Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stamford Tech Meetup #22

Last night was the 22nd edition of the Stamford Tech Meetup and also the Holiday party. We charged $22 (which unfortunately was not enough) and that may have had an impact on the attendance numbers. We had Danielle from Take The Interview show us her video interviewing platform and John Boyd show us vrfy.me which verifies users based on email addresses (.edu or work addresses). We had Jonathan Yarmis talk about the intersection between social and mobile and Yvahn Martin talk about the Harlem Renaissance. I wrapped up with the state of the state and Kelly and Ed talked about SETS and Stamford Startup Weekend, respectively.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stamford Tech Meetup #21

We had a really great turnout for #21. Danny Briere from Startup CT showed up as well as some new faces from the Stamford corporate scene. Our demos were pretty great too as we had Ryan from Consmr, Jeff from PatientCommunicator, Michael from Foretuit, and Paul from Jointli. Consmr was a social network revolving around consumer packaged goods, Jeff's Patient communicator was a CRM for patients and doctors, Foretuit was an easier way to forecast sales leads, and Jointli was a way for folks to split time on high ticket items. In addition to our demos, we had Marc Jaffe talk about the future office....ignite style! Foretuit won, but congratulations to all of those that demoed!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stamford Tech Meetup #20

Last night was STeM #20. We had three CT based demos. Chaikin Power Tools which was a trading platform. Publik Radio which had an easy to use interface to find the music you want and finally Karzimac Luminous which is an iOS development shop making sponsored games. Karzimac won even though the demo was conducted on a small iPad. Just goes to show you.... We also had Ron Paliwoda give a few words on his fund as well as announce the new format of having an "ignite" type of speech at the end of each meetup....Til 21!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stamford Tech Meetup #19 (Part 2)

Last night's Stamford Tech Meetup #19 was NOT cancelled by Hurricanes or other natural disasters. So we had some very niche demos and a very broad demo. First off, the meetup had 84 RSVPd guests. This number is definitely high since we carried over many of the Irene candidates over. However, Tiernans' was definitely more packed than ever before. Demo wise: we had Mark my Alpha which was a tool used to gauge traders in their track record. Very niche, its like a report card for traders to show off what their track record is without the ability to cheat. Gojee was food porn. With beautiful pictures and curated recipes Gojee is a great looking site for recipes. Finally Leadplace provides the ability for brokers to get matched with leads and other referrals from other real estate brokers. I guess in retrospect I could have seen who would have won the audience appeal award. Since most people eat and fewer trade and even fewer engage in real estate, Gojee won with 57% of the vote. The meetup is finally getting some traction and some CT companies are finally popping out of the woodwork, it looks like 20 meetups later we may have a 100% CT meetup next month.

9-11 10 years and 2 weeks later

I started this two weeks ago and here it is finally.

I have had a tough time putting down my 9/11 post. I didn't know exactly how to translate my feelings I had that day into words. Yesterday though (the 10th anniversary) I watched a documentary by Steve Rosenbaum that had me relive that day 10 years ago. Ten years older and wiser (I hope) I now understood what I felt that day and what I didn't understand and still don't.

The week prior it was Labor Day my Penn friend Chris Graham had an end of summer party at his rooftop at the Rivergate on Chambers Street in Battery Park City (a few doors down to Stuyvesant High School). I remember the Towers and how massive they were. I couldn't fathom just how big they were (and I still can't). I had just left my job working at a startup in Long Island in alternative energy and had gone to England to visit my friend and NYC roommate Mike Niederberger who was working at Goldman at the time. It was Fashion week that week and I remember the glut of parties that we could go to. It was just the prior year that Christian Alcantara and I ended up on a boat party with Puff Daddy. I remember though that I got a call that Monday afternoon that I had landed a part as the Assistant DA in a Sidney Lumet series 100 Centre Street (I think it was A&E). I stayed in that night but I also decided to sleep in and skip a breakfast meeting, ironically New Jobs for the New Economy 7am in the Windows of the World. (I never was a good breakfast meeting person, and to this day I still am not). A few minutes before 9 Nicole McInerney called me waking me up. What's going on? She told me to turn on the television. What the hell? I was still groggy. Reports came in that it was a commuter plane. Jeez, that's horrible, I thought, but I still had to go to Queens that morning. The second plane crashed and I wasn't sure what was going on. I got ready to go, and the subway NR at 49th Street was closed. I tried to open up my cell phone but it was dead. Not sure what to do I went back to the apartment. I heard of the Pentagon and the flight in PA. When the Towers fell, I wasn't sure what had happened. The Towers were so big and now they were gone. Where did all that rubble go? It was a bad nightmare of Photoshop. I was waiting to wake up.

