one to tell poor Michael that Columbus already discovered America. What he really needs to develop is a product that meets the needs of consumers not try to reinvent a wheel that already has huge market share. Perhaps before he spins his wheels further into spiral of the abyss, he should consider some old-fashioned market research.
After about a 20-minute conversation Mark was free to get back to our discussion over the good ole days. Mark Jeffrey is certainly the right person to ask for advice. He has a great track record for both stars and dogs. His most recent success is "The Pocket and The Pendant". He not only self published but he's also podcasting it, and rumors have it he's in the middle of a possible deal for a TV series. Bravo and well done, Mark! But you know what they say beyond every successful man there is a team of amazing women with deep rolodexes willing to champion him. Mark's success has been through the encouragement and word-of-mouth of
Christine Harmel, Courtney Pulitzer, and me, Tery Spataro.
As the evening quickly passed on, I need some nosh. As I was digging into the vegetable platter, I met Bill Cameron, Sr. VP Strategic Alliance ExpoMarketing Group. Bill wasn't afraid to pitch me on his event marketing business and ask if I have any leverage with Madison Avenue. That's a business model I can digest and I did grow up on Madison Avenue. I gave Bill some of my valued C-level contacts. In exchange Bill promised to keep me in the loop and give me a 5% return for me efforts. That's not a bad return for an introduction. As I was milling around the food table I heard a rumor that famed Razorfish CEO Jeff Dachis was going to show up, to talk about his new project--the Producers Guild of America--but his new baby took priority. Too bad for me, I would have loved to ask him for a tour of the room in his home I furnished from the poor investment I made in Razorfish.
The*Party got into full swing after speeches by Jose Caballer, CEO and Creative Director of The_Groop, and Conn Fishburn, General Manager of BIG. This event promises score of business relationships. Over all the combination of energy and spark of new entrepreneurial blood will breathe life into new opportunities and this is the event to seek them out.
Other sponsors of The*PARTY included: amaula, The_Groop, Mobile Monday, Orange22, Producers Guild of America, The*SPACE, and Oshyn.
Photos: The *PARTY at the *SPACE