VentureBeat Staff PhotoVentureBeat is quickly approaching a major milestone. By the end of this week, we’ll have reached 100,000 likes on our Facebook page. That’s a testament to you, our awesome community of readers who have joined us along the way.

Facebook has been a special story for us. I remember interviewing Mark Zuckerberg in 2005, shortly after he arrived in Silicon Valley and opened an office on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Facebook was tiny, but growing quickly. Zuckerberg sat cross-legged, and talked confidently about the company’s future. I launched VentureBeat not long after that, in 2006. Facebook, and its subsequent development into the world’s social-networking powerhouse, has arguably been the most consistently fascinating story VentureBeat has covered.

Facebook is still in the early chapters of its life story. Similarly, it feels like we at VentureBeat are still in the early chapters of our own story.

We’ve seen competitors grow fast, then sell out, often from exhaustion. We’ve seen others raise vast amounts of cash from investors, price themselves high, and now struggle to fulfill that valuation — and their product has suffered. By contrast, VB has raised very little money, is growing consistently, is profitable, and we’re feeling as energetic and optimistic about our future as ever. We’re going to keep adding great writers, bringing you the news stories that matter, and developing our business with new ideas.

So this is a very special moment in our trajectory, and we want to share thanks with our loyal readers and fans. So we’ve set up a contest to celebrate this occasion.

The prize? A special dinner with myself (in the picture above, that’s me sitting in the middle of our incredible team) and reporter/star of VBWeekly, Jolie O’Dell (sixth from the left, in the white top). We’ll also send the winner and nine runner-ups a custom “VentureBeat 100,000 Likes” t-shirt — our first ever official t-shirt release, by the way.

Here’s how the contest works:

Share your interpretations of what VentureBeat means to you. The more creative, the better.

The most memorable, moving, or plain blow-us-out-of-the-water submission will win. And if appropriate, we’ll also publish your interpretation on VentureBeat.

Here are some ideas:

  • Create an 851 x 315 pixel image around the “100,000 likes” theme (if you win, we’ll put it up as our cover photo on Facebook for a week)
  • Draw a picture
  • Make a short video
  • Write a poem
  • Code something up
  • Start a meme
  • Or anything else you can dream up!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Like the VentureBeat Facebook Fan Page if you have not already. You MUST be a fan our page to be qualified to win
  2. Send an email submission to with your file attached or in the body of the email. Make sure “100,000 Likes” is in the subject line.
  3. Submissions must be made by this Friday 5/25 at 5pm PT.

Thanks again to everyone in the VB community, and we look forward to celebrating with you!

Contest winner(s) will be chosen at the sole discretion of the VentureBeat staff. You must be a fan of the VentureBeat Facebook page and follow every instruction described above to be eligible to win the contest. By participating in this 100,000 Facebook Likes VentureBeat contest, you fully and unconditionally agree to and accept the rules and the decisions of the VentureBeat staff, which are final and binding in all matters related to the contest. Due to location restrictions, dinner can only be provided in San Francisco, CA or New York City, NY. We are unable to provide airfare, transportation, or accommodations for you if you live outside those areas. If you are chosen as our winner and cannot participate in a dinner because of location, we’ll facilitate a Skype session with Matt and Jolie and send you a $100 gift certificate to your favorite restaurant.

[Photo by RC Rivera.  Unfortunately a few of our key players are not in the photo, including Dean Takahashi, Nate Werlin, our non-SF writers Jennifer Van Grove, Devindra Hardawar, Tom Cheredar,  and Sean Ludwig, and our NY sales manager Angie Waters.]