It finally took an act of god to accomplish, but it was high time everybody heard a little bit from the tech team. (See more on the “Our Team” page soon.) While we are normally a social bunch and can work a bar as well as a keyboard, I wanted to give a chance to the Venture Cafe patrons who are not-so-regulars or don’t know who your friendly tech team is to talk about some of the work that is constantly going on behind the scenes to produce the wonderful site and technology behind what you all know as Venture Cafe. From the great new website and blog to the virtual nametag system to our auto-login capabilities and LinkedIn integration and several other goodies we have planned, we have come pretty far in the short while the team has been together.

I plan to make a couple posts about the thought processes that went into the design and development of some of our most talked about features, but today we go all the way back to Day 1. The transition of making a simple sticky-sided piece of paper with corny printing and a badly scrawled name as something that has existed since the dawn of the invention of paper (and glue and sharpies…) into a technologically complicated design exercise. Actually, before I scare anyone, it is actually easier for a user walking into Venture Cafe to get their virtual nametag up than to use the old pen and paper routine. Eventually you will literally be able to just walk in and you’re on the site. That’s it. It’s only complicated when you try to build the system. Using it is a piece of cake. Promise 😀

In order to help along those ‘fresh and useful conversations’ the cafe is creating, we’ve reached out to technology to supplement the lacking or awkward and eliminate the unnecessary, but we also need to just get the hell out when it can’t do any more good. We wanted a system that could show everyone else in the cafe who was there, what they looked like and a little bit about themselves. I’ll cover the gory details of how that is accomplished later, but just think about that proposition. Before you have even said a word to anyone, you know the name of everyone who is in the cafe with you, what they are working on and a few bits of background information. You also know exactly what they are thinking about most right now through the dynamic status updates attached to each nametag and not only that you know what they look like and can seek them out directly. How long would it take you to get that same amount of information at a traditional technology networking night? How many intros would you have to go through about the next Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare imitator to get to the one guy who is working on keeping coffee mugs warm with wifi signals and whom you think your mom and pop router company would be a great partner for. Go ahead and think about how long that would take. I’ll wait.

In fact, I’ll wait till the next post. Good luck and don’t lose count,

Colin