So now that we’re a bit more settled in New York we suited up in our Xero t-shirts and headed off to our first NY Tech Meetup last week. It was held in an auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology (for those that know me it’s my kind of place) and they definitely needed the space for the sold-out crowd of 700. Back in Wellington, New Zealand we have tech community events (like Unlimited Potential) but I’ve never been to an event like this where there are so many young start-ups in one room. The energy was amazing and needless to say it’s a pretty vibrant tech community staking a claim to be the biggest and best in the country (you definitely don’t have to start your tech business in Silicon Valley). There’s much demand for getting up on stage for your 5 minutes of tech fame – finger’s crossed Xero’s got what it takes to secure one of the rare slots while we’re here!
So what did we see and hear?
- A series of 5-minute presentations from university students who’d built prototypes during a recent hackathon. The quality and maturity of what these young guys were able to build was very impressive
- Loyalty is the currency of our time – everything’s now about using information that we know about people via community and social media tools – the data about who they are, where they are and what they do
- One presentation showed a heat map (among other features) of New York showing the best street corners and times to stand on those street corners for getting a cab (CabSense)
- A very well-spoken 14-year old showed us what he likes on the web – it’s all about You Tube, Hulu and earning enough loyalty points to ‘buy’ free stuff. It was basically confirmation that the teenagers of today are serious consumers of information
- Intranets are being replaced by social media-style methods of communicating and updating customer notes and recording sales calls – ‘social CRM’ using an interface a bit like Facebook with file swapping, stream of consciousness and Yammer-style updates (Bantam Live)
- Saw some very cool virtual interactive games for kids (Do Crew) using your webcam as demonstrated by the presenter to interact with figures on screen through facial recognition for everything from creating custom interactive stories to modern day dress-ups.
- People with a high social media profile have power online and with that power comes obligation.
Overall it was a great event. We didn’t take any photos sorry (it was a dark auditorium and it would’ve been a photo of the back of 700 heads) however, to keep the tradition going, here’s a photo of us in Soho suited up in our Xero t-shirts on our way to the event (mostly so our mothers can see we’re keeping well).