With 105 media, CEOs and VCs in attendance, this year’s annual industry party, hosted by Horn Group and dubbed The Digital Defrost, was an intellectual and social success. Our hostess Sabrina Horn gathered a group of innovators and friends who offered toasts and musings midway through the party.
Standing high on the inside steps in the fashionable bar and club Earth, the Deputy Mayor of New York City Dan Doctoroff, opened the evening toasts by discussing the future of tech and lower Manhattan. Comparing Lower Manhattan and the Tech Boom, he said that both underwent the same cycle of rapid rise and collapse, which mirrored the devistating attacks on the nearby World Trade Center.
Yet, on a more enthusiastic note, he said that within a thr ee-block circumference around Ground Zero there is already $10 billion dollars in construction and growth in progress. He went on to say that technology will play a critical role in the NY of the future and that the city has to focus on tech in order to continue to grow.
“The City is committed to make your [technology] industry grow, since you are a leg the economy will rest on for generations to come,” said Doctoroff addressing the crowd.
Samir Arora, CEO and Founder of Glam Media, Inc, also shared his technology view of the future. On the internet media front, he said that we’re seeing users and consumers participating directly with digital content and it has resulted in the immergence of the interactive, engaged and involved user. “The new generation is creating media and software just as much as it is being consumed,” said Arora.
As an example of user driven content he reflected on the popularity of MySpace and YouTube. He said that understanding this value chain will help continue the growth and recovery of New York.
Ron Hovespian, President/COO of Novell gave his predictions next. He sees open source changing the rules of the tech game and forecasted that the cycle is just beginning to change how software will evolve. One example is the pricing models, which he said have already changed in order to better fit the customer. “There are exciting things happening as a result,” said Hovespain. “Just like the on-demand model is making exciting changes on the opposite side of the spectrum.”
In a break away from predictions and toasts, Patrick Cummings, CEO of iGuitar, followed with a lively demo of his new electric guitar that connects directly to PCs or Macs through a USB cable. This allows guitarists to have the technology that keyboarders have had for years said Cummings, since the iGuitar lets you lay down tracks, create MP3s and turn your normal strikes over the strings into a synthesizer eliciting sounds from a piano, French horn, drums…you name it.
After a chorus of ‘wows’ and ‘ahs’ came the even livelier comments of Dennis Kneale from Forbes magazine, who delivered the final toast. Claiming to be another soothsayer, but one apparently with clout due to past correct predictions on his side, in a triumphant voice said to the audience that the next big thing in tech would be “video baby!” and also highlighted the popularity of YouTube.
However, instead of simply the one video uploading site, Kneale says that there will be real-time, ubiquitous video, everywhere from e-mail to websites creating profound changes in the industry. He also added with stand-up comic-like timing, that this next step also is “revolutionizing the idea of obscene phone calls.”
With the future of tech demystified, the crowd turned back to the bar for further discussion and debate, not to be captured on YouTube thankfully.