Despite innumerable time-travel jokes, the March edition of the NY Tech Meetup (NYTM) returned to form in the NYU’s Skirball Center on February 28th. Once again the event was simulcast by LiveStream to remote locations at New Work City (412 Broadway) and General Assembly (902 Broadway) as well as being available publicly online. If you have not had the opportunity to attend the NYTM in person, we encourage you to attend virtually – preferably at one of the remote locations, where you can benefit from the opinions and insights of the other attendees.
Three of the March demonstrations stood out in their inherent ability to solve a problem. The first demonstrated a great example of a solution to a problem that nobody knew they had. You could consider WatchIt as your Netflix queue on steroids – allowing the user to keep a running list of movies and alerting them when they become available in theaters, on DVD and Blu-ray, On-Demand or Online. Web-based and entirely cross-platform, WatchIt is developing relationships with media providers to enhance the functionality of the service. During the meet-and-greet, some of the WatchIt team discussed the possibility of “cross-pollinating” their movie queue with other products, linking related movies, television, books, music and other items through their availability.
Engagio addresses a more obvious problem, albeit one that is far less widespread. Designed to assist the chronic commenter by consolidating the various conversations on different websites, Engagio creates a unified inbox that looks very similar to that of Gmail (so that “if Google someday wants to acquire us, it will be easy to integrate”).
The award for “most likely to be used on your parents’ computer when you visit for Thanksgiving” goes to Unroll.me. Currently only functioning for Gmail accounts (with AOL and Yahoo! coming soon), Unroll.me scans the inbox for email subscriptions and allows the user to select which ones to terminate and then offers the ability to collect the rest into a daily overview.
Wrapping the demonstrations was a knockout from an already successful NYC-based technology company: Squarespace. Aiming to continue their eight-year run as a hugely popular website and blog-publishing service, the Founder and CEO, Anthony Casalena, presented the first public showing of the new version 6.0. Squarespace’s “walled garden” approach lends itself to rich websites that function flawlessly, although it sometimes excludes newer enhancements available to more open platforms (WordPress, for example). Despite having a room full of often jaded technophiles, the demonstration of the new platform generated many “wow’s” from the audience.