by Brian Solis (enjoying a glass of Bordeaux while I write this…)

Ameryl Hoang, Chris Lavery, Stowe Boyd

We attended Tech Connection 5 at L’Atelier-BNP Paribas in San Francisco to enjoy French wine, cheese, and a very interesting line up of promising French tech companies.

Tech Connection is designed for entrepreneurs of the tech community and their staff to meet regularly and network with their peers, press, angels, and VCs.

The presentations were held at one minute and followed by a “speed geeking” demo format.

Tech Connection is organized by the Embassy of France Economic Department and the French American Chamber of Commerce.

Presenting companies included:

  • Mobissimo, Béatrice Tarka, CEO & Founder
  • Djingle, Régis Cazanave, CEO & Founder
  • Yoono, Pascal Josselin, CEO & Founder
  • Criteo, Jean-Baptiste Rudelle, CEO & Founder
  • Grandcentral, Vincent Paquet, COO & Founder
  • Protomobl, Eduardo Sciammarella, CEO & Founder
  • Qipit, Benoit Bergeret, CEO & Founder

For more pictures from the event, please visit the album on flickr.

Click Here For Video

by Lorna Li

Grouper’s party at Ondine, Sausalito, gets a score of 9. And the reason for their celebration?

Grouper Networks
, a video sharing site with 8 million users, was recently bought by Sony…and guess what? They’re hiring.

In an effort to lure new talent to their company, Grouper hosted a recruiting party at the tres chic Ondine, where guests dropped their names and job interests into a basket and then enjoyed the open bar, delectable seafood spread, artisan cheeses by Cowgirl Creamery, heavenly deserts. Still not convinced?

The evening was topped by the surprise appearance of Burning Man‘s very own, Extra Action Marching Band. Be warned, this is not the marching band your parents wanted you to join in high school.

New recruits, don’t be perturbed by Grouper’s racy edge – after all they do videos, not financial services. But if the culture and creativity don’t convince you, perhaps the money will.

Last August, Grouper was bought by Sony for $65 million – not bad for a site, that, at 8 million users, still does not even make a dent in the online video market. According to Hitwise, YouTube, at 46%, still holds the lion’s share of the online video market, trailed by MySpace Video’s at 21% and Google Video at 10%. Startup competitors such as Revver Inc. of Los Angeles, Grouper Networks Inc. of Sausalito, Calif., and MetaCafe Inc. of Tel Aviv only grab a few percentage points of online video market share.

Yet, in a world, the hype surrounding online video has triggered lofty valuations and huge acquisitions, even though these companies still don’t have a clear way of monetizing their sites. But when Sony’s your daddy, monetization is merely an afterthought.

Why Sony would find an unknown video sharing startup with a mere 8 million users a compelling buy (to the tune of $65 million) has been the cause of much debate and speculation. While Grouper says it’ll work with Sony to promote the company’s movies and TV shows on the site, perhaps Grouper’s existing peer-to-peer network could be an appealing way to distribute high-quality downloadable movies?

Held at the Levende Lounge in San Francisco, Level 3, The Forbin Group, and Force 10 connected some of the most forward-thinking minds to discuss a digital world whose only constant is change.

Adriana Gascoigne and the team was there to cover the “Temporary Comprehension” event.

Panelists included: Raj Patel, Yahoo and Jim Pitkow, Angel Investors LP.

The event purported that much like the digital world, your visions and ideas would set the agenda for what was discussed. Investors, innovators and those in between, came together to make a moment of understanding on the edge of the next and to create a state of…Temporary Comprehension.

Click Here For Movie

For pictures, visit Julie Blaustein’s Photobucket album.

by Brian Solis

Unfortunately this weekend marked his last show – well for now anyway. While we’re all sad to see “the show” come to an end, we are all happy that he can move on to bigger and better things.

Is Zefrank the latest video blogger crossing over to Hollywood? Like Amanda Congdon’s jump from RocketBoom to ABC News and HBO, Zefrank will most likely evolve into a star on TV and/or movies.

At the time of this writing, there are over 1,200 comments on his last show.

You can view the last episode here.

You can see Amanda on Mondays at and Wednesdays on She is also currently developing a show for HBO that will feature both television and online components.

More on the subject:
Robert Scoble
Laughing Squid
Mark Evans
Will Pate

by Brian Solis

Photo Credit: Scott Beale of Laughing Squid

Om Malik broke the news, Michael Arrington also confirmed it yesterday.

Heather Harde senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Fox Interactive Media has joined TechCrunch as its new CEO – making the power combo very

Per Arrington, “I have the pleasure of confirming the rumors Heather Harde, currently the SVP of Mergers and Acquisitions at Fox Interactive Media, will start her new job as the CEO of the TechCrunch Network (and my boss) by the end of the month.”

If you attend the hottest and most elite 2.0 events, you’ve seen her, and, maybe you’ve been lucky enough to meet her. Harde seems to be one of the few who have established a spotless and genuine reputation in the Valley, which will help carry her to a successful, early retirement.

What’s in store for TechCrunch? Perhaps a new branch – TechCrunch Ventures?

As one can imagine, there must be more to the story than simply running the affairs of TechCrunch – other than editorial.

Harde managed a $2 billion budget and was charged with strategic acquisitions for Fox Interactive and she’s been with the company for ten years. So are there acquisitions or investments in TechCrunch’s future?

It’s already widely known that Mike has stakes in several startups, and isn’t terribly concerned with editorial objectivity for covering these companies.

While there are rumors that Heather might explore media acquisitions to grow the TechCrunch empire, I question whether or not the return will be as great as other “acquisitions” or potentially early seed financing for up-and-coming Web 2.0 companies.

Just think about how much it must have cost to bring her on board (well, and to keep her there). Perhaps she joins Keith Teare as the third share holder of TechCrunch?

Arrington continues, “There is a lot for her to do. She will run every aspect of our business other than editorial, which I’ll be focusing on for now. Heather’s job will be to leverage the opportunities that we have sometimes let slip by, and to manage our organic and acquisition growth going forward.”

According to Ben Metcalfe, “Many are speculating that TechCrunch will expand its media empire, like Gawker Media and GigaOmniMedia, into new topic genres. However this still seems like relative peanuts for someone like Heather and so I think TechCrunch will be getting into the Venture Capital game.”

I agree. If this were the case (which it might be anyway through organic growth), then Heather’s resume might be a bit over qualified.

Ben pointed out that Tim O’Reilly, Mr. Web 2.0, recently launched AlphaTech Ventures and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Mike and Heather are sharp, connected, and ripe with opportunity to take TechCrunch into an entirely new level of influence and financial stature – while solidifying an influential future post boom.

Either way, it’s a huge move for TechCrunch and I hope a very promising venture for Heather.

I look forward to what’s next. For those looking for additional information, check Techmeme 1, 2, 3

Update: Visit PR2.0 for the latest on this subject – live comments from Twitter.