Recap of the First NY Tech Meetup of 2013

Guest Blog Post Written by Nayia Moysidis

Though there were quite a few newbies in the crowd at this week’s New York Tech Meetup, our favorite monthly tech soiree is not so new anymore. Last night marked the 4-year-anniversary of Nate Westheimer’s emceeing, and he claims he was sworn in on a MacBook. Sounds about right to me.

January’s NYTM festivities kicked off with a reminder of how we roll: we focus on tech, no business model questions or you might get a friendly boo from the audience.  This was forgotten during a question & answer session for HeTexted, and yes, the questioner was almost tomatoe’d. We also took a moment to welcome our international viewers, the entrepreneurs of Lima, Peru. Bienvenidos, guys!

Understandably, after the tremendous mess that Sandy left behind, there was much focus on disaster relief in last night’s projects.  Hack’n Jill’s Haris Amin and Raquel Hernandez contributed Disaster Remote Response for those struggling post-disaster without resources. Remote volunteers are able to use the platform to provide information in real-time, calling, texting, and messaging hotlines with ease.

Voluntarily aims to attack a similar problem, offering an app for volunteers and organizations to collect, share, and visualize real-time data about areas affected by a disaster such as an address where resources are needed and the products required at this location (for instance flashlights and food).  It was great to see our city’s entrepreneurs are building essential tools to help manage disaster relief.

Our first batch of pitches wrapped up with PeopleHunt, self-described as a manner “to get connected with people in your networks based on things you can show” and tell each other, and if interested, arrange to meet in person. One fallback might be the short amount of time each person has to make a decision on connecting with another, but co-founder Adrian Avendano doesn’t see it like that: “You have 30 seconds to use your gut and figure out if this is a cool person or not.”  Some seemed skeptical initially, but I think we all know within seconds of meeting someone whether we want a couple more hours of bonding time or not one second longer.

HeTexted opened just as it should, with Carrie Henderson describing her (fictional) dating woes. They were humorous and relatable, which gave the audience a clear image of the value such a platform creates. HeTexted is basically the online sequel to He’s Just Not That Into You, with individuals posting texts they’ve received from love interests - currently mostly male - and seeing what the general population thinks of his interest level and intent. In some (unfortunate) cases, 2000 people might tell you the guy you’re madly in love with is simply not feeling it. But don’t worry, ladies! If the info isn’t what you want to hear, you can always ask a bro on site.

Be careful; your Karma really might come around to haunt you! Karma is the self-described first “social hotspot”. And no, we don’t mean online dating over free internet, though we’re certain the Karma team wouldn’t block you if that’s what you were trying to do. But Karma isn’t just about mobile data. They’re also trying to remind you of that mantra that was embedded in your kindergarten mind: sharing is caring! The more you share, the more you earn. Now that’s karma I can appreciate.

Next up was Maker’s Row. This online marketplace for manufacturer’s and designers allows you to create anything you can think up, and then hassle the makers in person to ensure you really get what you want. Manufacturers are reviewed and ranked, and you can sort them by location.

StartupBus dropped in for a brief announcement, and we could see the relentlessly restless entrepreneurs in the audience tapping their feet in anticipation.  Love hacking, roadtrips, and SXSW? Then get on board, ride to Austin, and create a prototype by the time you arrive. Life in the fast lane, just the way we like it, with plenty of time after to unwind and relax.

You know those nights you really, seriously don’t want to get up off the couch? You know how the only reason you even bother, (if you do), is just to be able to tweet: Drinking a [insert some unknown brew name here] at [insert some trendy Brooklyn shop name here]!” along with an Instagram snapshot? CouchCachet was created for you. Their motto? “Live the life you’ve always wanted without ever leaving the house.” In case you want actual details, here’s what the app can do: “it can look for a party, check you in on foursquare, tweet cool lyrics of indie bands no one knows” so that you can sit at home relaxing while the app lives your life. “Life without the hastle of living!” Yes, please. Guess I’ll be hitting quite a few parties from the couch this weekend…

Sherpaa’s Dr. Jay Parkinson emerged with a less humorous issue: fixing the mess that is the medical industry. By providing a platform that makes “healthcare more affordable, accessible, and appropriate” with doctors serving around the clock, Dr. Parkinson hopes he can help more people.  Of course, there are certain apprehensions we all have about photographing our illness to post it online for medical advice, but if you compare it to sitting in an emergency room for 6 hours, you might just give it a shot.

GoldRun followed up, starting their demo by showing how users can add virtual content to their photos making each image more of a game than a stagnant memory.  Sure, it’s all fun and games, until Voldemort ends up next to Grandma in the Christmas family shot. But for business purposes, GoldRun offers a unique opportunity for brands to engage with their customers in augmented reality enhanced ways – from a virtual pop-shop for Airwalk to virtual try-on of your very own Super Bowl ring.

10gen wrapped up the night with a presentation, but as a nontechnical entity, here’s what my notes say:
> db.talks.ensureIndex( { title : “text”, from: “text” } )
> db.talks.runCommand( “text”, {search : “demo”} )
“queryDebugString” : “demo||||||”,
I would carry on, but I don’t want to show off.

Make sure to attend next month’s NYTM so you can avoid a crazy recap from yours truly. Can’t attend in person? Not a problem. The live video stream is an option, and you can always use CouchCachet to make it seem like you hit up the mingling afterwards.

Did I miss anything? Tweet me thoughts, questions, and comments @NAYIAisms!
About the guest blogger: Nayia Moysidis is the Founder of Writer’s Bloq, a platform that helps great writers get discovered. Nayia graduated from Columbia’s Creative Writing program in May 2011. During her years at Columbia, she played Division I soccer, explored six continents, and held positions at Film London, VISA, SportsMark, and Simon & Schuster. She has been published in Levo League, Women 2.0, The Huffington Post, and Forbes. Follow her on her blog for endless sarcastic wit.