5 Minutes With Aaron Price:
Last week the Digest got a pleasant surprise when Aaron Price, entrepreneur and founder of the NJ Tech Meetup and livecube, spent some time in our office. In just a five minute chat, Aaron and I got through a lot of interesting topics:
So Aaron, you’re currently working on Mile Mesh, a project here in Hoboken that will give us free lifeline WiFi should we experience another disaster like Sandy. How does something like this work?
Aaron Price: Mile Mesh is one of the projects I’m working on that will bring WiFi to the community. It works by volunteers putting a small router in their window or roof, and then we connect it to the internet in a way that gives people instant connectivity around town. This starts with disaster connectivity, but ultimately we’re hoping to have some of the public spaces with free WiFi.
How can someone from the community help get this up and running?
AP: I’m one of the founding members, but there’s a few guys doing the day to day stuff. People can volunteer at milemesh.com. They’re looking for all sorts of people.
Who else in the world is using this technology right now?
AP:There are some other cities, such as Barcelona and other cities in the U.S. where they’ve had a need for more connectivity. There are some low cost routers available that let people get online quickly.
Is this technology becoming more common?
AP: It is somewhat common, but still more of a grassroots movement. There are a lot of people who recognize the technology is inexpensive and want an opportunity to connect their town.
Is this ready to go?
AP: I think it’s about ready to go, but I’m not involved in the day to day stuff. I’m more involved with the NJ Tech Meetup, which is a monthly event that I run, and my main focus is my company livecube. Mile Mesh is likely to be online within the next year.
You’re also the founder of the NJ Tech Meetup, and I’ve heard you guys get a lot of interesting people who attend. Who was the most interesting?
AP: We’ve had some really fantastic speakers. Some of my favorites were the co-founder of Priceline, the co-founder of Vonage — they were phenomenal. For me it’s more about some of the ideas that come out of the events. For instance, last month someone said, “If you don’t know how to do it, you can do anything.” Which resonates with me in a huge way as an entrepreneur. We’re trying to build livecube, we don’t know a lot of what we’re getting into. It’s that idea of, you figure it out as you go. To hear people like the co-founder of Vonage talk about that, someone who’s a Twitter investor, who has had a lot of interesting success, really resonates in a big way. I love hearing inspiring ideas and meeting great people at those events. We’re the state’s largest technology community, 3,347 members as of an hour ago.
For people who may not know, tell me more about livecube.
AP: I recognized with a few co founders that it’s really hard to engage an audience through social media. One of my co-founders is an expert in gamification, he’s written a few books on gamification, so we built this app that gamifies your event experience, in particular through social media. As you contribute to the event — using the app on your phone — you’re earning points, badges and real prizes for being part of the experience. It’s a great way to contribute to an event and follow the conversation that happens via social media.
What would you say is the biggest problem with social media?
AP: Noise. It’s a noisy experience. It’s hard to find the content you want quickly. The more people you follow, the noisier your Twitter stream is, or whatever your tool of choice is. In my opinion, the wave of next interesting tools are about how you make sense of that noise quickly. That’s what livecube is about.
Give me one song that represents the livecube project.
AP: Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream.
What do you hate most about technology?
AP: How it disrupts my relationships. When technology gets in the way of a real life experience.
To learn more about livecube visit: livecube
To learn more about the NJ Tech Meetup visit: NJ Tech Meetup
To learn more about Mile Mesh visit: Mile Mesh