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:
- 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
- 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.
-zipcar founder will be at the next meetup talking about his new car pooling service (5th june)
All in all, definitely worth going to, and great to see young businesses trying to make-it.