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Grist for the tech mill: 2015 events from over 1,100 NY tech meetups

data-driven meetup-nov2015

By Dennis Clemente

There are more than 1,100 tech meetups in New York. Here’s a summary of what happened in one year from March to December 2015.

Instead of having the always selling mentality, Mark Roberge, chief revenue officer of Hubspot, suggests having an always-be-helping mentality. Roberge’s sales talk last December 17 at Enterprise Sales Meetup in midtown Manhattan was especially meaningful as it’s not too often you hear someone from a programming background lead sales teams. The topic, Sales Acceleration Formula, was the same title of his book based on his experience taking a job in sales at Hubspot and coming from a programming background.

It was not your typical meetup in the city. For one, it was scheduled on a Friday night last December 18 (most meetups in the city are from Monday to Thursday). Second, it was held at a store, the new Microsoft Flagship Store on the shopping district of Fifth Avenue. But the crowd trickled in to watch the presentation of devices at the meetup curiously billed “Understanding Live Video Streaming with Periscope and Meerkat.”

German startups Keeen, Favendo and Night Adivsors took turns demonstrating their platforms at the German Accelerator NY last December 15 at Rise NY.

Would you rely on Big Data or The Force? It was a Star Wars evening for the Data-Driven meetup last December 14 at Bloomberg, especially for Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight who sounded giddy using the epic fantasy flick as reference for his presentation. He was joined by Arcadia Data, MapR and Datameer.

”How do you make sense of any mess?” That was the first question information architect Abby Covert threw at the audience last December 10 at the Designers & Geeks meetup at the Spotify offices.

“Life’s too short to build something nobody wants,” says Ash Maurya in his talk last December 8 at We Work in Wall Street. Maurya is the acclaimed author of “Running Lean,” a concise guide that helps you take action in using lean startup and customer development principles. He was at We Work to present his ideas for scaling business–clearly a prelude to his upcoming book, “Scaling Lean.” For Maurya, the root cause of a startup’s problem is when solution is perceived as the product. “Your solution is not the product. Your business model is the product.”

Last Dec 9, Uncubed took the holiday season as an opportunity for startups like Moat to discuss their 2015 accomplishments and future plans at its offices in the Lower East Side. By 2016, Moat, an independent SaaS Marketing analytics firm focused on transforming online brand advertising through trusted measurement and analytics, will reportedly be the first third party to measure viewability on YouTube.

Last December 1, Hardware Meetup featured talks from the founders of Grove, OneDrop and Boxee at the Microsoft offices. Gabe Blanchet, CEO of Grove, showed how food lovers can grow food at home while–get this–fish swims below it. Yes, even it will fit in a cramped New York apartment.

How do you make data scientists more productive? Jeremy Achin has an answer for you. The current path to becoming a data scientist is based on learning statistics, programming and algorithms, then applying practical knowledge and practicing real world experience which can unfortunately take up a lot of time. Achin spoke with other presenters Josh Bloom of Wise.io, Alexi Le-Quoc, founder of Datadog and Haile Owusu, chief data scientist of Mashable at Data-Driven’s monthly meetup last November 16 at Bloomberg.

Moral rights versus individual rights. That’s the struggle the entertainment industry faces these days when individual rights have blurred the lines between individual ownership and what is other people’s content, the title of the breakfast forum hosted by Gotham Media last November 18 at the Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz at 40th Street on Madison Avenue.

What is Birchbox? In the city, most tech meetups always asks people by a show of hands, how many people have heard of Birchbox? Most of the nearly hundred people raised their hand. If you’re still wondering, what it is about, it’s this: Birchbox delivers monthly boxes of beauty or grooming samples, picked to match your profile. Last November 19, CTO Liz Crawford talked about her role and how the company operates at the NYC European Tech Meetup at Spotify’s roomy offices.

Last November 9, Coinvent held a whole-day tech startup fair with several startups and inspirational talks at the Metropolitan Avenue in Chelsea. Dog Parker was one of the most popular startups as it showed a “doghouse” that provides secure dog parking when you’re out and about in the city with your dog and you need to run an errand. Dog Parker partners with businesses to place Dog Parkers in front their stores.

Last November 3, Alley Boost held a half-day startup expo featuring more than 60 startups at La Venue on 12th Avenue, blocks away from the Javits Convention Center.

The future of event ticketing will have some kind of empowerment and engagement, according to Taku Harada, CEO and co-founder of Peatix who presented at last November 2 at the Japan NYC Startups at Pivotal Labs.

The NY Expo Business Conference held last October 27 at the Javits Center packs in hundreds of startups, not necessarily all online-based companies or early startups. Touted as the largest New York business conference event, it has exhibitions, seminars and free business consultations for an audience that’s not entirely from the city either.

Last October 14, OLC attended AngelCube NYC Demo Day at WeWork in SoHo. In classic WeWork fashion, it took less than a minute for us to be reminded that there was beer on tap (In addition to a cheese plate and an array of mini-burgers). WeWork’s creative space had a foosball table, a kitchenette disguised as a bar, and hanging light bulbs with exposed filament.

