NY Tech Meetup Recap (4/4/06)

by mike on April 4, 2006

So, I attended my first NY Tech Meetup today. I’ve been a meetup member / lurker for quite a while and decided to finally check it out. I have to say this was a pretty good event for the amount of people that showed up – I believe somewhere between 200 and 300. Personally, I think a smaller group size would be more effective and actually give you the opportunity to get to know the people there. Let’s see what happens with the NJ Tech Meetup group.

Nevertheless, here’s a recap of the presenters and my thoughts.

1. Andrew Rasiej, FON
-Interesting idea here. The goal is to get people to share their wifi and leverage the current wireless infrastructure. Once you signup and agree to share your wifi, you get access to everyone else’s shared networks on FON.
-Described themselves as providing a bridge between residential and municipal wifi providers.
-Powerful backers in Skype, eBay and Google.
-Raised alot of money > $20MM.

2. Jim Coffman, Blogamp
-Solution that combines webcasting and podcasting to anyone who produces audio for the web.
-Didn’t really understand how this worked.
-They have their own web-based media player.

3. Tom Kane, Commontales
-A kind of wiki-like application that allows people to create and share stories. I don’t think I would use something like this, but that’s me.
-Could be very interesting if this was around for a long time and people were able to go back and read stories from years ago (timeline feature).

4. Patrick Fitzsimmons, Zipapp
-Allows users to create online spreadsheets, databases and web pages.
-Defintely a market for this kind of application, but has some serious competitors in DabbleDB and Intuit’s Quickbase.
-Patrick is currently a senior at Yale and has done an excellent job for someone who created this application out of his dorm while going to school.
-Disclosure: I knew about Zipapp and Patrick already from NextNY.

5. Breck, Alias-i
-Java api for natural lang processing and text analytics.
-In general, I think this is a really interesting and challenging field. Not sure though, if the technology is there yet. I’ll need to test this out a bit.
-Basically, the company has been around for a while and has been funded mostly through research grants. Only started recently, letting companies license there software commercially. Personal use is currently free.
-Tons of applications for this kind of software in the future.

6. Mark Hurst, Gootodo
-Gootodo is a simple web-based todo list that integrates directly with your email.
-He is taking an interesting approach in that there are no buzz technologies (e.g. ajax) in his products. Basically, keeping them as simple as possible to solve the problem at hand. Mentioned that he would add new features only if enough people requested them.
-Overall, really enjoyed Mark’s talk as he is a compelling speaker and seems passionate about what he is working on.
-Really emphasized that we should build software that helps people and not just for the sake of “cool technology”. This point really hit home with me. Most technology geeks are more focused on the technology and not really what the consumer needs or even wants.

FYI – There was a last minute addition and I didn’t quite get the speaker’s name. The company’s focus was on microscopic images and particularly on the clinical trial market. Looked like interesting technology, but highly focused on a specific segment of the market.

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