September SF NewTech Meetup

September SF Newtech Meetup

On the heels of the Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup in Palo Alto on Tuesday, I spent the day in San Francisco at the Social Media Club HQ specifically to attend my first SF event – well that and a million other things on the SF to do list.

Organized by Joel Sacks, CNET and Marketing Strategist at BuzzShout, and Myles Weissleder, VP of Communications for Meetup, SF NewTech Meetup is similar in format to the Silicon Valley event, but targeted towards the burgeoning tech-savvy and tech-curious crowds in San Francisco, the East Bay, and North Bay. And what better place to hold a tech meetup than CNET headquarters?

This is their sixth event, and according to Myles, its attendees have doubled each month. That says more than you can imagine. If all holds true, the next event will be standing room only.

In a curious and interesting change-up, Myles asked the audience about their professional vocation.

The first question, “How many folks here are developers?”
½ of the audience raised their hands.

Next question, “How many of you are venture capitalists?”
A few were brave enough to identify themselves.

Last question, “How many journalists and bloggers are in attendance?”
Surprisingly, and maybe it was because of our location (CNET), several were in attendance.

Miles works for Meetup and attends these events to, “drink the bath water,” and to get a hands-on view of the tech meetup community. Plus he admitted being genuinely enthusiastic about the space.

Joel also took the spotlight to remind the attendees about the Future of Web Apps Summit.

So with that, the first presenter was brought-up to the front.

Yousendit.com, Co-founder and CTO
Presenter: Khalid Shaikh

Yousendit

If you’re an avid reader here, you may remember the recent post about this company. I have used it recently to quickly and safely transfer large, critical files with outside vendors and partners.

It’s an interesting service that allows anyone to send large files, securely, to contacts through email, bypassing any filters or limits set in place by admins on other side of the firewall.

It was founded in 2004 and has grown to 27 employees and has over 300 million file transfers under its belt.

Basically, Yousendit allows you to send up to 1GB files at a time. The site also promises that your data will stay secure: “Your data goes to who you want it to and nobody else. No risk of having data end up in the wrong hands.”

What I didn’t know…is that Yousendit.com is already in the top 300 rankings at Alexa and that they’re transferring upwards of 30 terabytes per day.

Their goal however, is lofty as it is ingenious. They’re seeking to integrated the service into popular applications, similar to Adobe Acrobat…think, “the PDF of web transfer.” When you’re ready to send a file, right-click and send to “yousendit.” Personally, I think it’s a great idea. Let’s see if they can do it.

Even though they’ve been around for a couple of years, the company is planning an official launch on 9/12. They’re targeting SMBs and will focus on 3-4 top verticals to deliver real business value.

September SF Newtech Meetup

Quote of the night, “Give us a few months, and watch us execute. If we can run fast enough, we will maintain mind and market share to stay #1 as the leading file transmission service that users trust with their data to solve their needs.”

Next up…

SiteKreator, Your site, online, your way
Presenter: Ivaylo Lenkov, CEO

September SF Newtech Meetup

SiteKreator highlighted its online web site design and hosting solution. It currently offers a free edition as well as a BETA version specifically designed for businesses. While there were plenty of engineers and programmers in the audience, like Yousendit.com, this is a service that hits home for me.

Lenkov started the presentation by highlighting successful examples SiteKreator customers. He then dove in to show us how quick, easy, and painless it is to build full-blown pro-quality Websites.

SiteKreator Business Edition features an integrated site builder and global hosting services to deliver one total solution for businesses to succeed online.

It even offers advanced interactive features such as online forms, blogs, forums, members-only areas, newsletters, under the same branding umbrella, ensuring a consistent, and impressive, presence all within a few clicks.

The service is designed for SMBs who don’t have Webdesign expertise, the budget to hire a professional designer, nor the desire to build a generic site with the hundreds of site builders out there.

Business owners can get the SiteKreator design tool and global hosting starting at only $95 per year.

September SF Newtech Meetup

Quote of the night was in response to how Lenkov would reach his target audience, “SiteKreator everything you need, and more, to get a business web site online. It is reaching the SMB market through resellers aka site designers. Believe it or not, they are the first place most small businesses go to inquire about getting their business online.”

And the other quote of the night for SiteKreator was actually voiced by a member of the audience, “I just wanted to let everyone know that I am an extremely happy user of the SiteKreator Business Edition…and I wasn’t paid to say that!”

Third…

CivicEvolution, Civic Engagement 2.0
Presenter: Brian Sullivan, Founder

September SF Newtech Meetup

Bryan Sullivan of CivicEvolution opened up his presentation with a powerful statement, “How do we restore common sense to Government? We restore the influence of common citizens.”

