Nick Douglas, he of Too Much Nick and Blank White Cards, asked me via Facebook if I planned on attending SF Beta 2.5. After a quick Google search to see what this event was all about I determined that no, I hadn't planned on going. The kind Mr. Douglas hooked me up with a pass, there was mention of sponsored adult beverages, and so it was on. I was going to SF Beta 2.5.
I had plans later in the evening, so I arrived at the event at 5 p.m., right when it began. There was already a line snaking out the door at 111 Minna of people waiting, print outs in hand, to get inside. After about five minutes the line moved. Once I made it into the front door rotund security guard huffed past me, almost pouting.
"Are you okay?," a well dressed event official asked him.
"Yeah," he whined. "Those people just went right in!" He sounded like a four-year-old in a giant sumo wrestler's body.
The line of us waited to enter, watching the exchange. Finally, he turned to us.
"I.D.," he demanded.
I overheard something about coat check while filling out my name tag. I stuffed my jacket and bag into the closet and made my way over the bar. The party was filling up rather quickly for having a 5 p.m. start time. The bartender in the GlamNetwork room seemed unprepared for the people, however, despite there being only 2 or 3 of us vying for his attention. A young man in front of me ordered a vodka tonic, which he got, but was charged $6 for it.
"I thought drinks were sponsored," said Vodka Tonic.
"Not those, man. Only what is on this list." He pointed to a short list printed out on a white sheet of paper. I saw wine on the list, and readied myself for a sauvignon blanc.
"That'll be eight bucks," the bartender informed me. Uh, what? Is sauvignon blanc not an approved wine? Annoyed, I pulled out a ten and handed it to him.
"Here you need one of these," a woman informed me. She was with the GlamNetwork, and my magic ticket to free drinks was one of their colorful stickers. I attached it to my shirt, and vowed to make up that eight dollars with subsequent rounds.
The party was an interesting mix of people, none of which I knew. Besides Nick. We talked like a couple of old grannies about the Good Ol' Days of The Internet. Back when you had to walk both ways uphill to post on a BBS and The Well accounts were homemade, never store bought. It was a great opportunity for web heads around town to hook up and mingle about their recent exploits and self-promote their personal projects. But mostly I just talked to Nick. Who, by the way, introduced me to the founder of SF Beta, Christian Perry (CEO of Zaptix). At first I thought Nick said Christian founded SFGate not SFBeta, and was like WTF? Was he even born? Quickly I was corrected. Still, CEO at 23 ain't a bad record.
The party began to pick up as the time wore on. I finished my 8 dollar glass of wine, and headed back to the bar for something sponsored this time. My GlamNetwork sticker in plain view I ordered a sauvignon blanc. He poured it for me. Then he told me it would be eight dollars.
Let me pause here, people, to say that the bartender knew what I was trying to do here. He was working a party where there were sponsored beverages, and he knew very well my intentions were to acquire one. Instead, he had to make things difficult. He was standing right next to me when the nice GlamNetwork lady told me that my sticker would get me free booze. But, alas. It was obvious the man hated his job, and he was going to take it out on these party goers. (Or maybe just me, but I don't think I'm unique enough to get special sh*tty treatment.) I wasn't interested in groveling for a free drink, but I wasn't interested in paying $8 plus tip for a glass of wine with too short a pour, either. So, I simply slid the glass of wine back to him, picked up the dollar I'd already left as a tip and left.
"Sorry!," he called out to my back. But, he wasn't. There was pure pleasure behind his voice.
So, overall the party is a neat idea. Geeks and bloggers mingle and talk tech projects in a pretty atmosphere while (supposedly) slurping comped alcohol. Two out of three ain't bad, I guess.