What is the real reason why Microsoft Ventures Accelerator can choose to fund your startup for $500,000 without equity? Not only that, you get work in its Seattle office and have what graduates say are great meals as you work on your startup there.

“It’s Tinder for doctors,” says Toby Hervey about his app, on-demand house-call doctors. He was one of the presenters that included Ulula, Kiddo App and Domain Skate last October 20 at the NY Tech Breakfast at Microsoft.

The second Korean Summit NYC last October 16 at the New Yorker Wyndham. featured several Korean startups with Charlie Kim, founder and CEO of Next Jump, and Murat Aktihanoglu, managing director of Entrepreneurs Roundtble Accelerator as main speakers.

Last October 14, the New York Tech Meetup brought back two of its most popular demos – Addicaid and Pager — to mark the launch of its new “Demo Deep Dive” event series in lower Manhattan.

Last October 12, Area 1 Security, Birchbox, Livefyre and Metamind, presented at the packed Data-Driven meetup at Bloomberg.

It’s seldom you hear honest talk about investors snoring soundly or checking their phones every so often when you’re pitching to them but the founders of these companies — Wayup, F Cubed, Manicube, getringly and ELOQUII — had those stories to share. What’s more unusual perhaps is how even those who they thought couldn’t care less were the ones interested in investing in them.

Last October 7, Devin Rogerino of Inc.com presented a talk on video creation or how to cost effectively enter the video creation community at the Wix lounge in Chelsea. Essentially, you need four things—ideation, inspiration, brainstorming, planning—before you even make your video, and let’s not forget how you have to know whether you need YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo.

Last September 30, Tech in Motion deviated from its usual show-and-tell meetup presentations for an exposition of startups with cocktails at Ainsworth Midtown East. The startups on exhibit were beGlammed, GoButler, FlyCleaners, Zeel and ZIRX, all riding on the popularity of uber and the way it’s propping up the sharing economy.

How do you become a digital nomad? If you care to listen to the speakers of Cafe Numerique (Beligan for digital), you’ll find out how the world is getting smaller the way people from all over the world are finding each other, doing business and sharing ideas.

Last September 17, the Brooklyn Borough Hall was the setting for the International Day, the last of the four-day international Transatlantic Entrepreneur (TEP) conference which brought together investors, entrepreneurs, media and policy makers from the US, Asia and Europe.

Scott Heiferman is perhaps the most unassuming CEO and co-founder you’ll ever meet in this city. For someone who runs one of the city’s earliest and most successful startups, meetup.com, which was formed 13 years ago, he still considers his company a startup. His company, he says, is older than most startups. It’s older than Google Maps, older than Facebook,– heck, older than Friendster and yet, he pauses to think if he’s still a startup.

Twitter’s Adam Sharp, Head of News, Government and Elections and Niketa Patel, News Partnerships Manager were the speakers at Conversations, a series of open discussion held by NY Daily News Innovation Lab, at Microsoft last September 9. It was also a way for Twitter to drum up support for its upcoming Project Lightning, a curated feed of tweets.

When every tech meetup seems to be covered at night, count NY Tech Breakfast counts on the early risers to come to its monthly event, now held at Microsoft for the second month. Last September 8, NY Tech Breakfast featured PolicyGenius, Proscape, TableSwipes and LawGo.

Last September 2, General Assembly held a talk featuring three companies offering online coding courses, One Month, Thinkful and Hopscotch at its offices in the Flatiron District.

The product challenges at the Product Council last August 31 were the digital clinic app offered by Maven Clinic and the new permissions level to be offered by JustWorks starting September 1. The meetup was held at the Pivotal Labs.

What is the future of media? The question may resonate the most among journalists and other media practitioners. After all, it’s their livelihood at stake. The answer in a word may be video, especially the way the panelists talked about how it is going very far and coming in. Even GoPro is reportedly adding some kind of news coverage.

On the second day of the Yahoo Developer Conference last August 26 at the Marriott, breakout sessions were held, with user acquisition as a topic attended by OLC. The key takeways: Developers have a three-month grace period to get sticky; get the app store experience right; app install ads work, but it’s important to talk to your users through a variety of marketing channels.

Is one percent better than zero or none at all? We’re not talking about the affluent in the United States, but if the one-percent effort or initiative that big companies dedicate to social impact is sufficient—or if it’s just a compromise, a public relations move. If you’re keeping up with the tech scene these days, you won’t hear Mock Series A Term Sheet Negotiations too often. It may be your first time to hear it, as we did, so we went to Orrick’s Total Access last August 24 at CBS to find out how it would unravel for us.

Tech meetup groups have taken most of the summer off, but Codecademy took the quiet time to hold an HTML and CSS workshop of its newly released web projects last August 20 at its office in midtown Manhattan with the people behind it in attendance–Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski.