I’m glad he answered that question right away, otherwise, my guess would have been, “elect a new President.”

;)

But seriously, CivicEvolution facilitates online tools for stakeholders to get together and create their own solutions. Think of it as civic engagement 2.0.

CivicEvolution is a non-partisan public service designed to facilitate community deliberation and problem solving. It has been designed to provide a flexible set of tools and processes that enable groups to engage in productive deliberation. Groups and individuals can use CivicEvolution to empower their communities, develop deeper knowledge, discover new ideas, and understand differing views and philosophies.

The highly configurable software walks participants through the entire process. First, meeting each other, then proposing a project, getting feedback, voting on it, forming teams, and taking action.

It is impressive and hopefully it gets traction.

September SF Newtech Meetup

Quote of the night, “We’re hoping to set up a meeting with George Soros who will be in Berkeley, and, he understands the value of open society. Every group faces the same problems, the wisdom always is in the room. Our job is to help the group find wisdom and solve their problems.”

Lastly…

Joyent, Simply joyent
Presenter: Jason Hoffman, CTO

September SF Newtech Meetup

After spending a few extra minutes trying to configure the screen, Jason jumped right in for a very cool demo.

The elevator pitch…Joyent offers simple, powerful, Web-based software that provides small teams with email, calendars, contacts, and shared applications.

It’s a fully hosted app, with nothing to install, configure, and there’s no need for computer staff or consultants (which I like!). The surprising part here is that hosted plans start at just $15/month.

The Joyent platform includes:
Joyent Connector – An suite of applications allowing teams to stay organized, informed and up-to-date, all within a web browser.

Toolbox – A collection of developer and deployment tools. Includes mobile device support, e-commerce, traffic analytics, and management of on-demand resources.

Strongspace – An easy to use and secure data storage service to safeguard all digital assets, from backing up copies of important documents to restoring an entire laptop on the road.

Joyent Accelerator – The Accelerator allows users to manage data securely behind the firewall, while continuing to benefit from network-delivered services such as proactive monitoring, software updates, spam protection, virus protection, gateway services, and real-time backup.

The service features tagging, search, RSS and calendar subscriptions, comments, security, and a ultra friendly UI. The features go on and on, but it seems incredibly simple to deploy and use. I might have to evaluate this for my team since I’m running back and forth between SF and SJ every week.

Impressive.

Joyent is part of TextDrive, a hosting company run by and for people who love publishing on the web out of Marin County. TextDrive has worked on projects for Tom Peters, cnet, Ruby on Rails.

September SF Newtech Meetup

Quote of the night, “We’re a group of 19, with 12 of them virtual, and we developed this service because we needed it.”

So that did it for the presentations. Questions seemed to run a bit longer, which gave the presenters an improved opportunity for authenticity – meaning they were stripped out of presentation mode and placed in a relaxed p2p discussion environment. This is where the real gems and value propositions were brought to light.

Prior to the networking portion of the evening, Myles called for an open mic night and allowed courageous individuals to make announcements, offer help, ask for jobs, etc. This part, I think we could do without, simply because we had been sitting for a while, and it was time to meet everyone else.

The room then opened to allow guests to network.

September SF Newtech Meetup

September SF Newtech Meetup

The group was diverse in age and backgrounds, and it was genuinely cool to meet some of the faces behind the Web 2.0 movement. Some of those I had the opportunity to meet include:

Rafe Needleman, Editor at Large, CNET
Angie Chang, co-founder of themintpages.com
Ranvir Gujral, CEO of InsightPath
Kristie Wells, Diva of Details at BrainJams.org
Lawrence Coburn, Founder of RateItAll
Jon Marcus, Corporate Presentation Coach – jonmarcus.com
Christian Perry, Founder and CEO of Zaptix (Welcome to CA.!)
Vincent Lauria, Meetro and Silicon Valley Newtech Meetup
Sunny Madra, Founder of Posticky

Quote of the night from anonymous, “Hey weren’t you at the Silicon Valley event last night? Me too…God, we just go to all of the same events don’t we?”

It’s true. Pretty soon, we’ll see a Web 2.0 sponsored tour bus that will transport us between events!

But seriously, I can’t emphasize enough the impact that events such as SV and SF Newtech as well as STIRR have had on the spirit, motivation and enthusiasm in the Bay Area.

In the meantime, enjoy September, and I’ll see you next month…

For more pictures from the event, follow the jump.

UPDATE: Joel Sacks also has a great post about the event.

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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