March SF Tech Sessions summary

Over 100 people participated in the second meeting of SF Tech Sessions last night at the Westin St. Francis. The crowd was a mix of bloggers, journalists, developers, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs all interested in learning about new products, people and ideas.

Each presenter had about 15 minutes to engage the audience with a product demonstration. The first three presenters had launched within the last two weeks and Songbird launched about six weeks ago. Below are my brief summaries of each presenter.


Noam Lovinsky of Skobee was the first presenter of the evening. Skobee helps plan meetups with firm or fuzzy plans. A plan may begin as “coffee next week” and a few stages later become “coffee at 8 a.m. at 1st and Main Starbucks.” Skobee helps out each step of the way and helps you pick a venue.

My favorite Skobee feature is the ability to view popular destinations by time or restricted by your group of contacts. Where do my friends and contacts like to have dinner on a Friday night? You might want to visit the same restaurant.

Naval Ravikant presented classified search engine Vast crawls the web looking for specific types of content. Vast currently indexes cars, jobs, and profiles, but Naval mentioned they can build a new vertical in about two weeks! A search for “BMW M5” within the car category returns results from a specialized M5 message board, a BMW classifieds page, and even a blog post. You can drill down in the results using metadata such as milage, price, model year, etc. exposes their entire database as a REST API with no query limits. Vast will make money through premium placements within each search result page and share a portion of their revenue generated from sites using their API.


Dorrian Porter presented mobile bookmarking tool Mozes. Mozes allows cell phone users to take notes on the run by sending a text message to its servers with special action terms. If a user sent the term “KFOG” to Mozes the server would retrieve the currently playing song from the KFOG radio station and display that information on its website for later viewing.

Dorrian showed off some features still in development such as adding a Flickr contact from your mobile phone or retrieving product information from The crowd last night was very interested in locking up keywords on the service for popular terms.


Rob Lord and Navi from Songbird demonstrated their networked music player. Songbird is based on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine and the entire application is open-source and extensible. You can view tracks on a web page such as a MP3 blog and subscribe to that page as a playlist even if the page does not have a RSS feed. Music is streamed by default but you can jump to any point in the track at any time or download tracks locally.

Songbird is an extendible player which means you can apply your own skin and add your own take on Songbird’s stored data. I would like to see some specialist extensions such as a classical music extension that would explain selected pieces and their key features.

Next month

I am currently planning the next SF Tech Session and expect to have another group of startups presenting the week of April 24.