If you’ve seen a drone, most likely you’re thinking how hard can it be to fly one, right? Well, it was not so easy for Easy Aerial’s CEO Ivan Stamatovski. Stamatovoski was one of four other presenters at the NY Video Meetup last July 23 at the AOL offices. “I have been flying a drone for two years but still suck at it,” he admitted.

Some apps certainly function as if they were invisible like Dennis Mortensen’s x.ai. It’s an artificial intelligence powered personal assistant that schedules meetings for you. Mortensen was again going the rounds with Amy, the name of his A.I. personal assistant who happened to be in the same room as Larry, which is Raad Ahmed’s text-responder of a lawyer, a mix of automation and human beings. Larry is the text version of Ahmed’s LawTrades. It’s personalized legal help tailored to your business over text. Both presenters and other startups Alfred and Stefanshead were at The Product Hunt meetup last July 22 at Animoto’s offices.

How do you cover the media when you’re the media? For its fifth meetup, The Tech Press Meetup invited Jason Abbruzzese of Mashable, Shannon Bond of the Financial Times and Tom Kludt of CNN to shed light on this topic at the Arthur L. Carter School of Journalism at 20 Cooper Square.

Having covered the tech meetup scene for the past few years, it’s interesting how a meetup about “Getting your startup set up and funded” produces a new group of aspiring entrepreneurs, new to the tech scene and what it takes to build one. There’s certainly something for everyone in the fastest-growing tech city and that’s what Megan Hannum, venture partner at Comcast, co-founder at Fundedby, was at Spark Labs last July 15 for–to help newcomers get their feet wet in the startup scene.

More than 35 investors, panel talks, lightning pitches, everyone one-on-ones with VCs, a venture fair—it was a summer blockbuster of a tech meetup what NY Tech Breakfast pulled off last July 10 at Microsoft, near Times Square. What’s amazing is how it was all pulled off in one half day, from 8 am to noontime.

What do you think people would Google: How to survive a breakup or divorce lawyer? You could do both or just the former if you think it’ll be better SEO for your business. “The key is to be creative with your link-baits (to set you apart and own that search), said Kevin Lee, founder and CEO of Didit.com last July 11.

JJ Fliegelman is generous with his ideas and insights into his business, Campus Job, an online marketplace for college students to find jobs that he co-founded with ex-Googler Liz Wessel. Launched only last September, Campus Job has already signed up 2,300 colleges, 3,000 employers, 100,000 students and—music to every startup founder’s ears—funding to the tune of $9 million.

When you have everyone discussing about their design process, it makes for an engaging presentation. Last June 24, Design Driven’s meetup was the best so far the way each speaker presented a specific topic—and more importantly, because the presenters were generous with their thoughts and candid with their answers, especially Bradford Shellhammer, founder of Fab.com and most recently, founder of Bezar.

Joseph Essas of Open Table, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, opened the talk at the Data Driven last June 16 at Bloomberg’s offices. It was Data Driven’s last monthly meetup as it takes a well-deserved two-month summer break.

“If it doesn’t fit excel, it’s big data.” That was Gilad Lotan, chief data scientist at Betaworks, giving a digestible meaning of how big data is about volume and variety as much as it is about velocity and variety, which conveniently rounds up to the four essential Vs you need in big data. Lotan was speaking at Tech in Motion’s first ever Big Data meetup at the spacious office of Mediaocean, a leading software platform provider for the advertising world. He was with two other Big Data panelists Bruce Weed, program director of Big Data and Watson at IBM and Claudia Perlich, chief data scientist at Dstillery.

Asking if you really need to know the number of your eggs on your fridge is perhaps the best way to determine how much automation you need for your home. It determines if you need Canary, Hggns, Keen Home or Smart Things, the presenters at the IoT Central meetup last June 17 at R/GA Accelerator’s offices near Port Authority. How do you get attention amid all the noise out there? If you ask Ben Parr, he will tell you that you need 7 captivation triggers, which he expounds on his recently launched book, “Captivology.”

How do you get attention amid all the noise out there? If you ask Ben Parr, he will tell you that you need 7 captivation triggers, which he expounds on his recently launched book, “Captivology.” Asking if you really need to know the number of your eggs on your fridge is perhaps the best way to determine how much automation you need for your home. It determines if you need Canary, Hggns, Keen Home or Smart Things, the presenters at the IoT Central meetup last June 17 at R/GA Accelerator’s offices near Port Authority.

Last May 28, The Hatchery presented four startups–Moving Analytics, Crowds Line, Mobiquire, Centrallo and Revenue Mantra at the Microsoft Building. “The Hatchery: Are You Serious?” Meetup group has been holding startup presentations for eight years now, but sometimes this writer wonders if the question extends beyond the earnest question. After all, it’s not easy to launch a successful startup let alone present in front of VCs.

The Market New York Expo for small businesses last May 21 at the Javits Center featured several talks on branding, email marketing, digital sales and mobile marketing. What stood out for us were the talks on Search Engine Optimization by Ruben Quinones, NYU adjunct instructor and VP, Client Strategy at Path Interactive and Mobile Marketing by Warren Zenna, EVP & Managing Director at Mobext (Havas Media).

