A New York tech company visits Memphis – and is wowed

It was great to meet some of the leadership of Boxee last night at EmergeMemphis. Boxee is a still relatively new New York-based startup built around a device that connects to your TV and lets you watch any TV show from the Internet, movies from services like Netflix and other offerings that don’t make it to broadcast TV.

Those guys were in town on their way to South by Southwest, stopping off at EmergeMemphis to talk to the innovators and entrepreneurs at Emerge. It was a great rooftop party, with a comfortable breeze blowing, good drinks flowing and plenty of insights from the Boxee guys – plus some entertainment, too.

Avner Ronen, Boxee’s CEO and co-founder, talked about the things he faces as a business owner. He said he loves the day-to-day details most of the time, but admitted they’re quite often “annoying.” He talked about the ideal investor, someone who writes a check and gives the business owner enough room to run.

He also generated some good-natured “ooohs” when someone asked him, since his team had come from a visit in Knoxville, too, whether they preferred “blue or orange.”

“Orange,” Avner said, eliciting some groans before adding, “Wait, wait, I have a rational explanation.”

Turns it, it’s an official company color.

Some of the other Boxee guys marveled at the living spaces across the street from Emerge, wondering how much more expensive such a space would be in New York.

“Dude, do you realize you can go across that bridge and literally be in Arkansas?” one of them asked.

As the evening progressed, the Boxee team put on a “Stupid Human Tricks” contest. The winner would get a Boxee device.

One guy recited some spoken word poetry. Another belted out some Al Green.

The whole rooftop crowd eventually joined in on the “Let’s stay together” chorus.