You are invited to a meeting of 'the cream' of the British web, the evening has no real agenda besides 'chatting and seeing what happens'.
So, what sort of set-up do you expect?
Well, the free vodka was a good idea, but putting everyone in a room with pounding music so you can't hear what is being said is possibly not a good idea. Add in the fact that the room is incredibly dark, so half deaf people like me can't lip-read and you have a badly thought out location.
So what do us incredibly intelligent 'cream' do? Clever buggers to a soul, we all decamp outside where it is well lit and there are tables.
…And then the DJ followed us out into the light and pounded us with stupidly loud Dance. For the second time while surrounded by tech people the suggested solution was to disconnect the speakers.
Instead we brave the cold, and like a group of dispossessed smokers we hang around the entrance chatting and 'networking'.
The meet up was a vague affair, done in part to promote 'The Webby's', which is apparently some web based award ceremony. The end date for nominations is the 15th of December and I suspect that they want a few more. Each nomination costs between $150-$250 to be entered. With 5,500 nominations last year, and 15 new categories, it's an idea I wish I'd had…
But the night was good for the excellent people that I met. The first person that I knew was Ian Forrester, who has just designed some rather cool T-shirts. What is nice is that he turns up to all the things that I do and is a constant friendly face. Ian introduced me to Walid Al Saqqaf who (over the pounding music) told me about Trusted Places. Now this is a great idea (and I have signed up), it is a peer review site for cafes, restaurants, bars and cultural places and has a really mature number of features. He has challenged me to find a better kebab shop than Best Mangel…
I also *finally* had a chance to say hello to Tom Coates, we've often shared a place, but I've never been able to talk to him. I think I managed a few words before I was dragged away by a wild haired Rob Manuel of B3ta fame – many, many moons ago he suggested that someone scoop me up for a book deal, so you could say that he 'discovered' me. He also roundly abused me for forgetting to link to my interview I did for him. Something I can rectify here. Some of the answers are vaguely tongue in cheek. Apparently his book is selling better than mine, which makes me glad that we aren't in a zero sum game.
I also managed to chat with Tom Armitage (who has the coolest blog title ever) and Meg Pickard who does lots of interesting stuff on the web. I also managed to meet Suw who, with the release yesterday of the Gower's report has been run ragged.
So yes, a bloody fun evening despite the loud music and dark lighting.