Hello world! Your NY Startup Scout is back — with more story ideas and reporting experience!
This past weekend, I went to the Open Tech NYC 2013, a conference on how open source is driving the NY tech scene. It was my first tech conference in New York City and I got to feel the vibe of the Big Apple tech scene beyond the NYU start-up community. The conference featured seven presentations by entrepreneurs, data scientists, and developers from great New York start-ups such as Shapeaways and Foursquare (You can check out the complete agenda here.)
As an aspiring data geek, I loved the presentation by Joel Natividad of Ontodia, who talked about the Open Data Initiative of New York City. Nothing excites journalists more than the access to public information — especially in the digital form. New York City is setting up a great example by pushing government agencies to make data available, which is an important step for open-government. Another great presentation is the history of the hackathon by Jon Gottfried of Twilio. Gottfried, who has been actively involved in the hackathon world, talked about how “hackathon” evolved from an ideal to a buzzword. It all started as the SuperHappyDevHouse, a model for programmers to create a community of building things for fun. But as this model evolved and became commoditized, many “hackathons” these days lost the original spirit of community.
It was fantastic to learn more about cool New York start-ups at a conference setting. Listening to the developers really helped me understand the technology — not just PR fluff — behind theses businesses. As an intern at Inc. Magazine this semester, I have been covering the big picture of the start-up and small business world (everything from the prospect of a start-up visa to the myth of a Series A crunch). I have increasingly realized that being a no-nonsense tech reporter requires in-depth understanding of technology and its history.