Rudy Guiliani said that America was under attack. I wasn't sure what being under attack was. Desert Storm was the only other war I knew and that was half a world away. Friends from Israel actually saw warfare and I know my cousins in Taiwan had a mandatory enlistment. Yet I had no idea what this was and this was not warfare that I had ever seen before. Who is the enemy? Who are we fighting? Our own people? What is going on?

The Internet worked and I was able to IM and email with my friends and family to let them know that I was ok. At the time I also had this IP phone from Net2Phone. It kind of sucked but it let me call Mike's parents to let them know he had gotten out of One New York Plaza okay. Mike returned to the apartment and we sat there. What could we do? We went down to Chelsea Piers and asked if we could help. What do you guys do? Welders? Heavy Machinery? Drills? I couldn't believe how useless I felt. We could move rubble? We could help dig people out? Well, they said, that there are a bunch of supplies coming in and that we could start moving them and give them to the survivors. Great. There was a ton of stuff coming in. Gatorades, bars, cookies, snacks, fruit. Everything. We moved it around. And around. And around. And then we stopped. No one said what we all knew at that moment. There wasn't going to be the mass of survivors that we expected.

They sent us home. We stayed glued to CNN, went to Union Square, partook in the candle light vigil. I ran into a HS friend Lauryn Nitzberg who told us about the Empire State Building bomb scare and how she was staying with a friend in Hells Kitchen because she lived near the UN. NYC was a ghost town.

The feeling of helplessness was the worst feeling that I have ever experienced. The inability to help, the darkness of not knowing who the enemy was, that was the most difficult thing. The knowledge that hard work, perseverance and integrity wouldn't bring back the folks that died that day, the towers, that was tough to swallow. It was everything I knew and it was wiped away in a flash.

With that knowledge, it has changed my life drastically. I remember all of the people who were "just waiting to get their bonus", "waiting for the right time", "sucking it up" and then …. It was my valediction speech in 5/1995 and I guess that it is still the lesson that I took away from that day. Carpe Diem - Seize the Day, for you never know when it will end.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ultimate Pub Crawl

This past weekend (Labor Day) I was part of the "Thirsty Thirteen" - the group that set the record pub crawl - 250 bars in 24 hours. The brainchild of my Penn friend Chris Solarz, the pub crawl adhered strictly to the Guinness World Record rules: Each member only needs to drink 125 ml (about 1/3 of a pint) at each bar with a "witness" (read: bartender) signing a log, and with some type of video documentation (i.e. flip camera record). Pretty fun day, we started at 8am and found some of the best and worst bars and restaurants in the east village. We had some fans (hey big mama obs!) and some haters (dudes at International bar (boo!)). All in all, this was definitely a logistical challenge more than a drinking challenge. I'd say that logistics was the toughest and with that came the physical aspect (in the end we walked more than 30 miles). Logistically we had to find bars that would serve us in the morning and then also find bars that were not that crowded so that we could get in and out as fast as possible. After this, I'm sure Chris won't have a tough time finding a gig as a COO somewhere (or at a hedge fund!). My personal favorite bars: International Bar (does this place ever close?) and Joe's Bar (still smells like smoke ten years after smoking was banned....) Til the next world record!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stamford Tech Meetup #19 (Part 1)

Well, Irene washed Stamford Tech Meetup #19 away. We'll come back in September with the same lineup, same sponsors (thank you Ron Paliwoda), same bat time, same bat place. In the meantime ... for all of you data junkies, here's our attendence numbers:
#1: 30 members
#2: 26
#3: 19
#4: 24
#5: 16
#6: 33
#7: 29
#8: 33
#9: 29
#10: 33
#11: 32
#12: 66
#13: 56
#14: 47
#15: 59
#16: 47
#17: 41
#18: 33
#19: 57

This almost reads like a home run hitters stats, where (pre Steroids) 60 was the magic number.

Stamford Tech Meetup #18

A year a half of doing these meetups! We lost some users here but overall I'm pretty happy. This month we had Clipik, who was founded by fellow Wharton Grad Adriano Blanaru, a community for video editors. Smarp is a site that mines the Twitter firehose to tell you where certain celebrities are. Fitocracy is a game that helps you stay (or get) in shape. Clipik won the audience choice award but it was close.

