I was surprised this morning when I read an email from the NY Tech Meetup’s organizer Scott Heiferman. Here’s the part of the email that particularly surprised me: “We sold out at 700 RSVPs last week, but after 33 consecutive monthly NY Tech Meetups, we didn’t get enough presenters that’d satisfy this crowd. So instead of risking it with presentations that some would find mediocre, I’ve decided to risk it with a very different format. ” Scott then goes on to describe a self-organized mini-conference format– a significant change from past NY Tech Meetups.
For the past 5 or 6 NY Tech Meetups, I’ve volunteered to present MyPunchbowl.com at the NY Tech meetup by posting on the site’s message board. Often, I’ve been the first company to request to present (in fact, back in February I reported a bug that was preventing users from posting on the site). A few months ago, I even took the initative to email Scott and Jen (the organizers) directly to let them know I was excited about the possibility to present. I just checked– I have emails going all of the way back to January. I was willing to spend the time and significant money (Amtrack + hotel night, ~$400) to come to New York for the evening.
As most of my blog readers know, I’ve spoken at many different kinds of events not only in Boston but also in San Francisco and in Silicon Valley. Most of the time, I receive positive feedback about my presentation and the demo. I try to mix some humor alongside my genuine excitement for MyPunchbowl.com. Most would agree that public speaking is one of my strong suits (note to self: blog about the time I won the public speaking contest after deciding to enter it an hour before it started).
So,this all begs the question: why has MyPunchbowl.com been snubbed by the NY Tech Meetup? For this, I can only offer some guesses:
1) This is the NY Tech Meetup, not the Boston/NY meetup. Boston-based companies aren’t welcome.
My response: As a native New Yorker, I can’t believe that the NY Tech Meetup would exclude Boston-based companies. With all that’s going on in the left coast, we East Coast entrepreneurs need to stick together. I’d be very surprised if David Beisel excludes NY-based companies from the Boston WebInno group meeting.
2) The NY Tech Meetup crowd would find MyPunchbowl “mediocre” and “boring.”
My response: That’s interesting, because the Tech Startup Camp in San Francisco voted us one of the best startups at their meetup, and the Boston Web Inno group thought our product was worthy. Maybe you haven’t heard about some of the national press attention we’ve received?
3) MyPunchbowl.com and Meetup.com are too similar in nature, therefore we don’t want you to present
My response: I’m guessing here, but it’s possible that Scott and co. don’t me to show MyPunchbowl.com because it may appear to be in the same general genre as Meetup.com (Scott is the founder of Meetup). First of all, they are *very* different products. We’re focused on solving the problem around planning a party– not organizing a meetup event. Second, I think the audience should decide the merits of the products that are shown. If Scott is censoring, he’s doing the NY Tech Meetup crowd a big disservice (in my opinion).
I don’t know why we’ve continually been snubbed by the NY Tech Meetup– because neither Scott nor Jen has ever taken the time to write to me. After posting numerous times and emailing them directly, it would be common courtesy to let me know why we haven’t been selected. A simple email thanking me for my interest would have gone a long way.
Perhaps this is all just a big misunderstanding. If that’s the case, I’ll be the first to apologize publicly to Scott and Jen. Let the record show: I’d love to present to the NY Tech Meetup crowd. I’d love to help bridge the Boston entrepreneur community with the NY entrepreneur community. As a New Yorker living in Boston, I’d be psyched to be one of the people that helps bring Boston and NY together. With the focus always on Silicon Valley, the Boston and NY Tech communities need to bond together.
Maybe Scott and Jen are simply waiting to invite me for the big crowds in September. I hope that’s the case. Plus, there’s nothing like New York in the fall. That is, as long as the Yankees aren’t in the playoffs.