Written by Alison McNeill
I attended the launch party for Beta’s Web 2.0 Meetup in San Francisco. Christian Perry, founder and CEO of Zaptix, put the whole thing together and it was held in the heart of downtown at the Bar of Contemporary Art (boca). Funny thing though, I didn’t see any art.
I was able to talk with Christian beforehand and ask him about his motivation for the event:
Q: What’s the inspiration for BETA?
A: San Francisco lacked a place where the Web 2.0 community could routinely come together, so I decided to do something about it.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this group?
A: I hope that Beta connects people from all varieties of background. From bloggers to coders to entrepreneurs, we want ‘em all.
Q: What can attendees hope to get out of the event?
A: New connections, good conversation and beer. Need we say more?
Q: Why do you think that the amount of Web 2.0 related events have skyrocketed in the past few years?
A: The web is the hottest it’s been in years, and people are excited. You know there’s a culture shift going on when Fox buys MySpace and the New York Times puts out RSS feeds. All the evens show me that more and more people are paying attention, and lots of them are starting to get it.
Q: In your view, has the term Web 2.0 evolved into something new or do you still hold true to O’Reilly’s original definition.
A: The way I see it, Web 2.0 refers to any site that refers to itself as Web 2.0. Sure, you can talk about the social media, collaboration, metacontent, and all that, but you can’t pin the term to any one of them.
Anyway, the general atmosphere was like that of any other bar: loud. While I think the variety of people made for fun and interesting conversations, and the bar would be great for a night out on the town, I don’t think it was the best place for this event. Since this was the first meeting and the majority of people didn’t know anyone, this setting made it harder to really connect with people and learn more about them as well as discussing the state and future of Web 2.0.
However, I am being a little harsh, seeing as I definitely had a good time and met some fun people. And maybe, I’m looking at it all wrong and this event is different from others in that it’s less about networking and more about just hanging out with people who share common interests. I think it would be a good idea for future meetings to consist of both and maybe switch off between venues like boca and more of a structured, quiet setting so people can really get to know one another before they get drunk together!
Conversations I had, or was able to listen in on, generally had the theme of experienced people offering warranted advice to start-ups, discussing ventures, etc. To me, this seems to be more signs of the new internet economy; one based on sharing and collaboration, rather than that mentality of “every man for himself.”
It was fun and friendly and since I’m new to the bay area, I see its potential for being a way to simply meet new people, for myself and others.
The people with booming voices that I was able to hear, and thus got to know better include:
I’m not sure what the October event holds, but according to some of the published feedback, a change of venue might be in order. Either way, this among the other Web 2.0 events popping up all of the Bay Area, are positive signs of a resurgence.
For more pictures, jump over to flickr.