Friday, December 7, 2007

Meeting Up and Staying Warm in Manhattan

I am finally back in Atlanta thawing out after a week and a half running around to meetings in New York and participating on a panel at the Business Development Institute’s Convergence 2007 conference. I missed the free Wi-Fi and warmer temperatures here in Atlanta. But along the way, I had a chance to break French bread with Constantin Basturea, Paull Young and Christi Eubanks from Converseon and discuss, with accents from Romania, Australia and Alabama, Linkedin vs Facebook, Wikipedia and the state of new media.

On my last night, I attended the December meeting of the New York Tech Meetup over at IAC’s futuristic headquarters on the far west side of New York City. It was apparently the 50th such meeting for this group. Howard Greenstein was kind enough to share some cashews, show me around and make introductions.

As is the case on the first Tuesday of each month, several hundred geeks, investors, entrepreneurs, hackers and interested individuals were on hand to applaud, boo, laugh with and at the six presenters. Each had 5 minutes to demo his service. Scott Heiferman, Meetup’s CEO and Co-founder, kicked things off.

Among the presenters was Ignighter – a new online group-dating network. IAC is truly a good sport given that is an IAC property. Other presenters were Evolvist and Evolvist is a dynamic directory of eco-friendly and socially responsible businesses and organizations. allows entrepreneurs to research, rate, and review venture capital sources worldwide. It is the brainchild of Adeo Ressi who appears to be on a mission to lift the curtain on VC buzz words and practices.

Scott Heiferman also presented, conveniently “forgetting” to start the timer and enabling him to speak for a few extra minutes. His announcement was the launch of a Meetup alliance – giving people the power to network with other meetup groups – to form informal alliances of networked groups. Last time I heard about a network of networks – the power of the Internet was unleashed. Heiferman candidly admits he can’t predict what power his alliance will unleash, but he can’t wait to see.

Unquestionably, building communities and enabling others to connect online tied the presenters together, and in many cases, humans not algorithms were the driving force. All in all, the Meetup meeting capped a flurry of activity. I had reached out to like minded individuals – face to face and handshake to handshake — except one person with a cold – who share a more than passing interest in social media, doing a little good and making some money.

Much of what we do involves a keyboard and staring at our screens into the online abyss. So on a blustery, bitter night in Manhattan, we all drew heat from the glow cast from the illuminated screens in IAC’s lobby and made a personal contact or two. I couldn’t have asked for much more.

Let me get back to you.

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