VOX party makes the pages of the paper version of Wired Magazine (cover shown below)... Yeah VOX! ^^
At the Vox launch party in San Francisco’s North Beach, the accessory of the evening is, apparently, a nondisclosure agreement. Vox is the latest blogging tool from Six Apart, hotshot publisher of TypePad and LiveJournal, and tonight’s event has drawn the cream of the startup-happy Bay Area bloggerati. Look! There’s Anil Dash of dashes.com, currently Six Apart’s VP of evangelism. Nearby is Blogdex creator Cameron Marlow, now a research scientist for Yahoo. In fact, thanks to a recent spate of blog buyouts by the likes of Google and Yahoo, the room is packed with Web 2.0 mafia. Flickr cofounder Stewart Butterfield and del.icio.us creator Joshua Schachter are working the room. Marlow is chatting up Andy Baio, the blogger who made the Star Wars Kid famous and last year sold his events site Upcoming.org to
Yahoo. Towering over a huddle of partygoers is Jeffrey Veen. Google bought his Measure Map blog traffic software for the always impressive-sounding undisclosed sum. And there are Ben and Mena Trott, the childhood sweethearts who built a single weblog into the Six Apart empire.
Everyone seems to know everyone else, and as the crowd mingles and munches amid tables topped with black bags of schwag, it feels more like a victory party than a launch. Yes, this may be Web 2.0, but it’s not Bubble 2.0. There are no poolside fire jugglers or plates of seared ahi (see: gaming site Flipside’s 2000 launch party). Nobody rented out the Warfield theater or flew in James Brown (RIP) to perform for a cocaine- and sushi-fueled crowd of dotcommers (à la the Musicbank fiesta of 2001). Tonight’s freebie is a T-shirt, not a Palm Pilot.
In other words, Lessons Have Been Learned. Instead of vaporware-driven hype, the prevailing sentiment is confident pragmatism: The Web is back, and we have made it over as it should always have been! Amen.
Twenty-foot-tall Vox screengrabs projected behind the stage tell the story as well as anything. The technology addresses two problems: First, it makes it easy to incorporate multimedia — audio, photos, video — into a blog. Second, by giving authors the power to create social networks and designate posts as private, Vox has solved the so-called dooce dilemma, named for a blog whose author was fired for writing satirical posts about her coworkers. Don’t want your boss to see the pics of you skiing on the day you called in sick? No problem: Mark them friends-only and she’ll never know. Meanwhile, it builds on many of the Web’s greatest hits: Flickr, YouTube, iStockphoto, iFilm, and Amazon.com are all tightly integrated into its posting tools.
Web pages drift by, featuring videos and posts and pictures and friend networks, all set within smartly designed templates, many of them created by Vox beta users (roughly 85,000 of them). And if you were to read them, you would sense that the mood of the blog world is, quite simply, triumphant.
When the Trotts take the stage, you’d be forgiven for expecting a self-congratulatory end-zone dance. After all, they succeeded where giants like Yahoo and Microsoft have been left standing with their hands in their pockets. Instead, we get honesty.
Mena does all the talking, as usual. She begins by promising not to swear and explains that all of this — her blog, the company, Vox — began as a desperate attempt to make friends. And what friends they have now! Why, just look at all the fashionable bloggers with all their fashionable money! Behold the parade of Jack Spade man-bags and hipster haircuts!
Yet most here remember the bust, how the city emptied and dotcommers fled. But this time it’s different. This time the bloggers, not the suits, run the show. Or rather, the bloggers are the suits. And this time they’re doing it right. So now it’s time to celebrate. Because, as Mena says — wrapping up her speech and breaking her promise in a smart black-and-white dress from H&M — “it’s really fucking good.”
— Mathew Honan