Dispatch from The Transom.
The New York startup bubble burst Monday night at Jimmy, the James Hotel’s rooftop lounge, sending a spray of water toward attendees at the Geekosystem Internet Week party. It seems one former Facebook employee-turned-financier had paid a former colleague at the social network $1,500 to jump into the swank, off-limits, ornamental pool.
It happened fast. Conversations about the Groupon I.P.O. were cut short as a skinny man named Rob Donnenfeld, currently at Morgan Stanley, cannonballed into the decorative faux-pond. Guests recoiled in horror. On the Internet, no one can splash you with cold, dirty water.
“He’s a friend of ours. We thought it’d be entertaining,” said Keith Pruzan, who now works at ICAP North America and funded the escapade. “He was kicked out immediately,” he laughed.
The splasher and the splashee had both been invited by their friend Kenny Herman, a vice president at SinglePlatform. The whole trick was planned from the get-go.
“But did he jump in with his phone?” a shocked onlooker asked.
“No, he has it,” said another, pointing to Mr. Pruzan. He also had Mr. Donnenfeld’s leather belt draped like a boa around his neck. After the jumper was escorted out, draped in a towel, he waited below to receive his bounty.
Unintentional irony has long been a highlight of Internet Week, which to the Transom’s eye seems little more than an excuse to make the joke “Every week is Internet Week.” But there’s a dangerous amount of cash going around. The usually staid networking is lubricated by hours of free vodka and a stunning panorama of pretty lights. If it’s done right, attendees will be intoxicated enough to think the flow of funding to startups will never end.
The view from Jimmy was spectacular.