UPDATE: I’ve added a video of “exit polls” after the new tech meetup so you can see what people thought. The video is at the bottom of this post.
Tonight’s Denver/Boulder New Tech Meetup was packed, despite the fact that the caucus was happening at the same time. That should say something about the dedication of our tech community.
Each New Tech Meetup starts with job openings and event announcements. We heard from the Boulder Innovation Center followed by the Silicon Flatirons. Silicon Flatirons is hosting an event on March 4, prior to the March New Tech Meetup. Paul Jacobs will keynote at the Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Entrepreneurship in The Information Industries event. For those attending the New Tech Meetup afterwards, there will be no charge.
In total, five companies presented tonight. Those five, in order, were: Whereyougonnabe.com, YowTrip, J Catapult, Corybant Developer’s Toolkit and Reference Vault.
Whereyougonnabe.com‘s tagline is “helping you meet your friends more often.” Peter Batty explained that they’ve announced their service as of today. The primary function of this spatial networking application is to connect up with friends and business contacts in the near future. If you’re heading to a bar and see that someone else in your vicinity is a friend, you can send them a quick message and let them know. The application is built with Google API and will start with Facebook and branch out from there.
Questions from the audience revolved around privacy concerns. Peter put fears to rest by mentioning there would be privacy settings. The audience was pretty stoked about this idea. Several members of the audience were curious about future features for this application.
I liked the idea of being able to use this application to connect with people in my vicinity, but already do exactly the same with Twitter, on a daily basis. So, for me, because I tend to create meetups on the fly, it would be a redundancy. For those that plan further in advance, it might be a worthwhile tool to explore.
YowTrip asks Where will you go next? Similar to whereyougonnabe.com in theory, but in practice it is about planning and sharing trips with friends. If you’re headed to Australia and you want to invite your friend to go along with you (virtually or otherwise) you can use the site to collaborate in terms of planning, chatting and photo sharing. The one point I would make as a frequent traveler is that I already have my systems in place to connect with other travelers and have tools to upload photos, chat and maintain my lifestyle at home just as I do abroad. I wonder how YowTrip will market itself and whether it will partner up with other travel networks in the future.
J Catapult was presented by Boulder-based Inversoft owner Brian Pontarelli. He refers to J Catapult as a “next generation web development rapid application platform.” Inversoft is essentially a home grown open source component-based dev toolkit similar in concept to Ruby on Rails. The difference being that Inversoft is targeted at big enterprises. Texture Media, of Boulder, is currently using J Catapult on some of its client’s sites, including IZZE. It’s early (he released Milestone 1 just yesterday), and really it’s a question of adoption.
Corybant Developer’s Toolkit presented a Voice-Email Integration system. They demonstrated an email being sent over the phone and answered using voice recognition. In the spirit of the elections, we were asked to vote on whether we, “have (or can imagine) a product/service for which there is compelling value in adding these communication services on a pay-per-use basis?” Definitely seems like this could be an interesting option for developers currently building voice response systems that may be looking for a head start.
Reference Vault was up last. Erik Rank, their Senior Web Developer walked us through the site. The purpose, he said, was to help you get a better job. He presented some facts and figures on how competitive the job market is. Reference Vault allows you to request, store and decide which job references to display on your page at Reference Vault or other places (including your blog, via widget) around the world wide web. You can get a reference once and use it forever. The idea appeals to me, although I have seven references at LinkedIn that are on my public profile (and I can choose whether or not to make those public, too), so I wonder how often I’d log in to Reference Vault. If I were a job applicant actively seeking employment, I can definitely see how something like Reference Vault would be a great resource for collating and storing my references.