Archive for the ‘stirr’ Category

STIRR Sydney 2

Web 2.0 entrepreneurs emerged from their rabbit holes last night to attend STIRR Sydney 2 in strength, and it went off with a bang.

Another great crowd, great atmosphere and above all, great fun.

Mick has posted all the details over at the Tangler blog, so I wont go into it here. But a big thanks to everyone who attended.

Thanks again to our sponsors: Omnidrive, TVP, Atlassian and Tangler. And a big thanks to Microsoft for pitching in with some great prizes.

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Endgame 2006

Well it’s been a crazy few weeks; the general chaos of running a startup, travel and organising STIRR Sydney. But one thing I haven’t been able to talk about was the biggest of all, Endgame 2006.

Endgame is an end of year party thrown for all the staff (both Dot and Tangler) – it’s called Endgame because I thought it deserved a better name than “The Christmas Party”.

Last year’s event was a monstrous affair: a treasure hunt style Survivor meets Amazing Race up through the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Choppers, 300m high flying fox, boats, hidden gnomes, rock walls, puzzles and tricks galore. If was a great day (and overnight stay), but left us with a tall task to beat this year.

Endgame 2006 started with yet another trick – last year we pretended to send them into the bush to play “Blue Mountains Survivor” for two days – this year I had moved on to be CEO of Tangler, and Rory had stepped in as CEO of Dot, there was some speculation from staff as to whether I would be organising the event at all. Playing on this we announced 6 months or so ago that Rory would take over organisation. Since I wasn’t involved it was to be a boring conference-style event. We knew this had gone a little far when people started talking about not attending because it sounded so boring. We had to back off a bit and hype it a little.

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So everything starts pretty normal; all the staff (excluding me, because I’ve been ‘mysteriously delayed’) were coached up to Rafferty’s Resort in Lake Macquarie about 1.5 hours north of Sydney. After eating a lovely Thai lunch they were bustled into a conference room to hear Rory give a special “announcement”. Tangler and Dot were merging, Dot was buying another company and the whole new group was being listed on the stock exchange. Oh, and the combined companies would now be known as “Big Tree”.

A shocked audience didn’t get much of a chance to take it all in. As Rory was taking questions the lights in the room suddenly went out (we’d rigged the room to be almost pitch dark) and three guys wearing balaclavas and headlights burst from the store room (we’d been hiding for an hour). Running through screams and confusion, the masked men then bagged the Rory and bustled him from the room.

As the kidnappers left, a video started playing showing a Saw-like character known as The Cloak. To get Rory back the staff needed to “play a game”. They were given 3 minutes to solve a puzzle (it’s a coded message on their conference maps) and a 3 minute timer. Ultimately though the solution leads nowhere. 30 seconds before the time is up the whole thing grinds to a halt and the FBI and I bust in to rescue everybody and explain what we really need to do to rescue Rory, and beat Cloak at his own game. And things sort of go on from there… for the whole day and into the night.

In the end we had a huge day adventuring in and around Lake Macquarie and the Wallarah National Park. Belaying people up trees, searching the coastline for clues, mountain bikes, building boats, you name it. Only dampener was (yet, again) it rained, sometimes pretty hard, but the enthusiasm as usual was amazing.

After we successfully rescued Rory we had a giant pool party (I was the first thrown in) and dinner. Cloak made a return and set everyone a final challenge and Peter Gibson ultimately won the day, for a second year running.

A pool, great food, a foosball table and copious amounts of alcohol made for a fantastic night for everybody. Towards the end I also played a Christmas video (see below) I had compiled the day before (and edited at 3am the previous night). I think I could have played just about anything and gotten a laugh, but this seemed to go down very well.

This was a tough one to organise, especially since no one could know I was involved. Couldn’t have done it without the help of my co-conspirators Ed, Rhandy, Conrad (the FBI agent) and Rory. Thanks guys. Amazing effort.

I was asked again during the night why we put so much effort into these events. The answer is always the same: cause we think people work incredibly hard, so they deserve an incredible party. And having a boring “Christmas lunch” is out of the question for such remarkable people. Now all we have to do is top it next year.

Plenty of photos up on Flickr.

