February 27, 2005

Auctions, Demos, Interesting Meetings

Okay.. done with the oscars.. not that interesting snarking on the perfect people.. anyway.. back to the rest of the last week.. though we did get the obligatory sermon about copying .. ooops, I mean the sermon on supporting the troops....

So I went to the Origins of Cyberspace auction on Wednesday at Christie's, and Mitch Kapor was there, buying the first biz plan for a computer company, the Eniac, and the first computer brochure, among about 8 items. It was a really cool experience seeing things get auctioned that way. First of all, anyone can go unless it's a popular auction requiring tickets. It's very formal, with auctioners changing about every hour. This one took about 2 hours, 15 minutes, so we had two different auctioners. There were phone banks to the sides, and phoned in bids were competing with those in the room. There were 5 or 6 people in the room who bid, including Mitch. The style of it represented a very formal old tradition, and yet there we were, looking at representations of cyberspace. Steven Levy was in the audience, as well as some other techy journalists, a few geeks with laptop bags... the woman at the front desk told me after a trip to the women's room that this particular auction had drawn an unusual crowd for them. Many of the items went for far less than estimated in the catalog, but a few went for more, with very rapid interested bidding. The Eniac biz plan was one of those sought after items.

Later that night, at the Trimtrab meeting at Google, Mitch was there, along with other folks who listened to Susan Crawford ask for brainstorming ideas for her NetDay initiative. The idea is that the net is fragile, an organic and mutable place, with lots of pressure to control it from small but powerful interests, and it's young enough that people don't yet have the experience they might need to judge whether or how much to protect the free and organic nature of it. So making people aware of these qualities and thoughts about conservation is a major goal for NetDay.

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 27, 2005 06:36 PM | TrackBack