What's Fusion Ventures?
Fusion Ventures was kind of an awesome thing that, like most every startup-related awesome thing that sprung up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, ended up on the big trash heap of the dot-com bust. But unlike a lot of those other things on the heap, Fusion actually made some headway into making Durham try to look like Silicon Valley.
It was in Brightleaf Square, and it was based on Idealab! out of California (eToys, NetZero, Picasa), and served as sort of an incubator. It produced companies like NetGift Registry, CareerCowboy, NextAudio, and StartUpStreet.com, which was also sort of an incubator.
Not sure how that works, incubators cranking out incubators, but that's probably a good sign there's a bubble coming.
Anyway, the thing I remember most about Fusion Ventures was the Deck Party. I sort of knew Eric already, and so I swung an invite to one of them, which brought together what was, at the time, the largest collection of entrepreneurs and investors in the Triangle.
Which was like six people.
Kidding, but it also brought together people from creative, technology, marketing -- lawyers, accountants, script-kiddies, basically anyone who was interested in their job not sucking and being pretty sure that meant their job should involve startups, technology -- the digital.
It was obviously way ahead of its time.
When Eric founded TechJournal, he took the DeckParty with him (you can still find DeckParty at DeckParty.org, because dammit, a good party is for the good of the people). Throughout the carnage of the post dot-com era, DeckParty remained the best attended event in the Triangle.
You might say that the DeckParty is why I started writing for TechJournal. Anyone who could pull off a party like that could surely deal with my shenanigans and occasional swears.
After a couple sessions in Raleigh, including the most recent one in November on the eve of Internet Summit and in which, through Eric's generosity, we merged an already-scheduled ExitEvent Social, DeckParty returns to Durham tonight at 5:30, over at American Tobacco on Diamond View III. Registration is required.
Make no mistake, this is a networking event that is not ashamed to be a networking event, but it's consistently the most fun and attended by the best people.
It's the mother of all events, so to speak, and everyone should attend. But it also brings to mind the fact that even though Durham is bursting at the seams in startup hype, none of this is particularly new, from the incubators to the companies with oddball names to the parties where nerds come together to celebrate their jobs not sucking.
It can all come crashing down again. At anytime.
Kind of a cautionary tale, huh?