THE GALLERY LOUNGE, SOMA — Joel Sacks of AdBrite wants to have a word with me. No, nothing to do with his company's adventures in serving up porn ads; he's still pissed off about the time we caught him on video soaking himself with a pint of beer. This time, he's dry. But he's just lucky — this San Francisco bar is packed wall to wall, thanks to social-news site Reddit's open invitation for anyone to come and spill a free beer on their neighbor. The largesse comes from Reddit's owner, Conde Nast, the publisher of Wired, which bought the site a year ago. I got to meet Reddit's founders, most of whom are still, contrary to rumor, at the company. But one was, notably, missing in action: Aaron Swartz, the obstreperous Reddit cofounder who quit shortly after Conde Nast bought the site. More on the founders' status after the jump.
"He would have been welcome," says Conde Nast's Kourosh Karimkhany of Swartz. "But I don't think he could have come to the bar. He just turned 20." What is it with big media and their unseemly interest in barely-legal entrepreneurs?
Of drinking age — and deserving of a pint — is cofounder Chris Slowe. Dr. Slowe, that is. Besides the one-year anniversary of the acquisition, he's also celebrating his recently awarded Ph.D. Before I get to hear about his thesis, Leah Culver shows up. The Pownce engineer is bubbly as ever, but she has some bad news — she and Google engineer Brad Fitzpatrick have broken up. (More on that later.)
The evening is capped off, though, with an appearance by Frank Chu, the famous "12,000 Galaxies" signholder of downtown San Francisco. Now he's up to 725,000 galaxies, whatever that means. On that absurd note, I make my exit. Impressive, perhaps, that Reddit has maintained something of its startup vibe a year after its acquisition. Less impressive that free beer, on Conde Nast's tab, is what it took to spur a big geek turnout.