NYC Tech MeetupI attended my first NYC Tech Meetup last night, and was really pleased with what I found. It was certainly a nerdy crowd, but much more diverse than I had guessed it would be. There was a certain hunger in the air. I don’t imagine there was a single person in attendance without at least one big idea in their head that could “make it big.” The company demos were overall pretty neat as well. Mostly hits, with a few misses in there. I haven’t used any of these services myself, so the following impressions are based solely off of what I saw of their demos.

 

BetterFly

BetterFly helps to facilitate self-improve by connecting users with “betterists” aka personal coaches/instructors of many different expertises. Certainly an appealing way to plan and execute your self-improvement roadmap. Josh Schwadron did an excellent job presenting, and lead off the night with a polished demo.

 

Hot Potato

Foursquare for activies. Seems like a bandwagon-app in which people share what they are doing with each other. It seems like a cool model, once they get adopters. Lots of monetization potential through biz dev with event organizers and content owners. The presenting team seemed to have a clear direction in mind, and had clearly done their homework on what is required to pull a service like this off.

 

LearnVest

Financial info, guidance, and tools, geared for women. I’m jealous. The website looked superbly crafted, and very well thought out. The presentation went really well, and I was left with the feeling of “Damn! What doesn’t it do?!” Certainly a great way to get up to speed on personal finance fundamentals and get your money situation in check.

 

Frontal

An open-source scripting and markup language to simplify the creation of RIA Flash sites. Bogged down by technical difficulties, and lackluster demos, the Frontal demo did not go as well as I’m sure the founders hoped it would. The technology proved inconsistent, failed to work several times, and in a grand finale, froze a Mac so bad that “Force Quit”s and a reboot were required in order to continue with the rest of the demos. The software seems interesting, but not quite ready for production use. In the meantime for RIA dev, I’m sticking with OpenLaszlo, Flex or GWT.

 

Foodspotting

Visual food check-ins. Want a certain type of food? Check out pictures of the eats from nearby restaurants before you go. The demo was quick, and all in Powerpoint, so it’s hard to really get a feel for the app itself. I’m on android myself, so this one’s getting the pass from me for now. Maybe once they come out with an Android version I’ll give it a checkout.

 

How About We

If I was single, I would have signed up for an account within 12 hours of the presentation. The site is an online dating service that allows people to propose dates, and meet up with other single people that are interested in that date as well. It is a terrific idea, and seemed to be phenomenally executed. It was quite apparent that the founders are “not just the founders, they’re also members” and have been having great success with it. If you’re single, or just looking for great date ideas, I’d seriously reccomend checking it out.

 

StuffBuff

Their basic premise is to implant a flash widget everywhere that allows people to purchase products, inline on the site. I think. The whole presentation was really disjointed, and lacked focus. I feel that we were told “This is the future of eCommerce!!!” at least 3 times, but I don’t think anybody bought it. Just because it is right there doesn’t mean that it’s where I want to purchase. It feels like a sketchy dude in a trench coat, trying to hustle watches outside the front entrance to a mall. No thanks, I’m already at the mall. I’m going inside. Just because it’s right there doesn’t mean I’m biting.

 

JetSetter

Beautiful, clean interface for luxury travel inspiration and booking. Built upon (and incubated from) the Gilt shopping model, JetSetter seems like a solid site that focuses on keeping things simple, useful, and narrowly directed at their target audience.

 

comiXology

I don’t even read comics and I’m inclined to check out this product. Phenomenal technical execution, hard-hitting business integration, and a slick demo/presentation. I hear that these guys are doing quite well for themselves, and that doesn’t surprise me in the least. I have a feeling that these guys are going to keep the momentum strong.

 
For $10, the event was a great experience. Lots of useful tech insight, and plenty of networking opportunities. I hope to be back to plenty more in the future.