An enthusiastic group of accomplished tech buffs ascended to the top floor of Montclair’s Tapastry restaurant for the Montclair Tech and Social Media Meetup’s organizing meeting.
The April 4, 2012, event drew 45 people from Montclair and surrounding towns. Several were New York commuters starting companies or working on apps when they return home from their city day jobs.
There was a smattering of digital advertisers, academics, TV producers, publishers, former and present journalists, recruiters and VCs. Several online video techies were also in the room.
The meetup’s founders are Debbie Galant and Saul Hansell. Galant is the publisher of Baristanet.com, a hyperlocal online news website for Montclair and surrounding areas and a pioneer in hyperlocal news. Hansell, a former New York Times and AOL technology journalist, is building a visual news startup called Sii.tv.
The event featured a general networking period and then, while everyone sat down to eat paella, members introduced themselves. It was a good opportunity to find out who was in the room and why. One member, Peter Kaplan, said he wanted to develop a hackerspace in Montclair and was there to find out if there was any interest.
Writing on Baristanet, Galant said the event drew “too many local notables to mention them all.” She named a few: “Eric Hellman, president of Gluejar, an effort to make all ebooks free, Russell Kahn, editor-in-chief of Press4Kids, a soon-to-launch news site for children, Jonathan Phillips of Organic Digital, who has rendered the film Lorax into 37 languages, Jay Woodruff, a journalist-turned-headhunter.”
Since the event, membership has swelled to 100 people. The organizers are shooting for a second meetup sometime in June.