Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

September Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup

September 2006 NewTech Silicon Valley Meetup
Your host, Vincent Lauria

Last night’s Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup was definitely the biggest yet.

Vincent “Vinnie” Lauria again took center stage to welcome guests, which included VCs, engineers, programmers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and plenty of CEOs.

The evening’s lineup included four up-and-coming Web startups, some more well known than others (and maybe one that really isn’t a startup per se). And interestingly enough, all seem to have found their niche for creating a loyal customer-base.

For those of you too busy drinking Andrew Lane wine (the event’s wine sponsor), networking, taking notes, or if you couldn’t make the event, I’ve summarized the presentations below.

September 2006 NewTech Silicon Valley Meetup

First up…


VideoEgg, The easiest way to get your video online
Presenter: Joe Hurd, VP of Business Development

VideoEgg offers web-based video publishing solutions which make it easy to for internet users to encode, upload, host and watch video. The VideoEgg Publisher, is a small website plug-in that makes it easy for end-users to capture, edit, encode, and post digital video online.

VideoEgg allows internet users to painlessly publish video in a format that anyone can watch without worrying about player compatibilities, encoding settings, or extra software. A “universal adapter” captures directly from hundreds of devices and reads dozens of formats.

VideoEgg makes their dinero by usage and subscription fees. It’s not competing with YouTube, as according to Hurd, “the company is targeting partners.” VideoEgg is funded by August Capital and First Round Capital. Customers include Bebo, dogster, and NBC San Jose

September 2006 NewTech Silicon Valley Meetup

Quote of the night, “Get it onto the Internet…VideoEgg is for anyone that wants to take video and upload to the net, blogs, and social networking sites.”



Boompa, Your garage online
Presenter: Dave Snider, co-founder

Boompa was a fun presentation as it really targets the “car nut” in all of us. Boompa was originally built during a 10-week marathon coding session in the Spring of 2006 by Ethan Lance and Dave Snider . We were even treated to pictures of where Dave slept in his Berkeley office during the site’s development.

The two partners met and previously worked for CNET Networks where, along with some other fine engineers, they launched and . is the first site they’ve launched under their independent Enemy Kite banner, and you can expect more sites from them soon.

The name “Boompa” comes from what a young Ethan Lance used to call his Grandfather, who was of course also a car-nut, and who the site is dedicated to. The hope is that the site can mature into a friendly community of tinkerers, fanatics and speed freaks. is a community driven online vehicle encyclopedia devoted to showing off, tweaking and cataloging anything that drives, flies, floats or pedals. Registered users can showcase their vehicles in their boompa “garage” as well as write guides dedicated to vehicle tweaking, maintenance and humor.

Everything on Boompa is user submitted, which is impressive as the community already appears active and enthusiastic, even though the site has only been online for about 2 ½ months.

Although tons of car-specific forums and online groups exist, Boompa brings everything together under one virtual roof.

User’s rides can battle it out through community votes and can even receive community love in a “hot or not” or “digg” voting style.

Boompa will be advertising-“driven” and they have outsourced that process to Federated Media .

September 2006 NewTech Silicon Valley Meetup

Quote of the night, “Boompa is a social network and wiki for car enthusiasts that pulls together under represented sites, forums, and resources, without trying to sell you cars or auto accessories. It’s a community specifically for rides, mods, how to’s, and car communities.”

Third… zazzle, Create or shop for unique designs, shipped in 24 hours
Presenter: Jeff Beaver, CEO

Per Zazzle, the creativity marketplace, it is the meeting of your imagination with on-demand manufacturing to allow you to create, share and celebrate your unique interests and passions. It combines manufacturing, community, a large online collection of customizable digital images, and personalization tools to create custom apparel, posters, cards, stamps and more. I’ve personally have many friends who have created shirts with clever Web 2.0 slogans.

Zazzle also recruits contributors to share their creations in Zazzle’s public galleries. Contributors also earn royalties every time their creations are purchased by others.

In 1999, Zazzle developed new printing technologies to improve automated manufacturing systems. In 2003, they launched the website to test the user experience.
Over at Zazzle Pulse, visitors can get the scoop on the latest stuff and see what’s happening right now.

