Have you ever been to a music festival, and found yourself overwhelmed by too many great choices? Look at Coachella, for example. There are six stages to chose from. On Friday, how are you supposed to pick between Alabama Shakes and Lykke Li? I love ’em both. There’s Alt-J playing at the same time as Glass Animals, and Fitz & the Tantrums going up against Florence & The Machine.
That’s exactly how I feel about picking my schedule for next month’s NewCo New York. The lineup is 125 companies strong, and I can only see a total of ten (five each day). Yet picking your schedule is part of the magic of NewCo – it’s a supremely individual set of choices, but once you commit, you know you’re going to get to hang with hundreds of like-minded souls who made the same choices you did.
So here are my picks for NewCo NYC 2015:
Day 1: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
5:30 pm: VIP Kickoff
This is the official NewCo kickoff party, featuring founders and CEOs hand-picked to present their unique New York stories. The venue is The New School’s awesome new building in the Flatiron/Union Square district. Speakers include the Founders and/or CEOs of Betaworks, Mic, Roadify, BioLite, BarkBox and Gimlet. You need a Platinum Pass to get into the kickoff, but it’s a steal at $150 and includes unlimited access to all the other festival sessions, including the killer party at the end.
Day 2: Wednesday, May 13, 2015
10:00 am: CartoDB – CartoDB is an intriguing mapping company located in Brooklyn, where we’re focusing the first full morning of NewCo New York. Location is the king of signals in the mobile economy, and I’m looking forward to learning what makes CartoDB unique compared to Apple, Google, and others. I know one thing for sure: CartoDB’s crowd-driven approach to the world is inspiring and very NewCo. CEO and founder Javier de la Torre is presenting, and given the intimate nature of NewCo sessions, I know I’ll get a chance to say hello.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Atavist, Atlas Obscura (I’m an investor in both), and VaynerMedia (Gary is a NewCo advisor).
11:30 am Bark & Co. I don’t have a dog, but I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t see a few at Bark’s HQ. Subscription commerce is hot, and these folks are leaders in the field. I’m psyched to meet co-founders Henrik Werdelin and Melanie Travis as well.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Bloomberg, BioLite, and Roadify.
1:00 pm General Assembly General Assembly is redefining education, and with a full month to go till the event, the session is full. You can only get in if you buy a Diamond Pass, which lets you “jump the line” and get in despite the session’s sold out status. Co-founder Brad Hargreaves is leading the session, which will focus on the 21st century job market, something near and dear to the NewCo narrative.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: The New School, Evol8tion, Percolate, Keep.
2:30 pm Refinery 29 – Another session that’s already at Diamond status – which tells you that Refinery 29 is a hot company in a very hot market. Design Director Michael Ciancio is going to share his secrets of visual storytelling, which as a text dude I can’t wait to learn.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Luma (Terry’s an advisor), The New York Times, Dstillery.
4:00 pm Hinge – Yikes, a third Diamond! I guess I chose some popular companies. Hinge is a dating service, and sure, there are plenty of those. But they seem to have a unique approach, and I chose this session because I’m super interested in how best to connect people using technology platforms (yes, it relates to NewCo!). Hinge’s VP of Product, Sam Levy, is set to present.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: RebelMouse (investor), Mozilla, SeatGeek.
5:30 pm Animoto – Co-Founder Tom Clifton will present on its breakout video platform. Video is a major initiative at NewCo going forward, and who better to help me understand the possibilities then the guy who built a platform used by 12 million folks and counting?
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: (RED), Kiip, StumbleUpon.
Day 2: Thursday, May 14th, 2015
10:00 am Mic – Mic has figured out how to gain and engage the finicky millennial market, which, it turns out, is the same group that makes up the bulk of NewCo’s attendees. The entire management team is presenting – the CEO and Co-Founder, VP Communications and Strategy, Chief of Staff and Dir Ops, and the VP Product. Where else can you meet all those folks in one room?!
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Casper, MetaMarkets (investor), Mashable.
11:30 am Salesforce – Michael Lazerow is presenting. That’s all I needed to know. Just one of the best dudes in the business, bar none. The title of his presentation: “Everything you ever wanted to know about a startup but were afraid to ask.” Michael sold his startup Buddy Media to Salesforce for $745 million. I’ll be taking notes.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Canary, BuzzFeed, The Verge.
1:00 pm littleBits – What’s the deal with the Internet of Things, anyway? LittleBits is like Lego mashed up with the Mac – I want to understand this MIT-inspired startup, and get to know its people as well. I can’t wait to see the Chelsea-based offices, which I can only imagine boast a Wonka-like sense of wonder.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: VinePair, Lerer Hippeau, TED.
2:30 pm Tapad – Readers of this site know I’m deep into advertising technology, and Tapad promises to address one of the bugaboos of our industry: cross-device advertising. This session promises to go deep – and that’s why I love NewCo. I know the folks in the room will all bring their A-game questions and insights.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Superfly, Codeacademy, Handy.
4:00 pm BetaWorks – Betaworks is the company behind success stories like bitly, chartbeat, and tweetdeck. I have never visited, even though founder John Borthwick is a NewCo advisor. I’m excited to learn about the BetaWorks’ approach to company formation and success. The speaker is Head of Creative James Cooper, who will delve into BetaWorks’ philosophy and ongoing practice.
Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Behance, Simulmedia, Grey.
5:30 pm NewCo Meetup at relentless Generator A great way to end the festival is with an open bar, great tunes, and a massive meetup with attendees, host company leaders, and NewCo staff. Sure to be a killer party. We’ll be announcing a special musical act who will play as well, so stay tuned! You have to have a Gold Pass to get in, but it’s just $25, and includes free booze and tunes. What a deal!
If you’ve read this far, you must want to attend, no?! Yes! So sign up here, as sessions are filling up fast! See you there….