Glasshole Missed Connection Betabeat finally had the distinct pleasure of trying the dorky looking face computer we love to mock so much at a party last night at Meetup HQ. We (only slightly drunkenly) approached a tall white dude donning Google Glass and timidly asked if we might be able to try it on. When we slipped on the device (in slate!), the display was incredibly blurry–not due to our eyesight, but because Glass specifically calibrates to the wearer’s eye. It was hard as hell to see, but the voice commands worked almost seamlessly, impressive since we were at a loud party.
The device’s functionality is fairly limited: you can take a picture, record video and get directions to and from places. It also has the added benefit of making you look like a complete dork while somehow also attracting swaths of attractive ladies to get up real close to your face.
Welcome to New Fit City
First Round Capital has built a brand-new platform for startups seeking press coverage: HackPR, designed to connect them with journalists. The firm is hoping to replicate the same kind of buzz that made Warby Parker an e-commerce darling after an early profile in GQ. [TechCrunch]
Kids from Cornell got a tour of the New York startup scene yesterday. [New York Daily News]
Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures are all backing a startup called LendUp, which’ll make small loans (think $300) to people with poor credit. Basically, it’s an alternative to the traditional payday loan, with friendlier customer service. Good luck and God bless. [AllThingsD]
No, you’re not just imagining it: There are Meetups everywhere, all the time, for everything. You’re going to need to be strategic in your selection. [WYNC]
Please enjoy this cri de coeur against Instagram filters, which are basically photography training wheels. [Wired]
Stop all the treadmill desks. Cut off the adjustable legs on your standing desk. Prevent the bouncing of the Bosu ball chairs with a single shove. Silence the walking meetings with a company-wide memo.
Programs for Programmers
Sick of the last New York Tech Meetup ticket selling out just before you have a chance to get your hands on it? Well, good news if you absolutely must attend every demo: The organization has just announced the launch of a beta-stage annual membership.
In an email sent to members earlier this afternoon (available here in blog form), the NYTM team points out that, while tickets have been $10 since 2008, those big demo nights aren’t exactly getting any cheaper to host:
One of the most salient pieces of advice offered at yesterday’s lady CEO panel at Internet Week is to find a mentor you trust who can help guide you through the turbulent ecosystem of Startupland. NYC Tech Mobilizer, a lightweight summer program for developers, wants to help you find that mentor. The program, which is in its second year, links up prospective mentees with talented mentors from some of New York’s hottest startups, including Foursquare, Gilt Groupe, Birchbox and Meetup.
NYC Tech Mobilizer is the brainchild of Fondu CTO Mike Lewis, who moved to New York a little over two years ago with a masters in computer engineering, ready to dive into the startup sector.
the startup rundown
Earlier this month, Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman announced the newest member of the Meetup cap table: Zappos front man Tony Hsieh. “indeed, tony (zappos ceo) bought out one of our shareholders,” Mr. Heiferman wrote in a company-wide email.
“i’m thrilled–because tony is a true hero of great companies, cultures, customer experience, community and it can’t hurt to have another hsieh around,” he added, referring presumably to Richard Hsieh, Meetup’s lead software engineer here in New York.
KNOWLEDGE. Max Stoller, the developer of Don’t Eat At, an app that uses city data to warn Foursquare users when they’ve checked into a restaurant that’s run afoul of city health inspectors, has found another cool way to use that same data set. Mr. Stoller and fellow crafty hacker Tal Safran created freshplac.es, a bi-weekly email of new drinking and dining sports near you. “We found that by analyzing the restaurant inspections data set for new records, we can identify brand new bars/restaurants, often before news publications get to them.” (Techies! Stop scooping us newsies!) Sign up but please, don’t forget about us!
Meetup.com had a record 1 million “joins” (when a user joins a Meetup group) in January, the same month in which Betabeat undertook a seven-day exploration of the compendium of subculture the site has become. We knew this thing was zeitgeisting! As you can see on this chart, the joins in January—typically a big month for Meetup, resolutions and all that—is a big, big spike and an all-time record. The news came via a mass email invitation to the grand opening of Meetup’s new NoHo headquarters (movin’ on up).
The Internet Makes You Social
Scott Heiferman, the co-founder and CEO of Meetup.com, chatted with us about the state of Meetup in February 2012, after Betabeat had just finished going to seven random meetups in seven days straight. Here is the full transcript of the interview, with minor edits for length and clarity.
You started Meetup right after 9/11, and Read More
Around 8 p.m. on a recent Monday, about 35 people of disparate ages were sitting on the marble steps of the public atrium inside Two World Financial Center, listening to a 25-year-old in baggy jeans named Jordan Phoenix talk about Living. “This is the class where we figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives,” he told his audience, a range of artists and professionals, employed and unemployed, 20-somethings and middle-aged divorcees who, like me, were drawn in by Mr. Phoenix’s aggressive pitch on the website Meetup.com.
As the post had put it: “This group is for you if you know you are capable of greatness, but are unclear and frustrated about how to get there.” The group, “Start Living in 2012,” had picked up more than 100 members in three days, which made it a very fast-growing meetup group indeed.
“I love that everyone here showed up,” Mr. Phoenix said. “Sixty-eight people RSVP’ed. Thirty people didn’t show up. Guess what? They’re not invited to the next meetup, because they’re bullshit artists.”
I had no intention of going to the next meetup. As much as I want to start living in 2012, I was merely a tourist.