Archive for DEMO Conference

The Vortex: BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos

On my way to DEMOfall in San Diego this morning and loving/loathing the American Airlines onboard wifi. I can write The Vortex I missed Friday but then again… I can write The Vortex I missed Friday. Also the dude in front of me just reclined his seat. My keyboard is now embedded in my chest.

News from the Social Media Vortex

–Dan Lyons finally snapped and unleashed his fury on Twitter, though as regular readers know, I don’t necessarily disagree with him. As proof of his perceived stupidity of the service, he quotes tweets from Dane Cook. Come on, Dan, try a little harder.

–The much-anticipated rollout of MMS for iPhones supposedly started last week. I’m not sure if/how users will be notified of it though. Can someone make an app for that? (I’m joking. I think.)

–Hey! Somebody finally won the Netflix prize! BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (that’s the name of my next child) won $1 million for developing a smarter algorithm to power the rental service’s recommendation system. Congrats BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos! God that’s a great name.

Apps on the Radar

–Google Labs has a fun new way to read the news, Fast Flip. Better emulating the experience of reading a printed magazine (pay attention, Kindle), Fast Flip is still an experiment but hopefully signals new attitudes toward digital content.

–And on that subject, I meant to tell you last time about News Dots, an interactive map of news stories from Slate that visually shows connections between people, places, and things in the news. To see the precursor to this technology, check out the Network Maps on Silobreaker, one of my favorite news sites (and a DEMO alum!)

–If all that news is getting you down, try The Onion’s new iPhone app, which includes no news at all, just ironic headlines.

–Two totally unnecessary but completely fun iPhone apps for you: an Army of Darkness app (!) complete with sound clips, and Pirate Tweets, for those times when, well jeez, when do you not need to talk like a pirate?

Tweet of the Week

–It’s a Facebook status rather than a tweet so no link. My college friend Abe has some of the best status updates around, though he does get a bit dark occasionally. He probably wouldn’t friend you if you asked (he’s bitter), so I may compile his truisms into a book one day. I’ll leave you with this to ponder today:

[Don’t] remember exactly, but figure we all liked each other just a little better before it was possible to read an unending stream of each others’ inane bullshit.

Amen brother.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Comment

DEMOfall 09 is Nigh

Happy Friday, all.  Never fear, a snarky Vortex approacheth. In the meantime, I want to take care of a little business and remind you that DEMOfall is coming up September 21-23 in San Diego and you don’t want to miss it for several reasons:

-60 fantastic new technologies launching

-Chris Shipley’s last DEMO and Matt Marshall’s first as executive producer – there’ll be lots of fun happenings around both

-A once-in-a-lifetime gathering of 20 years of DEMO alumni for the Lifetime Achievement Awards, including Donna Dubinsky, Diane Greene, Jeff Hawkins, Shai Agassi, Ben and Mena Trott and many others

Friends of Guidewire are eligible for an exclusive discount, so click here to take advantage. And if you’re an unfunded startup, drop me a line at carla@guidewiregroup.com and we’ll see what we can do to get you through the door.

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (2)

Apply to Launch at DEMOfall 09!

Though DEMO 09 wrapped a mere two weeks ago, we’re already making preparations for DEMOfall 09, to be held September 21-23 in San Diego. The call for applications is now open, so if you’re working on a game-changing, innovative technology, apply to launch today. For more info on the benefits of launching at DEMO, click here. Final application deadline is June 30, 2009, so get in the queue early!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Comment

The Vortex: Jailhouse Rock

I stumble into this week’s Vortex still bleary-eyed from DEMO 09, so be gentle dear readers. If my verb tenses don’t match, blame four days of company-launching mixed with profuse cocktail-drinking. Welcome to the DEMO experience, Matt!

News from the Social Media Vortex

-Alert the authorities: Scoble’s leaving Fast Company. He’s hoping to announce his next project at SXSW next week. I’ve previously predicted that he will someday deploy his followers into an actionable army; we should all now await our mandatory draft orders.

