As with last time and the time before, last night's 106 Miles gathering was excellent.

Who is Jeff Winner? As the site said:

Jeff Winner is a principal in venture accelerator Alacrity Partners. He was most recently VP of engineering at Friendster, leading the well-known scaling and performance rewrite. Previous posts include Demandtec, eGroups, Netscape, Collabra, and Verity.

In other words, he's been around the block a few times in Silicon Valley. He's learned a lot and had much to share with us about the world of VCs, startups, scaling companies, and so on.

Much of what was said is off the record, but I think everyone learned a lot from Jeff's honesty and experiences. One amusing think we did learn is that VCs don't want to fund enterprise software startups. That's just not interesting to them at all.

Nobody was surprised by that either. :-)

There were a lot of new faces at 106 Miles this time and I hope to see many returning next time. Amusingly, when the topic of "how you learned about 106 Miles" came up at my table there were three common answers:

  1. Read about it on Jeremy's blog
  2. Read about it on Joyce's blog
  3. I'm a friend of Joyce

Blogs are the new grapevine.

Thanks again to Joyce and CommerceNet for making 106 Miles happen.

Posted by jzawodn at March 10, 2005 12:19 AM

Reader Comments
# Adam Dodsworth said:

So were you obliged to partake in karaoke in Japan? What is the best way to contact you Jeremy? Had some email problems, so thought should try a post on your weblog! Cheers!

on March 10, 2005 01:33 AM
# David Anisman said:

I'd like to go next time....


on March 10, 2005 11:10 AM
# GrumpY! said:

106 Miles! Haha seems like Nirav Tolia's old "Silicon Valley round table" circa 1998 redux and rehashed: a bunch of people on the periphery who get together to convince themselves to the contrary. NAUSEA...A bunch of people who wish they were [ACTUAL INFLUENTIAL PERSON] going out to dinner with a bunch of other people of a like mindset in order to achieve some getstalt therapy for their unfulfilled Valley fantasies. Sad Sad SAD. Jeremy these dinner parties have been around forever, they are group therapy for wannabes, you should know better.

on March 10, 2005 03:02 PM
# Troutgirl said:

Grumpy, I am a simple girl. I just want to make friends who like to drink beer and eat nachos, and shoot the shit about technology and the tech business. Is that so bad? All this stuff about being "influential" or having "Valley fantasies"... um, to be honest, I think that says more about your psyche than ours. :-) If you'd like to see for yourself how low-key and friendly 106 Miles is, why don't you shoot me an email and I'll invite you to the next one? It's going to be about mobile, so it should be really fun!

on March 10, 2005 06:21 PM
# Dan Hugo said:

Hey, I worked for Jeff at Netscape. He was very cool back then [I frequently refer to him as my favorite manager for various reasons], so I can't imagine he could have gotten cooler. I wish I still lived in the valley, I would have liked to hear his tales since I last saw him.

on March 11, 2005 06:23 AM
# GrumpY! said:

Thank you no Troutgirl. You seem like a nice person but I am obsessed with DOING not TALKING. There are already too many people talking and not saying anything, adding my mindless yap to the din won't improve life on this planet for me you or anyone else.

on March 11, 2005 11:52 AM
# ben said:

okay, Grumpy. No geek dinner parties for you; we get it. Just one quesstion: what have you've been *doing*?

on March 13, 2005 09:30 AM
# Adam said:

GrumpY! you make a really good point when you say, "There are already too many people talking and not saying anything." (Sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel lyric, actually.)

106 Miles itself has to grapple with how big it wants to get, and it also has to grapple with the fact that engineers (who make up the bulk of the attendees) are self-introspective and self-critical.

I went to a couple of Nirav's Round Zeroes, and it left me with the impression that business development people love to yap with each other about techniques involved in "the art of the deal".

What seems different about 106 Miles is that most of the networking and sideline discussions involve engineers talking with other engineers about how to deal with money people, management people, marketing people, etc. (Wow, I was able to type that last sentence in without any expletives!)

I think it's a noble goal to empower engineers to carefully consider their place in a Silicon Valley that increasingly tells us that our jobs are outsourceable and offshorable and eliminatable. If 106 Miles empowers even one engineer with some knowledge that helps him or her deal with a situation, then to me that's worth it.

on March 13, 2005 01:30 PM
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