February 11th, 2014 · 1 Comment
I haven’t attended Tech Cocktail for about four years, so when I got an email offering me complimentary tickets to a recent mixer and startup showcase, I decided to see what was up. Back in the day Tech Cocktail was a Chicago event that was started by my coworker Eric, who sat about 10 feet away from me in our FeedBurner office, and his friend Frank, who is still with Tech Cocktail. Now it has grown to be a company of its own with (presumably) paid employees and events in every city and even a conference. Crazy!
Jess and I attended the mixer last week at the Merch Mart. It was cool to check back in and see how the event has grown. The startup I liked best … or maybe just the only one I would probably use… was DRYV, which is an app that provides on-demand dry cleaning and laundry services. Unlike previous events, I didn’t know anyone or recognize anyone. And despite my mixed feelings on him, Ron May was definitely missed.
Check out the other Tech Cocktail events I’ve attended:
– Tech Cocktail 2 (2006)
– Tech Cocktail 3 (2007)
– Tech Cocktail 5 (2007)
– Tech Cocktail 6 (2007)
– Tech Cocktail 7 (2008)
– Tech Cocktail 14 (2010)
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Tags:1871·Chicago·dryv·eric·feedburner·frank·jessica·merchandise mart·river north·ron may·tech cocktail
Built in Chicago is a site that was created about 8 months ago and is a resource for digital professionals working and building great web and mobile businesses in Chicago. Last night I attended their launch party with Jess and Alden. Tribeca Flashpoint sponsored the event and it was held in their space at the Merchandise Mart. There was a $10 admission fee, but once you were in, it was all free drinks and snacks.
The beer sponsor was Finch’s Beer Co. Ok. But made in Chicago? How have I never heard of them? I asked the servers and they said that Finch’s has only been in production for about 8 weeks and that it is based out of the Albany Park neighborhood. Interesting. I had two Golden Wing blond ales and Jess and Alden both had the Cut Throat pale ale. We all liked the beer and when I tweeted about it, Chuck declared that the blonde will be the beer of this summer.
Ok. So, enough about the beer. The Built in Chicago event was basically a mixer. It reminded me of Tech Cocktail, but with more suits and more gray hair. A grown up Tech Cocktail? I mean, even Ron May showed up at the end (blerg!). I talked to people I knew from various stages of my “past lives” – Chicagoist, FeedBurner, Google – and also from past Tech Cocktail events. It was nice to see people I hadn’t seen for quite a while (Kevin – from Google & now heading up the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center , Sean – from Chicagoist, now at Have My Shift, Brad – from my Chicagoist days, now at Appolicious, and Blagica from all over? ) Also nice meet some new people, too.
I like how Built in Chicago seems like more of an ongoing thing. Like, sure, they’ll have these face-to-face networking events occasionally, but you don’t just go away after that and see people at the next event. Built in Chicago is also a whole social networking site for like-minded interactive people in Chicago. I think it should be a bit easier to keep in the loop and keep in contact with people. Looking forward to seeing how this all evolves.
PS. At the end of the night Alden and I met up with Dallas at the Boiler Room and guess what kind of beer I noticed they had on tap? Finch’s! So I had another Golden Wing. Maybe this will be the beer of the summer.
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Tags:alden·blagica·boiler room·brad·built in chicago·Chicago·chicagoist·chuck·dallas·feedburner·finchs beer co·google·jessica·kevin·merchandise mart·sean·tech cocktail·tribeca flashpoint·Web/Tech
The last week of October, Jessica and I went to Tech Cocktail. I think this is something like the 14th one they’ve held in Chicago? Back in 2006 our FeedBurner coworker Eric Olson co-founded the event with Frank Gruber and now it has its own conferences and parties in more than a dozen different cities. I just looked up on this rachelleb.. it looks like I missed the first Tech Cocktail, but I attended the 2nd, along with many others. Until last week, though, I hadn’t been to Tech Cocktail for years.
It was nice to check back in. Mostly the same scene. Free drinks. Ron May. In a wheelchair this time. Lots of people. Lots of tech startup demos. Here’s something that’s different: Sponsored by Sprint! Also, you now have to pay admission to get into the event.
About the demos we saw: A lot of them were some version of a daily discount site. One new company was doing ads in games. Their founder told us they were like AdSense but for games… which already exists, so I’m not sure I get that. Another had you sign up for a family style meal through a Facebook and then you’d show up and eat dinner with a bunch of strangers. One was a social wishlist kind of thing. Another had you type in something you wanted to and it would supposedly go out and find deals for you. I used the site as part of the demo and told it I wanted to take a sushi-making class. I know there’s a million places to do this around Chicago. Tech Cocktail was over a week ago. I still haven’t gotten my results from the site. Hm.
Jess and I talked briefly to Brad Feld, who we knew when he was involved in FeedBurner. And then for a bit to Frank, a Tech Cocktail cofounder we know. Frank said he thought that there were about 550 – 600 people there, so it’s good to know the event is still going strong!
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Tags:brad·Chicago·eric·feedburner·frank·jessica·john barleycorn·tech cocktail·wrigleyville