New York Tech Meetup – May 1st – Review

meetup

I finally made it to my first NYC Tech Meetup last night. This meetup is billed as an event where ” … each month at 7PM, 6 people get 5 minutes each to demo something cool to New York’s tech community (geeks, investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, etc)”.

A bunch of my friends who wanted to attend couldn’t make it for various reasons, so I promised to post some notes … so here goes:

Setting:
– Large room @ The Great Hall on the NYU campus (east village)
– I think over 600+ RSVP’d … I estimated about 400 people showed up
– like so many tech events, the pre show including the obligatory beatles soundtrack
– meetup google mashup on the projector was impressive, reminded me of twittervision.com

Intro:
– the CEO (or was he a co-founder ? ) kicked things off with the announcement that meetup is hiring smart engineers.

First presentation: Ventbox
– “everybody vents – this site is for angry people”
– vent about any topic, vent with other people
– pull a widget of vents onto your own blogs/myspace/etc
– on the newyork mag approval matrix – Nate wanted to know if his site was “lowbrow” – got a few laughs
– biggest current “vent” topic: george bush
– bottom line: interesting, but I don’t see the demand or the real monetization play here,  although there is a larger platform idea that could be cool.

Second presentation: Gatsb
– “Gatsb allows you to post pictures and notes about what you’re doing from your mobile phone to share with your friends and the world…”
– all about mobile sharing and social networking
– find popular places
– track friends / places
– bottom line: seems like twitter w/ pix, or dodgeball, and maybe some yelp style opportunities if people post reviews. Cool stuff, but not sure it’s that innovative.

Third presentation: MOUSE and the OLPC ($100 laptop project)
– students from MOUSE presented their experience with the OLPC.
– MOUSE supports school tech
– feedback on the OLPC “girls loved the design”
– ease of use: “keyboard is really small – have to use one hand sometimes”
– linux feedback on OLPC: sugar is a ‘weird’ flavor of linux
– learning curve when students first use the OLPC: 30 minutes
– challenges with OLPC: “no manual” or help docs, only a wiki for developer. MOUSE decided to put up their own wiki to help students.
– benefit of MOUSE: “nyc kids will help kids around the world”
– students view of social networks, “I ‘hate myspace and facebook”
– bottom line: great to hear feedback on OLPC — we all have high hopes for it.

Fourth presentation: House Party
– Gene DeRose presented (current founder, and former head & founder of Jupiter )
– they organize, plan and execute on house parties with a viral/marketing angle
– includes photos/ social networking aspects
– brings together disparate events
– bring marketers to audience
– introduce new products, viral, non profits, mobilize, breast cancer awareness parties for example
– turnekey in home event production
– host screening and data mining
– tivo hook
– templated pages
– they are also a small agency, fast process via great tools
– credit card to qualify/screen 18+
– typical price: $100k, 6-8 weeks to organize nationwide
– coming soon: party to save the planet …largest party ever
– what do guests get: ‘exclusives’ ..new movie footage, new song, giveaway, etc
– bottom line: moveon meets evite for the home — really slick. easily the most polished presentation of the night

Fifth presentation: hitchsters.com
– presented by terry and jason. One guy ran the demo, the other was the founder/idea guy.
– basic premise: meetup to share a cab to the airport or back and save money
– you can select gender preference m/f
– part of the pitch, “save cash and/or meet women/men”
– alerts via sms text
– business model: sell leads to car service
– bottom line: could be something people used, and biz model is fairly simple. some privacy issues came up, and the founder/idea guy had a hard time answering questions about who built in, platform, etc.

Other announcements:
-zipcar founder will be at the next meetup talking about his new car pooling service (5th june)

more feedback/reactions.

All in all, definitely worth going to, and great to see young businesses trying to make-it.

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