Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New York Tech Meetup Review - February

Last night's New York Tech Meetup was the best since I have been going, which is at least a year and a half. If you want to see video of the event, you can check out CenterNetworks recap.

TheIssue

This is a very attractive blog aggregator. The way it works is its homepage is like a directory or a newspaper with links. The links point to articles, but what is kind of interesting is that the articles appear below in a frame that is maintained by theIssue. This allows you t browse while always remaining in the context of theIssue, making it easy to return once you have viewed the article. The publication is organized by human editors which, if they can afford it, seems like the best way to curate something like this because they will clearly find content, particularly for breaking stories, that can't be found via automated systems. It's well done. I suspect I will use it.

Aviary

Aviary is a set of online tools for creating content. This will include a variety of tools including vector drawing, video editor, 3d editor, etc. The tool they demoed was the image editor.

The image editor is impressive. The concept is that you can edit art in a Photoshop kind of way. The tools look slick and reasonably fast. But the amazing thing is the collaborative and business model. The idea is to make work public, and to allow others to modify that work. Its like the open source development model for art. Anyone can contribute. But even better, everyone along the creative chain can specify a cost/value for their contribution. And you can see all of the iterations of the item. I think this concept and the tools are revolutionary. Note that you don't have to make your work public, that just seems like the most interesting aspect of this.

Xerpi

Xerpi is a fancy bookmark manager. In this case, the fancy is a very good thing. After wasting a minute or two showing some silly Powerpoint, they actually got down to business and showed what I could best describe as bookmark pages. The idea is that you can create named pages. Within those pages you create bookmark groups. Within those bookmark groups you can put bookmarks. Everything is very drag and drop. You can make pages public, or private, or share them with a small group of friends. Elegant and simple. Well done.

Plink

The idea behind Plink is that you can visually mark your pictures in Facebook and associate areas of the pictures with commerce information. For example you could mark the watch that you are wearing in a picture of Facebook, and you can link that to an item in the Plink system. The idea seems to be to get people to link all the purchasable items in a picture to items in the Plink database.

What I can't understand is why anyone would do this. The user doesn't get a cut. And it seem kind of gauche to be marking up all of your pictures with e-commerce links. On the other hand it was a very slick implementation. This would work better as a part of facebook, but even then, without the revenue share I don't get it.

Launchbox

A Y Combinator clone.

This one disturbed Scott. He effectively pushed them off stage because they didn't have a demo because they are not a product. Launchbox is an incubator VC. To quote Scott, "this is not what we want here."

TakesAllTypes.org

Simple, beautiful idea. Apparently the blood supply in America is very poorly organized. Blood has a very short shelf life, and is not transportable over any significant distance. And when there is a shortage, it is typically of a particular type. There is no way to find and encourage people with a particular blood type in a given area to give blood. ItTakesAllTypes is a Facebook app that allows people to register their willingness to give blood. The idea is that when there is a shortage in an area, a message to all people with, for example, O-negative blood signed up in the New York Area, would be sent an SMS or email message asking them to come in and donate.

This is a super simple idea that really can save lives. Awesome.

TechPresident

This was the most fun of the night. It felt like my friend Andrew Rasiej, the founder of TechPresident, was going to start a fist fight with my friend Doug Krugman. Ok, well it wasn't quite that interesting, but here's how it went down.

TechPresident captures all sorts of interesting statistics about the presidential campaign. Andrew’s point was that Obama understands how to use the Internet better than Hillary, and that is why he is doing so much better with online support. Andrew showed a great user generated Obama video. Then he showed a really lame Hillary video. This is where things got interesting.

It felt to many as though Andrew was a clear Obama fan. People started shouting at Andrew. The Hillary fans were heckling him. They booed. “Is this a political speech.” Scott tried to insist that Andrew really is just making a non-partisan presentation about the numbers. It didn't hold water with the hecklers. Then Doug starts yelling out. Asking how Andrew knew the video was really from Hillary. Andrew pointed out that it had the Hillary logo on it, but Doug was undeterred. This went back and forth for a while but didn’t quite escalate to fisticuffs.

In short, it was a fun and exciting little bit of unexpected drama. Nothing like a Tech Meetup food fight!

1 comment:

  1. I thought it was weak. The blog aggregator was cool as was aviary. Everything else felt like a putch and the event ran too long. Where is the networking at these events?

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