Without technology, are millennials no different from everyone else?

By Dennis Clemente

How do you tell a New Yorker from a tourist? In the sea of humanity that fills up Times Square, it’s the ones who feel relieved just making it in one piece at the Viacom Building, at MTV Networks for the Product Group meetup last March 7. Nearly 400 people came to learn something at the meetup, but the organizers knew they would also be getting lots of insights from a group just as eager to be an “instant focus group.”

The diverse audience came from various backgrounds and ethnicities–marketers, programmers, startup founders–to tackle some serious questions like “What are millennials?”

Jeremy Horn, the host and organizer of the Product Group meetup, kicked off the proceedings by asking everyone to introduce themselves—obviously to find out the type of participants it was getting, some admitting to being a Gen Xer. A roundtable discussion ensued.

Horn only needed to ask two questions to get the crowd’s utmost attention. The first one that got everyone stirred up was, yes, the question, “What are Millennials?” Echo founder Mat Gaver leaned in later to say conspiratorially, “It’s the question that gave the much older ones reasons to get back at the younger ones for the life they can’t live anymore.”

Going by a very loose definition, millennials (or Generation Y) are those born after 1977 all the way up to the 2000s. Gen Xers are those born from 1965-1976. At the meetup, the attendees were a mixed of both generations.

The insights the attendees provided made for good entertaining talk. Even the millennials in attendance didn’t challenge the assumptions flying thick and fast.

How much do millennials really know? From a media standpoint, one said “they get news from social networks—Twitter, “political” comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart,” but is that enough when “they can absorb information in big chunks.”

Others said they look for the best information, but they have a short-attention span. One explained this to mean how “cachet is moving quickly” (i.e. who is popular now is just as easily forgotten the next few weeks), and loyalty is non-existent, because there’s always ”something new.”

How can they be loyal when “they do internships without pay?” and companies lay off people without care. On top of that, “they have student loan debt” they can’t pay. So it’s not surprising why they have such a blasé or numb reaction to employment. “They can easily spot a company with integrity, but they can also spot ‘phony’ instantly.”

They live in an era where they have probably seen more companies closing down. “They have seen more people get laid off” and this is probably why more of them “want to do something for themselves, or for the world through social entrepreneurship. They are fearless.”

They are also the multitasking generation. Realizing the world is moving faster than ever, they think success and failure could hinge on a missed twit or Facebook posting. For this reason, “living an intense public life” is absolutely essential, damn privacy.

“But weren’t we all these, too?” a Gen Xer quipped. “Technology just makes millennials visible.”

After an hour, the second question came, “What do all of these mean for our products?”

This time, the group had more questions than answers.

Cristo gives the ‘last word’ on social SEO (for now); reaction to Coke study

EXCLUSIVE
By Dennis Clemente

Dan Cristo, director of SEO Innovation at Catalyst Online, a leading search marketing agency, doesn’t seem to have any problem holding people’s attention against the backdrop of a noisy bar on a Friday night. Cristo was presenting “Mastering the Art of Social SEO” at the Joshua Tree on East Avenue early this month. Find out more here at http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/pubs/social-seo-strategies/

“I thought for sure I was going to lose my voice,” he said in jest, but the attendees clearly knew why he did his SEO presentation at the bar. In such a setting, people are more comfortable to “expand and deepen one’s network.”

dancristo

Fortunately, Cristo speaks with emphatic clarity and enthusiastic openness. He genuinely likes to share his ideas. He breaks down traditional search against social search this way: The former is “authority,” the latter is “intimacy.”

He elaborated: “Social SEO is much like traditional SEO in the sense that search engines are looking for relevant, trustworthy answers to people’s questions. The difference is how trust is measured. In a world without online social connections, trust is measured on ‘topic authority’, which links are used as a proxy.

“So where online social interactions abound, a second ‘trust measure’ is introduced, intimacy. The deeper your online connection, the most trust exists between two people. That new intimacy-based trust now affects search rankings,” he added.

He gives an example: “If a good friend recommends a restaurant on Yelp, and I’m looking for a good restaurant, a search engine should rank that Yelp recommendation higher in my search results.

“This translates into an SEO strategy that looks at how brands can optimize not just web pages, but relationships to improve their search rankings.”

Apparently, Cristo leads by example. His name appears on every page of Google results–his main website, twitter profile, linkedin account, Google +, interviews, and articles, among others. “Use social SEO to dominate the Google results page. You can do this by optimizing you social profile, sharing multimedia content and creating long-tail content.”

