Guest Post: Karen L. Johnson

mehta johnsonThanks to Karen L. Johnson for this account of an important evening at the Princeton Tech Meetup. One must be a member to be told the location — but the Princeton Public Library is one of the sponsors! And the next meetup is Tuesday, August 27. BFF’

When Princeton techies gathered Tuesday night at Meetup Princeton Tech, they were treated to an energy-charged talk by Nihal Mehta. He captivated Creatives, Entrepreneurs, Investors, Service Providers and Techies (whose color-coded badges made for easy networking) with his roller-coaster ride in mobile tech marketing – 5 startups in the last dozen years.

Among his ventures is ipsh!, one of the first full-service mobile marketing agencies which he founded in 2001
and sold to Omnicom in 2005 (NYSE: OMC), buzzd, a real-time city guide which evolved into LocalResponse, which gives marketers real-time consumer input. Active angel investments to his credit include Admob (sold to Google), Greystripe (sold to Valueclick), and Movoxx (sold to Adenyo).

Mehta took what in a sense was a victory tour in Princeton. That he resigned himself by going to UPenn when Princeton wait-listed him was lost on no one, nor were his exhortations to all to leave the 40-hour/week job for the exhilaration and despair of the 100-hour week of the
entrepreneur, that being a self-established metric for his speech’s success.

Interspersed in his stories of failure and success as a mobile tech entrepreneur were quotations from Jay-Z, Nelson Mandela and tales compete with accents of his Indian family gatherings where his aunties tisk-tisked about the boy-who-went-bankrupt and later counted their cash as his ventures proved successful. Mehta advised people to “Take the wrong path the fastest…” so they could get through the steep learning curve from failure to success. With his record and the inspirational words, the 225 attendees stayed on a high-energy level.

After Mehta’s talk, new apps were presented by their creators, then the mic was offered as many persons as could be crammed into the remaining 2-minute segments. Those with new endeavors solicited feedback and collaborators as they headed off in many directions, as Mehta did before them.

Photo of Mehta and Johnson by Marek Malkowski.

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