Jeff was asked about how Zazzle competed against Shutterfly and CaféPress . His response was focused, “Zazzle is a marketplace for customized products, not just personalized, photo-related gifts. Even though CaféPress is similar, we have the highest quality, custom designs out there, and we can turn it around in 24 hours.”

Vinnie Lauria also jumped in to support Zazzle’s quality having ordered shirts from both services.

September 2006 Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup

Quote of the night: “Zazzle is all about user-generated commerce. The creativity of an individual is precious, and our products must be just as good as if you pulled it off a retail shelf.”

And Vinnie offered up a good quote too, “If you’re familiar with the longtail, Zazzle is the longtail of physical products.”

And to close out the night…


SpyMedia, Keep an eye on your world.
Presenter: Bryan Quinn, President

Bryan Quinn, who is only in his early 20’s, opened up his presentation stating that he was “Chevy68” on Boompa, which was classic.

A last minute addition to the lineup, SpyMedia is a privately funded company that offers an online market for photos, where a buyer can set a price for a photo they want someone to shoot — and sellers can set prices for the photo they want to sell. It is ideal for amateur and even professional event and news photographers, as well as citizen and cellphone journalists.

While there are many professional media agencies that do this sort of thing, there isn’t really a platform like SpyMedia’s where anyone can go buy or sell photos.

The company also demonstrated a very cool feature called “Spy Bounties” – where anyone can request a photo of a certain event, place or person and name the price they’re willing to pay. Quinn referred to examples of posting bounties for someone to take pictures of their old house or even an ex-girlfriend. In a humorous moment during the presentation, he cited the example of Valleywag’s Nick Douglas and his bounty for a streaker at TechCrunch7, and how it was ultimately paid.

SpyMedia makes money by charging 35 percent of all photo sales – and is not interested in advertising revenue at this time, unlike most other new Internet companies. Quinn also stated that most of the company’s business stems from overseas customers.

Rumor has it that SpyMedia may be ready to seek VC funding to keep its edge.

September 2006 Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup

Quote of the night: “We had a customer who attended the World Cup in Germany. He was able to catch a picture of a key turning point in the USA/Italy game. His photo sold well, rivaling a shot from an AP photographer, and SpyMedia gave him the forum to sell it.”

The room was indeed packed. After the presentations, I had the opportunity to briefly meet some very interesting Silicon Valley professionals, including:

Angie Chang, CEO of themintpages .com and co-founder of Women 2.0
Khalid Shaikh, yousendit , read more about them here.
Priya Ganapati, reporter for The Red Herring
Ivaylo Lenkov, CEO of SiteKreator
Paul Hancock, CEO of Silicon Valley Technology Marketing
Daniela Barbosa, Information Professional at Factiva and blogger

Well that’s a wrap for now. I’ll see you in October…

More more photos from the event, follow the jump .

Digg this!


5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “September Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup”

  1. Zoli Erdos says:

    In the wake of the HP Scandal perhaps SpyMedia will expand their business model to cater for Corporate Boards…:-)

  2. vinnie says:

    beautiful writeup.

  3. Brian Solis says:

    Vinnie, thank you!

    Zoli, that’s hilarious. Perhaps the HP board will issue a SpyMedia bounty for compromising pix of Patricia Dunn! 🙂

  4. Bryan Quinn says:

    Not to bad of an idea…
    Feel free to post the bounty on Spy Media. I’d be curious to see what people dig up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Zazzle has NO customer service…

    First of all, they DO NOT ship within 24 hours… sometimes it takes a week, even for white t-shirts.

    There have been major problems with customer service – or LACK OF customer service as many of us shopowners agree. Please read the following complaints, which seem to be re-occurring. I have had terrible experience with support, as many people have.

    When is Zazzle going to actually hire some customer support, and have someone actually answering the phones. The emails to support are a joke, we’re lucky if they get responses after 2 or 3 follow-up messages, and then the problem MIGHT get resolved in a week or two, if at all.

    Please read the following page… this seems to be the consensus wherever I look:

    It’s time for a change… I’m already redirecting my regular customers to cafepress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Mailing List

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Stay Connected