TechCrunch, the industry blog run by Fixture 2.0 Michael Arrington, is a decidedly Valley institution, but its hardware sibling CrunchGear skews toward New York--if only because that's where its writers are based. Last night, the gadget blog threw its first-birthday bash on the upper floor of the bi-level Manhattan watering hole Red Sky, located a stone's throw away from CNET's offices on the outskirts of the afterwork-bar-heavy Murray Hill neighborhood.
The whole event had the feel of a tech-media mixer--like a more casual Founders Club or a less businesslike Meetup--to the point where it was occasionally easy to forget that it was actually a CrunchGear event. The party was, however, refreshingly devoid of high-energy pitches and name tags, and there were more free-drink tickets being passed around than business cards. Part of that is likely because much of New York's tech scene, well, already knows each other. Manhattan is an island, after all.
Many of CrunchGear's writers have backgrounds in print or digital journalism, a fact reflected by the presence of seemingly every technology reporter based in New York from Light Reading to The Huffington Post to Conde Nast's Portfolio magazine. CNET was repped (aside from yours truly) by Reviews editors Dan Ackerman (laptops), John "Sheriff" Falcone (home theater), and Phil Ryan (cameras), who were there with freelancer Josh Goldman, who contributes to CrunchGear as well as several other tech properties. CrunchGear overlord John Biggs, meanwhile, spent much of the time meet-and-greeting, snapping photos with his SLR, and presiding over the raffle of a number of tech goodies that ranged from Sling accessories to what appeared to be a giant talking Elvis head. Former staffers from rival gadget blogs Engadget and Gizmodo were also in attendance--I mean, really, who could turn down free booze?
On the non-press side, there were plenty of PR reps but less of a V.C. presence than we're used to at industry events. Nevertheless, Softbank Capital's Karin Klein was there with a few colleagues and was filling me in on the scene at the Gnomedex conference in Seattle earlier this month. Marketing expert Rachel Clarke of JWT New York (but better known in tech circles for her Behind the Buzz blog), meanwhile, was spreading the word about this fall's next BarCampNYC "unconference."
There were a handful of folks from "big media"--NBC Universal and MTV Networks, for example--but also some representatives of the local social media entrepreneurial scene. I ran into both Worth1000 exec Michael Galpert and 30elm founder Matthew Myers. There were about a half dozen representatives from TV start-up and seemingly unstoppable hype machine Joost, as well as some of the crew from media start-up Next New Networks.
Freelancer and Next New Networks blog editor Blake Robinson pointed out that the gender ratio was actually somewhere close to 50/50--and possibly slightly skewed in favor of the females, which would make the event just about unprecedented in the local tech scene's distinct history of "brodeos."
(Were you there? Leave a comment and let me know!)