What does “disruptive” mean, anyway?
“It’s when you’re standing up, and then you fall over,” Vivek Sharma of MovableInk, who has been in and out of the TechCrunch Disrupt conference since the hackathon over the weekend, explained to Betabeat.
That seems to describe a lot of start-ups, Betabeat speculated.
“That’s true!” he said.
“It’s when you get written up in TechCrunch,” Groupme’s Pat Nakajima countered.
The group texting boy wonder was in a sour mood due to the party’s lack of luster and open bar. Beteabeat was standing by the entrance of the body-packed Casa La Femme, the West Village watering hole where TechCrunch Disrupt veterans Qwiki was hosting a conference afterparty. The air inside smelled like flavored tobacco, and everyone was from San Francisco.
“I don’t know anybody here,” said one local mediaite, who had just come from an MTV event celebrating women founders. “It was cool,” she said. “There was one woman–her name was Audrey, something? She was a badass.” (Audrey MacLean is the founder of Network Equipment Technologies.)
Most of the attendees were not at TechCrunch Disrupt. “I was working,” Artsicle’s Alexis Tryon told Betabeat. She was drinkless, and on her way out. “People kept trying to give me passes. Maybe next time, when I’m not in the middle of relaunching a product.”
“Just the parties,” Dinevore’s Jeremy Fisher told Betabeat, although he’d watched the livestream of the event and signed up for four of the six Battlefield start-ups. “I signed up for BillGuard,” he said. “It found no frauds. Three suspicious transactions, which I approved.” He passed on InvoiceASAP and ccLoop.
“GetAround is potentially disruptive,” one Californian founder told Betabeat, referring to the start-up which took the top place at the event’s Battlefield competition. “But what happens if someone vomits in your back seat?”
The founder, who had introduced himself as Rob, wasn’t necessarily looking for disruption. He came down for the conference out of a love for entrepreneurship and start-ups. “You know how some people are addicted to alcohol or drugs?” he said.
So you’re a serial entrepreneur, Betabeat inferred.
“I want to be,” he said. “I started one company. It failed.”
He got an offer to become CTO for “two college friends”–with each other, not with him–from New York who are working on a wish list for the entire internet, he said.
“So where are you based?” Megan McCarthy of MediaGazer asked politely.
“L.A., but I want to move to New York,” he said. It’s a matter of whether he can eat and live until the college friends raise a round, he told Betabeat. “I like eating,” he said wistfully.
The official afterparty was underway about ten blocks south at Greenhouse, an absurd venue on Varick where fake moss and fake stalactites hang from an LED-lined ceiling, presided over by tanned bartenders in tube tops who obviously thought the crowd was a bunch of fucking nerds. Hanging over the dance floor was a large infographic done in multi-colored markers, a word cloud of jargon from the conference. “New York tech scene” was in big letter, although personally we’d say the breakout city was Tel Aviv, as was “Flexibility!,” “IDEAS,” and “Be a user of your own idea/Know your idea!” This is where Betabeat met Rob, who had requested to “join the circle.”
“There are two kinds of start-ups, right?,” he told Betabeat when we asked what “disruptive” meant. Some take a market and business model and extend it, he said. “Some take the model for making money and kill it. That’s disruptive.”
Betabeat disrupted ourselves from the Lady Gaga and Ceelo techno remixes and short-lived open bar and headed outside. A lonely-looking fellow in a Sonar.me t-shirt walked by, pointedly ignoring Betabeat’s cries of “Sonar! Sooonar!” from behind the black barrier where we were sharing a cigarette with a few New Yorkers and one San Francisco tech personality who was bummed at how much the afterparty resembled parties in the Bay Area in terms of the volume of pitches versus the number of people dancing.
A plan for karaoke was hatched, then abandoned in favor of a plan to crash Ashton Kutcher’s party at The Standard–which was then abandoned as well.
Foursquare’s servers were down, and the group splintered. Betabeat decided just to enjoy the weather, which was balmy with a good little breeze.