Monday, June 23, 2008

an out-of-blogging experience

On Wednesday, I was wrapping up things at work when I got a Facebook message from Jason Kilar, the CEO of Hulu was throwing a cocktail party at 5:30 that evening at The W Hotel and it was a last minute invitation, but would I like to come? Jason had found me through this post I wrote back in March. My first impulse was to confirm that Hulu did, indeed, have a CEO named Jason Kilar. I couldn't fathom why I was receiving a personal invitation from the CEO of a rising internet media company; I swear, I had no other affiliation with Hulu other than to profess my love for it on my blog. But I've professed my love for Full House here and John Stamos has yet to e-mail (John, seriously, what are you waiting for?). This "Jason Kilar" might be pulling my leg. I looked up The W Hotel and found it was not-too-far from my office downtown. I'd have to delay my very important dinner plans (Hamburger Helper Lasagna mmm boy), but, what the hey, right?

The party was up on the 33rd floor of The W. It's right at Lakeshore and Ontario, and there's a beautiful lake view from up there. I was one of the first guests arriving right at the crack of 5:30. The woman at the door seemed suspicious of my presence. I looked not at all like a muckety muck advertising exec (the party was to woo potential advertisers and not bloggers who drink a few cans of Icehouse and post things on the internets at 2AM while wearing $10 lingerie. Go figure). "Uhh... Jason invited me?" I said, question mark.

Jason was talking with some of the staff, and the woman walked me toward the open bar and asked how I knew Jason. "He e-mailed me a couple hours ago." Which only sort of answered her question. I got a drink -- top shelf open bar -- double fist pump yeah. And then I met Jason. He was excited to meet me and thanked me for coming on such a last-minute invitation. He had found my blog post back in March and remembered I was from Chicago. My posting had come through on Google Alerts when they were tracking any mentions of Hulu once the site went public. Specifically, he really liked what I said about Hulu: "My first Hulu experience made my head explode in a brain-spray of awesome." That they've been kind of using the statement as a touchstone sentiment. Then he called one of the Hulu staffers over and asked him to turn around and show me the back of his Hulu t-shirt. And there it was, my endorsement from this here blog, on the back of a t-shirt. They even spelled my name right.

(and the front...)
They printed up these t-shirts for the Hulu staff and development team to celebrate the Hulu launch in March, and the staff wears the shirt at promotional events. Jason introduced me to the staff as the Marisa from the back of the t-shirt. It was oddly flattering, like discovering my debut single had tanked in the States but that I'd unknowingly been rock star in Japan for the past few months. My quotation was also on their cocktail napkins in rotation with some other Hulu user quotes. I grabbed some napkins, but after a few vodka-sodas and greasy crab cake hors d'oeuvres, I did what anybody would do with a cocktail napkin and therefore have no cocktail napkins to share. But I do have the t-shirt and some other Hulu swag. And as if the top shelf liquor open bar weren't enough, the food tables overflowed with sushi, swanky steak sandwiches, shrimp kabob-y things, chicken empenadas, chocolate mousse -- holy crap, screw you Hamburger Helper. Funny, these things I type at odd hours, on the internets and wherever. I never know where they will go or what they will mean to anybody. If I get a t-shirt out of it, that's cool too.

(One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies on, yes, Hulu. If you haven't seen Back to the Future, forget it. You are dead to me. Well not dead dead. You have some catching up to do in movie-watching)