-Speaking of alerting the authorities, Jason Calacanis fessed up yesterday to employing a convicted felon. After much effort and thought deciding which statement in his post deserves the most incredulity, I settled on Mahalo’s “rigorous hiring process.” It involves “five to eight interviews,” and three to five reference checks, but not, apparently, a five-second Google search. It’s worth reading what the developer was convicted of. Especially if you’ve given Mahalo any payment information in the past.

Apps on the Radar

Webware points us to a handy browser tool, Ajax Document Viewer, that allows you to preview pdfs in your browser without downloading them.

-Amazon launched a Kindle app for the iPhone. I’m intrigued enough to check it out but honestly can’t fathom reading a book on that small screen.

-I have a long list of whiz-bang stuff from DEMO to download. XMarks (bookmark-powered Web discovery), Evri’s new toolbar and Collections feature (personalized search), Cc:Betty (email organization), Sobees (social desktop aggregator), and Gwabbit (Outlook contact organization), just to name a few. Check out all the demonstrators for yourself at DEMO 09.

Twitterer of the Week

-If you’re a fan like I am, you’ll be happy to see that David Lynch is now twittering. (And yes, it’s really him.) Daily weather reports mixed with deep thoughts – how very Lynchian.

Ephemera

-Do check out The Daily Show’s hilarious report on Twitter. I expect Grunter and Voweler to be launched within the month.

-This is from several weeks back, but too funny to resist. Mullah Zaif, a former Taliban official, is as in love with his iPhone as us infidels. “I’m addicted,” he said, “the Internet is great on this, very fast.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (2)

A Message to the Guidewire Community

It’s been an exciting morning around here, with the news of Chris passing the DEMO Executive Producer baton to Matt Marshall and DEMO’s new partnership with Venture Beat. Chris has detailed her personal feelings on leaving DEMO after 13 years, but we also wanted to take a moment to share a bit more about where Chris and Guidewire Group are going.

Over the next six months, we’ll continue to work on vetting and selecting startups for Chris’ final DEMO in September. At the same time, we’ll be starting a new chapter at four-year-old Guidewire Group, energized by the thought of having Chris’ undivided attention in the not too distant future! Most of you know Guidewire Group as a partner to DEMO. We are also the world’s leading analyst firm focused exclusively on startups and emerging markets. In that role, we work with young companies at key transition points, when every idea looks good on paper and every decision counts, to deliver unparalleled counsel on a variety of topics – from business and monetization strategies to market validation and competitive analysis delivered through custom and retained projects, events such as Innovate!Europe and our intensive in-residence program for young companies, Guidewire Studio.

And the best part is there’s a growing movement in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that believes “thinking is cool again” – that building companies that deliver long-term value through technology and business innovation trumps the “be here now – be gone tomorrow” mentality of pop culture startups anytime. As this movement gathers steam, we’re finding that Guidewire Group is in demand for our insight into emerging market trends, best practices, and common mistakes and for our ability to bring clarity, focus, and decades of emerging technology experience to the art of transforming ideas into successful enterprises.

Our wonderful experiences with DEMO allowed for short, intense opportunities to engage with startups.  We now look forward to extending those engagements, working more closely with companies to help them validate and strengthen their critical opportunities.  We’re passionate about startups and we know we can help them be more successful.

There’s much to share with you in the months ahead so we hope you’ll check The Guidewire blog regularly, follow us on Twitter, and visit our Facebook page.  New paths are always the most interesting to travel and we hope you’ll be right alongside us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (1)

Changes at DEMO: Chris Passing the Torch

Who could ask for a better job? For the past 13 years, I’ve spent my days talking with some of the smartest people on the planet. People passionate about technology and the art and science of molding that technology into products and services that address real challenges and bring new capabilities to people’s lives.

