Tuesday, November 8th
No tech event, but I did attend a fundraiser for the Ovarian Cancer Society. I very good friend of mine volunteers for the cause so I thought I would show my support.
Wednesday, November 9th: Web Tech You Can Touch
I killed two birds with one stone here, as it was partially sponsored by my office, but I’m glad I went as it was a good little event. A lot of Columbia engineers were attending looking to figure out ways to get involved in the tech scene or to pitch their ideas. A brief introduction and speech also turned in to an impromptu demo night, so that was pretty cool. My take away: more engineers are always needed.
Wednesday, November 9th: Columbia Venture Community’s Demo Night
I left the Web Tech You Can Touch event and headed to the Columbia Venture Community’s Demo Night. Got there a little late but I think I only missed one presentation. FoodPop, which was founded by one of the original team members of Fresh Direct, demoed their new social network for foodies. I found this demo to be interesting for two reasons. First, I am interested to see where niche social networks will be going in the future, and I am not just talking about Ning type networks. I mean full blown, funded companies founded around connecting niche groups of people. How will these play out versus groups on generic platforms, i.e. Facebook, Meetup, etc. Second, FoodPop is a social network that creates and distributes its own content to its users. FoodPop has its own kitchen production space where they can create new content, like recipe videos, also, they hold, often celebrity filled, food related events which they post content from to their members. Another demo was from NestEgg Wealth, which is a portfolio management web tool. This is another space that I find intriguing. You have young people coming out of college and going in banking, then leaving and starting companies these financial companies. Maybe they think there is an easier way, or they just want to do something different. Either way, I am looking forward to seeing if they can be truly disruptive or if the big houses are just too powerful?
Thursday, November 10th: Steve Blank Lecture at NYU
This was a presentation to Stern Biz School, and it was a great talk. There is no wonder why this man is so well known. I recommend taking a look at the slides. A lot of good takeaways; the key point was to go out and do something, then iterate. He also spoke about Billy Durant, the founder of General Motors. Billy Durant’s life story sounds pretty incredible, and I have it on a short list to do a little research on the guy and write it up, but that will have to wait until I have a little more time. For now here is an article Steve Blank recently wrote that touches on him. After the NYU talk, Steve went and spoke at Union Square Ventures. I wanted to check out that presentation as well, I thought it would be interesting to hear if and what the differences would be between the talk for business school students and the one for the employees of USV’s portfolio companies. Unfortunately, when I showed up, I found out the USV talk was for just those portfolio employees.