The NYC Techonomy Boom

A week doesn’t go by without some news org touting one city or another as the next Silicon Valley.  Here’s a random sampling:

Aerial Rendering of New Cornell University-Technion Applied Sciences Campus on Roosevelt Island. (nycmayorsoffice/flickr)
Aerial Rendering of New Cornell University-Technion Applied Sciences Campus on Roosevelt Island. (nycmayorsoffice/flickr)

And the list is endless.  New York City, never a town to shy away from a good fight, set out to defend its rightful and robust place in the tech ecosystem with hard data. The Association for a Better New York, Google Inc., and the New York Tech Meetup just-released a report that quantifiably made a pretty good argument for the city as the rightful heir to Silicon Valley (not that the Valley is relinquishing its title anytime soon).

Here are a smattering of the findings:

  • fifth-panel-chartThe New York City tech ecosystem generates approximately 541,000 jobs, $50.6 billion in annual compensation, and $124.7 billion in annual output.
  • The New York City tech ecosystem includes 291,000 jobs that are enabled by, produce, or facilitate technology.
  • From 2003 to 2013, the New York City tech ecosystem added 45,000 jobs, growing faster than both total New York City employment and total U.S. employment.
  • The New York City tech ecosystem includes more than just highly-educated workers – up to 44% of jobs in the New York City tech ecosystem do not require a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Workers in the New York City tech ecosystem earn 49% more than the average city-wide hourly wage.

Arguably at the center of New York ‘s vibrant tech scene lies the New York Tech Meetup, by far the largest of all Meetups with its nearly 39,000 members.  Each month the 850 tickets to attend NYTM’s startup showcase events held at NYU are snapped up almost the moment they go on sale.  Fortunately, the event is live-streamed to New Work City.

I’ve made a point to attend as many as my client work allows. I’m always amazed by the number of hands that go up when NYTM executive director Jessica Lawrence asks: “how many of you are here for the first time?” It’s invariably a third to half the audience, which, given that 2014 marks NYTM’s 10th anniversary, is pretty remarkable.

April NYTM ON stage
One Singular Sensation: Presenters on Stage at the April 2014 New York Tech Meetup

All of the startups presenting are carefully vetted, so attendees rarely leave disappointed. Here’s a link to this month’s presentations, most of which held some allure, though a few more than others. In particular, I liked:

Shufflrr (not be confused with Shuffler), which sent me an embargoed press release for tomorrow, in spite of having already demo’d the “presentation management” tool at the tech meetup.  (I wonder if everyone in the audience was under NDA?)  Nonetheless, there’s great value in this for companies who build lots of presentations and don’t want to re-invent the wheel for each one.

Shufflrr centralizes a company’s media assets in its cloud – from PPT files to Word docs to images and videos — and makes them searchable and easily embeddable into presentations. Access permissions are controlled, yet one first has to capture and upload a company’s varied assets from disparate sources – no small feat, I imagine.  After doing that, however, building consistent presentations should be a piece of cake.

I never liked my iPhone’s default browser Safari, nor Firefox for that matter. Google Chrome for iOS has been a fairly reliable go-to browser for a couple of years now. That is until I saw the presentation by the founder of an iOS browser app called Stream Web, which instantly auto-fills the search bar and lets users share a selected piece or all of the resulting content with any number of channels a la Pinterest (and including Pinterest). Any mobile device user with Pinterest boards will certainly appreciate this. Others channels on the sharing “wheel” include Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Flickr, Tumblr, email…

What’s more: the Stream Web browser’s search results completely fill the screen unencumbered by the confines of framing or distractive advertising. To access its functionality, simply slide a finger up from the bottom to literally unfold the options. StreamWeb is now sitting on my iPhone dock as the default browser.

I also liked Honey (not to be confused with Honey). The former seeks to ease the pain points for peer-to-peer sharing of information within organizations — watch out, Yammer. Another notable startup was ShortCut, which melds audio and natural language processing to make “the Internet of things” a little more ubiquitous.

Finally, there was a demo from Kandu, a tool that lets kids make games and apps without knowing how to code.  Kandu’s founders/backers have some serious chops and include: Geraldine Laybourne (Nickelodeon), Sara Levinson (MTV), John Borthwick (Betaworks), and David S. Bennahum (Punch).  Here’s a clip of a game made with Kandu: