Silicon Valley NewTech, the Bay Area's largest and oldest tech meetup group, gets together every month inside a conference room at DLA Piper in Palo Alto to eat pizza, drink some beers and listen to presentations from startups. At nearly 7,000 members strong, SVNewTech chooses four startups every month to showcase their product through a 15-minute demo and presentation, followed by a rapid-fire question and answer period from the audience. Joe Robinson, the organizer of Silicon Valley NewTech, will be bringing us the highlights from these meetups, reporting on some of the most promising ideas presented. Below are his notes from last night.
Most businesses and organizations have websites, but very few have any idea what's working and what's not. Optimizely wants to change all of that through their incredibly simple A/B testing platform. The service is easy enough for anyone to use, and coding is limited to copying & pasting one line of code to the page you want to test.
The Optimizely co-founders, Pete Kooman and Dan Siroker, are great examples of how persistence and experimentation are key ingredients to startup success. They worked together at Google as Product Managers, co-founded a previous company together called CarrotSticks, and are now applying their learnings to Optimizely.
CrowdFanatic just launched a beta of the first "online confrontation platform" we've seen. It's an open forum where you can debate the issues that matter to you: Democrats vs. Republicans, San Francisco tech vs. New York tech, Religion vs. Atheism, etc. Their mission is a noble one: to get social issues and confrontations out in the open where everyone has a voice and can fight for their causes.
When you choose to support or protest different issues on CrowdFanatic, the service creates an interesting "issues graph" that summarizes your personality. It's still pretty early in their first beta, but the CrowdFanatic platform shows a lot of potential.
Online learning and EduTech are emerging as hot new categories for 2011. StudySync is a well-designed site offering a library of interactive lessons designed for high school students, college students, and anyone interested in learning something new. With a growing library of more than 300 beautifully-made lessons, you're sure to find something interesting. It's currently being tested by the San Francisco School District.
The creators of StudySync have generously offered a free trial for SVNewTech members and 7x7.com readers — you can sign up here.
Mobile technology and speech recognition are bringing us steadily closer to always-present computers that you can talk to. The new Speaktoit Assistant app (currently available for Android) is a great example of this trend. Use Speaktoit to search for information (what's the weather going to be like in LA tomorrow? Find me a good sushi restaurant there), update your Facebook status, send an email, and more.
SVNewTech is free and open to everyone. Join their meetup group and come out to their next event on July 5, 2011