Last night Pivotal participated in the first ever New Tech Meetup Showcase. The Showcase offered 60 NYC technology companies a chance to show off their wares to a large and enthusiastic crowd, and Pivots Mark Michael, Dan Podsedly, and Ian McFarland held down the Pivotal table, demoing Tracker and seeing what other companies had to offer. The New York New Tech Meetup is the biggest meetup in the world with over 10,000 members, and—this being Internet Week in NYC—many of them were out in force. After the Showcase the action moved to 700-person auditorium where 7 companies gave 5-minute live demos to a rapt house.
The meetup presenters were varied and impressive, running the gamut from human-powered search to some cool geoloco apps (one for social networking and another for 3D mobile iPhone wayfinding) to it-just-works in-browser live video-streaming and production apps, to the NY State Senate’s cutting edge use of social technology to make government more responsive and accountable. The Pivots-in-attendance were especially blown away by two in particular. Aviary is a suite of fully-powered in-browser content creation tools which does for Photoshop and Illustrator what Google Docs did for Microsoft Office: it makes them cheap, available to any computer with a net connection, and facilitates collaboration and sharing. The fact that these apps are fast enough and robust enough to compete with desktop software is pretty inspiring. The second super-uber-cool demo we saw is called MakerBot, a company that’s building and marketing and community-organizing a $750 open-source desktop 3D printer. The kit is open-source, so you don’t actually need to pay MakerBot to get all the parts, but sourcing them yourself is kind of a pain. MakerBot is making it easier for everyone to have and use and imagine a robot on your desk that can build anything you can imagine. Very inspiring stuff, and proof that there’s awe-inspiring cutting-edge tech on both coasts.