Cristo is also persistent in saying “don’t neglect Google+.”

Whether you like it or not, Cristo said you need Google+ to establish a strong social presence. “If you want to use any of Google’s products, you will also be using Google+. Why? Search is at the core of all Google products.”

That search algorithm is being personalized for you. It comes from actions you perform on each of Google’s products–Chrome, YouTube, Maps Android, Music, Docs, News, Calendar, etc. His insights appear to be plain common sense but he is clearly making people more aware of it.

In response to the recent report about online buzz not working for Coca Cola sales, he acknowledges the brand for mastering traditional marketing, but not as much in terms of its social media approach.

Cristo is fully committed to his thinking: “Take a look at Coke’s Facebook and Twitter pages; 99% of the time they are talking about themselves. They do that, because that’s how TV works, but that’s not how friendships work. How long would you hang out with a friend who talked only about themselves? Look at the engagement their posts get on Facebook: Out of 62 million fans, only 4,000 to 5,000 on average ‘like’ a post, with maybe a hundred or 200 comments.”

“Compare Coke to Red Bull which has 37 million fans. Red Bull posts get 35,000 and 45,000 likes with 3,000 or 4,000 comments. The difference here is Red Bull is talking about extreme sports, athletes and amazing feats of accomplishment, not their own product.”

He concluded: “It’s not a question of whether social media drives sales. It’s a question of whether Coke is participating in social media in a way that drives product sales. The data may say ‘no’. However, run the same test with Red Bull, and the data will say, ‘yes.’”

Catalyst manages 100 brands in the consumer package goods, automobile, B2B, retail, entertainment, software, technology, travel, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Its clients include P&G, Microsoft, Novartis, Whirlpool, and Pfizer. Headquartered in Nevada, it has offices in New York, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Montréal.

From social gaming, there’s DerbyJackpot’s social gambling

By Dennis Clemente

Three months ago, DerbyJackpot (derbyjackpot.com) went live. It’s a website that looks like an arcade game for kids, but there’s nothing “kiddie” about it. It’s real gambling with real horses—and from what we heard, it’s legal to make real bets in horse racing in 23 states. The only difference is it’s social gaming a.k.a. social gambling.

DerbyJackpot was presented at the first Ruby on Rails Meetup at General Assembly last March 20 as an example—it’s built on Ruby. The betting game is quite easy to track. You watch the race through a live video feed and bet on horse races around the country. The racetracks are located in the U.S. and Canada.

Being an online/social game, it’s supposed to be make real-world horse-betting a cinch—and winning, well, supposedly easy, too. As an example, DerbyJackpot says your 10 cents could win you over $10,000. Even better, you can reportedly cash out anytime and take your winnings immediately. The maximum bet is $20. Players can use their credit card or through online payment system called Dwolla.

Its social media components include having you play with or challenge your Facebook friends. You can play, watch, cheer them and of course, taunt them. The site is live in 23 states. It is restricted in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Emily Stolfo, Ruby engineer at 10gen and adjunct faculty at Columbia, presented how MongoDB works together with Ruby on Rails. 10Gen is behind MongoDB, a NoSQL database written in C++.

Many see MongoDB as the way to empower organizations to be agile and scalable, as it helps enable new types of applications, improve customer experience, accelerate time to market and reduce total cost of ownership.

The meetup also gave three new Rails developers the opportunity to demonstrate their own sites built on Rails, as they learned from their respective weeks-long classes at General Assembly. With no coding experience whatsoever, the students’ Rails sites clearly are a work in progress, but even experienced developers in the meetup applauded them for their efforts.

The meetup was hosted and organized by Chyld Medford, a Ruby on Rails instructor at General Assembly, a school for single classes to multi-day workshops on technology, business and design in the Flatiron District.

9 app presenters? It’s March Madness at NYTech Meetup

By Dennis Clemente

What if the NY Tech Meetup last March 19 was really about how apps are imitating life. Think of how Ontodia’s pediacities.com is SIM City overlord, helping digital cities of our future through big, linked, open city data, as iRescU.com hovers as an app that leverages social media and crowdsourcing to save lives—your life would be a good start. Imagine locating the nearest defibrillator, for instance, with the flick of the iRescU app.

