Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Outcast CEO Dinner Club--the place to be Thursday, even for B&O...

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 30, 2005

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

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It's 7 pm by the time I get out of my apartment and head over to the 4th Outcast CEO Dinner Club at the W. It started at 6pm, but the travails of a standalone journalist prevented me from getting out the door on time.

I hail a cab using the trusty Geek Beacon (my Treo screen waved in the air) and walk in just as they are about to sit down to dinner. Julia greets me and guides me to my seat.

And Emma spots me, and is a delightful host; and I'm soon sitting with a glass of wine next to Tim Smith of Outcast and Satish Dharmaraj of Zimbra.

We are all hushed; and Margit and Caryn take the mike, and say nice things about everyone.

While we eat salad, Keith Ferrazzi provides the entertainment for the evening. He's a motivational speaker; and soon some attendees are motivated to check their digital devices for urgent messages ;-).

Alas, my digital device says I have none; so I listen to the rest of Keith's pitch. Some are asked to stand up, sit down and hold their hands in the air, to which Tim Smith says that it's just like church; and he is right. But it also could be the hokey pokey. I check again, for urgent messages...

I found Keith interesting. He is really trying to get people to share intimate aspects of their lives; because such things create relationships, which are also good business relationships.

It's a tough message for the Geek crowd though. Spock, as in Captain Kirk, is the Geek model; mildly amused at human emotional chracteristics. And you know that Spock isn't going to share any intimacies. Spock won't tell anyone about his outcast life as a part-human, part-vulcan freak show. You have no idea how cruel Vulcan kids can be.

So Keith sits down; and we eat the rest of the dinner. Margit comes over and teases me that I now sport an attitude because of my blogger fame, and because I wasn't there on time. I claim that it's just the result of the pitiful life of a standalone journalist...which is true.

Satish from Zimbra is excellent company; and we soon find that we speak the same language. He was very pleased that I understood what he is up to, in a New York instant. Because to me, what he and others are doing is the future, or at least a good part of it.

Zimbra is doing an AJAX Outlook, and targeting the enterprise sector with a whole new class of AJAX applications. AJAX type applications are where things get disruptive and interesting very quickly...more on that later.

Here's a quick run through, my apologies if I didn't get to everyone:

My good buddy Om Malik, of GigaOm and Business 2.0 is there. It's his birthday, and he gets a birthday cake (but forgets it).

It was good catching up with Alex Gove of Walden VC, and Constance Loizos, one of the top VC reporters.

I chat with John Battelle who is pitching his fmpublishing advertising network. When I hear Om is in, I say: that's all I need to know, count me in too. John says he is limiting it to just the top 20 premium brands, which, dear readers, means that you are premium :-), thank you.

Lots of Silicon Valley hack pack, --Don Clarke, Dan Farber, Quentin Hardy, etc-- are there. So is Cory Johnson, who used to be a hack and now is in the hedge fund world and looking like it agrees with him. Scott Rafer says he's left Feedster, new venture on the way, more details coming.

I chatted for a long time with Liz Clinkenbeard, Amy Swanson, Reema Bahnasy. Let me not forget Mike Sigal, Tim, Virginia and many others...and there are many more tales to be told.

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