Zach and I attended Twiistup last night, a party for Southern California Web 2.0 startups. SoCal has surpassed New England in startup activity, with $1.22 billion invested in the first quarter of 2007. This makes SoCal second only to Silicon Valley, as was evidenced by the great array of startups on display last night.

The attendees included representatives of many well-known Web 2.0 companies and the turnout was excellent. As you can see, it was like a mosh pit; you practically had to crowd surf to navigate the room.


Before entering the event, I used the bathroom at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and only realized around 10:30 than I had not remembered to buckle my belt. Strangely, I don’t think anyone noticed my belt hanging out, probably because it was crowded like a Japanese subway.


I enjoyed talking with a lot of entrepreneurs. We would stand toe to toe and scream over the thumping club music. This was a great test of their pitching abilities, since they had to rapidly convey their concept before their vocal chords snapped. By the end of the night I had my patter down to, “ValueWiki: Wikipedia for stocks.” Or rather, “VALUEWIKI: WIKIPEDIA FOR STOCKS!” “Wikipedia for Socks?” “NO, STOCKS!!!”

Here are some guys from YourMinis (below). Since Netvibes and Google have entered the customized homepage biz, YourMinis is shifting their focus over to widgets. I’ve been debating starting a YourMinis homepage for months, so it was good to meet these guys in person.


Noah and Viet from Mint, a free online Quicken (below). Once Mint knows your monthly expenses, it can show you coupons and targeted ads to help you save on your monthly expenses. They will be launching in the next two months.


Heather was demonstrating her client’s product, Oovoo (below). Oovoo is like iChat except you can video conference multiple people simultaneously. I’m pretty sure the service is free, so I will definitely check it out. Heather also did a good job of promoting BarCamp LA and Geek Dinners, and it was great for her to get the word out.


This is Shane from Userplane (below). They were acquired by AOL last year, and offer a host of media-related widgets that you’ve probably seen on sites like MySpace. The Userplane demo table felt like a frat party. I spent a good deal of time hovering, trying to get someone’s attention, but it was like approaching the popular table in the high school cafeteria. Finally, Shane engaged me and I found him to be one of the most friendly and articulate presenters of the evening.


This is Elizabeth from GoodReads (below). GoodReads lets you share your reading list with your friends and make recommendations. Zach is a big fan of Shelfari, and I enjoy telling people what they should and should not read, so this appealed to me. Elizabeth became one of my favorite presenters of the night when I discovered she was not an entrepreneur, but simply manning the table for her boyfriend Otis who was at the bar. I was tempted to rapid-fire her with questions about API and revenue models, but decided to go easy on her.


What’s Your Blog Called?

It was a great event. I took a lot of photos but very few came out. I would ask an entrepreneur, “can I take your photo for my blog?” And they would politely ask, “What’s your blog called?” To which I would respond, “ValueWiki”, which seems like an odd answer…

What I want to say is, “I work on this great site called ValueWiki (insert pitch here) and we have a blog because every startup has a blog. And I sometimes post two, three, four times a day because I’m relatively interested in the internet and I’m addicted to blog traffic.”

But that’s a long answer.

The simple truth is, telling people your blog is called “ValueWiki” is odd, because “ValueWiki” would be a weird name for a blog. It is, however, an awesome name for a thoroughly wonderful wiki devoted to investing.


“Spocks? Like StarTrek?”


“Socks. Got it.”

(deep, existential sigh)

So what’s your revenue model?”


11 Responses to Twiistup

  1. noah kagan says:

    great photo and nice seeing you there. i will send you an invite as soon as we are allowing people into the beta.

  2. Brilliant Photo of Japanese Subway. I lived and worked in Tokyo and I’ve been to Media parties in New York. I have felt the similarity.

  3. Cap says:

    ah Noah came out better than I did in the photo, lucky him! echoing Noah’s sentiment on beta invite. I checked out valuewiki last night and it’s definitely pretty neato. definitely crowded last night and definitely sweating like a pig.

  4. Jon says:

    Thanks for checking out the site!

    By the way, if you want to grab any of these photos, they’re on my flickr here ->

  5. […] *Twiistup was a fun gathering of 300 Southern California entrepreneurs. Albeit, a wee bit crowded. […]

  6. adi says:

    I think your startup has great merit! Thanks for the pic…is it me or was it hot in there…i was sweating like a pig!

  7. adi says:

    By the way who do you think gave the best presentation? Click the link, cast your vote and give your opinion at

  8. very hot and small. sound sucked as well. does anyone have a venue suggestion for twiistup 2?

  9. […] are some nice recaps of the event from the folks at ValueWiki and […]

  10. Silvain says:

    Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.

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