Demo thru my eyes
I know blurbs are supposed to give you a general feel of how an article is meant to pan out but I’m making an exception for this one. I’m a little sore now (not the physical kind). I feel cheated out of my snow experience. I spend the Xmas-New Year stretch on the east coast to get my dose for white fluffiness, but it was as if someone up there saw me on the map, drew a line right where I am and decided that everywhere *north* of where I was would be slammed.
Similarly, San Francisco saw its first snow for the first time in 30 years and it just simply had to do it on the very weekend I was down in LA.
In any case, I spent the weekend and the earlier part of the week down in Palm Desert for Demo Spring 2011. I must stress that this will not be an objective view of emerging trends, nor would it be an insightful piece on the next big wave. There are already plenty of coverage on the blogsphere for those if you’re looking for that. If however, what you’re looking for is the perceptions from the eyes of a regular (if occasionally dense) geek-preneur on his first romp in a Demo conference, by all means read on:
1. Before the conference actually started, a bunch of the startups (us included) were already furiously tweeting on the democon hash. It kinda reminded me of camps when we were much younger where the new kids would all band together as quickly as possible to avoid the inevitable hazing which left your underwear pinned against your forehead while still attached at your groin.
It was fun tho and we met up with some very very cool people. Like most conferences, booth setup day happened the day before the official conference kicked off. Unlike most conferences however, you get a small pavilion and a list of restrictions on how you can decorate it (i.e. you’re not allowed to decorate it in any way). Given those circumstances, “setup” meant you basically stuck your laptop into the power socket and check to see if you’d get fried. If you didn’t, setup was complete.
I really don’t know what happens if you did.
2. We met up with Andres Blank and Inaki Berenguer from Pixable on the first night and bumped into them after the “booth setup”. Very cool guys the both of them. So while we were bunkered down under the LA sun, chomping on club sanwiches, getting smashed early in the day and swapping stories of technology entrepreneurship in the opposite coasts, I noticed a little something.
Here we are: a european, a latin american, a few asian dudes being served by an african american guy smack in the middle of a Desert Palm resort, alternating between mouthfuls of stories and messaging our home countries. The world is getting pretty small huh.
3. There were a few demo pitches that I found memorable. Before I start out, I need to make a point that I’m not belittling any of these guys. I think they’re all great in what they do and what they’re trying to achieve and as fellow startups we all want to see each other suceed (unless you’re competition, then we’ll pin your company logo to a voodoo doll).
In any case, the first was a company dealing with hyperbaric chambers. My first impression when I saw that little pod being brought out was, “Hmmm did someone mug Clark Kent ? I could have swore Superman arrived on earth with that thing”. For the demo, the guy stuffs a lady into that little pod and launches into his pitch. At the end of it, she gets out and Matt Marshall (the emcee) asks how she’s doing. The poor thing looks like she’s about to hurl before raising a wan smile and went “GREAT !”.
4. Honorable mention goes to Cloud 9 IDE which basically has a snazzy IDE that’ll run off your browser. I’ve signed up for their beta but haven’t really tried it out so I’m not sure how they’ll handle some of the heavier lifting that most IDE have to do. I’ll write another piece if I’m impressed. In any case, Cloud9 did their pitch in half the time allotted, so they decided pitch twice. 2 exact same demos in the space of 6 minutes. One of those things that made you chuckle and say “honestly haven’t seen that before”.
5. Demo itself was “meh” for me really. There were a bunch of promises that weren’t fulfilled. Tien Soon has bitched about it here so I’m not going to. Suffice to say tho that their space is being encroached, they seem to be losing their luster very quickly and unless they pivot effectively, I’m sticking to either TechCrunch Disrupt or the new Launch platform.
To wrap up, I know I missed snow and all but I did get hailed on while down in LA. Small consolation I guess.