More TechCrunch Disrupt observations as this blogger downloads the Local Hero app and checks out Wiki Org Charts, called “the first platform on the web that allows users to pool their business contacts and collaboratively map the relationships that exist within a company.”
But what’s LocalHero? Well, Ana Baltodano, CEO and co-founder described it in 15 seconds on Tout.com:
Local Hero’s a smartphone app which draws from your social network feeds to help you determine which of your friends can, say, went to Skyline High School, which I did, and which was added as a “skills tag.” So, say you’re an ace mechanic. You can use Local Hero to list yourself as just that, and should someone need an ace mechanic, and is using Local Hero in your area, they’ll find you.
Local Hero’s better to try than the TechCrunch Disrupt presentation implied. The problem was the San Francisco Design Center wift was a little slow under the weight of thousands of people, and it effected Ana’s presentation. Something else that impacted it was a judge: Gina Bianchini, formerly the CEO of social networking platform Ning and now executive in residence at the Andreessen Horowitz venture firm.
Whatever was going on between Gina and Ana (and I know, I just can’t say in full), it came out in one exchange during the presentation, where Gina said she didn’t like the name ‘Local Hero’ because after 9-11 there were real heroes, where Local Hero calls anyone a hero.
Well, just after Gina issued that statement, she gave Ana a quick look and what looked like a smirk, as if to say ‘take that.” (The TechCrunch video misses Gina’s expression; I was in the audience.)
As this micro battle was unfolding, I tweeted that it was a mini-catfight, and my friend and legendary tech connector Cathy Brooks hated the term, tweeting that it’s “gender specific.” So, without naming names, I asked around the TechCrunch audience, talked to a number of women I know, and all agreed that while some don’t like a term commonly used in the gossip news industry, it certainly seemed appropriate to use for the Gina / Ana part of the Local Hero presentation. Overall, Gina wasn’t being nasty, but it seemed like she was trying to find a ‘zinger’ question more than anything.
Whatever the case, it didn’t go over well with many in the audience. The 9-11 reference could have been left out.
Cathy says it wasn’t that and that Gina was just ‘being tough,’ but that wasn’t what a lot of other women I talked to thought at all.
But humans are human. The damage was done. LocalHero didn’t get as far as it could have in the Startup Battlfield competition, and while the Gina / Ana exchange wasn’t the reason, it didn’t help either.
The Local Hero app’s a cool thing to use. Get one.
Cupcakes, Votes, and Other Sneaky Things
Sarah Granger, a social media consultant and writer I FINALLY met at TC Disrupt as we both post blogs at SFGate.com, is only partially correct: I will use any excuse to make a video-blog, but cupcakes happened to be the reason at the time she and I met.
And who was providing the cupcakes? TimeView. An app you can download from the iPhone or Android app store. It allows you to check and join a restaurant wait list. Simple and effect, as it looks – I’ve downloaded it, but not used it.
But TimeView had a cool way of getting votes: trading a cupcake for a vote. It worked. For a time, TimeView threatened to suck the voting life out of many of the startups on the Startup Alley floor on Tuesday, and became another much-talked-about company at TechCrunch Disrupt – but it didn’t get enough to get on stage. The talk was not for the app, but for the cupcakes. They were good.
Stealing Numbers And Votes?
There were a number of ways people got you to vote for their startup to win the right to make a presentation on the main stage. One very controversial way, and not blogged about until now, was the alleged copying of numbers from the name tags of TechCrunch attendees. I talked to several startup founders who mentioned this problem – without my asking them about it first. I can’t say who was doing it, but several people believed it was happening because when they would ask for a person’s vote, and record that person’s number, they discovered the number was already entered into the system. So that person who may have liked a startup was locked out of voting for it.
I think the system should be that you can vote for as many of the firms as you want, or as few, and the attendees should be able to walk over to a set of kiosks and do it rather than the current system. It’s starting to be “gamed” in the way I described, or at least that was the buzz on the floor.
Black Guy At Bin 38 Tech Dinner
The other highlight of my TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 experience was a dinner I went to at Bin 38 Restaurant Tuesday night. My friend Sarah Austin was invited by social media consultant JD Lasica to what she was told was a “bloggers dinner” and asked me to join her, as her boyfriend Bear Kittay, of Shaker (the TC Disrupt Startup Battlefield winner), was stating at the event to do some work. So, Sarah and I made a quick stop over at the Girls In Tech / Tripping.com Happy Hour at the Mars Bar, then headed over to Bin 38 via cab.
Once there, we walked to the back and outdoors, where the tables were full of a collection of about 30 people, some I knew, like Robert Scoble and Cathy Brooks, and many I did not know.
When we arrived, JD Lasica came over and welcomed me, so given Sarah’s explanation and his action, I rightly figured it was his party. Thing is, JD and I had met earlier that day, and I invited him to join us at the Girls In Tech / Tripping.com Happy Hour, and walked him over to their table to make sure he knew about it.
But he never told me about the Bin 38 dinner, though I think Sarah told him she was bring me. Just saying.
The even was a total blast. I met the very funny “consultant, writer, nice guy” as he calls himself on Twitter, Shel Israel, and the two founders of TapTank, I interviewed later. I also met Robert Scoble’s producer, Rocky Barbanica, and a number of people from Tel Avi I wound up partying with later. And there was video producer and social networker Hermione Way, who’s a friend of Sarah’s and was in the Shaker presentation with me.
But what did enter my mind for about 4 minutes upon arrival was that I was the only black guy there. The other thought I had was that I was a bit annoyed that while I think to invite people like JD to events, and I just met him, and other people who were there at Bin 38 who I will not mention here, they don’t think to call me.
Why? Well, Sarah’s younger than they are, and I have to say, those tech persons who are over or around 40 and 50 just don’t racially mix anywhere near as well as people in their 20s and 30s, and it explains why many of my true friends are in their 20s and 30s, and not older.
That, even as I spent $120 to pick up the dinner for me, Sarah, and one other person I will not name.
Maybe it’s nothing, but the answer is if I want to bring everyone together, if you know what I mean, I’ve got to do it myself. All of the folks I mentioned are good people – I like them. My style is that I like people unless they DO SOMETHING TO ME TO MAKE ME DISLIKE THEM. I don’t dislike a person because of their style – that’s stupid.
But what got me about that TechCrunch Disrupt Tuesday is Sarah Austin, God bless her, openly wants to connect and have diverse friends. Why the hell can’t the older tech people be like Sarah Austin? It would make the World so much better.
Now back to the host thing.
The party wasn’t thrown by JD Lasica, it was thrown by Ayelet Noff, the CEO of Blonde 2.0, a “a one-stop-shop solution for startups in Israel” as its described. I officially met Ms. Noff at the final TechCrunch party at Mighty. That’s how I discovered she was the organizer; I wasn’t introduced to her the night before at Bin 38.
Without detailing, I learned she didn’t know some of the people at her own party, to which I openly said “Oh. Come on. You were wondering who that bald black guy was, huh?” She said no, it was the blonde girls! Cracked me up.
Well Ayelet, blame JD Lasica for that one – but he should also claim the bald black guy who spent $120.