DEMO vs. TechCrunch 50
I hope the folks at Techmeme have fortified their algorithms and site capacity because the firehose next week will be on in full force. In the first half of the week, DEMOfall, TechCrunch50 and Apple's now-annual September media event will take place. The first two have been getting their share of pre-show coverage and Twitter chatter -- for themselves -- as a result of TechCrunch's stated intention to kill DEMO. I personally think this has helped DEMOfall, which has been the stepchild of the venerable spring show since it started as DEMOmobile in 1999, as I saw Chris Shipley Twitter today that 72 companies are presenting there.
It was great to see Rafe Needleman's post this afternoon giving his Webware readers an excellent analysis of what to expect from both events. I think he nailed it. Here's how he compares the mix of demoing companies:
Launches at the TechCrunch show will all be Web 2.0 companies. Demo's presenters likely will be mostly Web 2.0 launches, with a few traditional software and hardware companies in the mix.
Much of the analysis hits upon the issue the rivalry has hinged most upon -- the fee charged to participating companies.
Demo charges companies to present to the crowd (the fee is now more than $18,000), and this has historically had the effect of filtering out poorly-funded companies from even applying to present. While Demo's presenting companies are not always scintillating, the majority of them have solid business models.
Companies for which $18,000 makes a big difference are drawn to TechCrunch, as are those that believe that the new TechCrunch conference will get better press coverage than Demo. I expect that a much larger proportion of the companies at TechCrunch will have unformed business models and be further away from being ready for customer adoption, but there will still be many with solid, creative plans.
Later in the post, he touches on additional differences between the two events that speaks to another reason why companies get value out of the fee to participate in DEMO, something that has been stated by the many clients of ours that have launched there over the years.
Second, there is no post-presentation showcase for TechCrunch companies. People who want to interview TechCrunch CEOs have to buttonhole the presenters immediately after the presentation in a special room set aside for interviews, or find them later in the hallways. There will be a demo hall for TechCrunch companies, but this "demo pit" is for companies that did not make the cut to present on-stage. Demo, in contrast, puts all its presenting companies in one big pavilion where people can wander between the companies and chat up the execs as they want, either before or after they see their presentations on the main stage. It's a better environment for learning about the companies.
What Rafe doesn't state here is that the "demo pit" companies do have to pay to participate and have the same opportunity afforded to them as at DEMO.
Rafe also reveals an interesting tidbit about how TechCrunch doesn't let presenting companies pre-brief media and bloggers beforehand, so the resulting coverage will not be as high-quality as for DEMO companies. This is a very important distinction as well.
So, based upon this very cogent and insightful analysis, I'm convinced that there is a place for both events in the industry going forward. What do you think?