I’d be hard pressed to make an accurate count, but I’d guess that since taking the reins of DEMO in the spring of 1996, I’ve met no fewer than 15,000 entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators, and helped about 1,500 of them launch their products to market on the DEMO stage.

DEMO has given me the opportunity to travel the world; meet with government officials and business leaders; interview certified geniuses and a few certifiable nut cases, and through newsletters (back in the day), blog posts, speaking gigs, interviews, and the DEMO conference itself share back a bit of what I’ve learned and the realizations that learning sparked.

DEMO, with its emphasis on product innovation, is an amazing lens and filter through which to gauge the future of the information technology industry and the markets as they open, undulate, and fold over time. The conference is a tremendous reviewing platform for new ideas and a lookout post for emerging and impactful trends.

It may not be surprising, then, to learn that after all these years, the lookout perch that is DEMO gave me the opportunity to see a new future for myself and for my company, Guidewire Group.

So early last year, I began the process of transitioning from DEMO so that I could start my next career in earnest. The first step, of course, was making sure that this was the right new path for myself, my family, and my Guidewire Group colleagues. DEMO has been a big part of all our lives for a long, long time. We all did a lot of soul searching and determined that, yes, we were ready to put our full energies behind the Guidewire Group business: working with technology companies during the critical transition points in their businesses to identify opportunity, define strategy, and accelerate the path to success.

The next step was more difficult: working with our partners at IDG and Network World to identify a successor. DEMO is a great job and a challenging one, and it’s not an easy post to fill. We found the most perfect fit in an accomplished journalist, entrepreneur, and kindred spirit, Matt Marshall. Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and get to know Matt and his team at Venture Beat. He is a talented, smart, deeply ethical journalist and he and his writers have created a remarkable, respected brand and business. And he is the perfect person to pick up the reins of DEMO as I lay them down after the DEMOfall event in September.

Matt and I share many of the same values, foremost of which are the respect for entrepreneurs and the process of innovation and the commitment to act with integrity and fairness as we serve our customers and communities. But Matt and Venture Beat are more than a pin-for-pin replacement for me and Guidewire Group. They bring new perspective to DEMO. While much about DEMO will remain the same, surely Matt will make a wonderful impression on the brand and the business. The new partnership between DEMO and Venture Beat promises a broader platform for the DEMO community and a richer conversation that will span the events. Together, Venture Beat and DEMO have an exciting future, and I’m eager to see it unfold.

I’m equally eager to unfold the future of Guidewire Group, a company I co-founded in 200 with Mike Sigal. In the past four years, Guidewire Group has evolved into an analyst firm laser-focused on startups. We work with young companies in the U.S. and Europe at key transition points, to develop and deliver business strategy and monetization and market validation. Through custom projects, events such as Innovate!Europe, and Guidewire Studio, our exclusive in-residence program, we’re doing the work I love most – helping startups thrive.

We have an exciting future planned for Guidewire Group and I look forward to sharing our vision with you in the months ahead. We have been privileged and honored to work with this great brand and the amazing people who have been associated with DEMO across the last 13 years.

And we’re looking forward to the next six months as we work just as diligently as we always have on DEMOfall 09, while transitioning the Executive Producer mantle to Matt and his team.

Comments (10)

DEMOfall 08: Our Top 10 to Out Perform

This week marks the start of our search for the companies and products that will make their debut at DEMO 09, March 1 to 3, in Palm Springs, California.  But before DEMOfall 08  becomes a distant spot in the rear view mirror, it’s imperative that Guidewire Group puts the cap on that event by selecting the 10 companies of DEMOfall 08 that we think will outperform among this remarkably talented group of companies that presented at the event in September.

The practice of highlighting 10 companies was spurred on by IDG Ventures’ Pat Kenealy, who challenged me at DEMO 08 to identify the companies at the conference that would out-perform typical venture portfolio metrics.  And thus began what with this second issue is a new tradition: Guidewire Group’s list of the 10 companies we predict will prove  most fundable, and most profitable, of the portfolio that is the demonstrating class of each DEMO Conference.  This is no easy task.  Carla and I spent months screening hundreds of companies in order to identify the Class of DEMOfall 2008.   In each company, we found something innovative and important, so calling out just 10 companies is a bit like asking a mother to identify her favorite children.

