Psst, have you heard? A backer dishes on social media upstart Watercooler

I wanted to talk to Maha Ibrahim because I kept running into Watercooler. Not a real watercooler, but the community-based fan and games network that's generating lots of buzz in social networking. Ibrahim is a general partner at Canaan Partners, a $3 billion venture capital fund that's one of Silicon Valley's oldest. Several people I knew were either using Watercooler products, pitching business to the Mountain View, Calif.-based company or studying its business model.

Ibrahim sits on the company's board because Canaan was the first venture investor in the company. Talking to VCs about their investments often will give you a very different version of the story that you hear from the CEOs of the bank-rolled companies. In this case, I had heard Ibrahim speak before and was impressed. Ibrahim's Web profile bills her as a "technology trend spotter with deep operational experience." All true.