We are seeing growth in the tech ecosystem in N.J., and evidence of this comes from the recent proliferation of Meetup groups dotting the state. Possibly the largest of the Meetup groups is the NJ Tech Meetup in Hoboken run by startup entrepreneur Aaron Price. However there are many more groups, some that existed before that one was established. There are Linux User Group Meetups, Sharepoint Meetups, Mobile App Meetups, Jersey Shore Tech Meetups, The NJ Connect Meetups, Python-Django-Developers Meetups and Drupal Meetups. In short there are Meetups all over N.J. I apologize if I’ve missed any. See our Events page for details of meeting.
Recently some Newark entrepreneurs founded the BrickCity Meetup, which will be meeting for the 3rd time at the end of the month. And in Princeton, founders Venu Moola and Chris Boraski formed a Princeton Tech Meetup group and less than two weeks later had 40 members. The Princeton group is getting ready for their first meeting Monday March 19 and has nearly 30 people on its waiting list. [Update: As of 3/19, the first meetup had 98 participants and moved to a larger venu. Nearly 140 people have joined the group.]
NJTechWeekly.com has covered many of the tech Meetups in the N.J. area in one way or another and from personal experience we think that they are one of the best ways for entrepreneurs and others to interact with their peers. Besides often featuring excellent speakers, these groups create the “primordial soup,” so-to- speak, that brings a tech community to life. Great ideas flow. People encourage one another in their endeavors. It takes an environment of mutual support to get great things going in tech.
These Meetups aren’t perfect. Often more people want to attend a meetup than there are spaces. And as most of you reading this know, N.J. isn’t an easy state in which to find community. It seems that this state has pockets of tech, everywhere from the shore and outside of Philadelphia to the north/west to Basking Ridge to farther north/east to Newark and Hoboken.
I would like to encourage these groups to keep doing what they do. However, I’d like to see some cross-networking between them. Sometimes, our N.J. networking groups find themselves crossing the Hudson and Delaware to join with groups in New York or Philadelphia for some larger purpose. Recently, the New Jersey Linux User Group joined with two other groups in New York for a meeting. That also happened with the protests of SOPA, when participants from the NJ Tech Meetup joined with the NY Tech Meetup group. Instead of crossing the rivers, let’s see if we can’t get groups from North, South and Western Jersey creating events together to benefit the entire N.J. tech community.