As with the DEMO 08 Top 10 List, I decided to wait a few weeks for the post-DEMO media to play out so as not to influence coverage of any of the 72 DEMOfall 08. But now, the time has come. So here, in no particular order, are the Guidewire Group Top 10 of DEMOfall 08: Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a Comment

What It’s All About? Entrepreneurs!

As Co-Founder and CEO of Guidewire Group, I usually let Chris and Carla do the blogging, but something happened this week at DEMOfall that inspired me to pen this first post.

When Chris and I founded Guidewire Group, we did so because we believed that there was an enormous opportunity to help entrepreneurs around the world connect with the investors, customers, partners, employees, mentors, service providers, media outlets and other entrepreneurs that can help them realize their dreams. Guidewire Group is committed to fulfilling this need with intelligence, inspiration, and integrity.

Over the last few months, we and our long-time partner DEMO faced aggressive attacks on our business model and questions about our commitment to serving entrepreneurs. While dealing with these attacks and questions was occasionally challenging or distracting, ultimately they gave us renewed energy to keep doing what we know how to do best: support entrepreneurs and those organizations that want to see entrepreneurs succeed.

During DEMOfall’s closing dinner, most of the 72 demonstrators (from 12 countries!) and several of DEMO’s sponsors unexpectedly took the stage, one after another, and expressed their gratitude and support of Chris, Carla and the incredible DEMO team in a most extraordinary way. Thankfully, a colleague was quick enough to capture most of this incredibly gratifying testimonial.

Inspiring this kind of gratitude, delight and loyalty in those Guidewire Group was founded to serve is for me, what it’s all about. So as long as entrepreneurs are building new businesses, Guidewire Group will be there to support them.

Comments (2)

Let the Next Phase Begin: DEMOfall’s Opening Remarks

I’m excited to see so many new faces at DEMOfall this week.  In fact, this is the biggest DEMOfall event we’ve ever had.  Most importantly, it’s just the size we like it:  Lots of great people to meet without overwhelming crowds and noise.  Seventy-two amazing companies and products from across a very broad spectrum of the information technology market, with plenty of time to hear from each one of them and get up close in the pavilion.

Let’s make these next two days all about them. They have been working tremendously hard to get their products ready for market and to introduce them to you today.  The products and the companies: they deserve our respect and focus. If we give them that focus, they will tell us a tremendous amount about where the technology markets are going.

While the 72 products coming to market at DEMOfall represent a wide range of capabilities and impacts, without question the most obvious take away is that the tech market is moving into a new cycle. To understand this new cycle, though, let’s look at its historical context. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2)

Introducing the DEMOfall 08 Demonstrating Class

After months of screening and preparation, we can finally share our fantastic slate of companies set to launch at DEMOfall 08, running Sept 7-9 at the Sheraton San Diego. These 72 companies represent the best of the best in innovation. As Chris notes, these are more than disruptive; they change the rules of the game as we know it. Some of the products include:

-products that help you manage, deliver, and socialize your mobile phone and content

-tools that enable you to personalize, navigate and deliver mAultimedia, rich-media presentations and television content over the Web

-a solution that brings RFID right to the consumer

-an application that promises to keep spam out of your inbox for good

-a tool that takes the mystery out of eating healthy wherever you are

-services that take personal financial management to a new level

-a solution that makes everyone a game developer

-tools that make you fall in love with your photos again

-products focused on reducing our impact on the planet from energy consumption to traffic congestion

Videos of each live demonstration will be available on http://www.demo.com beginning Monday afternoon, September 8. Without further adieu, the DEMOfall 08 demonstrators: Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6)

Older Posts »