The New York Tech Meetup, built on Scott Heiferman’s successful Meetup site, is the biggest regular startup event in the city.
Every month, a few hundred of the group’s 1300 members gather to watch short demos from tech startups. And we do mean demos — entrepreneurs that spend too much time talking abstractly, or, God forbid, whip out presentation slides, are booed vigorously.
The quality of the presentation varies, of course, but it’s generally a fairly impressive line-up and a good time.
The highlights from last night’s Meetup:
- Soraya Darabi, of New York Times and Drop.io fame, presented on behalf of Foodspotting just hours after her involvement in the startup was announced. Foodspotting is a new twist in the crowded field of local eating guides, organised around particular dishes, rather than restaurants. Users take pictures of dishes they recommend, and others can endorse them. You can search for popular dishes around you.
- Guest host Dina Kaplan of Blip.tv snarked that “unlike in California”, New York City startups have this weird interest in actually making money. Asked about their revenue model, the founders of Frontal, which is working on an open-source project that generates Flash from a simple, HTML-like markup language, sheepishly suggested that maybe they should be based in California. What they’re doing definitely looks neat, but yes, we don’t see the business model.
- Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus, gave a quick and very impressive talk about the power of online collaboration. A great antidote for anyone who finds Nicholas Carr convincing. We’re buying the book.
- Howaboutwe, a new dating site that lets people propose date ideas, pretty much stole the show. The two-month old service has received some major media attention recently, and the crowd reaction showed why. When the founders revealed that the service was 60% female, an awed hush fell over the geeky crowd.