Buddy Media Office Warming/Funding Announcement, 21 Penn Plaza, New York
October 18, 2010
Buddy Media's Joe Ciarallo is good at PR. He doesn't gush obscenely about how awesome you, you and you are -- so you never have reason to question his sincerity. I mean, we can't all be awesome, can we? He's even-keeled, not easily riled, so he appears to have everything under control, and when he says something, it's hard not to take him at his word. Oh Joe, you suckered me into a non-party.
I walked up and down 31st between 8th and 9th questioning NYC's numbering conventions. I mean, if I'm supposed to arrive at 21 Penn Plaza, closer to 8th than 9th, but from 8th to 9th the number increase from 220 to 360, how is this even possible? Finally I found a sign for 21 Penn Plaza and it was a raw space, gated off, with a huge development sign for 21 Penn Plaza Realty. What. The. Heck. I texted Buddy Media's Jenean Chapman, who by the way was sick and wasn't even attending the party: "I have no idea how, but I'm lost." I decided to just walk into lobbies and look at directories. I picked 360 Penn Plaza.
"This is 21 Penn Plaza," smiled the security guard. "See, it's on the door." True, it is on the door, but the door isn't readable from the street. However, the other number the building goes by IS. Sigh.
The elevator opened up on the 12th floor to silence. Silence and bright-blue and green walls. Yup, this was Buddy Media. I walked into the office space and my jaw dropped. Crisp. HUGE. Corporate. Unless you've seen the previous office, you wouldn't gasp at such a marked change, but this was like going from a VW Golf to a stretch Hummer. HUGE. Row upon row of desks lined their new space, some occupied, some waiting for new butts to fill the seats. A lot of new butts. According to Jeff Ragovin, Buddy Media Chief Revenue Officer, they've grown to a nice round 100 employees, and plans are to keep growing.
I felt weird. The Buddy Media space has always felt so cozy, but this space? Well, it felt like I was at IBM again. This isn't a bad thing. It's a change. If it makes you uncomfortable, it's because you're having flashbacks to when Chauncey stopped playing with My Little Pony and started chasing boys, yet you still wanted to play My Little Pony. Buddy Media has grown up, and their recent pocket full of 23 million bucks of funding is going to help them get some pretty hot dates.
I was led to the cafeteria, where the "party" and the "Hill Country BBQ" were supposed to be. Joe, Joe, Joe (imagine me tsking a little). Even the Pat Burek from Ruder Finn, who greeted me at the door, seemed confused when I kept saying "I am SO READY to eat some BBQ!" to the point where I said, "There IS BBQ isn't there? Joe promised BBQ!" Burek was silent, then said, "I don't know about BBQ, but we did just bring out the snacks. There are little meat sandwiches." My heart sank. I was so excited for BBQ! There must have been some horrible mistake! Calm down, there was an order from Hill Country in the form of little meat sandwiches, gooey hot mac 'n' cheese, corn bread, and some still unidentifiable white meat situation. But still. BBQ means sloppy pork somewhere.
But really, this isn't about food, it's about the Buddy Media "party" which wasn't technically a party. It was a press briefing wearing a lampshade and I figured it out as soon as Mike Lazerow said the word "deck." Parties don't have "decks." To his credit, it was the most painless deck ever. Quick, thanking clients, announcing their sweet chunk of change, letting everyone know they're Software As A Service (SaaS), and pointing out new clients like Build-A-Bear and Coca-Cola.
Listening with me was the entire writing staff from Mediabistro. Almost. Let's see, there were AgencySpy's Kiran Aditham, TVNewser's Alex Weprin, Donya Blaze, and CEO Laurel Touby. I spotted Touby earlier in the evening hanging by the bobbleheads with Greycroft Partners Founder Alan Patricof. After the deck I saw Sharon Feder Hirsch of Mashable pop in. It is always a pleasure to see her, so I was delighted (yes, delighted) when she settled in at the table where I was inhaling mac 'n' cheese. We were joined by Mashable's Brett Petersel (fresh from Vegas) and Meghan Peters, Community Assistant at Mashable.
Also enjoying the bright lights of the Buddy Media cafeteria were Dave Honig, Vice President, Platform Sales, Buddy Media, Gregory Galant, founder of Sawhorse Media, and Stacy Green, Marketing Manager, Social Media, Digital Partnerships, & APIS at The New York Times.
Good-natured poking about "BBQ" and "Party" aside, one thing that remains constant about Buddy Media is the good people around them. I could have sat at that silly cafeteria table talking to Brett about Angry Birds and to Sharon about spin class and the origins of Zumba all night (and Kiran's past life as a monster-nose-ring-wearing DJ).
If I had to pick a favorite spot in the office, it would be The Totes Lounge, a cozy little corner of Jeff Ragovin's office where on Fridays, Scotch O'Clock is the hottest ticket this side of Madison Square Garden.
Congratulations to Buddy Media on the funding and the roller-rink-sized offices! I look forward to the next big REAL Buddy Media party.