It seems you can make a lot of friends, and some business as well, by renting out a bar (or auditorium) and inviting everyone in town, a tactic employed literally dozens and dozens of times every single night. Apart from the decidedly rockstar party thrown by The Barbarian Group (featuring an indie-rock supergroup, with actor Michael Cera on bass), the really big money events were bankrolled by publishers, software houses and platforms.
Hosting company Rackspace went burlesque. Microsoft held a massive BBQ for start-ups & VCs, and a huge dance party for their latest browser upgrade – both on the same night. Tech blog Mashable took out a double-fronted, three story pub for two consecutive nights yet, in true publisher style, they sub-let the party to a slew of major sponsors. The Foursquare and Frog Design parties were easy to find (just look for the queues) but took hours to get into (just look at those queues!). The biggest event was the official closing party, thrown by Media Temple (mt) (yet another web hosting company), held at a 2,000 capacity open-air bar and featuring a live musical performance. By the Foo Fighters.
The money these parties must have burned through was simply astonishing, but they were packed to the gunwales with people pitching, angling, dealing, wooing, financing, networking and recruiting. It was just like being at the conference, only with a (free) drink in your hand.
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