Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 Assembled Food Conference at General Assembly

General Assembly hosted Assembled Food - a technology in food conference on April 13, 2013.  General Assembly is a tech focused co-working space, school, and event space all rolled into one.  It is designed to attract, and bring together people who are already working on internet related projects/businesses, or those who are looking to break into it.

Conferences at General Assembly bring together start up founders, aspiring founders, and people who work in the internet field.  The Assembled Food conference was no different - talks were given by founders of innovative food related start-ups with speakers such as the founders of Tasting Table (foodie discovery site), Food Curated (videos of local food makers), CaterCow (food catering finder), Undergound Eats (food events, themed parties), and Farmingo (connecting consumers to farmers).  

 Founder of Tasting Table Geoff Bartakovics
Founder of Tasting Table spoke about the key things to have for a good online food publishing site.  Key takeaways: 1. investment in good VISUAL and UX design and 2. good systems in place for managing your email subscribers and social media interaction (facebook and twitter is important, but find a solution like HootSuite that'll enable you to spend less time on social media efforts).

Ode to Andy Warhol on a Sliding Wall.  Warhol once said being good at business is the most fascinating type of art, and in the startup world, it's all about business.
The main lounge area of General Assembly is used for talks and panel discussions
Jen Pelka (left) moderates a discussion about how the internet is changing the way people eat out. Harris Damashek (far right) is founder of Underground Eats, offering consumers themed dining events as an alternative to restaurants (such as Big Gay Brunch with famous gay chefs, coming up on June 1st, 2013).
Adam Salomone moderates a discussion about using technology to distribute and publicize healthier local foods. Jared Koch of Clean Plates runs a site to help people find healthier restaurants by location, Benzi Ronen of Farmingo runs a site that helps connect consumers to farms and CSAs, Danielle Gould of Food Tech Connect specialized in research on new applications of technology to food distribution, marketing, and sales.
The main theme behind a lot of discussion at the Assembled Food Conference is that for all the new possibilities that technology can bring to improve the way we distribute, sell, and consume food - changing peole's existing habits and behaviors is HARD.  If this is what your startup is trying to do, then you'll have to really believe in your vision because change is Slow and you'll have to work long and hard to see results.

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