Tech Day Part 3: Cool Things (and Other Stuff)
Trade shows are shopping malls for business.
You don’t always buy what you see. Sometimes you’re just cerebral and inspirational window shopping. I always feel smarter after I’ve left a trade show.
Although Tech Day was a mixed bag (see Parts 1 and 2), I did spot some interesting creations among the 500 exhibitors. I’m sure I missed some (just because you can’t possibly visit every table at a 1-day event). If I ignored your product or service, and you happen to be reading this, just send me a note. The impact of really great shows lasts long after the last tossed flyer is emptied from the dumpster!
The inventions that I saw fell into a few broad categories:
Consumer Conveniences and Services like:
- Trrigr, which is a more efficient and cheaper way to do your laundry and dry cleaning. After you spill your Seamless food on your dress, you can just have it picked up and cleaned!
- Tribute, which compiles video into meaningful tributes. (Wow…a product name that actually describes what it is! What a novelty!)
- PicoBrew, a contraption for brewing your own beer. That industry is hopping (pun intended).
Fashion-y Things. Fashion and the tech world are colliding. Here are just a few examples:
- Brunswick Park (#alarmclock2lastcall) makes washable wool jackets, so that if you’re a start-up dude (or dudette), you can look professional, work long hours, sweat, and then just toss your jacket in the wash (or send it out on Trrigr). I tried one on. It was super-comfy…like pajamas… but you can wear it to work. Their booth was clever too. You could take a selfie in one of their jackets and post it on your wall. Free advertising for them.
- ChicSketch is fashion design in reverse. You put together an outfit and then you can turn it into a sketch and post it on your social media sites. And then maybe a fashion company will see it and create it for the masses. Or, you can just show your friends how cool you are.
- Fashion sites that generates sales are nirvana for any retailer. TheTake and TV Runway both allow viewers to easily find and buy clothes and accessories they see on the screen.
Business and Non-Profit Services such as:
- Beeline: A streamlined way to do trademark services and register your mark.
- You Give Goods, which enables donors to buy much-needed products for non-profits rather than donating cash.
- As a knitter, I got a kick out of speaking to AK Kerani. She teaches people in companies how to knit, as a means of relieving stress. (Just keep in mind…those needles are sharp! Could be a little dangerous!)
- Ever have an event and need a photographer at the last minute? PhotoSesh serves as a tech-enabled broker for photography services.
Learning, and Connection Facilitators. I am sort of “over” the social network thing. I avoided the dating app tables and the “find other people just like you online” technologies. Let’s just meet people in the real world for a change. But…
- Be Somebody is sort of cool. You can learn a new skill by connecting with talented people.
- Women in tech and start-ups are still a minority. But communities like OnMogul and GDI NYC are “places” where we can meet and inspire each other.
- Columbia University and Cornell both had big displays at the show. Teaching entrepreneurs how to build businesses is key. If I were back in college today, I would definitely hang out with the people in those programs. And maybe even get a tech degree. (Hmmm…it’s never too late!)
But then I also saw a lot of “This is sort of cool, but how many people really need it?” products and services. An avid Shark Tank viewer, I felt like a low budget version of Barbara Corcoran, thinking to myself “I’m out!” (even though I had no real money to invest).
Next year, everyone who visits the show should be given a stack of play money to invest, and the exhibitor who winds up with the most faux cash should actually get funded!