FlyLabs has wowed audiences at the NY Tech Meetup months back and at the NY Video Meetup last May 20, it again drew some ecstatic applause for its video-editing apps, Fly, Clips and its new one called Tempo, a quick way to alter video time speeds.

Last May 14, PandoMonthly hosted a one-on-one interview with Sheila Marcelo, CEO and co-founder of care.com who talked at length about her Filipino roots and how the influence of her “Tiger mom” and the discipline they inculcated in her formed a big part of her success now.

Minerva Tantoco, New York City’s first-ever chief technology officer (CTO), said she pretty much created every job she had at the StartupGrind meetup last May 7. Tantoco directs the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, overseeing the development and implementation of a coordinated citywide strategy on technology and innovation and encouraging collaboration across agencies and with the wider New York City technology ecosystem. “We are a little startup inside city hall,” she said.

It’s good to see Scott Heiferman show up at NY Tech Meetup last May 5. Once a regular fixture of it many years ago, even as co-host, the Meetup founder has understandably been busy building his community of meetups, 30,000 for tech alone around the country. It was, as he has explained over time, a “9/11 baby.” He was at this particular meetup to announce the NY Tech Meetup Apple Watch app. The presenters of the night were Ananas, AptDeco, Amadeus, CornellTech, Epicure, OneDrop and X.ai with Wikitongues as hack of the night.

Adesoji Ojugbele of Google Android may have nailed it when asked about how to measure people’s attention span these days by using Instagram as an example: How long does it take you to post a photo on Instagram? The photo app is a good example, because as more people get used to its quick functionalities, the more people will not have patience for everything else that takes longer. The word “longer” here has come to mean longer than, say, 10 seconds; that could be an eternity for some people. Instagram is quick enough that anything else will be slow.

Last April 29, Uncubed held its meetup, “Hacks that saved my life” at Refinery 29 with the World Trade Center building gleaming behind it as early evening set in. This is not your typical show-and-tell meetup. It might as well be classified the hacked-and-tell meetup as each presenter talked about how a new app or site made their life easier, more fun and even useful in an unusual way.

Hardwired’s 19th meetup last April 22 might just have assembled the most interesting mix of startups so far —a drone that collects data fast, a pet activity and health monitor, a virtual reality content creator and—are you ready?—a new way of growing meat. Not your typical tech meetup in the city, folks.

More than 400 startups pitched to 10,000 attendees at the fourth-year of the largest annual tech fair called Tech Day. The event held last April 23 showcased startups in various industries such as education and e-commerce, design and deliveries, food and fashion, music and things mobile as well as that services catering to them like co-working spaces, immigration and recruitment companies.

Last April 22, a new venue emerged from the meetups gaining popular steam in springtime New York, just as the Tribeca Film Festival was rolling its week-long fest of indie and alternative films. It had the same makeup as the tech meetup talks, except it was held at the De Niro-propelled film center and headlined Designing Innovation.

Last April 14, the Data Driven Meetup featured How Liu, founder and CEO of Airtable; Scott Crunch, co-founder and CEO of Mark43; Bob Muglia, CEO of Snowflake and Emil Eifrem, founder and CEO of Neo Technologies at the Bloomberg offices.

Last April 8, AlleyNYC’s SquadUp featured three female-owned startups Bird and Stone , Plum Alley, Quarterlette and Dreamers//Doers with some VC guests giving tip on how to get funded. Made in New York, Bird and Stone sells its own jewelry line with 15 percent of sales funding micro loans and agri-business training in Kenya, where 75 percent of its people live in rural areas. So far, it has funded 8 women with $200 microloans and provided them with financial training, industry training and mentorship.

Dash, City Maps and even a 105-year-old startup named IBM stood out from the demonstrations hosted by NY Tech Meetup last April 7 at the NYU Skirball Theater. But Dash was clearly the night’s favorite the way it connects cars to smartphones and unlocks enhanced performance, cost savings and social driving.

Sometimes the title of a meetup ends up being more. You simply need a host who knows how to push the right buttons and no demos. Last April 1, the Disruptive Technologists group planned a forum called “Balancing a Cool Idea with Profitability” with host/moderator Bruce Bachenheimer, a Pace University professor. It turned out to be about a lot more, including a call for immigration reform to fill up the critical need for developers and other talented people in the United States.

How would you like your bike to guide your way with navigation lights? Hammerhead wants to lead the way with this idea. How would you like virtual reality as a productivity tool? IrisVR aspires to make that a seamless experience. These were just two of the presenters at Hardwired NYC’s meetup last March 24 at Quirky at 28th West and 11th Avenue. The others were Brilliant Bike, American Prison Data Systems and Wink.

Last March 23, the On-Demand Economy meetup featured Button, Managed by Q and Minibar at the Animoto offices in midtown Manhattan. Much of the tech world is trying to figure out deep linking, that is, making the mobile app ecosystem work more like the web.