Schools are multilingual as we know it in the world of clarity.com; teachers communicate with students’ parents in their language through instant real-time translation. What are the parents saying? They’re moving to another house nearby using moveline.com, a simple way to get organized, compare prices and hire movers you can trust. And because you don’t want the movers to get lost, you take photos and post on yext.com, which synchronizes your contact info in every site you have.

Since the main feature of the mobile phone is the camera, you find yourself taking more photos than usual, because you’re marveling at shutterstock.com’s new color search—and you’re thinking of making an extra dough. Cool, right? Not until you use aviary.com did you realize you can take photos for the moveline movers to know where your monument to Daenerys Targayen should be glorified in your shoebox of a room.

When you arrive in your new abode, you plunk down on the sofa, checking your emails on your tablet on birdseyemail.com. Ah, how stimulating to see your email in gmail—in gorgeous, multi-dimensional folders that suit your very organized, meticulous, app-driven life; have an “appy” life now, okay.

So as you’re sitting down and thinking of unwinding, you check out where your new buddies are on your foursquare.com account. We’re talking pediacities’ Joel Natividad and co-founder Sami Baig; RescU’s Nadine Levick, Nicholas Skipitaris, Stellah Deville; Clarity’s Liang Shi, Volkam Unsal; Moveline’s Kelly Eidson, Frederick Cook; Birdseye’s Adam Salcitt-Gucwa and HJ Kwon; Yext’s Howard Lerman and his spacey shoes, Rich Hong; Shutterstock’s Wyatt Jenkins, Eric Smiling, Josh Black; Aviary’s Chevon Christie, Avi Muchnick; and Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley who just took us back in time four years ago when his company was founded, and how his app has already garnered 3 billion check-ins to this day.

It’s good to know they are all within app reach, but there are a billion more people to reach, more apps to report and remain unpublished. Crowley claims local search is broken, so is searching for publications to publish this piece. Try to solve that. Yes, I know it’s quite a tall order.

You could say an app a day takes you worlds away, but the NYTech certainly takes the cake for having nine presenters in one night, more than any I’ve attended since the beginning of the year and probably enough for Mayor Bloomberg to check if he should impose a sensory limit.

This is March madness!
(Apologies to everyone, this blogger has seasonal colds.)

Gilt, DomandTom, EachScape enjoy upswing in mobile shopping behavior

By Dennis Clemente

Mobile shopping sites and developers are raking in the dough. In 2012, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, an increase of 81 percent from the year before, according to e-marketer, which compiles data from 120 sources that track consumers.

Gilt City (gilt.com), Dom and Tom (domandtom.com) and EachScape (eachscape.com), have got it made in the mobile arena. If the numbers hold up, they will be part of the mobile’s $87 billion earnings (a quarter of e-commerce) by 2016.

At the Mobile & Commerce Demo last March 13, the three companies showed us how they have made a strong mobile presence, showing us the various features of their respective businesses, especially the usability of their apps.

Twins Dom and Tom Tancredi (hence Dom & Tom, Inc) might as well have showed up with Google glasses—telling us how those glasses will revolutionize mobile shopping.

Based in Manhattan and Chicago with a satellite office in Las Vegas, Dom and Tom started in mobile and web development in 2009. Today, it has grown into a full service design and development studio specializing in emerging technologies for web, social media, e-commerce, interactive, and mobile platforms.

Dom said they use every language needed to make sure their apps work in different devices. Asked about examples of great apps, Dom said of Priceline, “It has the best API documentation I’ve ever seen.”

gilt

Gilt’s turn to present drew an enthusiastic applause, proving its huge popularity among marketers and shoppers alike. The local lifestyle site founded in 2009 offers memorable adventures and exclusive offers, at insider prices every day at noon.

These include getting great deals in the very best restaurants, spas, salons, exclusive events and shows in the city. Its curators comb through hundreds of neighborhoods and local businesses to bring compelling offers in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Its studio in Brooklyn provides Gilt the striking images one finds on the Web and mobile site.

Chris Rodriguez of Gilt’s mobile development division says Gilt has achieved quite a feat. The app has been downloaded 4 million times, has accounted for 45 percent of the site’s traffic for the past 4 months, and has so far enjoyed 30% of its revenue.

How do you like your Gilt? One feature that Rodriguez said people may want to try is for people to take a photo of, say, a color they saw somewhere using their iPhone and find that color on the Gilt site’s range of products.

