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Los Angeles had its first Lunch 2.0

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Last Friday, a hundred or so technology and internet locals filled up the offices of ThisNext.com in Santa Monica for a little lunch and lots of conversation and networking. It's called Lunch 2.0, a phenomenon that began serendipitously in Google's lunchroom. In short, this is how the free meal with geeks got started: Guy gets fired from Google, makes big headlines, invited to Google's lunchroom to eat with a friend, fired guy brings a friend too, one who wanted to hit all Silicon Valley lunchrooms before the dot-com bubble burst back in 2000:

"There I am, my first meal at Google, sneaking into Google, sitting in Google's lobby, reading Google's copy of a newspaper with a business article about how Google fired the guy standing right next to me for blogging about Google," Chay wrote on his blog. "That was a great lunch. The first among many, though I didn't know it at the time."

From there, all the previous events and some future ones beget Lunch 2.0, which went from sneaky to sanctioned, from unofficial to RSVP'd. Now dot-com companies use it to show off what they do, find prospective new hires and give a free lunch to their peers at other companies.

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And that's exactly what ThisNext.com did. We did not know what they were all about, but now we know they are the Yelp of products, from clothes to gadgets ("a shopcasting network where you can discover, recommend and share things you love. Everything is recommended by real people like you"). They were not shy about hiring either. As you served yourself some food, a white board above announced in big blue letters they were hiring and here are the job titles. And it seemed like everyone was there: socalTECH, Jib Jab, Wired (they wrote about it too), USC, Jason Calacanis, small companies and big companies alike were all there. There was even a guy looking to spend a billion dollars on a new web or technology product.

All in all, a huge success that will no doubt continue to buzz Los Angeles' internet and tech scene. Behind the scenes of the event were "Tech Vixen", heathervescent, and Andrew Warner, an all around cool guy who we totally forgot what he does or who we works for (please fill in that blank). We look forward to what those two will bring us next.

Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist