Whisky Gulch 101: University Avenue, a street lined with Palo Alto’s trendiest shops, used to turn grimy at the East Palo Alto border like a tainted river. In 1999 that crossover was marked by a divide called Whisky Gulch. As one might imagine, the Gulch was best known for its plentiful liquor stores. In the 1980′s, the area’s gambling, drug dealing, and gang violence earned East Palo Alto a negative reputation. So when Whiskey Gulch was flattened to make room for a new high-level business development many residents were pleased with the change.
Fast forward 10 years and imagine yourself at the mysterious Social Gulch Event.
The Four Season’s in East Palo Alto (@FSPaloAlto) was the backdrop to the perfect summer’s eve in the area formerly known as Whisky Gulch now a hip South of San Francisco (let’s NOT SAY Silicon Valley) event rebranded #socialgulch.
The highlights- drinks were flowing- hosted by the sponsors (see names below), the guest list was filled with the not-too-shabby people typically represented by avatars on Twitter, conversation was anything but dull and constantly fringed on futuristic as evolving social media sphere continues to define itself. And then there was the likes of @benparr starting the pool party by jumping into the 81 degree Jacuzzi >ahem, I mean pool< and then basking under the starry sky in one of the orange-cloaked cabanas. Huge orbs adorned the pool and as the sun set the pool’s waters changed colors almost as if in sync to the tunes played by the leather clad DJ in the corner.
Socialtext, President, Chairman and Co-Founder, Ross Mayfield, welcomed the group and gave a satirical recap of the area formerly known as ‘Whisky Gulch’ – appreciated the sponsor/drink buyers and much to everyone’s surprise wished Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research, a very happy birthday. It didn’t take long for Jeremiah to grab the mic and claim it was really not his birthday, but it has always been his wish to have a summer ½ birthday – hence #socialgulch is further defined.
What was all the hullaballoo about? It was about a vision that Ross and Jeremiah had to have a party with a cool name, a fun guest list, drinks, poolside cabana ambiance, exciting talk and plain and simple FUN. Yes-when the guest list reads like this there is no doubt that the evening served as a springboard for existentialism fodder and who knows what will come out of that but I can tell you that this gang was wild – I really can’t repeat the entire conversations (click here for a glimpse) I (@ginavon) laughed so hard speaking with @khrisloux, @Robadler, Ilene Adler and Matt Weeks that my cheeks started to hurt.
From a Voce Communications perspective, the most talked about person not in attendance was @hyku. The man, the myth, the legend. Nearly anytime I said I was with Voce Communications I received one of three reactions:
- How is Josh (@hyku) he really travels a lot, I hope to see him sometime soon – thanks for the drinks tonight!
- Do you know Josh (@hyku)? He is a great guy and I love to go to conferences with him. Hey, thanks for the drinks tonight.
- Hasn’t Voce been the agency for @socialtext for the past three years? Compliments – great job and thanks for the drinks tonight!
The Voce gang was in full force with @madge707, @lmclean, @yaseminck and the man of the harem @dmadey. It is not often that you can go to a work related event and have the capacity for fun that we experienced.
The inaugural #socialgulch certainly set the tone for a repeat event and I am sure no one would mind being invited back to this cool soiree hosted by @ross (Ross Mayfield) @jowyang (Jeremiah Owyang) @briansolis (Brian Solis) @vocenation (Voce Communications) and @peoplebrowser (PeopleBrowser), @jskit (JS-Kit) and @futureworkspr (FutureWorks).