EachScape, for its part, showed how they have “magazined” retail sites such as Lookbook and Nine West stores. EachScape is an open platform that gives people the power to rapidly create professional mobile apps with an intuitive drag & drop interface. A suite of pre-built “Blocks” provide professional quality, cutting-edge mobile features. You can also build your own exclusive “PowerBlocks” to make your mobile application unique.

EachScape works with third-party developers that can build and contribute new components, or ‘Blocks’. Blocks do just about anything: Augmented Reality, Audio Recognition, Mapping, or any other kind of enhancement that will make every application or mobile site unique, exciting, and more powerful. This means its clients gain access to a full-blown mobile ecosystem.

Geer of Badoo fame gives tips on how to get first million users

By Dennis Clemente

How do you get your first million users in your online business? Michael Geer, who helped grow and internationalize badoo.com to 70 million users (it now has 175 million users) said you need three things—virality, revenue and user utility.

Geer was at the Grow/Hack meetup last March 12 at the NYU Stern School of Business talking about the methods, strategies and lessons he learned from his career, both local and overseas. Geer has worked with Y&R and Badoo (badoo.com) in Moscow, also with Badoo in London, leaving the company in July 2010.

michael geer

For Geer, there are 3 levels of virality—inherent (eg. Dropbox’s offer of free space online), draw something (eg. referrals) and sharing (as you can with most Web sites). For best viral results, he thinks you need two buckets—the paid buckets (ads) and your viral techniques (organic).

As yardstick, Geer recommends using Google Analytics and MixPanel. Recoding your progress is key—there’s the past stage, current stage (with limited interference from non-development team and the future stage—having plan a/b tested and measured against past-stage results.

But how do you get users to join your system? Geer refers to what he calls the Pavlovian viral loop, in the following order: motivation–what a user wants to do; trigger—what prompts them to do it; action—importing contacts and inviting them; and reward—giving feedback and reward for action taken.

What would motivate people to go to your site? It’s not surprising what he says are the four essentials–sex, power, money and status/recognition.

He said the top triggers are a) access to information about yourself; b) connection/access to other users; c) getting more attention about yourself or self-generated content; and 4) the ability to get a special deal/give special deal to friends.

“A trigger can be as simple as about having a pop-up button image, which compels people to ‘push me,’” he said to explain his fourth point about triggers.

Geer said give rewards “as early as possible.” But do rewards always work? For example, does it wear off its welcome in the case of, say, an invite system? He said it always works. “You feel a sense of exclusivity when you get an invite to an app,”

He demystified conjectures, saying a good product retains, not attracts, users. He said public relations can work to attract millions of users, just keep in mind “it is not a scalable acquisition tool.”

Geer is also a Techstars mentor, a board advisor to several startups, a user acquisition teacher at SkillShare, and maintains a social good for-profit meetup. Recently, Geer started a couple of personal projects where he is the founder: CauseCart and YourDecision. Both are expected to be launched this year.

Vitogo founder talks about features of personal trainer app

By Dennis Clemente

The Product Group Meetup at the Viacom Building/MTV Networks in Times Square last March 7 was attended by nearly 400 people, all excited to share their insights about millennials, including Arel English, founder, product manager and one of the developers of Vitogo (vitogo.com), a personal trainer app.

“Vitogo is a fitness service we like to call ‘a personal trainer at your fingertips,’” said English of the iPhone, iPodTouch and iPad app.

“Most people who want to get in shape fail because they don’t know what to do, and don’t see results. Vitogo helps you succeed by guiding you through your fitness journey, just like having a personal trainer working with you all the time,” he added.

vitogo

Getting the whole picture is essential. English said there are three pillars of a healthy lifestyle: nutrition, cardio, and strength training and Vitogo will help you achieve your fitness goals through strength training and integrates with RunKeeper and Lose It! to give you the complete picture.

Here’s how the app works, as explained by English:

Tailored to your goals. Assess your fitness level and goals to choose a strength training program that’s right for you using strength and conditioning science.

No more guess work. Achieve your goals by taking the guess work and confusion out of the gym. You are guided every step of your workout, telling you how long you must rest, and showing you how to do your exercises with photos, videos, and descriptions.

Track your progress. Track and measure your improvement by providing graphs and analytics of all your fitness activity and personal measurements.

Staying motivated. Work your way up the Vitogo leaderboard and earn trophies by completing workouts and hitting milestones with support from family and friends.

Keep improving. Bored with the same old workout? No longer seeing results? Build variation into your program every 8 to 12 weeks, free of charge.

English, however, advises people to consult with their physician first before undergoing any diet or exercise regime.

