WE INTERRUPT OUR NORMALLY MEASURED INDUSTRY ANALYSIS . . .
Good morning, all. How’s everyone out there in peaceful-happy-go-lucky-tech-land? Everyone good? Anyone received a death threat recently? Oh that’s right. We have! Well, I supposed it’s good to be noticed. What is that old saying? If you’re not pissing people off, you’re not doing things right? By that logic, we must be running a hell of a show.
I’m not entirely sure who whizzed in Mike Arrington’s Wheaties but someone at DEMO/Guidewire Group apparently did. From what I hear, we’re in good company; the list of people Arrington doesn’t like is approaching impressive proportions. If I have any advice for folks in the tech industry, entrepreneurs and media alike, it’s to watch your back. Friendly competition is obviously not in Mike’s vocabulary; either you succumb to his will or… DIE!
Calm down, Mike. We’re just talking about tech conferences here. No one’s waging a war against terrorism. We aren’t two points on the Axis of Evil. What we are trying to do – or at least should be – is foster a healthy environment in which startups can grow. And, yes, we’re both in business so we want to make a little profit, too.
Before I go any further, let me be very clear on a few points that have been tossed about in comments without much consideration, or demand for clarity or truth, for that matter:
The DEMO conferences are NOT pay-for-play and that assertion is insulting to every company that’s launched at a DEMO in the past 19 years. As someone who’s relatively new to the screening process (I started helping Chris with the interviews two years ago), I assure you that I would never have attached my name to a process that was anything but integrity-rich.
TC50 can embrace a “free” business model if they like, they can even call it a “merit-based” system, but until they donate all those demo pit and attendee fees to charity, they’re in this game for profit, just as surely is DEMO. To position TC, as so many comments seem to do, as philanthropic is just absurd.
Let’s ask the obvious question here: Where are all those $18k DEMO demonstrator fees going?
They pay for a top-notch production that is unmatched in the conference industry. They pay for media support from some of the best professionals in the business. They pay for a rich media hosting environment that insures that every 6-minute demonstration can reach a world-wide 24/7/365 audience. They go to creating an environment that allows entrepreneurs to be heroes in the spotlight, if only for the 3-days of the event. And let’s be frank, DEMO with all its platinum production values has outlasted virtually every major tech conference. There’s a reason for that, and it isn’t because Chris and the execs at IDG are lining their pockets with filthy lucre. As Chris pointed out in her post, that money goes to extensive coaching on every level, and yep, some of it is profit. Shocking isn’t it: aiming for profit in the business world?
I’ve been advised against this post by PR mavens, and Chris – who is far nicer than I – may blow a gasket here, but I’m saying it: I’m tired of dancing around an ego that everyone seems to agree is over-inflated. Michael Arrington needs to get over himself and realize that the tech industry was thriving long before he came on the scene and will continue to long after he’s gone. Arrington would do well to adopt an attitude of respect and professionalism toward the startups he claims to promote. And the community at large would be wise to demand it of him. . . and of every blogger, journalist, and analyst (ourselves included) covering this great industry.
WE NOW RESUME OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.