Silicon Alley is extending all the way to Queens as the Digital NYC Five-Borough tour made its stop at the LA Guardia Community College last March 26. An initative of Mayor Bill de Blasio, digital.nyc is the city’s online hubs for all things tech and startups. Eric Gertler of NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Council) said it is making sure all of its programs extend to everyone in New York as part of an initiative to reduce income inequality.

Media practitioners see native advertising, video as future of reporting

NEW YORK–What is the future of media? The question may resonate the most among journalists and other media practitioners. After all, it’s their livelihood at stake. The answer in a word may be video, especially the way the panelists talked about how it is going very far and coming in. Even GoPro is reportedly adding some kind of news coverage.

http://www.districtdialogues.com/

Last August 27, Jessica Manis, Digital Associate director of Optimedia US; Alicianne Rand, VP for Marketing of Newscred and Chelsea Emery, deputy editor at BBC Capital at BBC Worldwide tackled this question head on at the District Dialogues at District Cowork at Nomad. Kerry Flynn, tech reporter of the International Business Times, served as moderator.

Video content is going to evolve and we will be consuming it in different ways and telling stories in different ways.

The panel also talked about native advertising, the way paid content is made to look like a publication’s editorial content. It has been around since David Ogilvy’s days, but it has metastasized into various innovative digital formats –and names. Companies like Target did it for an entire issue of The New Yorker in what was called a single seller issue. Scientology sponsored content for Atlantic, but it became too unpopular, it was inevitably pulled out.

Any talk of native advertising makes for an engaging talk and reactions from any camp. The panel was curious about how it will evolve, saying they were watching it with interest, if it will change the model and what dilemmas it can present for publishers, even if companies produce good content. Wall Street Journal and other respected pubs are reportedly going the same route.

“Editors and publishers are finding the right balance,” one of the panelists said.

But not to think little of consumers, Rand said consumers are smart. It’s crucial to “own who you are,” because “pubs are brands.” Consumers, they said, are only going to choose what they value the most.

Do these outfits talk about startups? They have teams dedicated to searching for startups worth writing about. But in most cases, they will only cover those with “some size, some heft.”

What innovation would you like to see in publishing? Looking at each other, knowing what they wanted, they nodded in agreement, “Print.”

Getting your startup set up and funded

NEW YORK–Having covered the tech meetup scene for the past few years, it’s interesting how a meetup about “Getting your startup set up and funded” produces a new group of aspiring entrepreneurs, new to the tech scene and what it takes to build one. There’s certainly something for everyone in the fastest-growing tech city and that’s what Megan Hannum, venture partner at Comcast, co-founder at Fundedby, was at Spark Labs last July 15 for–to help newcomers get their feet wet in the startup scene.

http://www.meetup.com/sparklabs/events/222790024/

Hearing the newbie questions seem sound fresh again, like a refresher for some who need to get his focus back. With the high failure rate among startups, somewhere at 90% up, one would think startups should know what Hannum and other VCs say, “You need to remind yourself if you’re building a feature or a product.” For startups, it’s hard to tell.

How do you get funded? The process you go through as the founder is crucial. Hannum said she’ll get your interest based on your early team composition. If you outsourced your idea, how you integrated it to work for you eventually is just as important as working with the first few employees.

How do you know how to value your company? Hannum throws it out there, “Ask yourself if you have a proprietary product” (for a start).”

How do you know if you need help or a co-founder? “You’re going to know if you are wearing too many hats. You’ll be scrambling. You’ll want some expertise,” she said.

Hannum pointed out new trends. Where convertible notes were not popular before, it’s picking up now, because there is plenty of money moving around.

Other than accelerators and incubators, Hannum said there are “bootcampesque” companies that help startups get ready for funding.

And if you already have a startup, Hannum said you’ll benefit from knowing how a VC like her could be meeting 7 e-commerce companies doing the same thing. She stressed, “You need to find out who else is in your space and make your startup 10 times better.”

It’s certainly what most VCs will tell you these days.

What the big deal is about big data

“If it doesn’t fit excel, it’s big data.”

http://bit.ly/1AFZEEv

That was Gilad Lotan, chief data scientist at Betaworks, giving a digestible meaning of how big data is about volume and variety as much as it is about velocity and variety, which conveniently rounds up to the four essential Vs you need in big data.

Lotan was speaking at Tech in Motion’s first ever Big Data meetup at the spacious office of Mediaocean, a leading software platform provider for the advertising world. He was with two other Big Data panelists Bruce Weed, program director of Big Data and Watson at IBM and Claudia Perlich, chief data scientist at Dstillery.

What is the big deal about big data? In terms of growth, it has reported earnings at $7.6 billion four years ago to expected earnings of $85 billion years from now. To give you a clear picture of earnings to date, revenue for hardware, software and professional services has already reached $27.36 billion.

“How did we get there?” asked moderator Cornelia Bencheton. Big data gained widespread interest in 2004, but since then, you’re either immersed in it or overwhelmed by it. Not many in the field are only too willing to understand it. Even the cultural and philosophical aspect of it is open to scrutiny.

For Weed, variety is the jewel of the four Vs.

