Incubator

A few days ago, I went to see the demos for the Triangle Start-up Factory incubator over at the American Tobacco Campus.  I went for work, but I was excited to go. I thought it would be smart to connect with local startups, meet interesting folks in the tech community, see what’s emerging, etc., etc.,  all kinds of optimistic hopes that I’ll look really hard and stay positive and eventually find good things to make a life here.

The keynotes were a bit depressing, because whenever people talk about how the Triangle is hip and high tech and happening and just as awesome as New York and Silicon Valley, it really highlights that I’m in a place that needs to talk itself up for a while first.

I did get the info for a good piece on PopUp,  over at TapScape:

There’s a lot of potential here for cute, asynchronous social fun with this app. It would be great fun to see that a friend took a goofy Instagram at this landmark, and take my own picture doing the same thing at the same spot.

Of course, cute social photos aren’t how PopUp would monetize. PopUp’s presentation discussed how businesses could use these location-based pop-ups to advertise.

The PopUp team suggested that a possible use would be for a business advertising, via PopUp, to shoppers in a competitor’s store. This is delightfully scifi, but easily becomes a disaster of constant push adverts, like the one envisioned in M.T. Anderson’s dark future in the novel Feed. The nightmare use of PopUp is, say, stopping for coffee at Bedford Hill Coffee Shop, and getting an advert from every other coffeeshop in my hipster Brooklyn neighborhood, Franklin Street Coffee, Daily Grounds, and Starbucks for good measure, plus a local gym reminding me that cappuccino froth should be burned on the elliptical, and my bank suggesting I use my credit card to earn cashback on my coffee purchase.

PopUp seemed fun in a scifi way, and I did have some interesting conversations at the event.

Still, the best part of the day was the presentation from a startup called Offline Media. The rant about how awful it is that everyone uses social media instead of really socializing is unpleasant from curmudgeons. It’s hilarious from young hipsters who are seeking investors in the online social app they’ve made to save us from online socialization. Anyway, seems like Offline is Meetup for people who, um, haven’t heard of Meetup, I guess.

Joke’s on me, though. I signed up immediately because maybe there’s something cool happening here but only people who are Offline know about it.

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