Web Innovators Meet-up

Matt and I attended the Boston Web Innovator‘s meetup yesterday at Hotel@MIT. This is a forum for local technologists and investors to present and learn about each other. We hope to present Xobni Statistics at a future event.

The organizers have been experimenting with different formats for the event. There were two main courses, without opportunities for questions, and several tables in the back area where some companies were doing demos. I have a few suggestions for the organizers of this event and future presenters. Let’s hope that I remember to practice what I preach down the line.

1. Take questions. And don’t waste time answering questions that don’t have substantive answers.

2. Know and communicate why you’re presenting. Are you looking for investors, users, or hackers to join you? Have an easy way for me to give you permission to contact me. Don’t hand out business cards expecting me to email you.

3. Don’t give us the grand vision. Instead, focus on what your code does, and give use cases. Projects begin with a vision, so it is an important inspiration for you. But telling us how you’re going to change everyone’s daily life erodes credibility.

4. If you’re presenting a demo in the back, have some way to allow many people to watch what you’re doing. Use a projector facing the wall, or a monitor up on a stand. A 19″ LCD at waist height is suboptimal.

    I am glad to see events like this in the Boston area. Multiple people independently remarked that they were encouraged by the growth of this, and other, events. Apparently the Silicon Valley scene still beats Boston, but a cofounder from flagr mentioned that Boston is up-and-coming relative to the Bay Area.

    Matt and I are still evaluating the merits of moving to the Palo Alto area at the end of the summer. It’s great to have utter flexibility on your location. When we were starting Xobni I told Robbie Allen that I would move to North Carolina if he would join us. I guess we didn’t yet have enough ice cream to seduce him.

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