Stamford Tech Meetup #17

The beginning of summer! Our June meetup featured some really interesting technology including our first bio demonstration: Biomotion Suite. I met Michael during the INSITE program where he first told me of his application to monitor Parkinsons. While the application was still being developed it looks really impressive (and also won the audience choice award). Culture Matchup is a niche social network for meeting others that want to go to cultural outings. Beansprout is a similar network for business development. Looks like we are starting to see a trend with these niche social networks... but can they compete against Facebook groups (or can they work with it?)

Stamford Tech Meetup #16

Alas we were in Hong Kong during this time but I'm sure Zishan Ahmad did an awesome job as MC. We had Meeteor and a few other companies demo...

Stamford Tech Meetup #15

Fifteen had the biggest turnout yet. We had Yan Tsirklin come back with SocialWish to show us their pivot: an embeddable widget that allowed folks to contribute to the non profit of their choice. MiMedia was a very interesting cloud application that allowed you to retrieve any piece of media via any device anywhere. (This sounds like the future!) Finally Addieu is an iPhone application that allows you to add to all of your social networks someone you met in one click...sort of like Hashable. Socialwish won convincingly (although Yan has been here before!).

Stamford Tech Meetup #14

An entire year of meetups + 1. This was the 14th meetup we had and the momentum was with us. We had two homegrown CT startups and one Brooklyn based company. ColorModules is a very interesting company that provides color matching based on photographs. No more bad matching ties or shirts! QRSYNC is a QR reader that works well on any product. Founder Brett Goldberg has done an amazing job building out the Stamford community. Finally Hermann Mazard's Homeshoppr provides an application for grocery shopping from your palm. Color Modules won the audience choice award in a tight race...congrats to all!

Stamford Tech Meetup #13

Lucky 13 brought us three really interesting demos. Jane Kim from Hashable came to demo their product. An address book with game dynamics, Hashable has drawn some big name investors and users to their platform. Tynt is an interesting service that tracks cut and pasted quotes in emails. Finally Emily Lutzker came down to show off OpenInvo, a marketplace for ideas!

Stamford Tech Meetup #12

The new year saw some new startups in Stamford. SpeakLike is an interesting mechanical turk type translation service that prides itself on its accuracy. Honestly Now is an application that allows you to solicit anonymous feedback from your friends. Stylophane mines Facebook data to determine trends over time in regards to fashion brands and styles. Finally, Citypockets is a way to manage daily deal vouchers in one dashboard. It also provides a marketplace for vouchers. Cheryl from Citypockets won the audience choice award and eventually raised a seed round of financing. Congratulations to all!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stamford Tech Meetup #11

This was the holiday edition of our meetup. I didn't expect such a good turn out for it but tis the season! Urbanbloke is Gilt Groupe for all stuff dude. Eggzack came all the way from Central Jersey to present their B2B demo for small to medium sized businesses. Murray Jones demonstrated his Talk About Health platform; connecting folks with similar ailments online. In the end Urbanbloke took home the trophy. I'm pretty excited that we finished our calendar year on an uptick. It's been a great first year for the meetup.

Stamford Tech Meetup #10

So this meetup was held at the law firm of Robinson and Cole and done in conjunction with Ephraim Cohen from the Fortex Group. We had an American Idol type of feel with some great "judges" including investors and VCs such as Mac Lipscomb and William Gordon. CMP.ly came back the second time around and wowed folks with their compliance platform (they raised a nice sized round shortly after demoing). Jesse from Getminders showed off his mobile reminder platform for folks needing to be reminded to take their pills. Broad Street Analytics demonstrated their platform for crunching big amounts of data. Green Bride Guide talked about their content on how to be a "green bride." All in all I think people got something out of the discussion. Jesse took home the people's choice award (since then he's pivoted into Guyhaus, a tool for providing men with essentials.)

Stamford Tech Meetup #9

I've been away from this blog for a while so I need to recap the last year of meetups! We had Wingtip.it (now HavetoHave) and SpotOn at this past meetup. Wingtip provides you with a closet of stuff that you "Have to Have". Pretty self explanatory, great for gift giving or for retailers to figure out what's hot. SpotOn is using Foursquare data to create recommendations for friends. Another cool tool. SpotOn won the meetup and we look forward to great stuff coming from them!