So i've been a bit remiss in posting the rest of my Foo photos, and in blogging my thoughts from such a gloriously fun & educational weekend. i'll try and get all the Flickr pix up soon (took over 200, still sorting them out), but in the meantime here are a few brief vignettes from my wondrous journey down the rabbit hole known as FOO camp 2006...
so i drove up to Foo with James Levine (my former colleague & partner in crime from SimplyHired) and Paul Rademacher, now a Googler and the Artist Formerly Known as the Mashup DJ of HousingMaps. James & Paul are both alpha geeks i can't hold a candle to, so i felt privileged to shoot the shit with them on the roadtrip up to Sebastopol. quick aside: i met Paul a year ago, but just a few months back while sharing a shabu shabu lunch we discovered we both grew up in West Virginia. imagine, yet another hillbilly entrepreneur here in Silicon Valley... small world.
anyway, Paul & I had recently exchanged emails on what kind of talk we'd like to give at Foo (participants are encouraged to give presentations on their areas of interest / expertise, except that paul has lots of the latter & i only have lots of the former). as usual, we were down to the wire and hadn't quite nailed down our topic. we tossed around a few ideas about creating personalized agents and simplifying / automating search engines, but realized we better come up with something quick... by nightfall we'd have to choose a name for our talk on the Foo UnConference Board. maybe our brains got fried from traffic on 101, but in the end we came up with something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT called HalfBaked.com: Entrepreneurial Improv Theatre.
- Act 1: start by having people yell out ~50 random words.
- Act 2: split into 5 teams, each chooses 2 words + ".com"
- Act 3: each team has ~10 min to prep their BlankBlank.com biz plan
- Act 4: each team does a 5 minute pitch on their product to a VC
- Act 5: vote on who did the best job, then celebrate the insanity :)
Our winners (pictured above) were the imagineers of a business called BottlecapPorn.com, led by Rael Dornfest, Christine Herron, Greg Sadetsky, and a few other creative friends. (and yes, they really did pull together that website DURING the session, in < 15 minutes... impressive extra credit!)
We were also fortunate to reel in David Hornik & Paul Graham as judges, who didn't quite realize what was going on until we had them cornered. I know David pretty well and he's a gamer, but i must say a special thanks to Paul, who gave a talk earlier in the day on his experiences with Y Combinator that helped inspire our HalfBaked craziness. David is one of my favorite and shortest VCs, and Paul is one of the most eloquent, stimulating entrepreneurs & thinkers around (if you haven't read Hackers & Painters, i encourage you to check it out).
Thanks to James for all the photos above... he captured several exquisite moments while i was emceeing the whole affair. And many thanks to all the fun folks who came out for our session: Rael, Christine, Chris DiBona, HB, Avi Bryant, many others... we had a great time!
i'll post more stuff soon on the rest of Foo, Werewolf, more foo pix, and a few of the amazing sessions i got to attend. thanks Tim! what a weekend :)
(update: added link to Greg Sadetsky, CTO of BottlecapPorn... apologies Greg!)