Antifreeze for the winter in Seattle

There was a great article in the Seattle PI on Friday about Seattle Anti-Freeze and how their participative, theme-based gender-balanced parties are “finding a cure for the common cold”.

Gayle Laakmann, one of Anti-freeze’s founders, interned for me several years ago at Microsoft Research, and since this gave me an opportunity to get in on the ground floor for when she’s running the universe, I’ve made a point of staying in touch with her. Gayle’s posts like Evite vs. Facebook invites and Report card on Evite and its alternatives (looking at Renkoo, socializer, etc.) are not only incredibly useful in their own right, they also give a behind-the-scenes look at how an idea that started as a one-shot party took off on social networks. Now, other events and subgroups are starting up: an indoor soccer team, runners who “often break bread and enjoy some drinks after their runs”, ski and snowboard bums … no doubt more to follow.

Interestingly, both the article and Gayle’s recent A shout-out to other groups post highlight that this is part of a larger trend focusing on participative events. Why should burners have all the fun?

In any case, it’s a relief to know that once Gayle’s in charge of things, there’ll be good parties. It’s something for all potential future overlords* to keep in mind: everybody knows, fun rules.

* in the gender-neutral sense of the word, of course