Posted by: Catherine Holahan on June 10, 2008
It’s Internet Week in New York City. Or, at least, it was Internet Week. By the time you actually read this post, Internet Week will be holding its closing celebration: a gala at Cipriani’s on Wall Street.
The reason for the late notice is, honestly, I didn’t think I had much to write about. A bunch of tech executives from Silicon Valley planned to descend upon Silicon Alley and its environs to throw a bunch of parties with NYC bankers and Madison Avenue marketers. (Oh and they planned a few panels too). So What? It’s not as though the last NYC Internet gathering in fall 2006 was anything to write home about.
I’m revising my earlier assessment. Though there wasn’t much in the way of big news coming from the event, I do think NYC’s Internet Week highlighted how important the Big Apple is to Silicon Valley’s best and brightest companies. The industries that new social Web technologies have had the most impact on—to date—are the communications/news, marketing, and entertainment sectors, which all call New York home. (OK, Los Angeles has a claim to entertainment too). Everyone from Google to Silicon Valley startups want to partner with these NY companies to secure the media content and ads that draw audiences and dollars.
During the past few years, New York has seen a rebirth of its tech industry. Google moved to a massive building in Chelsea in Oct. 2006, complete with game rooms, two massive cafeterias, multiple kitchenettes, and, of course, thousands of employees. Companies such as video site Heavy moved onto the old Silicon Alley. Downtown has been taken over by blogs such as Gawker Media and the Gothamist, as well as startups such as live video streaming site Mogulus. There’s also Brooklyn which is home to Etsy, an online site for handmade goods and art, among other Web startups.
Today, I interviewed Grammy award winner Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges and his business partner Matthew Apfel about an online music community they’ve launched called WeMix. The headquarters are, appropriately, here in New York, where labels such as Warner Music Group rub real estate elbows with Fox Interactive Media. (WeMix is also throwing the after Webby gala party tonight at Hiro Ballroom.)
Need more evidence that tech is alive and well in New York? The Digg Meetup and Revision3 party on June 4th was more of a success than even veteran bash throwers Jay Adelson or Kevin Rose expected. Diggnation and Digg fans packed Williamsburg’s Studio B, a decently large venue. The turnout was due in part to the rise of a techie culture here, as well as Digg’s move to expand beyond its techie roots. I caught up with Jay and Kevin before they went off to the Founders Club dinner, a swanky party for leaders of the new Web. Both were dressed in jeans when I saw them at 5. Before you say “how California” about the casual wear, note that Jay lives in New York.
Aside from underscoring New York’s importance to the tech industry, Internet Week really didn’t have much news. There were the Webby Awards, of course. Some highlights: Musician Will.i.am won for his celebrity packed music video promoting Barack Obama and the Democratic nominees’ “Yes We Can” stump speech. Stephen Colbert accepted an award for Internet person of the year. Yahoo’s Flickr won for having the best Web practices. PostSecret.com won for best cultural/personal blog.