There are only a few things you need to know about the party tech evangelist Robert Scoble threw this week in Las Vegas.
- It was sponsored by Yo, an app that literally only lets you send messages that say “Yo” to your friends.
- It was in a suite on the 61st floor of the Cosmopolitan, one of the pricier hotels in Vegas.
- The view was great.
- On the night I went, it was technically a dry party. “Soft drinks only,” according to the Facebook event invitation.
- When someone opened the door to the suite, the sour aroma of marijuana smoke wafted out. It smelled like a college dorm room.
The scene was bizarre. Most people were crowded on the balcony taking in the view. I didn’t recognise anyone at the party, and left after about five minutes.
But the party perfectly exemplifies what goes on beyond the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show every year. Every company here is thirsty for eyeballs. And free booze in a venue with spectacular views is a good way to lure people in.
Yo, despite its simplicity, was one of the hottest apps last summer. After its launch, it quickly blasted to the top of Apple’s App Store. That rapid growth had VCs drooling, and it wasn’t long before the app secured $US1.5 million in funding at a $US5 million valuation.
But just as quickly as Yo rose to prominence, the buzz wore off. As of this writing, it’s not even in the top 100 on App Store charts.