The 4 Vs of big data is volume about terabytes to petabytes of data; variety–data in many forms—is structured and unstructured, text and multimedia; velocity, data in motion, the analysis of streaming dta to enable decisions within fractions of a second; and veracity–data certainty and managing the reliability and predictability of inherently imprecise data types.

Perlich is quick to point out though there is no bad data, just data we don’t understand, or data that is wrongly interpreted.

Citing a use case study, Lotan talked his company’s investment in Poncho, which aggregates weather over time and how it has a need for an editorial voice, by determining the zip codes it can gather together, among other things.

With all the data out there, Perlich said it’s not surprising why some people think it’s a rabbit hole. She stressed the importance of knowing the decisions you should make.

Data science is complicated and aspires higher than computer science. Everyone has barely scratched the surface.

Lotan is the Chief Data Scientist at betaworks, a technology company that operates as a studio, building new products, growing companies and seed investing. Previously, Gilad ran the data team at SocialFlow and built data products at Microsoft’s FUSE Labs.

He serves on the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board as well as Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. His work has been covered by the New York Times, the Guardian, Fast Company and the Atlantic Wire and published across a wide range of academic journals.

Bruce Weed is the city leader (New York and Chicago) for IBM’s Cloud business development with Startups and developers. His focus and expertise are around Big Data and Watson.

Weed has extensive experience in business development, sales and marketing. His additional skills and experience lie in product and brand management, operational strategy, IT strategy, channels and software development.

Perlich currently acts as Chief Scientist at Dstillery (previously m6d) and in this role designs, develops, analyzes and optimizes the machine learning that drives digital advertising.

An active industry speaker and frequent contributor to academic and industry publications, Perlich enjoys serving as a guide in world of data and was recently named winner of the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) Grand Innovation Award, was selected as member of the Crain’s NY annual 40 Under 40 list, WIRED’s Smart List, and FastCompany’s 100 Most Creative People.

Home configuration may be more important than automation

NEW YORK–Asking if you really need to know the number of your eggs on your fridge is perhaps the best way to determine how much automation you need for your home. It determines if you need Canary, Hggns, Keen Home or Smart Things, the presenters at the IoT Central meetup last June 17 at R/GA Accelerator’s offices near Port Authority.

http://bit.ly/1Ith4l0

For Chris Rill, the founder and CEO of Canary, home automation to him just had to be about security. The idea came to him in 2010 when he came home one night only to find out that his apartment was robbed. He launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his idea – and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Our approach is one device,” he said while also glancing at the thermos-like figure beside him, the Canary which also tells temperature and air quality now.

When you have Canary at home, it gives you a bird’s eye view of your home, sending you push notifications to your mobile device.

Hggns presented next, probing how configuration may be more important than automation. Configuration is said to be more helpful and familiar whereas automation is complicated, confusing and scary. It tells stories around its push notification.

Keen Home’s Smart Vent takes care of your vents, allowing you to control your home temperature system. If the distribution of air temperature in your home is a concern, it may just be the gadget for you.

Rounding up all the home automation tools, SmartThings works only if you get its hub and sensor kits and you control it with your mobile device. Once you’ve set it up, you’ll be able turn the lights on, open doors and make it work with your other home gadgets.

With these IoTs, it’s to be expected how they overlap in some functions with other similar products. It’s up to you to know what suits you best. Wink was not a presenter, but it has gained some headway because it is sold now in some hardware stories.

Home configuration may be more important than automation

By Dennis Clemente

NEW YORK–Asking if you really need to know the number of your eggs on your fridge is perhaps the best way to determine how much automation you need for your home. It determines if you need Canary, Hggns, Keen Home or Smart Things, the presenters at the IoT Central meetup last June 17 at R/GA Accelerator’s offices near Port Authority.

http://bit.ly/1Ith4l0

For Chris Rill, the founder and CEO of Canary, home automation to him just had to be about security. The idea came to him in 2010 when he came home one night only to find out that his apartment was robbed. He launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his idea – and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Our approach is one device,” he said while also glancing at the thermos-like figure beside him, the Canary which also tells temperature and air quality now.

When you have Canary at home, it gives you a bird’s eye view of your home, sending you push notifications to your mobile device.

Hggns presented next, probing how configuration may be more important than automation. Configuration is said to be more helpful and familiar whereas automation is complicated, confusing and scary. It tells stories around its push notification.

Keen Home’s Smart Vent takes care of your vents, allowing you to control your home temperature system. If the distribution of air temperature in your home is a concern, it may just be the gadget for you.

Rounding up all the home automation tools, SmartThings works only if you get its hub and sensor kits and you control it with your mobile device. Once you’ve set it up, you’ll be able turn the lights on, open doors and make it work with your other home gadgets.

With these IoTs, it’s to be expected how they overlap in some functions with other similar products. It’s up to you to know what suits you best. Wink was not a presenter, but it has gained some headway because it is sold now in some hardware stories.

