When I got an unauthorized invite, via a tipster, to Dave Morin's birthday party Tuesday night, I knew I had to crash — if only to find out what he and his friends were thinking. Morin, you see, is a Facebook employee and a prime instigator of Camp Cyprus, the gang of Internet instigators whose shockingly fun video scandalized a shaken Silicon Valley. What's with these Web kids? First they go to Cyprus and destroy the entire economy by filming themselves cavorting at a rich friend's dad's vacation house on the Mediterranean. The horror! But then, what's worse, they return to the United States, unashamed, and continue spending money and enjoying themselves! All this economic activity cannot end well!Can you imagine, kids in their twenties having a good time? This must end! Didn't they get Sequoia's memo? Morin, Facebook's official speaker-to-geeks, turned 28 and rented a downtown art gallery Tuesday night to celebrate. After I tracked down Morin, I gave him a salami I'd picked up at VC firm Alsop Louie's party earlier that night. (It was a heartfelt regifting.) Besides Morin, I identified several other members of Camp Cyprus:
The infamous Camp Cyprus 20 are trickling back home. And they feel fine. The twentysomethings of Camp Cyprus work at companies like Google, Facebook, and Blip.tv, all of which make a business of moving our lives online. They gathered at the Cyprus vacation home of Wall Street banker Bob Lessin, overlooking the wine-dark Mediterranean, at the invitation of his startup-founder son, Sam, for a vacation. And in this hyperconnected age, they must surely be aware that a lip-synching video they made of their trip was an Internet sensation, marking the end of an era. If they feel any shame for popping the Web 2.0 bubble, they are not blogging, Tumblring, Twittering, or FriendFeeding it. The only concession to embarrassment over the incident was making the video private — and of course, it promptly resurfaced on YouTube and elsewhere. Sam Lessin, in public, is a privacy freak; privacy is the sales pitch for his staggeringly unpopular blogging and file-sharing startup, Drop.io. But he invited a bunch of known oversharers — Facebookers Dave Morin and Meagan Marks, Google Maps marketer Brittany Bohnet, and the like — to his dad's vacation home, permitted the filming of the video, and starred in it himself. I doubt he cared very much that it became an Internet sensation. No, I suspect that this takedown had little to do with Web 2.0, and everything to do with Wall Street. Even before the mortgage bubble popped, launching the credit crisis, being showy with wealth just wasn't done in the circles Bob Lessin circulates in. Showing off your dad's sweet pad only seems like a good idea if you're a Harvard legacy in your early 20s. So is this the end of Web 2.0? Depends on what you mean by "Web 2.0." No one can quite agree. User-generated content? It's cheaper than the professionally generated kind; in recessionary times, it seems like it's here to stay. Likewise the fad for creating programmable interfaces for websites; getting coders to volunteer their time to make your product better sure sounds better than hiring them. No, the real test is whether this millennial generation will continue posting videos when they don't have splashy trips to celebrate. Will they continue updating friends with every change in their status, when the news isn't that they've gotten hired, launched a company, bought something expensive? When their buddies can't find work, when their startups run out of money, when they start leaving town en masse, what will they do? Promise to stay Facebook friends?
Can you imagine a photo op that Julia Allison wouldn't attend? What happens in Vegas goes instantly to Valleywag, Allison knows, and so she flew to Las Vegas to attend Randi Zuckerberg's bachelorette party. Zuckerberg, whose wig-and-sunglasses disguise did not deter the Web's paparazzi, is a budding Web video star, Facebook's marketing director, and, unlike younger brother Mark, an actual Harvard graduate. In what's surely a first, Allison, the tech-obsessed TV personality, managed not to hog the camera; she's in only one of the shots. Facebook's Meagan Marks also appears sporting what looks like a freshly acquired head wound. A slip and fall on the dance floor? Our informants are investigating. In the meantime, enjoy the evidence of Zuckerberg's bacchanal. A warning: If plastic sex toys offend your coworkers, one photo may be unsuitable for office computers.
We hear that friends of Randi Zuckerberg, better known as nerd chanteuse Randi Jayne, are surprising the Facebook marketer with a bachelorette party in Las Vegas this weekend. The place: the Hard Rock Hotel, where they've secured two suites. (Zuckerberg is set to wed Brent Tworetzky, an associate at Shasta Ventures, in May.) The bacchanalia's expected to last all weekend, including a dinner at Tao and a night out at Rain. Who's going?
What is it about the women Facebook hires? I'm sure they're all brilliant, but it needs to be said: The hot social network has equally hot personnel. Randi Jayne, sister of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, finally outs herself on video as a Facebook employee in this clip. But the video doesn't do her justice — as you might have noticed in her "Dontcha" iPhone video, she's distressingly cute. Her colleague, Meagan Marks, gives a sales pitch for working at Facebook that's best appreciated with the mute button on. And spokesperson Brandee Barker? Alas, she's not captured in this video, but you can check her out in this AllThingsD.com video. Or just take our word for it: Total babe.
Facebook has been called "the Brangelina of tech" for its ability to mesmerize the Valley's press corps. Insiders at the red-hot social network don't want to believe it. But it's true. At last night's Lunch 2.0 event — a periodic gathering where Silicon Valley companies take turns serving up free food — Facebook showed off its inability to cope with its newfound popularity. Even the timing reflected the crush of interest in the event: Facebook's caterers declared themselves unable to accommodate the lunch crowd, so Facebook turned it into a happy-hour event instead. Facebook's undersized cafeteria was filled with developers, Facebook execs, and assorted hangers-on who packed themselves in like college freshmen at a kegger. Even ostensibly sober types like the Wall Street Journal's Vauhini Vara, shown here double-fisting beers, found themselves caught up in the frat-party atmosphere.