NEW YORK--Thus far, my experience with the Internet Week New York party scene has one of dichotomies. On Wednesday I went from a lively dance floor to a room full of awkward male Kevin Rose groupies. Then, on Thursday, the social agenda involved one event that was impeccably classy and one that was so consciously puerile that it could only have come from CollegeHumor.
The earlier gathering was the latest installment of Founders Club, a series of quarterly events that pull together a bunch of local A-list entrepreneurs with the VCs who fund them and the big-media folks who want to get to know them. The Founders Club circuit kicked off last winter, fueled by the contacts lists of popular local digerati like Blip.tv's Dina Kaplan and IAC exec Jason Rapp. While its original digs in an investor's penthouse were nothing to scoff at, the events have grown more upscale in venue, this time taking over a 44th-floor space at the tower occupied by publishing stalwart Hearst.
For most, it was an escape from the Internet Week fray and a chance to catch up over an organic vodka-on-the-rocks with the likes of Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton, News Corp. M&A exec Jeremy Phillips, digital-politics guru Andrew Rasiej, and Greycroft Partners' Alan Patricof. A few out-of-towners were in attendance too, like Digg founder Kevin Rose, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Facebook/Napster/other-stuff-in-the-Valley veteran Sean Parker.
The most prolific topic of conversation: the fantastic views of Central Park and midtown Manhattan, including The New York Times building further south on Eighth Avenue--two arguably unstable exhibitionists had attempted to scale the outside of the building earlier in the day.
But the open bar and live jazz trio at Founders Club tapered off around 9 p.m., and several taxis full of fun-loving partygoers headed downtown to the flashy, chandelier-adorned Flatiron District nightclub known as Room Service, where the IAC-owned CollegeHumor was having its annual Hottest College Girl in America Party. The 2008 honoree was 19-year-old Alison from the University of Wisconsin, who eventually wants to be a high school English teacher. (Note to Alison: Those photos on CollegeHumor might make the average American high school think twice when you submit your resume.)
You know, it's kind of unfortunate that CollegeHumor co-founders Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen hadn't scheduled their party for the previous night. I would've paid a few dollars to see Alison and her barely-clothed friends transported to the Digg party; maybe then those Digg fanboys would've diverted their attention to something other than their lionized Kevin Rose.