A Milestone: The New York Tech Meetup Hits 30!


The New York Tech Meetup has been around since 2004 and just hit 30,000 members, but the real milestone was…newly minted board member Tony Bacigalupo was clean shaven and wearing a suit! And why not? Last night also marked the first anniversary of New Work City’s (which @tonybgoode runs, along with Peter Chislett) simulcast of the meetup. The occasion was marked with several presentations from past presenters who had new products/features to showcase:

HowAboutWe, the self-described first dating and relationship company. (@alastair: Funny how @howaboutwe tries to make you bulk buy a 12 month package. A dating service that guarantees you won’t get a relationship? #NYTM), introduced howaboutwe for couples, or as they put it, “there’s falling in love, and there’s being in love.” The company first presented at the NYTM 2-1/2 years ago.

Combosaurus allows you to discover your next favorite interest or person by rating your favorite tv shows, music, board games, sexual preferences (they did delve into ‘bondage,’ but happily didn’t venture too far into that vertical). It’s from the good people who brought you OkCupid and, according to them, “born of OkCupid profiles and the collaborative web, there’s a crapload of data in Combosaurus we’ve barely launched.” Someone did ask if the end result is dating, but the company insisted that it’s just a discover site…Yeah, ok, Cupid.

Shelby.tv first presented at the NYTM in May, 2011 as the best way to discover and share video. Now you can create your own .tv network, using any static web page that has video. But it does only work (at least presently) on static news pages, like reddit. Ok, no dating involved here but still – gotta love it.

Catchafire allows for skill-based volunteer matching, where you can offer your skills to the worthy cause of your choosing. The example was fixit (“get your fix” and calm down: it’s a site for getting your pet neutered). The presenter/volunteer demonstrated how he helped fixit with their site’s navigation.

Mortardata (“Hadoop, in one hour”) kicked off the geek part of the night. Example used: to find the state with the highest concentration of coffee snobs using twitter and searching for terms like ‘macchiato, cappuccino, etc. It’s Oregon, in case you’re interested.

SumAll allows small businesses to collect data and get insights into their business.

SumAll give you access to all your data side by side so social marketers can see the links between fans and followers, your website traffic and your sales data to help businesses make decisions faster. Founder Dane Atkinson was an early pioneer on the New York tech scene (Sensenet, which you’ve probably never heard of and Squarespace, which you no doubt have).

MLB Advanced Media, a NYTM sponsor, showed off some of their new technology. No, they’re not trying to become a cable network. They’re just developing technology to make your devices rock and to deliver content where you want it. They also announced Bases Coded, a hackathon challenge coming in March. Stay tuned.

Tactonic enables surface interaction everywhere. It’s basically a smart skin, flexible and translucent, presented by Gerry Seidman, who definitely embodied the mad scientist portion of the evening. Pay attention to this one: his chief scientific advisor is tech luminary Ken Perlin. The device has many applications, from medical applications to workplace safety –  to someone from the audience who just wanted to be able to track his cats when he’s not home. Hey, always aim high.

Citia had a two-part presentation and they really are reinventing the media experience. The first is their publishing system for making better media, and as presenter Linda Holliday put it, “we (meaning the industry and not Citia) make content for devices, when we should be focused on people.” Our favorite part was the device that they’re presenting at SxSW which, as @TheMrKaufman put it, “Holy schnikes! @GoCitia just went all Jetsons on #NYTM with @LeapMotion mid-air motion technology in an on-stage demo.” The device attaches to the keyboard and content on the screen can be moved around – yea, and can even be made to fly across the screen – with the flick of a finger. It was mesmerizing.

Contrary to popular misconception, NY does have home-grown hardware companies, and all in all, it was a great night for tech. Although, after all this time, I still have to agree with @Lydia DePillis: “Odd: #nytm doesn’t allow biz model Qs, preferring to “focus on tech.” Because why would an innovator worry about revenue?”

Tech in New York and the NYTM have both come a long way, and now at 30 (thousand), it may be time to finally got down to business.

Several announcements also came out of the NYTM last night, including Meetup’s new online platform for discussing policy issues, since the city does have a mayoral election coming up next year. Each policy goal is listed as a separate item, so you can vote it up, vote it down, or add your own. Sound off! http://nytechmeetup.ideascale.com. If you missed the meet up and would like to see the video, go here.

About the author: Bonnie Halper

Bonnie Halper curates the StartupOneStop.com newsletter, which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs, and is currently being read in 50+ countries around the world.

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