NY Video 2.0 Group

global_501771.jpegMeet fellow big apples passionate about revolutionizing the way people create, distribute, monetize and consume video in an IP world. Innovative local startups and content producers demo their goods each month spurring lively discussions about emerging trends in Broadband Video.

The first meetup of 2007 is coming up in a couple weeks.

Thursday, January 25, 2007, 7:30 PM

Columbia Business School - 142 Uris Hall
Broadway and 116th Street
New York , NY 10027

* Info/Map


Presenting at our January meetup will be:

1. NBBC.com - Marc Siry, VP, NBC Universal

2. Bolt.com - Aaron Cohen, Founder

3. YouAre.TV - David Dundas, Founder

4. dotSUB - Michael Smolens, Founder

Link to NY Video 2.0 on Meetup.com

Posted on Friday, January 12, 2007 at 11:59AM by Registered CommenterAdam Quirk in , | CommentsPost a Comment

January NY Tech Meetup (Part 1)

Sorry no pictures this time, I didn’t arrive early enough for a front row seat.

Scott welcomed everyone to the first tech meetup of 2007 in New York. He said with evident pride that there are now about twenty tech meetups in various cities, following in the spirit of the original here in New York. And with that it was off to the demos:


One of the original tech meetup participants, Robert Tolmach, was up first. His company is WellGood LLC and their current project is Changing the Present, a non-profit, philanthropreneur play to shift some of the reported $250 billion in annual US gift expenditures into charitable donations rather than Movado watches, socks and sweaters, or bottles of bubbly. He threw out the hefty (but accurate) tagline “Do something to make the world a better place in your friend’s name.”

The site presents you with the main focus points at the top of its homepage. You can choose a cause, check out what celebrities and experts are endorsing, and get viral flare for your blog. You can favorite the nonprofits and/or causes where you would like to see contributions, and create registries for weddings, baby showers, etc. I like the wedding registry idea, although I’m sure it would rub some guests the wrong way. Concentrating material acquisition around a celebration of a couple’s commitment has always seemed a bit odd to me, and I like the idea of putting guests’ obligatory gifts to work for people who really need stuff.

Changing the Present is itself run by a non-profit, for-profit WellGood is the steward, but legal ownership seems to lie with the non-profit. All donations are tax deductible for the donor, and the site takes a 3% + $0.30 commission, which Robert said is just the credit card processing fee. The non-profit’s operations are supported entirely by foundation grants. Donations transfer to the target agencies/organizations at the end of the month following the donation, however, so Changing the Present must be getting something off the float. Robert said they plan to shorten that time period going forward. Listings on the site for charitable agencies or organizations are free through 2007.

Asked about plans for social-networking/community apps on the site, Robert said “It’s coming.” He also told us the site was built with Ruby on Rails, to which he received applause from 3 people in the room. Oh and Robert also related that the Great Hall had seen a speech from Abraham Lincoln back in 1860, and the proceeded to demo a donation for his “friend” using an Abe Lincoln dummy account, complete with a wedding registry for Mary Todd… nice touch.


Alon Cohen was up next with BitWine, an answers service that’s tightly integrated with Skype and has a very full featureset. He positioned BitWine as a “knowledge market,” where users can search for experts and buy advice on a per minute, or per deliverable rate.

Experts and users each have profiles, and Alon demoed a typical interaction with a search on the keyword for “running.” He selected a user, showed us his profile — which included a “presence” indicator — and initiated a skype call with one click. He got a live video chat going in-demo, showing off the site’s tight integration with Skype.

When the expert answers the call he is not automatically on the clock, you can make an introduction and get a sense of whether or not this person has the goods. Once the buyer is sold on the expert, he can introduce a “start payment” interrupt prior to dispensing his wisdom. It comes up like a file transfer request you see with instant messaging clients. If you are not buying timed advice, for example you are getting an email or a digital document, you (the buyer) can initiate a lump-sum payment for the service. In this case, the site takes you through a Paypal interface and then transmits funds to the expert with your approval.

After the presentation Alon was asked how long he thought it would take for his service be used for porn? To which he noted that unfortunately it wasn’t his business model. Alon was also asked what tools experts have to prevent “spam”, requests that are just sales pitches. He said that you can block users, it was unclear whether or not this merely entailed blocking their skype account or if it was a site-wide block. Either way, it seems Bitwine’s spam will likely scale with its traction. He also positioned Bitwine relative to his chief competitor Ingenio . The Bitwine advantages according to Alon are:

  • Skype-based rich media interface
  • No pre-pay from buyers
  • Advisors paid instantly

He said the site is free for all involved parties at the moment, but that eventually there will be a commision of “ten to twenty percent.” He also gave usage stats: the site was launched eight weeks ago and has over 10,000 users and over 3,000 advisors. He disclosed future plans to sell the platform as a white label which can be branded and implemented by other companies.


Di-Ann Eisnor of Platial, launched about 1 year ago, came all the way from Portland to demo her site. (Not really, she was in town for a real estate convention.) The People’s Atlas allows you to put stuff (photos, video, comments, stories) onto a map. Users can use their custom API know as MAPKIT (Which is based off of the Google Maps API) to embed custom themed maps into their own websites. Typepad users can get a widget to embed the MAPKIT in their blog. The idea is to be connected anywhere.  Diane mentioned that Platial has been very popular with independent store owners as well as activists. Diane showed a map where she charted the specific dress habits of Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East, for reference as a travel guide or internet research. To date Platial has survived on funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Platial’s short term revenue stream is based on building mapkits for companies, and their long term goal is based on a direct advertising model towards localized places on a map.

