For two years running, Meebo has allowed you to skip the software download and log onto instant messenger using your Web browser. Never mind that you can already do this! The startup celebrated its second anniversary of AIMlessness at Pier 38 last night with a cake, open bar and a giant game of Guitar Hero. (Pictured above, tech consultant gadabout Dave Matthews — no, really, that's his name — jams on the imaginary Fender.) And really, though no one at Meebo will quite say it this way, they've figured out they need more of a purpose in life. That's supposedly coming from the new Meebo platform, which will allow third-party developers to create applications for integration into Meebo's service.
For an example of Silicon Valley incest, look no further than the guest list. Meebo founder Elaine Wherry is engaged to Plaxo cofounder Todd Masonis. The other Plaxo cofounder, Cam Ring, is dating Sandy Jen, another Meebo cofounder. Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg was an intern at Plaxo during business school. RockYou cofounder Jia Shen's brother, Jian, works as an engineer at Meebo. Members of all three companies have played on the same Ultimate Frisbee team since before their companies were launched. Oh, and they're all funded by Sequoia Capital.
Which would explain the presence of Sequoia's newest golden-boy partner, Roelof Botha, at the event. He stood out in his suit jacket and had an aura around him as green as a dollar. He walked around the room and every startup founder tensed, worrying that they would somehow screw up in his presence.
When they weren't worrying if they measured up for Botha, people were talking about how Meebo's platform measured up to Facebook's. The answer? Not really. The other source of conversation was the upcoming Google platform announcement, which TechCrunch revealed would be pushed back from its original date of November 5, but we now hear is set to be on time, if not early.
I should say Google's platform wasn't really a topic of conversation as it was a conversation killer. When stuck with a boorish biz devver from a widget maker, the easiest way to make my escape was to bring it up. When asked about that platform, the responses ranged from "I can't talk about that" to wild, blinking, stares. According to one anonymous founder type, at least one company "got in trouble" for revealing details. When asked for details, he backed off the subject, fearful of the long arm of Google.