Disappointingly, these two events featuring some of the most tech-savvy and tech-dependent folks in the area were based in two venues that offered severely limited Internet access (the FIT Haft Auditorium and New World Stages). Thankfully, NYTM organizer Nate Westheimer and NYV2 organizer Yaron Samid both strictly stuck to their agendas and promptly began the presentations.
For the NY Tech Meetup, seven startups had been chosen by the members of the group to present on the hallowed day: foursquare, enjoysthin.gs, Tigerbow, ProCompare, SpeakLike, KindlingApp and drop.io. The 1.5 hour-long event concluded with a presentation from NYU Stern Professor Panos Ipeirotis.
I was thoroughly entertained by foursquare, a location-based social network that rewards you for checking out different activities at venues with points and badges. One that drew a chuckle from the crowd: the “Player Please!” badge which can be earned when you have gone out three times with members of the opposite sex.
The following evening, AttracTV, Feedroom, Miro 2.0, PortalVideo and thePlatform presented at the NY Video Meetup. Miro 2.0, an open source HD video player, garnered significant attention for its pulling of Hulu’s RSS feed. With the Boxee scandal fresh in every audience member’s mind, there seemed to be a certain amount of skepticism in the air about the company. Also, thePlatform drew itself some looks of envy when it was revealed that Comcast had bought the company in 2006.
But as a former video editor, I found myself dreaming about PortalVideo, a web service that allows you to edit video and script in sync. You can edit video by simply editing the text of the transcript. I know a few friends in broadcast journalism and documentary production who would love this service.
As a tech PR professional, I think there are two very distinct ways to navigate events such as these:
- Be the PR networking king or queen. Operate as if you’re always on the lookout for new business. Walk into the event looking for those without an AOR and walk out with their business cards in your pocket.
- Rip off the PR title from your name tag. Attend as a member of the tech community, not just as someone who services them.
These are opportunities for us in communications to actually join the dialogue surrounding tech. Don’t taint the experience for everyone by coming there as a salesman. I believe it is one of the few times it is okay to do what everyone else is doing: sit there, listen, learn, drop your jaw in awe and raise your hand come question time.