Open Table’s real-time availability makes it a big hit

By Dennis Clemente

NEW YORK–Joseph Essas of Open Table, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, opened the talk at the Data Driven last June 16 at Bloomberg’s offices. It was Data Driven’s last monthly meetup as it takes a well-deserved two-month summer break.

http://bit.ly/1Jdi0Qf

Open Table has become a household word everywhere. It has over 32,000 restaurants worldwide, with more than 760 million diners seated since 1998. It has represented more than $30-billion spent at partner restaurants.

Today, Open Table seats over 16 million diners every month.

“Our product is real time availability,” Essas said.

Essas explains Open Table’s success. It’s about understanding the diner… building a profile of you as diner from explicit and implicit signals, information you have provided, reviews you have written, places you have dined….”

Essas says ratings are very important. Open Table has generated 30 million reviews.

The basic data ingredients for Open Table: Diner-restaurant interactions, restaurant metadata (what kind of price range /hours/topics), user metadata and user metadata (user profile). Reviews are reportedly rich and verified, and come in all shapes and sizes.

“Our system sits inside a restaurant,” he said, guaranteeing diners’ presence in a restaurant.

When figuring out trends, it uses dish tags and a bit of linear algebra to easily detect what dish is trending. Right now, artichokes are reportedly trending.

Open Table also creates diner profiles. For sentiment, it uses ratings as labels for positive and negative sentiments. “People used to be very generic. Now they (may ask for a) waiter with a ponytail,” he said.

“Our job is to optimize restaurant business as much as we can,” he concluded.

David Guleck spoke next about Bonobos. Founded in 2007, it is reportedly the largest US apparel company originating from ecommerce. Its data science and engineering team was founded in 2012.

This mobile-only enabled site gets results from automation and informed strategic decisions.

Its data team focuses on 3 goals in its structure: data engineering (data acquisition and data tools); bilI/reporting (democratization, self-service) and data science (deep analysis and predictive algorithms).

Bonobos’ learnings include use of email (relevant content matters,frequent optimization is hard) . For the latter, you ask yourself, how many emails should you be sending?

Other key learnings rested on recommendations (algorithms are the easy part, inputs and outputs are lots of work) and promotions.

“We’d like to do product similarity scores, but we’re not there yet,” he said.

Another presenter, Cockroach DB talked about its scalable, survivable, consistent and open source offering. Started last February, it received $6.26M series A funding.

Its goal is to make data easy and grow to any scale –horizontal scaling, commodity hardware. One way it thinks it can solve problems are by making apps agnostic

It has a layered architecture, monolithic sorted map, distributed transactions, RocksDB for storage, and raft for consistency.

Last speaker was Gideon Mann of Bloomberg, showing the sentiment analysis the company sells to Wall Street.

Hatchery: Where presenters also learn how to present

NEW YORK–“The Hatchery: Are You Serious?” Meetup group has been holding startup presentations for eight years now, but sometimes this writer wonders if the question extends beyond the earnest question.

http://www.meetup.com/hatchery/events/218897800/

After all, it’s not easy to launch a successful startup let alone present in front of VCs. Host Yao Hui Huang has even brought in GK Training, which has one of its trainors in attendance to critique presentation styles—perhaps the only tech meetup group doing it regularly.

So when the startup fails to impress, either for its startup or presentation style, they get feedback from the VCs and the presentation trainors in attendance. It’s not meant to scare anyone, though, as much as the feedback are mostly constructive, helpful and a welcome addition to the tech meetup. It’s not too common to hear a perfect-pitch presentation, but the presenters come away from the experience better prepared for their next presentations.

Last May 28, The Hatchery presented four startups–Moving Analytics, Crowds Line, Mobiquire, Centrallo and Revenue Mantra at the Microsoft Building.

Increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation is the goal of Moving Analytics co-founder and COO Ade Adesanya, to address the issue of 3.5 million cardiac arrest dates each year. “We want to cut the risk of death. We are looking

For its go-to-market strategy, it is exploring direct sales, industry conferences and industry publications

For sports fans, The Crowd’s Line aims to create engagement, loyalty and revenue with its app featuring crowdsourced predictions.

CEO Anthony Lage said the app focuses on technical data than fundamental data from ESPN or Yahoo. “We are a contest-driven app. We provide market data and personal stats.”

Revenue Mantra’s Sam Swaminathan is in the business of ad tech, saying it is aiming at unifying platform ad needs of marketplaces and sellers. “We use data based on users’ product views and behavior online.”

A telling question was how is if it was performing, how it is performing better. An observation that could best explain what it aims to do came from one of the VCS: “So would you say it works like Google AdWords?”

Mobiquire is a mobile user acquisition platform. It’s supposed to help advertisers get quality downloads for their app.

“Advertisers pay only for the downloads they receive versus clicks or impressions,” said founder and CEO Aren Preymer.

It’s trying to solve the prohibitive cost of mobile user acquisition. Targeted and quality users are difficult to acquire, but clearly there’s a need to solve this problem, because many apps have poor user engagement and retention. Is Mobiquire the solution? That remains to be seen.

