Two teenagers set out to conquer the Valley

For months now, Matt Schlicht and Mazyar "Mazy" Kazerooni, who blog as Minds 1 and A, have been keeping me entertained by IM and elsewhere. They're also the media pranksters behind OpenHulu, the website which unlocked Hulu's video library. Schlicht and Kazerooni, barely legal entrepreneurs at the ages of 19 and 18 respectively, took a trip from Orange County to attend the Crunchies, TechCrunch's overblown startupfest. Contrast their enthusiasm to Ted Dziuba's jaded disbelief, and you'll see just how the Valley keeps luring young minds to stoke the startup fires — and just as swiftly burns them out.

I'm drunk, stranded 'til morning, and standing in the center divider, with Pete Cashmore, the founder of Mashable, waving my arms wildly in a failing attempt to hail a taxi. It was 12:30 a.m. in front of the Herbst Theater, and the night was proving to be completely ridiculous. Before I continue, lets step back seven hours so you can fully comprehend the insanity of my night at The Crunchies.

At our hotel in Sunnyvale, my associate (Mazy/Mind1: 18) and I (Mind A: 19) were getting ready to leave. We'd flown in from Orange County for two things. First, to fill out a bunch of paperwork for our newly accepted jobs at Ustream.tv, and second to attend the Crunchies. We weren't expecting much at 5:20 when we left in our sports jackets to head to the event. Maybe we'd meet a few low-level people and at the very least get to see the Richter Scales perform. As we sprinted to the bus stop we almost got run over. Luckily it wasn't our night to die. Now, I love public transportation, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sweating a little bit by the time we'd taken the bus, train, BART and finally ran our dressed-up asses into Herbst Theater at 7:25, with five minutes to spare.

The awards have already been summarized by everyone and their mom so I'll just skip over that part. However, I would like to point out that sitting in the crowd was a very humbling and exciting experience. I've been to conferences and the like but this was my first time visiting San Francisco and The Valley, and honestly nothing can compare. As I sat in the balcony I was surrounded by people exactly like me and I felt like I belonged.

As we walked out smiling and satisfied with the ceremony, we only became more gleeful when free champagne was basically forced into our hands as we entered the afterparty. As we talked to a few random people we somehow managed to drink a considerable amount of free booze and, armed with our tipsiness we began to do some serious mingling. This is where things start to get really interesting.

First we ran into Kevin Rose. Then Arrington (TechCrunch), Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Cashmore (Mashable). It was freaking crazy! At one point a random black guy accidentally bumped into me. He said sorry and we casually talked for a minute or two. The next day I found out that it was MC Hammer.

We had long conversations with all of them (except Zuckerberg — he was kind of a dick) and exchanged our temporary Kinko's-printed business cards for their snazzy, well-designed ones. Strangely enough, I distinctly remember them all commenting on how sweet our cards were ... personally I think they're crazy.

Two teenagers set out to conquer the Valley

•flips card* "This is pretty sweet..." *flips card again* "I like these." — Michael Arrington

At 12:30 a.m., everyone finally got kicked out of the party and this brings me back to where I started. A dozen of us were looking for another party but we were out of luck. We ended up getting taxis and heading over to a restaurant called Oola, where we bribed the cooks to reopen the kitchen. The dozen consisted of people from Mashable, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and various other companies. $300 of food later everyone was ready to hit the sack. Somehow we ended up catching a ride with three guys who we found out all worked at TechCrunch. The whole way back they complained about how their office was actually Arrington's house and how Mashable was the equivalent to the asshole of the tech blog world. We liked Pete Cashmore so we defended him as best we could.

At 3 a.m. we made it to our hotel. Once in the room we felt like kissing the ground as if we hadn't expected to ever make it back alive. In utter disbelief at the night's events, we fell asleep knowing we had jobs at a startup we love and new friends from companies we respect. The only thing left is to move up and officially become a part of this amazing community. We tip our hats to the people of the Valley, we'll be coming "home" soon.

-Matt Schlicht (Mind A)

P.S. - If you know of any cheap apartments in the Valley, let us know.