From the Left: I Think I Met 140 Characters (and was bitten by the tech bug)

Gregory D’Alesandre
Gregory D’Alesandre

For those of you that read my last piece, I attended Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference in Los Angeles.  And while the action was flying on stage by day, it was sizzling by night.  In both cases, the tweets were non-stop. Apparently, all 140 characters are still geeks at heart.

The first night there was conference-sponsored “cocktail” party at the Kodak theater lobby and then an informal after-party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel across the street.  The cocktail party surprised everyone by being a cash bar, literally as their credit card machine was broken.  They did furnish a few bits of cheese, crackers and a pile of hummus.  The somewhat sparsely attended event did give me an opportunity to meet a Google Wave celebrity, Dr. Wave aka Gregory D’Alesandre.  As I had just gotten an invite to Wave over the weekend and I actually watched the entire 90 minute video, I am a huge fan.  I’m so glad he turned out to be a really nice, down-to-earth guy but unfortunately he wasn’t able to help me with my puzzle pieces problem in Wave.  (It has since fixed itself, very strange.)  D’Alesandre had come all the way from Australia for a 20 minute speaking opportunity on a panel, though I think he had other business in the States as well.

The after-party was considerably smaller and more informal but equally interesting. There I met the CEO of Mobile Matters, Andrew DellaPietra.  The company is using text messaging to raise money for non-profits, a cool and worthwhile idea.  I also wound up in a long chat with Scott Porad, the CTO of I Can Has Cheezburger.  He revealed that he fell into the job and it turned out to be the right thing at the right time for him.  Porad has a had good run with a few other successful companies and is a funny guy to boot. I still don’t get the name of the company, though. I’m sure my cat could speak proper sentences, if he were to talk.

The next day, I wound up having lunch with Adrian Dayton, another panelist from the conference.  Dayton is the author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition and spoke on the legal panel.  A very enterprising young man, he has built a niche for himself training lawyers on how to use Twitter and other forms of social media for their businesses.  One word of advice, watch out, you can be sued for libel from things you say on Twitter. By the way, he actually traveled all the way from Buffalo, New York for his 20 minute panel.

Ben Parr
Ben Parr

That night was the hot Mashable party at the Hwood hosted by Ben Parr and it was a packed house! The line out the door was long and restless, even just moments after the conference let out.  The place was filled with techies, geeks and a few hotties.  Scantily clad @avflox, a sex columnist, was there posing for pics in a bright red mini-dress with Ben Parr.  It was so cold that night that Flox was wearing a fur jacket over her dress to keep warm, even inside.

Around the room, schmoozing it up was Shira Lazar

Shira Lazar
Shira Lazar

who had spoken that day on a panel about being an Internet celebrity; Mark Jeffrey who had spoken on a panel about publishing; Mike Prasad, CEO of girl gamer and a panelist on branding representing Kogi BBQ and members of the Tech Zulu team (Amanda Cooling, Efren Toscano and Josh Highland.)

As I headed down the stairs, I ran into Ando Pashalyan, the COO of MyPangea.  He stepped in to greet me with a kiss on the cheek, however he ended up biting me (hard) instead.  I almost kneed him in the groin but he let go just in time to keep his testicles. Apparently, he was extremely drunk, so I threaded my way across the crowded, dark room to escape his clutches though he did follow me saying he wanted to make babies with me.  (By the way, I only know who it was that assaulted me, because he gave me his card only seconds before he became a vampire.)  Luckily I ran into Michael Pilla, general counsel for PriceGrabber.com, a friend, who scared off Pashalyan.  Through Pilla I met the lovely and talented director of marketing and communications at Whrrl, Heather Meeker. She

Dave Mathews
Dave Mathews

and I live in the same part of Los Angeles, not that common in these parts.  She was hanging out with Dave Mathews from PeopleBrowsr, a social media measurement tool.

It was still early but the Hwood party was set to close down at 9 pm, so we all headed to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the Windows 7 party, which was another packed house complete with line.  Unfortunately, this party was outside by the pool and it was actually a cold night in Los Angeles.  AV Flox’s fur coat didn’t seem so out-of-place now.

Derek Thomas
Derek Thomas

Huddled around one of the strategically placed gas heaters, I ran into Derek Thomas from the Los Angeles Weekly.  I met Thomas the day before when I scrutinized his twitter name, then @DerekThomasxxx, and a small group of us decided he sounded like a porn star.  So, as always I asked, “Do you really read your email? Is that the best way to reach you?” And the surprising answer, “Yes.” In fact, I met several journalists at the conference and none of them wanted pitches by tweet.  They all still wanted pitches by email.

Andrew Nystrom, of the Los Angeles Times, said, “Don’t pitch me at all! I don’t write much.” He gets pitches all the time, however, he actually does the social media for the Times, not writes about it.  Michelle Thatcher, formerly of CNet, lamented the plight of the media during the recession while trying warm up by the heaters.  The Windows team did supply an open bar but you could only order from one of two floating waitresses.  By the time our drinks came, we were all fast friends and it was the end of the night.  The 140 conference was officially over and it felt like over the course of two days, I met at least 140 characters.

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