It could have been 2007, or 1997, tonight at the Olympic Sculpture Park.
Around 500 tech types gathered in the park’s amphitheater to hear a group of startup founders on a stage with venture capitalists and pundits, pondering the best ways to make money online. There was beer, hot dogs and iPhones aplenty.
Called “The Naked Truth: Show Me the Money,” the event was organized by Redfin founder Glenn Kelman, Madrona Venture Group and Fenwick & West.
I was expecting some fireworks between uber blogger Michael Arrington and Damon Darlin, the New York Times technology editor who drew Arrington’s ire for a recent story about how rumors are reported by tech blogs such as Arrington’s TechCrunch.
Arrington poked at the scab a few times but the best jabs were between him and Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist who writes the popular “A VC” blog.
They sparred over Seattle versus Silicon Valley, Twitter and more. A few quotes excerpted from the conversation:
Wilson: “My blog now gets more traffic from Twitter than it gets from Google.”
Arrington: “No, your blog doesn’t get more traffic from Twitter than it does from Google.”
Wilson: “I actually publish my referral logs on my blog.”
Wilson: “I’m an investor in Twitter.”
Arrington: “So you have an incentive to make stuff up about them.”
Arrington: “Twitter’s going to sell for $2 billion to Microsoft or Google by the end of the year … we’re never going to see Fred again … it’s like 20 to 1 on that investment.”
Wilson: Silence, but mockingly rolled his eyes and put his head on the table.
A few other quotes:
Kelman to Arrington, at the start of the night: “I already feel really nervous being around you.”
Arrington to the Seattle startup founders: “You guys are so ridiculously nice to each other.”
Kelman’s announcement: “Redfin is profitable.” The online real estate company gets about 2 million unique visitors per month, but only gets revenue from about 8 customers per 100,000 visitors who end up buying houses.
Urbanspoon co-founder Ethan Lowry on the prospects for others entering the iPhone App business: “If you go into it trying to make a fortune on an iPhone App, I think you’re going to have some challenges.”
During a rehash of the Seattle vs Silicon Valley chestnut, Arrington said Seattle “is probably the second most interesting place after Silicon Valley from my point of view.”
Wilson: “I think the whole Silicon Valley thing is a crock of sh**. And I think you can build a great company anywhere. Microsoft and Amazon are two of the greatest companies created in the last 30 years, created right here in Seattle. We don’t have one company in New York as great as Microsoft and Amazon.”
Maybe Wilson was influenced by the big metal letters on the wall to his left, noting that they were all sitting in the Bill and Melinda Gates Amphitheater.