OutCast PR held an AfterHours party at Frisson, the restaurant co-owned by Facebook board member Peter Thiel. So cozy, since Facebook is OutCast's biggest new client! The place was overrun with hacks and flacks. No surprise, since OutCast wants to show off its chummy press relationships, and other flacks are drawn to journalists like moths to flames. And, of course, OutCast wanted to keep things well-staffed to watch over reporters chatting up executives from Facebook and Yahoo, another big OutCast client. No need, it turned out.
Why was the event heavy on the storytellers and light on subjects? "All these fucking PR people!" one friend. "It's like walking through a pig trough."
The biggest Yahoo personality was "peanut butter manifesto" author Brad Garlinghouse, who was spotted deep in a long conversation with AllThingsD's Kara Swisher in a corner by the bar. The biggest name on the Facebook side? Spokeswoman Brandee Barker, who was quite a fan of the photo booth (and, apparently, Swisher, whom she pried away from Garlinghouse for some close contact).
No surprise, really. Yahoo and Facebook executives were likely distracted by negotiations over taking a stake in Facebook. And really, OutCast couldn't have planned it better: The Valley's press corps was drinking and eating instead of staking out restaurants and hotels in Palo Alto. Brilliant!
Indeed, the number and cailber of the journalists who appeared says something about the spell they've cast over the tech media. Spotted in the crowd: author and BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy, GigaOm's Om Malik, USA Today's Janet Kornblum, Michael Bazeley of the San Jose Mercury News, Jessica Guynn of the LA Times, Bloomberg's Ed Robinson and Wall Street Journal reporters Vauhini Vara and Don Clark. On the less-prestigious side, Red Herring editor Joel Dreyfuss was there, and upon meeting me, instantly began haranguing me for our coverage of his publication's death spiral. "Why didn't you cover Business 2.0?" he asked, alluding to that magazine's recent disintegration. Um, I thought we had?
Ubiquitous videoblogger Robert Scoble showed up. I asked after his newborn son and inquired about how online-video startup PodTech, his ostensible employer, was faring. "Much better than last month," he replied. "Wait, what happened last month?" I asked. "John got fired!" he shot back, shocked that I had forgotten such a momentous occasion. Wait, fired? Didn't John Furrier, PodTech's founder and former CEO, "step down"? You learn something new at every one of these parties.