The meetup went meta as Scott Heiferman founder and CEO of Meetup.com and the New York Tech Meetup, came out to announce the launch of the new Meetup app and website. Scott declared meetup was one of the companies trying to save the world “With more division and more corrosiveness in the world, if you bringing people together they will mentor each other, fund each other and inspire each other.” Acknowledging the difficulty of finding relevant events in a sea of potential groups, Scott unveiled the upgrades that 100 engineers, designers and product people had worked on for over a year. The new apps, launched on both platforms, supports 6 languages and provides granular detail form high level categories like music down sub sections like folk music all the way down to live folk music in Brooklyn. As part of Meetups’ plan to grow the platform by ten times in the next few years, Scott demonstrated new machine learning tools improve group recommendations and help make it easier to start new ones.
Things took a turn as Scott moved to christen the new Meetup. A bemused audience watch as Scott brought a trash bag out on stage, laid out a tarp and withdrew a concrete block a sledgehammer and a ripe watermelon. Sensing their stage was about to be Gallagher-ed, the crew of NYU’s Skirball theater rushed out and seized the watermelon from the stage. Unfazed, Scott reached back into the trash bag and withdraw another watermelon sending the audience into a fit of laughter. Unfortunately, as he set up the second fruit, the stage crew scrambled back out and this time decided to strategically grab the hammer. As consolation, Jessica Lawrence Quinn asked Scott what act would have symbolized, to which he replied with a shrug and a smile, “I don’t know, the people need something to talk about.”