Last night was the Starters+Startups: The Future of SoLoMo & You session that I moderated, featuring the CEOs and founders of three startup companies, WeMakeCoolSh.it, Wyst.it and Taap.it.
Last week, I performed some due diligence on them, checking out their products and services.
I also posted profiles of their respective companies to my blog, in an effort to learn more about them before moderating the session.
What I didn’t learn from my research (but found out last night) was that these guys were quite cool (and not just Mark and Matt from WeMakeCoolSh.it).
After a brief introduction by Virginia Chu (one of the founders of ScenePR), the event got started, and I was able to see each of these guys in action.
The first presenters of the evening were Mark and Matt from WMCS.
From the profile pictures on ScenePR’s SoLoMo page (and the content on their site), I thought Mark and Matt were going to be uber eclectic and artsy.
And I was secretly waiting to see Mark’s massive beard in person.
Where's the beard?!!!!!
Alas, he had shaved.
But when I met them, they were very down to earth, and quite charming actually.
The WMCS duo talked about their L Train project, and how they developed a home-made pirate network on the L train line, which allowed commuters to interact over a network connection that worked on the train.
Their presentation was informative and paced, with Matt and Mark sharing in the narration of the inception, testing and deployment of their ‘Notwork’.
The L Train project demonstrated, that when people have the ability to interact over mobile, in a local environment, it actually sparks interactions that would not have occurred otherwise.
A few folks became so engrossed in talking to their neighbor, that they missed their stops!
One significant takeaway for me, was the debunking the myth that mobile engenders isolation.
WMCS’s presentation proved that given the proper encouragement, mobile actually creates interaction.
The second presentation was from Wyst.it.
When I looked at the profile picture of the Amerlinck Huertas and their devilish grins, I thought, “Uh-oh, these guys are trouble!”
Don't these cats look like trouble?
Their irreverent bios did noting to assuage this impression.
But in person, Yago, was quite different from what I had imiagined.
Once again, ‘cool’ aptly describes this passionate (and nattily dressed) entrepreneur.
Flying solo (Iker was meeting with investors back in Mexico), Yago walked us through how Wyst came to be, with an interesting and informative PowerPoint presentation.
He talked about what made Wyst different from other photo-sharing or check-in apps, and the value they placed on educating users on the proper way to use or interact with their app.
With branches in Mexico, Hong Kong, Paris and New York, Yago also stressed importance of locally sourced content which made their app rich with content.
The post-panel consensus was that Yago’s presentation had the most panache.
Our final presenter was Duy (pronounced do-ee) from Taap.it.
Check the vista behind this guy!
His profile picture on the ScenePR site showed Duy lounging with a lush forestal vista in the background, so my initial impression was that he was going to be mad mellow and chill.
True to form, Duy was laid back and approachable.
He exuded an easy relaxed air, in his bright orange Taap.it t-shirt.
He started his presentation talking about the multiple iterations of the Taap.it app that ended in the trash.
Taap.it evolved from the persistence of Duy and his team to contiue developing their app, until it met the market where the need and their offering matched.
I had to chuckle to myself a few times as he described the palpable frustration he felt, being turned away by store owners who had just been contacted by Groupon or FourSquare.
But to his credit, Taap.it has over 10,000 New York businesses posting content to the app, and that number is growing.
Although he presentation was (as times) difficult to understand (Duy has a wicked Vietnamese accent), his presentation was both engaging and compelling.
When it was all said and done, ScenePR pulled off a really great event.
Matt, Yago, Mark & Duy.
The ShowBiz Store & Cafe was an intimate spot, and the section of the cafe where the presentation was held was packed.
My informal poll of the audience (including a celebrity guest, Nneka) was positive, with all the presenters getting high marks.
A few members of the audience had attended the NASDAQ event that I had drummed (all in fun, mind you) yesterday, remarked that they would have liked to have seen more startups on yesterday’s panel, since invariably, this is where innovation starts.
Others were gassed about the applications and case studies of the presenters, and were already thinking about how to apply the strategies the presenters discussed.
A few (correctly) noted that many of the innovations being discussed were already in place in other countries, and that the US was late to the party (i.e. underground wi-fi networks).
But overall, folks were buzzing off the energy of the night, and it was all due, of course, to my wonderful moderation.
Had to plug me didn’t I?
Your moderator styling!
If you attended the event last night, please feel free to comment or share you photos or videos on ScenePR’s Facebook page.
And please stay tuned for future ScenePR events – you just might see your boy getting his moderating on once again!
PS. Yago, don’t forget you’re hosting me and the fam when I come to Mexico City!