Silicon Pasture week: The Meetup and why it’s valuable

Sunday’s NY Times article on the New York tech startup scene referenced a monthly series of gatherings, the New Tech Meetup, as an important part of the city’s entrepreneurial community:


A recent installment of…the New York Tech Meet-Up, held in Chelsea, drew 700 tech enthusiasts.

The buzz surrounding these gatherings is just the latest sign that a decade after the dot-com bust, the Internet economy in New York is springing back to life.

We have one of those here in Silicon Pasture too: the New Tech Meetup of Central PA. Each month a group of tech enthusiasts – developers, marketers, attorneys, etc. – gets together to watch 10-minute demonstrations of new products and presentations on topics of interest to entrepreneurs. We get slightly fewer than 700 attendees to our monthly gatherings (more like 20-40), but, nonetheless, the group is creating its own buzz. (A company that started out in Hershey, CoTweet, the CEO of which began our New Tech Meetup, was sold last week to Exact Target, an email marketing company, for an undisclosed sum.)

Why, given that technology that makes location irrelevant is cheap and widely available, are in-person gatherings important to tech startups?

Fellow traveler syndrome: simply sharing war stories can make the work involved in developing a new tech product and bringing it to market a little less lonely.

Sharing ideas: discussion can unstick problems you’ve wrestled with unsuccessfully on your own.

Finding collaborators: sometimes tech people have an idea but not a concept of the market. Sometimes businesspeople have an idea for a tech product but need someone to write the code. The Meetup can help bring these people together with others who can help them.

Serendipity: this may be the most important factor. By putting people together in a room to talk about what they do, sparks can result. Like what? You’ll have to come to the Meetup to find out.

The April 2010 New Tech Meetup will be held on April 5, at 7pm, at Wagman Construction in York. Interested? Sign up here.

[Disclosure: I am the organizer of the New Tech Meetup of Central PA]

Related posts:
Report from Silicon Pasture 2

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