Last night, TechCrunch held a meetup in Boston, but the focus of attendees was less on showing off to the visitors and more about catching up with each other.
Judging by the small crowd and the relative disinterest to whatever TechCrunch writer Jordan Crook and East Coast editor John Biggs were doing onstage, nobody REALLY cared that representatives from the website were in town. In fact, it seemed that most present showed up to network and enjoy a night on the town with fellow tech folk.
In fact, it seemed that most of Crook’s schtick (other than asking whether she looked “douchey” with or without sunglasses on) was yelling at the crowd to be quiet, which seemed to have the opposite effect as more attendees tuned her out.
The local disinterest in TechCrunch coming to town is actually a good reflection of the general intelligence of Boston’s tech and innovation community. Mainly, it shows that people are paying attention to TechCrunch’s deterioration as a source for serious and engaging content on technology and startups.
While TechCrunch will probably turn around and bemoan how lame the Boston tech scene is, the reality is that local startups and entrepreneurs, who are hard at work building the next big Boston tech breakthrough , realize that they don’t need to sacrifice their time at the altar of TechCrunch.
The only shame of the episode is that a really good startup pitch contest got lost in all the hubbub.
The brightest light of the evening was TicketZen‘s victory in TechCrunch’s pitch contest (where they won a chance to pitch at TechCrunch DISRUPT in New York).
Although most of the startup pitches were drowned out by the crowd, TicketZen’s Cort Johnson engaged and owned the stage for the few minutes he was up there.
TicketZen’s app, which allows users to instantly pay parking tickets from their mobile device, wowed the audience and a judging panel that featured NextView Ventures’ David Beisel and General Catalyst’s Nitesh Banta, among others.
One of the most interesting revelations about TicketZen was its positioning as an app that has the opportunity to be a payments system that can connect citizens to municipalities. Down the road, TicketZen might not only be a way to pay parking tickets, it may be the means to pay all city/town bills.