The other agenda of the night was served up by Jeremy Horn, the host and organizer of the Product Group meetup: “What are millennials?”

Millennials (or Generation Y) are said to be those born after 1977 all the way up to the 2000s. But at the meetup, the attendees consisted of different generations, which resulted in a lively discussion.

The audience talked about how millennials have seen so many layoffs, privacy is no big deal, multitasking is essential, news need not come from media, popularity is fleeting, and how continued unemployment is making it hard for them to pay their student loan debt.

For Echo founder Mat Gaver, the talk was telling in a sense that it gave the much older ones “a reason to get back at the younger ones for the life they can’t live anymore.”

But what does the mindset of millennials mean for our products?

Short of saying it’s going to be hard to pin them down, one marketer says, “Product developers are going to be challenged by them, because they embrace technology but they also like a printed book,” because it is a more authentic experience.

More finance startups join tech bandwagon

By Dennis Clemente

If there is an award for the Best Dressed Meetup Group among startups, the Fintech Startup meetup last March 6 could win it, hands down. The five startups and the attendees were dressed up for success at the meetup held at Dechert LLC in a gleaming tower overlooking Bryant Park. It’s the finance world, after all.

Host Jon Zanoff did not hide his surprise about the huge turnout, even if a snowstorm was forecast for that night. The event quickly went on its business of introducing the startups pitching that night—Vestorly (vestorly.com), EquaMetrics (equametrics.com), Seed Invest (seedinvest.com), Enigma (enigma.io) and TradeEmbark (early stage startup).

Founded in 2011, Vestorly connects people with an investment advisor through trusted family and friends on linkedin.com. It’s a slight departure from previous articles written about the company connecting to various social media.

Founders Ralph Pahlmeyer and Justin Wisz envisioned the company as an alternative to the broken state of financial services and how it’s ripe for positive change.

How is it different from talking to any investment advisor?

Based on experience, the founders have observed how people put their savings with a large bank, because it’s a brand they know, not thinking they will end up with brokers or advisors who sell them investment products not suited to them.

Through its “referral” system, Vestorly sees the pairing of trusted investment advisors with people who really want to make a good investment hinging not on testimonials or endorsements, but on much more: “trust” equity.

What do you think of algorithms for amateurs trading stocks and similar assets?
The next presenter, EquaMetrics demonstrated its web application, Rizm, to make trading as easy for a beginner as it is broad for an advanced trader.

Co-founder Christopher Ivey (other founder is Amir Tarighat) demonstrated Rizm’s easy drag-and-drop functionality that should help users create, back test, simulate and launch complex trading algorithms without any programming knowledge. It tests against historical data and real-time data, but it’d be interesting to see how it competes with professional traders.

Coming from a previous talk he gave on the JOBS Act, Ryan Feit, co-founder of SeedInvest talked this time about the investor side of his business.

Founded in 2012, SeedInvest is an equity-based crowdfunding platform that connects accredited investors to high-quality start-ups and small businesses seeking funding.

Where other crowdfunding platforms are busy, SeedInvest seems more concerned about quality over quantity, preferring to filter out 98% of the noise by hand-selecting only the top opportunities for investors to evaluate.

SeedInvest claims it’s the only funding platform formed solely by professional investors which allow them to evaluate investment opportunities easier.

“We work with venture capital firms and angel groups,” says Feit who also intimated that he wouldn’t mind working with angel investor David Rose when asked about it by FinLitTV’s Suraj Jain (finlittv.com).

Talk about getting funding, the last company to present Enigma’s Marc Da Costa opened its presentation with a reference to its $1 million seed funding for riding on the crest of big data.

Today, Enigma is said to have 100,000-plus public datasets that include bills of lading, aircraft ownership, lobbying activity, real estate assessments and government spending contracts. It plans expand its user base by pitching to companies in media, finance consulting, legal and academic industries.

Jesse Podell of TradeEmbark also took the podium to discuss briefly his early-stage startup aimed at helping individual investors make informed decisions.

