Viral Tech Report 2.1
With now over 30,000 members the NY Tech Meetup is continuing its strong growth and its position as the largest community among the thousands to be found at Meetup.com. Interestingly, even though the February 5th’s Meetup tickets sold out within minutes as is usual, many of the attendees were first timers, showing that newcomers are just as motivated as old timers in snagging an available seat.
Jessica Lawrence, Executive Director, began the event by announcing a new initiative to impact the upcoming New York City elections by inviting the community to participate in developing public policy proposals which will be presented to individuals running for office in advance of candidate forums to be scheduled this Spring.
As Jessica pointed out, “Tech isn’t just an industry anymore, it’s something that impacts every aspect of our lives” and with the 2013 city wide elections just around the corner, the NY Tech Meetup is trying to elevate a policy conversation by inviting the community participate and get around what the city needs to help it become even more of a center for tech and innovation in the future. The idea is to start a conversation and to come up with a set of policy goals that the NY Tech meetup can present as a ‘community created set of goals’ to all the candidates who are running for city wide office, and then host forums with the candidates to have discussions about tech. Also, recognizing major Bloomberg’s efforts to help New York become a city that is known for tech innovation, the NY Tech Meetup is stepping up to make sure it stays that way.
You can review, vote, comment and add your ideas at the NY Tech Meetup Ideascale site here.
But let’s get to the tech. This month’s meetup had a lot of companies that that have been around for a while and already presented at the NY Tech Meetup before, so we got to see firsthand how they evolved over time and realize how startups are gaining strength and keep on going strong in today’s economy.
As we mentioned, tech has an impact of every aspect of our lives, even when it comes to dating and meeting people. HowAboutWe.com, which demoed at the NY Tech Meetup 2 years ago with an online dating app, showed us their new path: The first live style membership service for couples, helping the modern couple have a wonderful experience.
The guys from OK Cupid Labs on the other hand, presented Combosaurus. A site that allows to discover particular interest and most importantly: people. By combining personal interest and filtering them by categories, users get interest and people suggestions with a match percentage and comparative results, to find the right person for them.
Shelby.tv‘s came back to the NY Tech Meetup after two years to launch two new features. First, their first dot.tv concept: FredWilson.tv. A video channel that collects all the video that the user, in this case Fred Wilson, has been sharing on his social networks and puts them into one place making into a more “like TV” experience. With the idea of “Democratizing programming video”, Shelby.tv wants to give everybody the opportunity to program their own channel video. Another announcement was the Shelby.tv/experience which turns any url or website that has video content into a single video channel, a simple and lean way to enjoy video.
Catchafire which also demoed before at the NY Tech Meetup presented themselves as a “HowAboutWe for social good” kind of company. On their site, volunteers fill out a profile, with their biography, professional experience, areas of expertise and causes they care most deeply about. Catchafire generates matches between people and organizations giving volunteers different options with their best matches from which they can apply to. It’s all about using your own professional skills to make a difference in the world.
Later, Mortardata and SumAll reminded us the importance of data today. After a little bit of coding and demonstration of how the app works, Mortardata, answered the big data question of which U.S. State has the highest concentration of coffee snobs?. Using Mortar, and a Hadoop data processer, the site allows you to forget about creating the infrastructure for the data since its all included in the program. Mortardata wants to democratize data and bring the power of hadoop o anyone who can write code.
But sometimes too much coding and data can be overwhelming. That’s why the guys from SumAll presented their app as a beautiful, interactive and easy to use business tool for small and medium size business and marketers, where they can have access to their data, their numbers and sales and compare them in time with this wonderful app that not only makes it easier to see but it actually looks good.
A “behind the scenes” moment happened when MLB Advanced Media gave the audience a virtual tour into their control room, showing off their data center that streams no less that 1.5 petabytes of digital content with every baseball season. We got to see how the magic of live streaming works and at a extreme fantasy baseball moment, we got to see some MLB Breaking News announcing the Reds to sign top prospect Nate Westheimer.
Tactonic founder Gerry Seidman showed off his company’s next-gen pressure-sensing tech, a sensor-and-software package that can turn any surface into a keyboard or joystick and can provide valuable data for different type of uses. While Citia, amazed everyone with their Leap Motion Controller that uses hand gesture to browse through content. As presenter Linda Holliday put it, the way we browse through content and learn is going to change in the future, from something flat, to something that works like the human mind and its conceptualization system. And their device allows you to handle and browse content with hand gestures in a beautiful 3D visualization. One of those “looking in to the future” moments that are usual at the NY Tech Meetup, and amaze us with all the possibilities technology has to offer.
The next NY Tech Meetup will be held on March 19 (After SXSW) and ticket releases will be on March 11, and March 15 at 1 p.m.