Last year I was on a panel at the Web 2.0 conference, so I got an invite to a “we give you food, you tell us what you want in the next conference” dinner tonight up in San Francisco. I’m not really a Web 2.0-ish kind of person, and dinner parties typically give me the willies, so I almost declined. But my wife is out of town and I should get out more, so I RSVP’ed. I almost turned around again once I’d parked in the city–mixing at dinner parties really isn’t my thing. But I’m glad I went.
Now I can understand the allure of all those parties and conferences that Valleywag snipes at. At dinner I’m sitting by Mitch Kapor, Merlin Mann of 43 Folders, Kevin Kelly of Wired and Cool Tools fame, and Hal Varian. So basically I’m trying not to look dumb.
I knew Hal, and it turns out that everybody else is really nice too. Mitch Kapor has some fun things going on (like Foxmarks, which is a Firefox extension that syncs your bookmarks across machines), but mainly it was neat to see somebody with capital-M Money trying to use his resources to improve politics and education. Plus Kapor’s efforts such as Chandler also try to make the world a better place through open-source software; the Chandler folks are taking Summer of Code applications, by the way.
The nicest surprise? 43 Folders is in my Bloglines, so I felt the need to show Merlin Mann my version of the hipster PDA. It turns out Merlin is a really funny guy. We need to find some reason to get him down to Google to talk. It was good to see Rich and Rael and John and Tim and Evan, and meet a few new people. Plus on the way home, I got to listen to a nice long SearchCast, complete with Danny sighing.
Tomorrow I get to drop the slacks and nice shirt I wore for Press Day and the dinner, so it’ll be back to shorts and a T-shirt for me. I’m glad that the summer is here.