A question it needs to answer is how it actually find customers.

Centrallo’s Michael Sher offers a list and note-making personal productivity tool that also has Evernote as a competitor. Essentially, users create, organized evolution of lists and notes.

It seems undaunted by competition, as it Sher said 500 million people globally use productivity tools. It sees Centrallo as flexbile, habit-forming tool. It claims to have 13,000 users now.

VCs advised Sher to look into the competition and to understand how, say, Dropbox did it. “Find hierarchy, because it’s a crowded space.”

The VCs at the meetup were regular Jeff Neu of B2B ventures; Bill Reinisch of Paladin Capital Group and Sachin Jade of Klifer Capital. Dora Chomiak of 37 Angels was a good addition to the group. As always, Reinisch gives the most honest feedback among the group.

Quinones, Zenna stand out as speakers at Market New York Expo

NEW YORK–The Market New York Expo for small businesses last May 21 at the Javits Center featured several talks on branding, email marketing, digital sales and mobile marketing. What stood out for us were the talks on Search Engine Optimization by Ruben Quinones, NYU adjunct instructor and VP, Client Strategy at Path Interactive and Mobile Marketing by Warren Zenna, EVP & Managing Director at Mobext (Havas Media).

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Both Quinones and Zenna made strong points about what small businesses refuse to face. For Quinones, it’s how small businesses ignore the importance of site architecture and planning. For Zenna, it’s ignoring the critical need about having a mobile-responsive site—not to be mistaken for an app. Actually, Zenna could not emphasize it more. “You only need a mobile-responsive site and not an app, unless, say, you’re an e-commerce site.”

Quinones and Zenna also stressed how Google is almost the only factor in both search and mobile marketing optimizations, with Zenna parrying a question about Bing being irrelevant. Your goal, it seems too many marketers these days, is to be found by Google. That’s the only thing that matters, because others will almost generate the same results.

It is surprising how many in the audience are not familiar with WordPress and its capabilities. Without talking down to his audience, he explained how it has become the CMS of choice for small and big companies. “CNN is built from WordPress.”

For search optimization, he suggests using Yoast. How do you get blogging to work for you? “Blog more than your competitors,” he said.

Zenna makes perfect sense. He asked what is the first point of contact nowadays? The answer was obvious, “Mobile,” because “60 percent of people check their smartphone.”

Based on different parameters, some sites are lower-ranked now because it’s not mobile-friendly

What was most telling about Zenna’s talk was how he discouraged everyone from making an app unless your business suits it or if you have the money. An app can set you back by $50,000 at the premium level. “If you’re using a WordPress site, you can create a mobile-friendly site with plug-ins.”

And what you may not know about an app is that it’s like a baby, he said. Once you launch, you’ll have to continue tweaking it—and spending more in the process.

Zenna offers some key takeways that were not different from Quinones’.

· Be found in Google search

· Site must be mobile-friendly

· Piggyback on popular social apps

FlyLabs announce new app, Tempo, for altering video time speeds

NEW YORK–FlyLabs has wowed audiences at the NY Tech Meetup months back and at the NY Video Meetup last May 20, it again drew some ecstatic applause for its video-editing apps, Fly, Clips and its new one called Tempo, a quick way to alter video time speeds.

http://www.meetup.com/nyvideo/events/222053880/

You’ve got to see how soft-spoken Tim Novikoff somehow downplays his apps when he’s demonstrating their uses, but his hands are going fast through the many ways you can edit videos on the fly with his IOS-exclusive apps.

It’s not too often you see a real-time “magazine” and video platform for women but it’s what presenter Tiffany Pham, CEO of Mogul, thought was needed out there. So far, the platform reportedly gets $12 million views a week. For Pham, it was also important to talk about her roots—Vietnam–where her family came from before they moved to America.

Is she redefining publishing? Mogul is not curated in the traditional sense.

As more people work with videos, it’s even more crucial to know if your video presence is serving you well. Robert Galinsky of Galinsky Coaching is not your typical presenter. Stepping on the stage looking like Bono with his colorful translucent eyeglasses and mane of hair, he proceeds to explain the importance of preparation before any speaking engagement. He said he scoured the farthest point of the venue to check how he will be seen from that vantage point. He walked all around his space, where he will walk around as he presents, stressing how important making hand gestures is onstage, even more so on video. There’s the likelihood someone is always recording.

A prominent figure in the coaching world, Galinsky helps people speak better in every occasion—in conferences, keynote speeches, presentations, pitches, auditions, and panels—whether you are a seasoned professional or a first-time speaker.

The other two presenters were VR Video’s Edwin Rogers who talked about covering 360 degree events and Waypoint Media’s Auwai Odidi who is bringing digital advertising to the gaming community.

Odidi said the Waypoint Marketplace makes it easy to connect with gamers, track and report on campaigns, and browse new curated content. It has also reportedly developed technical solutions to take full advantage of the advertising market; tools to help gaming professionals measure their influence, brands track their audiences’ activity, and advertisers target their ads and monitor campaigns.