[UPDATE: Chris Saad liked it enough to digg it. Feel free to add your vote. Thanks Chris]

What a Night!

Wow! What a blast. STIRR Sydney went off with a bang Wednesday night with over a hundred and twenty people coming in from local internet startups, media, VCs and service providers.What was truly an experiment turned out great, and in no small party due to the enthusiasm, spirit and general roudieness of the people who attended. Thanks!

Of course none of this happens without some behind-the-scenes stars. The sponsors: Technology Venture Partners, Atlassian, Neo Technology Ventures and Tangler (pat pat). To my fellow organisers: Mick, Rhandy, Craig, Karen, Rai, Phong, Erik, Minh and Sasha. Also thanks to Symbiation for making up the Boom or Bust board, among other things.

Hippos turned out to be a great venue, though we promise to up the air conditioning earlier next time and maybe the demo tables will move inside — certainly got crowded out there.

Half-baked with 70+ people was a wild chaotic thing compared to previous ones, but ultimately what the startups concocted was just as funny and having startup legends like Emily and Omar, Oliver Wiedlich, Alisdair Faulkner, Rhandy Lado, Alan Jones and (“Entrepreneur of the Year”) Mike Cannon-Brooks. No surprise that Mike Cannon-Brooks’ team and their idea “ShoeWave.com” — uniting people around the world in finding lost socks — won the day. Close runners-up: MidgetWidget.com, a mobile phone app that can grow with you and ParachuteVideo.com, a whole new way to drop movie content on you, literally.

Q4 2006 (Stirr) 045On entry to the event people were given $2 million venture capital dollars which they had to distribute as they saw fit to four startups: Remember the Milk, bluepulse, StudentFace and Quotify. In a very close contest the ultimate winner was Remember the Milk who just nudged Quotify. They took home an MSDN subscription worth $5000 courtesy of Microsoft (thanks Frank).

Other games included the very popular “Boom or Bust”. Startups write their name on a pin and then blindly try to pin the best exit, which ranged from $2b buyouts, down to “Your Server Farm Really A Farm” and “Russian Clone Site Wipes You Out” — everybody loved this one.

Thanks also to Neo who sponsored the Kool-Aid shots throughout the night.

Further coverage:

Photos:

  • Mick (thanks to Karen)
  • Marty (thanks to anybody who would hold my camera on the night)
  • Yours? (let me know)

UPDATE: Cameron Reilly has released a video of the night.

STIRR is coming

Huge Party!Wow, STIRR Sydney is 3 days away and we’ve managed to attract an amazing 90 people to the RSVP list. Maybe we’ll even crack the 100 by the time we get started this Wednesday. And to think I was silly enough to ask Mick (a marketing guy) if we could get enough people to fill the room.

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions and awesome support. We’re working hard to make it a great night.

Things to do: get bubble machine, find a ninja constume, get a container big enough for the kool-aid, find someone named “Mike A.” and ask him to put his name on the RSVP list.

We trialed half-baked on friday with a bunch of Tangler and Dot people. Went great, learnt a lot, but it’s scary to try and do this with 90+ people. We’ll figure that out this week.

Oh, and the sponsors… mmm… sponsors… how can we say thanks enough – TVP, Neo Technology Ventures, Atlassian and Tangler.

Get Stirred

I was at the Stirr Founder’s Mixer last night in Palo Alto and it was great. A really casual event for a few hundred (at least it felt like a few hundred) valley founders, investors and “between-company’ers”. Met some really nice, really smart people.

Four companies did presentations on their products — and they only had 60 seconds to do it. Kind of nice, since the audience didn’t have to spend too long hearing about a product they didn’t find interesting (for whatever reason). If you liked the CEO’s pitch you could go and see a demo at a booth they had setup. Companies presenting were:

Frucal – a mobile shopping tool (you just call in with a product’s ISBN and it’ll tell you the best online prices for it). Neat.

Kongregate – a social gaming system – submit games, earn rep points etc. seems to be mostly flash based.

Krugle – source code search for developers (talked with these guys about working with Tangler, might be interesting). Very nice solution to a common probnlem.

Liftopia – online lift tickets, nice.

Congrats to Sanford and his team for pulling off another great event.