Just An Online Minute... Pruning With BrightRoll's Urban Garden Party

BrightRoll Urban Garden Office Warming Party, BrightRoll Offices, New York
July 24, 2008

When I hear the phrase "garden party," I cringe. I think of ladies in lace with floppy hats, harrumphing about Felicity's performance at the cotillion, and men in seersucker suits sipping mint juleps gurgling about "the links" and why Bitsy won't let Hoover the schnauzer sleep in the bed. I stuffed my cringing in a sack due to my weirdo nerdy love of other people's office spaces and had to say "oh, indeed" to BrightRoll's garden party invitation for more than two reasons. Read on, and I'll net it out for you.

Reason one: the invitation. Did BrightRoll put a bunch of skinny hungry gals in glittery sequined tops fresh from Searle (and not the sale rack) and "stunna shades" (oh, look it up) "networking" on their invitation? No! They used real, street level visual elements like the subway marquee (not the sandwich, weirdo), with taxis zooming by. Imagery aside, the clincher was the copy. Pure irreverent snarkery complete with my favorite in the FAQ section:



Who's coming?
You! And your colleagues from top agencies and publishers. But no one else. Here's why not:

Linking to the overly sunned king of all dingbats? You can see why I had to go.

Reason two: location. Now, I know some of you Mad Ave. mad men (and women) probably look down the bridge of your surgically altered noses at that area of 55th b/t Park and Lex that itches toward the Upper East Side in the too-close-to-Bloomingdale's neighborhood. But kids, the location of the new, very woody, and very green BrightRoll offices is near the shiny digs of Blue Outdoor, where my +1 veeps it up, and I have fond first neighborhood memories of that area. And really, aren't you curious about what defines an urban garden? Does that mean they grow baby 6 train rats instead of eggplants? No, it means that behind the indoor shared area of the building is a disorienting oasis of lush green plants plopping around the brick walls. Accented by a rushing waterfall over large round pebbles was the New York equivalent of The Secret Garden. I half expected a little character from King's Quest to come out and dance a goblin jig.

It was threatening to rain all early evening, which proved to be empty threats as not a drop descended while I stalked the fun and friendly guests. My first victim was Michael Capecci, Bloomberg, with his day glow, you'll-never-lose-this, business card. Outside, I found Lewis Rothkopf, who created a party mix of "the 80's, 90's and today." Rothkopf, who was entertaining us with Brent Pero, Regional Sales Director at, is a verbose fellow who buried his Long Island accent years ago while manning the traffic reporter mic. Now he's VP Network Development at BrightRoll, and agrees that the ever-changing, shuffling, and effervescing online media industry is an incestuous one -- "but the good kind," snickered Rothkopf.

Reason three (unforeseen!): the people. Good people. Even Veronica Halbeck, who probably wanted to choke me for taking what she thought was a less than flattering photo of her at the ContextWeb breakfast session, was a good egg, willing to laugh at the situation -- even posing for two more pictures with the other victim of my sometimes super-lame captioning, Connie Kwok. Both Connie and Veronica tag-teamed the party from About.

Ross Cohen, VP, Business Development and his WorldNow posse were a comedic troupe that reminded me a little of the Webby awards people, nerdy chic fun. I almost forgot to mention Tod Sacerdoti, CEO & Founder of BrightRoll, not because he's forgettable, but because you save the best for last, right? This guy felt real. See, Sacerdoti probably knows I can find all I need to know in a nutshell about BrightRoll online, or more in depth through a phone call, so he didn't feel the need to sell sell sell his business and become the human quote generator. Nope, he just hung out, snarked, sipped, and enjoyed his own party like a human, not a C-level robot.

I guess this positive experience means I'll be RSVPing to the positive for more garden parties. But only urban garden parties.

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