It didn’t start with a monkey, or a tiger. Or even a million-dollar blowout with Snoop performing in a hazy fog. For me, it started with schwag. Lots and lots of schwag. So much, in fact, that in 2006 a group of enterprising tech folks at RubyRed Labs started a side company named Valleyschwag, selling leftover tech schwag for $15. You read that correctly; people would willingly pay a $15 monthly subscription to get poorly-sized, Hanes Beefy T’s with now-defunct tech logos on them. And it was positioned as an opportunity; to quote Michael Arrington on this very site, “sometimes it’s easy to forget that a lot of people out there don’t have the opportunity to get schwag from their favorite startups.” Times, how they have changed (though I still do cherish my Dodgeball shirt).

The Valleyschwag Hoedown was the first ‘tech party’ that I experienced in San Francisco. It…

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