Attention, rival Facebook-application developers: Slide has money in the bank, and your widget startup doesn't. Such was the unsubtle message of Slide's third anniversary, held last night at San Francisco's newly opened Contemporary Jewish Museum. It was the first tech-company party held at the sleekly modern spot, a block or so away from Second and Mission, San Francisco's new dotcom epicenter (Slide is based nearby, as are Yelp, Socializr, and others.) It was Slide's first big party since raising $50 million earlier this year. CEO Max Levchin has not let wealth go to his head — he was happily recounting how, when he first moved to Palo Alto, he had to fast-talk his way into an apartment lease from a paisan named Vinnie, since past startup failures had thoroughly wrecked his credit.
But he is not above a little strategic flaunting. Slide hired a Hollywood props firm to create life-sized versions of the sheep and other icons from its SuperPoke Facebook app, displayed like museum exhibits at the party. Could rival RockYou afford such a gratuitous show of wealth? With their latest funding round not quite locked down, unlikely. It's considered bad form to spend money while you're out raising more. And that was Levchin's point in throwing the party: It's not quite that he was spending money for the sake of spending money. He was spending money to show that he could.