I like technology and I like drama. These are two of the greatest of human creations. And they can be even more interesting when combined.
There has been some real drama in the West Coast tech scene the past few weeks, heating up to a boil in the last few days, and about to come to a head tomorrow.
The story is this:
- Two great expos for high tech startups are the DEMO conference and the TechCrunch50.
DEMOfall08 will be in San Diego. According to their website, Chris Shipley has been around the globe gathering info on the best new technologies and has brought them into one place for this conference. 72 new digital technology products from 11 countries will be introduced. A record crowd of over 800 have registered already. This looks like an awesome conference and I can't wait to read about the
presentations and study the companies. I'm sure I'll find candidates for my own list of top disruptive technologies from what I read from this conference. For more info see: http://demo.com
TechCrunch50 is Sep 8-10 in San Francisco. It has a goal of bringing the best start-ups and launching them in front influential VC, corporations and the press. Many companies also give demos. It seems to be about twice the size as the Demo conference, about 1700 attendees are expected. Between the two conferences this appears to be the one with more VC and big company attendance, but I am only basing that on a review of the website. The website, by the way, shows an incredible panel of experts. These are really the greats in the community. Experts judging at TechCrunch include Marc Andreessen, Marc Benioff, Dan Farber, Bradley Horowitz, Joi Ito, Tim O'Reilly, and Robert Scoble, to name a few. Here too, I'm sure I'll find companies that need to be on my early warning screen of disruptive IT. For more on TechCrunch, see: http://techcrunch50.com
So now you see the drama? How could these two great conferences end up being held at exactly the same time?
The way this started, as far as I can tell, was captured in an April blog post from Henry Blodgete. He said, I quote:
Who ripped off who.
Who's screwing who.
Who's greedy, mercenary, abusive...
The drama really heated up a few weeks ago when the long running tension was written about by the New York Times. An article by Brad Stone put it this way:
publisher IDG, has served as the springboard for hit products like the
Palm Pilot and the TiVo digital video recorder. In San Diego during the
second week of September, 70 start-ups will pay $18,500 each to make a
six-minute presentation to a crowd of investors, journalists and
others. To Michael Arrington, the elbow-throwing, supercilious founder of
the popular Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch, Demo’s business model
amounts to “payola.”
From that article, leaders and associates of both Demo and TechCrunch began exchanging heated posts and interviews.
Here is one from Michael Arrington titled "Everyone Needs To Calm Down" Mr. Arrington asks folks to chill, but calls the Demo conference unethical. I guess I like the way he says what he thinks. But I
don't think his post will calm anything down!
Here is one from Chris Shipley who says she has had it with the shoddy reporting, invective and arrogance that has attended most of the commentary. The following are some quotes from her post at: http://guidewiregroup.wordpress.com/2008/09/06/shoddy-reporting-invective-and-arrogance-yeah-i-want-some-of-that/
p style="margin-left: 40px;">Scoble's not the only guy living in the rarefied air of the echo-chamber. Sarah Lacy, who works for the much-respected Businessweek.com, conducted a five-minute video interview with TC50's
Mike Arrington and Jason Calacanis, during which the two leveled the usual slander. Did Lacy fire one tough question at the two? Did this journalist call me or the DEMO organization to get a response to serious accusations? Um, the answer to that would be "no."
In fact, a few weeks ago, when Mike Arrington wrote an assumption-based and error-filled story that demanded an apology from the DEMO organization for a comment that was clearly not made by or on behalf of anyone at DEMO, Lacy picked up the story and wrote with righteous indignation that slander was the highest insult that could be leveled against a journalist. Did she call me or DEMO before posting her story? Again no.
So, what's my take on all that?
It is my intent to follow, from afar, both conferences, and review all I can read out of both. I'll make my own assessments on which hot new technologies are of interest to me, and I'll try hard to help my
associates, friends and readers know my opinion by updating my blog here. Stay tuned to my list of disruptive IT: http://www.ctovision.com/disruptive-technology-list.html
And I'll also keep tracking the drama.