Food experts agree genetically modified foods need labeling

By Dennis Clemente

Last March 5, food experts from various fields speaking at the “Future of Food” talk hosted by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) all agreed to have genetically modified foods labeled–if they had their way. Three days later, Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, had its way. It became the first retailer in the United States to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/business/grocery-chain-to-require-labels-for-genetically-modified-food.html?_r=0

The experts at the AMNH consisted of plant geneticist Paul Gepts, ethicist Paul Wolpe and intellectual property lawyer Rochelle Dreyfuss with Frederick Kaufman, author of “Bet the Farm,” as moderator. The talk was in conjunction with the museum’s one-of-a-kind exhibition, “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture.” (http://www.amnh.org/learn-teach/adults/exhibition-related-programs/the-future-of-food)

Gene-modified food has become one of the most hotly contested issues of our time. There are so many gray areas that everyone in the panel also think there should be further evaluation–not just about the genetic engineering of crops, but also of animals using “modern biotechnology” and “gene technology”.

Gepts leads the way in saying, “Current genetically engineered crops could be improved by a stronger regulatory process based on improved testing protocols.”

Trying to cover as much ground in one hour, the talk veered in many overlapping directions. The speakers took turns answering questions about the hidden forces that shape what we eat; the legal and ethic implications at play; how biotechnology could affect our food systems; “patenting” nature, and if genetically modified foods are the answer or the problem.

In differentiating our food sources, Gepts points out how meats may be derived from animals that were fed genetically engineered crops, such as corn, but the animals themselves may not be genetically engineered.

Dairy products, on the other hand, may reportedly use bovine growth hormone to increase lactation dairy cows or use genetically engineered rennet to produce cheese. There are snack foods that are said to contain or are derived from corn, cotton, soybean or canola.

Gepts says most fruits and vegetables are not genetically engineered, except for papayas where production in Hawaii is said to be partly genetically engineered to resist a plant virus.

Gene-modified food may cause some health issues, if “diseases are created” as a result of it, not to mention how modification can introduce allergies. Combining peanuts with tomatoes can cause a problem if one is, Wolpe says, allergic to one or the other.

The talk certainly presented itself as a prelude to a wide-ranging issue that could bring in more personalities to the table–more food experts, lawyers, ethicists, environmentalists, foodies and various food companies, all seemingly headed for a serious collision.

It’s what Kaufman called the “wall” between food activists and scientists and what Dreyfuss thinks will make her a mediator to an issue that is going to breed all sorts of reactions and intense debates for sometime to come, especially when other First World countries already have gene-modified food labeled.

DEMO’s Erick Schonfeld talks about rise of mobile, demise of PC

By Dennis Clemente

Alley NYC Week’s informal fireside chat series in midtown Manhattan last March 1 gave New York techies a good reason to dash off for a quick lunch with guest Erick Schonfeld, the technology journalist who is also the executive producer of DEMO (thedemo.com) and partner of Bmuse (bmuse.com).

“The PC era is over,” he declares without much fanfare, as insiders have been saying this since last year. It was simply a preamble for what he would say next: “Mobile is a big market for anyone.”

erick schonfeld

Schonfeld talked about the “accelerated path” of mobile, saying 58 percent of developers are looking into developing for phones and tablets, more so even than game consoles. If he were to decide what Apple should do next, he intimidated how he “would go all the way.”

Asked about iOS vs Android, he acknowledged how there are more Android phone users from a business point of view and how “Apple doesn’t have an answer for cheap phones,” hinting at robust sales of other smartphones made of inexpensive materials (read: plastic).

Schonfeld thinks Nokia Lumia has “a much nicer hardware than the Nexus, although it could be three years too late.”

DEMO holds conferences worldwide, focusing on emerging technologies and new product innovations. It has served as launch pad events for companies such as E*Trade and Salesforce, helping them to secure venture funding, establish critical business relations and influence early adopters.

Bmuse is a product incubator in New York City seeking various ways to reimagine our media landscape.

The attentive audience consisted of established founders like Mat Gaver whose company, justecho.com, develops mobile apps for FORTUNE 500 companies as well as new founders like Sonam Dhingra of convocast.com, whose much-anticipated approach to sharing fun times and memories online should be one to watch.

The fireside chat was hosted Alley NYC, a New York tech hub and co-working space which holds a regular series featuring tech’s thought leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.

Schonfeld came to the short talk as TechCrunch’s previous editor in chief where he helped to program the Disrupt conferences and CrunchUps. He was also the Editor-at-Large for Business 2.0 magazine where he wrote stories and ran its main blog, The Next Net. He also launched an online video series with CNN Money and hosted regular panels and conferences of industry luminaries.

Schonfeld started his career at FORTUNE magazine in 1993. He appears regularly on CNBC, CNN and NY1 aside from being a frequent speaker at industry conferences.