Platial has over 15,000 user-generated maps. When asked if she felt that Google or Yahoo would just implement the same business model, Diane didnt hesitate to answer no.  She began to  explain herself when Scott interjected and said that Google hasn’t done anything right except search and advertising so there is no need to worry.  Diane concurred, saying that she wasn’t worried about Google and thought that Yahoo had other things to deal with at the moment.

Michael Galpert coauthored this post. Jonah Keegan is an entrepreneur with a business, a blog and a few other things.

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 11:59PM by Registered CommenterJonah Keegan | Comments2 Comments

Thanks for a great year... looking forward to 2007

As 2007 rolls in, I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring for the NYC tech community. As for nextNY, I hope we broaden our reach to more digital media folks, and to those who support the core tech, like marketing, PR, financial folks. We’re also starting to see more meetings with smaller groups… niches within the group that meet to roll up their sleeves and accomplish some great things. That would be a great trend to continue in ‘07. Another area I think we can make great strides in is connnecting to governmental and academic resouces… to the local infrastructure of NYC for space, expertise, etc… in an effort to help make NYC even more innovation friendly in 2007.

Happy New Year, nextNY! Let’s get back to work ASAP!

Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2006 at 08:34PM by Registered CommenterCharlie O'Donnell in | CommentsPost a Comment

nextNY Holiday Drinking (party): One Perspective

After hanging out on the email list and blog of nextNY for several months now, I really enjoyed my first official nextNY event on Wednesday night. The aptly named “nextNY Holiday Drinking”, hosted at Apple Restaurant and Bombar in the West Village, turned out a great mix of nextNY members, new and old, current, future, and past. From a newbie’s perspective, here’s what went down:

Apple Restaurant turned out to be a great location for the event and fit everyone comfortably. Some people got tables and food, while most stayed within 15 feet of the bar, refilling their glasses as often as possible.

nextNY old-timer Lee Semel, of Innofinity, was seen talking to nearly everyone in the room, as I saw him in every corner of the bar throughout the evening. It was certainly good to see this guy, after meeting him for the first time several months ago. He also seemed to serve as a welcoming committee, singling out first time nextNYers and giving them a nice introduction to the group.

Charlie O’Donnell, of Oddcast, was on site of course, but he seemed to have the crowd move to him, not staying very far from his table of food. I was one of many to make the trek over to his corner and make an introduction. Good to finally meet the man behind the talking avatar. It was a very Wizard of Oz-like moment.

Most stylin’ of the night was Michael Galpert of Worth 1000, with his brimmed beanie tilted to one side. We chatted for a while about SEO optimization and had a few brewskies. The few times I’ve met him (the first at the Fred Wilson event reported here), I’ve come away with the impression that he’s a jack-of-all-trade type. Good times.

He and I, along with just about everyone else in the room, were also seen talking to Courtney Pulitzer (Cocktails With Courtney) at one point or another. Courtney managed to get more insider info into her tightly held notebook than imaginable (and I managed to say “off the record” more times than I thought imaginable, though mostly just for the fun of saying “off the record”).

Also in the press corner, but of more credentialed bylines, was Caroline McCarthy, of CNET’s Webware.com. She was one of the first to arrive and managed to stay longer than most. Surprisingly, and quite pleasantly, she seemed to be at the party more to mingle than to get a scoop.

Seen chasing Caroline down (to thank her for this great review of his product) was Anthony Casalena, of Squarespace (which powers the nextNY blog!). We chatted, not surprisingly, about press coverage and the type of customers it brings. “Not paying,” was his succinct conclusion, though he conceded it was nice to get recognition nonetheless.

Not too far along in the night I got to say hi to the organizer of the Drinking party himself, Keshava Dasarathy. When I asked him how things were going at his new job at Bain, he said two things: “Amazing” and “I should be back to the office by 10 tonight.” nextNY is lucky to have him still organizing events. Thank you.

At one point, I think after wandering to Charlie’s side of the bar, I stood and held an interesting conversation with Scott Cherkin of DealMine.com and David Dundas of YouAreTV.com. We spoke mostly of David’s company and my soon-to-be-announced project. In the video space, we all agreed that niche video sites will probably be where we see the most growth in the future, as content providers become wary of having their quality videos next to Jackass-wannabe videos. Good luck to David and his team.

Near the end of the night I said hi to Greg Galant, of RadioTail and VentureVoice, who I had not seen since RadioTail had been “TechCrunched” back in September. We actually spoke mostly about RadioTail developer Aaron Quint’s old school animations from his (and my) days at Brandeis University’s BTV. “The Story of A Triangle”, Greg and I agreed, definitely needs to be uploaded to YouTube.

We all know Steve Eisenberg was there, as he took these photos and uploaded them to Flickr.

Last, but certainly not least, I spent a while chatting up Danny Wen of Iridesco (of Harvest and SuprGlu fame). Our conversations revolved around the merits of using traditional forms of advertising to market Web 2.0 products, which, for the record, I’m not sure is done enough.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

(Note: I saw and met others, but have since forgotten. Write your observations in the comment area so I can remember you were there!)

— Nate Westheimer is the Founder & CEO of BricaBox, LLC, a company based in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He blogs at innonate.com.


Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 at 11:31AM by Registered Commenterinnonate in | Comments3 Comments

NYC Videobloggers?

Those of you involved or interested in videoblogging should head over to NYC Vloggers. Charles Hope and I are resuscitating that group and making it the point of contact for future meetups and discussion related to our local issues and events.

In the past we’ve had meetups at Art Bar, a rooftop barbecue in Hoboken, presentations at Apple Stores, and many more fun gatherings.

Adam Quirk makes Internet TV

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 at 07:50PM by Registered CommenterAdam Quirk in , | CommentsPost a Comment | References59 References