Monday, June 20, 2005

* NYSIA’s Keeping It Real for NYC

As I gazed up at the awesome JPMorgan Chase signage in the historic Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1960s Park Avenue office building, I knew I was in for an impressive evening. NYSIA’s Monthly Meeting on Monday, June 20th capped off a beautifully temperate day in our fair city.

Upon arriving, Design Strategy ( senior technical recruiter Matthew Cummings and I were greeted two of the Platinum Sponsors, Law Firm BrownRudnick and IBM ( BrownRudnick offered a very handy “Glossary of Venture Capital and IPO Terms” booklet for guests. It’s already in its Fifth Edition! But what really caught our attention were the white water rafting business cards on IBM’s table. We’d just returned the previous day from a camping and rafting trip with friends. Of course, Molly joked, IBM’s team took on the rocky waters of the East River’s Hell Gate, whereas Matthew and I just ambled down the Delaware Water Gap!

NYSIA president Bruce Bernstein worked the room with finesse as he introduced me to Umbanet’s ( technology head Dr. Ken D. Bolan, who then introduced me to Umbanet president Michelle Baker. As one of the firms in NYSIA’s incubator at the famous 55 Broad Street, Michelle outlined how they offer automatic event registration for email newsletters. Originally an educational software program made possible from a National Science Foundation grant for kids to make games, Umbanet has been branching out into corporate markets.

MSC Services president and consultant Michael Speaker was in town to hear the main presentation--IBM’s Rational Software GM speak on their software group. ScribeStudio’s Manuela Rath and Marion Janic explained how this 1998-founded firm will be video capturing the seminar and displayed on their site.

Two gentlemen who were really hot-to-trot were Karl O’Brien and Greg Rehbein who explained how they were there to scope out the competition. Greg regaled me with the industries (aerospace, government, Wall St.) is in and about the new developments for DOORS, their requirements management program and SYNERGY, their change and configuration management program. Greg was nearly mid-sentence when he left me to rush over to a potential client, leaving me to finish up with Karl. I moved on to meet amhCard Inc.’s Chiji Uzo, who explained his company’s wireless, micro and money transfer payment options. “And what does your company do?” I inquired, to which Obiora LLC’s Obi Akubue promptly replied, “tech support.” Ah, if only every tech support response could be so quick!

As the soda-hour was finishing up, I had a chance to catch up with Excite Media Group’s president Miranda Tan. We marveled at the positive changes we saw in each other and then headed in for the presentations.

And what a presentation it was! Bruce revealed the outline of his testimony for the NYC Council Technology Hearing on Tuesday, June 21. Here are just a few of the many important details covered:

+ New York City outperformed the United States by fifteen percent in Software/IT job and company growth between 1992 – 2000.
+ Since 2000, the number of companies in New York City has decreased by 16.2%, whereas Chicago has only had a 5% decrease and Southern California had a 2.7% increase.
+ Many areas are offering major incentives to companies to develop in their locale. For instance, Iowa’s Grow Iowa Fund has $500 million to spend over 10 years; Texas’s TBED has $100 million and the European Union has reserved $5.4 billion over seven years for assistance to IT companies, $1.03 billion of which specifically reserved for software companies.
+ NYSIA, founded in 1992, with 600 member companies, has been assisting companies in the technology sector.
+ One of Bruce’s big points, which Murray Alter of PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, landed on in a steering committee, is to make New York City a true free trade zone and to normalize rates and prices, as is done in other industries.
+ For more—check out