February’s HV Tech Meetup: Security, Social Media, & Smileys!

Last week’s HV Tech Meetup—held in Poughkeepsie this month—introduced the group to a brand new space, as Indotronix International Corporation, a downtown Poughkeepsie IT company, generously donated their business event space to become the new HV Tech headquarters east of the Hudson.

New Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison opened the event. “We are open for business,” he said of the city, “And we’re so excited to have you here!” He passed the mic to EMN (that’s us!) co-founders Kale Kaposhilin and Dan Stone and Digital Empire co-founders Dan and Sabrina Schutzsmith, the fearless leaders of HV Tech Meetup.

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The crew introduced the first talk. Mark Stutzman and Ben Webster, the Chief Technology Officer and Director of Engineering for Appmobi, introduced us to the platform. Because, as they explained, “most mobile apps are very insecure,” Appmobi focuses on making the development of “incredibly secure mobile apps” both easy and fast. Using several layers of encryption and authentication, including secure push notifications and easy updating, Appmobi allows developers to create apps that they call “bulletproof”; that, they say, makes it easier to sleep at night, knowing that their customers’ data is protected.

We were also treated to an introduction to Facebook for business by Michelle Barone, who founded Think Social First and now works as the VP of Marketing for Rhinebeck Bank. (Go Michelle!) She lead the audience through the steps of creating a Facebook ad and understanding the analytics provided by the social media network. The key to a successful Facebook marketing campaign? Know your target audience before you start paying for ads, Michelle advises. “That way you know you’re reaching the right people.”

The final presentation may have gotten a little silly. Chris Garrett, mobile app game developer and founder of ZWorkbench, demoed his newest creation: MojiMatch, an emoji word game. Chris says the idea came about when he was considering the limitations of word games like Words with Friends and his previous success, QatQi. Because the games are in English, the market is immediately limited to a small percentage of the globe. How could he create a Scrabble-esque word game without tying it to a specific language? Then, the solution hit him, and it turns out it was right under his nose (or rather, right on his phone’s keyboard) the entire time: emoji.

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He began developing the game, working first with paper boards and wooden pieces he created himself to iron out the details. The basic concept: players use emoji pieces to create patterns and sequences, and take turns placing their pieces on the board to see who can gain more points. When he was ready to get serious about developing the game, he gathered a strong team: HV Tech co-founders Digital Empire, who designed the graphics; Tyler Walker, who composed the music and created the game’s addicting sound effects; financial consultant Sarah Jacob, who helped him make a business plan; and local student Shauna Keating (who also happens to be the intern here at EMN!). The best part? Chris met half of his team right here at HV Tech Meetup—and his game is the only he knows of that’s 100% made in the Hudson Valley. How cool is that?!

Between talks, attendees enjoyed snacks from Twisted Soul Food Concepts and samples from My Brother Bobby’s Salsa—both local companies (love to keep it local for HV Tech!). HV Tech couldn’t happen without the support of sponsors like Ulster County Economic Development Alliance, Health Quest, AT&T, and DragonSearch. Please email us at sponsorships@hvtech.org if you want to know how to show your support for Hudson Valley Tech Meetup! All support is welcome.

Want to join the fun? Register for our next general Meetup, which will be held in March here in Kingston (or the Dev O’Clock Meetup in March in Poughkeepsie, where our very own Dan Stone will be diving into the *NIX Command Line Environment). We hope to see you there!