"Geeks on a Plane" is one of those sponsored clusterfucks rampant in the tech industry where the rich and near-rich gather to disruptify their apps and incubate their engagement strategies over drinks. But this one is mobile: Google, PayPal, QualComm and other major firms shell out for American investors and startups to meet up around the world so they can "gain insight into local markets, demographics, [and] business models," and "meet cool people, new ventures, have fun on planes, trains, buses."
What you're not supposed to do: Publicly share your friend's stumbling-drunk penis.
Venture capital bigwig Dave McClure founded GOAP, which organizes trips three times a year, with money from a host of corporate sponsors (travelers pay their own airfare; sponsors underwrite all the "connecting"). He bills it as a sort of mega-nerdy season of Real World; the Winter 2013 trip to India officially kicks off tomorrow, when participants fly to India for a spirit quest of capital:
[We] travel by planes, trains, and automobiles to the most exciting international startup scenes with the sole mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border opportunities. The result: a lifelong bond with fellow travelers, a wealth of new friends and business contacts in exploding technology markets, and a stronger appreciation for the cultural and economic ties that bind us globally.
But two GOAP participants got a head-start on the bonding. Forbes contributor and Inc. 30 Under 30 entrepreneurial list-makerJesse Thomas runs JESS3, a social media advertising firm that's also a GOAP sponsor. Thomas arrived in India a few days early with his girlfriend for some time at the beach, along with his pal Matt Monahan (seen above), the CEO of AlphaBoost—one of the many, many companies that helps other companies try to sell you things on Facebook. Monahan also works as an advisor for Wildfire, a Google subsidiary, and pitches in at McClure's VC firm, 500 Startups. And JESS3 is one of AlphaBoost's clients. You'll have to imagine a Venn diagram of whose money is feeding into whose on your own. Thomas told me via email that the three "sat on the beach and laughed about life and whatnot," but it looks like the lovefest devolved quickly.
Money-lusting geek-bros love to get wasted. And when Monahan, as bros will, got drunk as a freshman at India's Surya Samudra private beach resort and stripped down, struggling to stay upright with his hands over his crotch, his pal Thomas was there with his phone to record the moment for posterity.
And because this is a social web and all, Thomas didn't have any qualms about posting a minute-long video of Monahan's nude romp on Facebook and Twitter ("bahahahahahahahaha #goap"). Highlights include Monahan moaning "turn it off," Thomas shouting "You've got a small-ass dick, yo," and Thomas' horrified girlfriend sitting in the middle of it all.
Thomas still wasn't satisfied, and proceeded to publicly upload pictures of Monahan's naked implosion on Instagram and Twitter—from the official JESS3 company accounts. Feedback from Thomas' tens of thousands of followers and subscribers were generally of the Wow, you're a real asshole variety, and Monahan's partner at AlphaBooks shot over an incensed Facebook message: "We're trying to run a business here." Thomas then defiantly posted that message on Instagram. So much sharing.
Monahan admitted to me that the "video does not reflect well, was out of context, and Jesse has deleted it. He thought it was funny at the time but realized that late nights as friends have don't have a place in the public stream." The money behind the money also realizes the weekend R&R doesn't reflect well: a 500 Startups rep told me the drunk dev and his shamer "mistakenly used the #goap hashtag." Drunk to the point of using the wrong hashtag is too drunk. We'll follow #goap and see if any other entrepreneurial dicks surface in Mumbai.
Update: In a case of just really cosmic timing, Monahan is in the process of trying to sell his company right now.