First of all, I need to give props to John Britton on an absolutely killer Twilio demonstration. Smooth and well-practiced, he took a grand total of 5 minutes to write a Twilio app that allowed everybody in a 850 person auditorium to dial into conference calls with each other. He then took all the phone numbers of everyone who called, and gave them ring-backs with an automated message. 5 minutes. Amazing.
He told me later that he’d actually been up all night refining the presentation and practicing to get it right. So, no, you won’t be writing your first awesome Twilio app in 5 minutes, but it was damn impressive nonetheless. Props to John.
Just as cool was a demo by Texai on their progress with robotics platforms. With a quick login, we were sitting inside a “remote presence robot” in Palo Alto. We zipped around the Palo Alto office, having conversations with fellow employees across the country. The best part was a simple exchange of “By the way, you’re on stage in front of 850 people projected on a 30 by 40 foot screen… Oh wow! Your face just turned as red as your hair” A really cool concept that is going to advancing rapidly in the next 10 years.
**Bing **came out of left field with a really cool tech demo. I think they’re finally starting to “get it” with appealing to the tech crowd. Smooth interface, expanding features, and access to rich content. It’s going to take a long time for them to shake the “evil” stigma among hardcore geeks, but tech cred goes a long way to bridge the gap.
Watching TV alone? Want to socialize about what you’re watching via the interwebs? Enter Philo. Think of it like Foursquare for TV. You “check-in” to a show and can interact with other people watching the same show at the same time. Pretty cool idea. They work in game mechanics and other nifty features to rise above simply chat-rooms for TV watchers.
Another really great product is Indaba, which seems to be gaining a lot of traction. It’s a music-making platform. Everything from recording, to mixing, to collaborating with others. Once your music is to the point that you want a release, Indaba will even handle publishing your music out to iTunes and the MySpace Music platforms for you. That’s right, indie distribution for the masses.
The after party…
…was a bit of a mess. 850 people into a tiny bar designed for 100? There was literally no room to move at some points, and it took up to 15 minutes to got a drink. Good grief. On the flip side, there were a lot of great people there to meet. When you’re crammed in such small quarters, it just makes sense to say hi, since neither of you has the option of moving anytime in the next 5 minutes! Seriously though, next after-party needs a much bigger space to make people comfortable. I walked in next to a pair of VCs. One turned to the other and said “Oh hell no. I can’t make any money in this mess.” and they both turned around and walked out.
Overall, it was a great night. Met some really smart people. I hope everybody had as much fun as I did, and I hope to see everyone again next month!