#NYCtech, Queens Tech Night and the IDDYs

The Queens Tech Night held last night in the very cool Plaxall gallery in Long Island City was a great event for learning about the New York City and Queens tech scenes.

It was a fact-filled educational and networking session loaded with information about some of the leadership New York City has in the global technology sector with speakers shining a spotlight on the technology innovation that has been happening in Queens and Long Island City.

I found Elias Roman‘s keynote particularly interesting. Roman is a founder in residence at Google, a co-founder of Songza – an early music streaming and recommendation service launched in Long Island City in 2007 – and a Queens native.

Roman reviewed the history of Songza and discussed some of Google’s early Web 2.0 initiatives. He also gave an overview of Google’s 20 % program, an initiative where Google employees can spend 20 percent of their work time on side projects they are passionate about and Google believes are worthy of further development.

Roman’s talk reminded me of my days working in Web 2.0 marketing – which was right around the time Songza was founded – and managing communications and messaging for Liberty Alliance and Kantara Initiative.

This is also when I launched the IDDY Awards. The IDDY was a global awards program I managed for five years and, shortly after the program was launched, quickly became the award many in the digital identity and privacy sectors wanted to win.

The program was in its fourth year when Google and Plaxo applied for and won an IDDY Award. The submission was for a standards-based solution that helped improve the success rate of users finishing the registration process with a social network. This was a valuable application for growing social networks at the time.

The IDDYs were about recognizing technology innovation in the global digital identity management and privacy sectors.

Yesterday’s Queens Tech Night was about recognizing technology innovation in New York City and Queens.

It was a lot of fun to see the enthusiasm and Long Island City pride attached to the standing-room only event.

The Queens Tech Night founders promise more events in the future. Sign up here to join their Meetup group.

I wrote a case study focusing on some of the many successes the IDDYs enjoyed during the program’s seven year run. It may be a good read for anyone interested in some best practices for managing a successful awards program. Check it out here. – Russ DeVeau

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The top photo is a picture of Elias Roman addressing the standing-room only crowd during Queens Tech Night. The bottom middle photo is of Queens Tech Night founder Ben Guttmann discussing New York City and Queens tech innovation. The bottom right photo shows part of the Plaxall gallery in Long Island City where the event was held.