Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Diller Country, Month 2

So this was going to be the second time for the NY Tech MeetUp to be in Barry Diller's fancy building on 18th street by the Hudson. And this was going to be the 50th tech meetup. And Scott's first time presenting himself. Scott comes along in the long line of successful entrepreneurs who are not engineers themselves, but who provide the leadership and the vision and make it all happen. He is a guy with plenty of soft skills. And by now he knows several of the top names in tech today, and not just on this coast. He has been tallied number five in this city, number one being Bloomberg. That is quite an achievement. I remember the first time meeting Scott. It was at a bar. The tech meetup. Less than a dozen people. Now it is so big, he can't provide room for all who want to show.

NY Tech Meetup July Meetup

Scott's presentation was the highlight of the evening. The MeetUp Alliance is quite a concept. I like Scott personally, but I think I am being fairly objective when I claim Facebook is a 2.0 company, MeetUp is a 5.0 company. (Web 5.0: Face Time) Unlike so many of those dot coms before the nuclear winter, MeetUp actually is a profit making venture for a simple concept, a "mid-sized company," as Scott puts it. If you are going to organize a MeetUp, pay $15. And then go around and charge people who show up, $1, $2, $5.

I know a few organizers for whom this is brisk business. Like this Prospect Park Soccer group. It is so popular, the slots for RSVP open up at midnight Thursday for the Sunday game. Within minutes, they are gone. That success story is also something to take note of. How do you scale that success so people don't have to be turned away? Don't tell me MeetUp has become too successful. Existing organizers train new organizers to start new soccer groups?

With a company like MeetUp, there is only so much you can do in terms of tech. Facebook does not have that constriction, because that is meant to be a screen time experience. You can keep enriching it infinitum. But with MeetUp, the action is not at its site. The action is when people meet in person.

And so what will give MeetUp its edge is a program to keep training its thousands of Organizers fairly continuously to make them do better and better and better. How do you improve the quality of the experience for those who show up? MeetUp needs to hire engineers, but also group dynamics specialists, team psychology specialists.

Like my advice to this particular Organizer, Scott himself, the founder, CEO of MeetUp, dear friend.
  1. Would it be possible to make people make a mock presentation to the Organizer or a rep before they are approved to get on stage? Perhaps days ahead? One guy on stage fast forwarded his entire presentation because "the clock is ticking." It was hard to follow.
  2. The idea that people must have their full name and company name when they RSVP is a great one. I find it a waste that this MeetUp brings together the top tech talent in the city, but there is very little opportunity to actually go ahead and mingle and get to know each other. At least with the full name and the company name, you can go visit their sites.
  3. To Scott's credit, he does suggest a bar to go to after. I have skipped that part the last two times.
  4. How about letting people add a link to their Facebook profile page on their MeetUp profile page?
  5. The stretch break half way through was a good idea, a few minutes to say hello to people sitting next to you.
Microsoft, Google, Facebook: NY Tech MeetUp Has Arrived

The Meetup Alliance is such a cool idea, but I guess it is in beta because I was not able to add a few groups I wanted to add to the Obama alliance just a while back. I think at some level Scott wishes Obama 2008 would use like Dean 2004 did but hasn't. I am fairly active with Obama 2008, that has been a decision for the Chicago people to make. They have turned into a Facebook/MeetUp mashup. It is not as good as either, but they feel it seems to work good enough.

I think that's where MeetUp Alliance comes into the picture. It will expose MeetUp to people who otherwise have not been exposed to the MeetUp concept.

Silicon Alley Insider

Startups 101: Make Sure Your Pitch Doesn't Suck
Zuckerberg: I'm Sorry. Go Ahead And Turn Beacon Off*
NY Tech Meetup Review: The Meta Meetup The monthly NY Tech Meetup packed the lobby of Barry Diller's IAC building Tuesday night. ........ Ignighter ..... Evolvist .... The Funded ..... Kaltura ..... Unype ..... Meetup Alliance .... Peter Kamali, co-founder and former CTO of Meetup ..... soft-launched as a pure Facebook app play; Peter mentioned plans to extend the app to other platforms (i.e. Google's Open Social) ....... a typical Ruby on Rails application mashed up with Google Maps; I think they could have used Ning and accomplished the same thing. ...... This online group video making startup won the "people's choice" award at TechCrunch40 past summer. It's a complete video editing application that allows multiple people to collaborate. It boasts a very rich (and complex) user interface. ........ After hosting more than 50 tech meetups Scott Heifferman finally gets to demo his own product. It's the Meetup Alliance, (previously announced here) ...... allow Meetup, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and MySpace groups to interoperate, creating large alliances. ..... Scott Heiferman (SA 100 list #5) ..... platform-agnostic, open to not just Meetup groups, but to Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, Facebook Groups, MySpace Groups ..... the International Tech Meetup Alliance, Barack Obama for President Alliance

December's NY New Tech Meetup Review

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