Posts Tagged Carla Thompson


A couple of days ago, Carla wrote a post about why she is part of the DEMO team. Forgetting for a minute the overt flattery (sorry, Carla, but I told you a raise was out of the question this year), she is in this game for much the same reason I am: the companies and entrepreneurs we get to meet.

I was talking about that on Friday when I got an email from Tim Musgrove, founder of TextDigger. The company launched at DEMO 07, and Tim was writing to me more than a year later to tell me that the company had closed its funding. Now, I don’t post email messages in my blog without express permission, and I’m glad that Tim said it was okay to share this one: Read the rest of this entry »


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Imitation Is Flattery? Or Just Bad for Entrepreneurs?

There are a dozen other, perhaps more important and insightful, posts I’d rather be writing today. But, alas, my friends at TechCrunch put a wall in my path today and I just can’t ignore it, despite counsel from perhaps wiser advisers to do just that.

You see, TechCrunch and Jason Calacanis announced their plans for what is now being called TechCrunch50. Reading the TC50 site was a deja vu experience. The concept, the “rules,” the agenda . . . all out of the DEMO playbook.

You might remember that TechCrunch announced its first startup launch event, what was then called TC20, while sitting in the second row at DEMO 07. At the time I believed, as I still do now, that entrepreneurs need a variety of venues and opportunities to address the market. If TC20, which becameTC40 presumably when the blog’s desire to attract more entrepreneurs outstripped its promise of super-exclusivity, can provide a platform and give wings to entrepreneurs, then good on ’em. That can only benefit the tech ecosystem.

But, as I told VentureBeat’s Chris Morrison this afternoon, I’m baffled by TechCrunch’s decision to put its event literally on top of DEMOfall 08. Read the rest of this entry »

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Slouching Toward a Civil Discourse

The blogospheric (I’m not sure that’s a word, but I like the sound of it) introspection that emerged from Mike Arrington’s post yesterday’s post is undoubtedly a good thing. The much-valued “conversation” of social media has become downright anti-social and if the civility of discourse continues on its decline, we bloggers will destroy the art form.

As Carla pointed out in her post, Robert Scoble’s mini-manifesto this morning called for a civil community to reclaim the values of early blogging. It’s high time. Buried deep in the post was this hidden gem:

Building a new thing is more noble than tearing something down.

Now some might misinterpret the message in all this conversation to be a return to the admonition of Moms everywhere: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. I think to take that up as a banner would be as artificial as the manufactured mud slinging that too often happens on blogs now. Instead, heed my crusty grandfather’s advice: Keep a civil tongue in your head (words usually followed by a swift blow to the back of it).

But even that misses a larger point. Read the rest of this entry »

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Over Paying Bloggers for “Free” Content

On most days, Carla and I debate our analysis in private, Skyping with one another until our fingers burn. And this day started just the same. She’d been mulling over the value of reasoned analysis as subject matter for blogs. Then, a TechCrunch post about (I think) why investment in blog media companies will never pay out described the blogging as some sort of word-based Fight Club, and that tipped Carla to action.

Her post today asks, essentially, whether thoughtful analysis has any place in the blogosphere. She quoted one colleague who effectively said that if one writes a solid analysis, then what’s there to say in the comments. The subtext: fire off an ill-conceived “rant” and we can really sink our teeth into that. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Thoughtful Analysis Dead?

Mike Arrington’s post on TechCrunch this morning about bloggers and the capital around them was uncanny, as I spent yesterday pondering the ins and outs of blogging in the current climate. A bit of a ramble and frankly, lacking introspection, his post was nonetheless an interesting perspective on the blogging market and its potential future. It’s prompted me to lay bare some concerns and questions I’ve had of late.

The Guidewire is a relative newcomer to the blogosphere. Not counting personal blogs and the weekly posts on, Chris and I haven’t contributed much to the blog conversation. To be honest, our initial stab at a Guidewire Group blog collapsed under its own weight. We approached it with too heavy an editing hand, too complicated an interface, too… much thought, if that’s possible. We’re industry analysts by nature and trade, a profession that doesn’t lend itself to off-the-cuff musings and breaking news. We spend weeks, sometimes months, weighing market trends and startup viability and only then do we craft our analysis aimed toward Guidewire Group’s primary audience of VCs and C-level execs in technology firms. As we delve deeper into directing some of those thoughts into a blog, though, I increasingly struggle with how to build and maintain an online presence by producing interesting, mindful content that people want to read without turning into a ranting egomaniac. It’s right there in About The Guidewire:

Our goal… is to add to the conversation, not echo it. We hope that when we do wade in on an issue, we can offer a different perspective, one that’s missing from the discussion.

Easier said than done. All the well-intentioned, reasoned thought in the world isn’t worth much when people don’t see it. I think Chris best summed up our abrupt education in blogosphere politics when she said recently, “I’ve become a link whore.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Not Business as Usual

One of the aspects I love most about DEMO is the conversations. Unlike most technology conferences, DEMO has a casual, family-reunion-like feel to it. The single-track format allows attendees to relax and enjoy themselves. I think Chris’ gracious, laid-back attitude sets a precedent, one that filters down to every attendee. And just for the record, I had that opinion of Chris long before she started paying me.

So the conversations. Last night, I attended the NVCA dinner here at DEMO. The key theme of the evening was green tech and Chris and I had fascinating discussions with several attendees on ethanol, algae as a biofuel and the end of the world as we know it. (A good time was had by all.) Read the rest of this entry »

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A few to watch at DEMO 08

As you saw from Chris’ earlier post, we have a host of groundbreaking, just-plain-cool technologies debuting next week at DEMO 08. The first day of DEMO always brings a big exhale, as we can finally talk publicly about all the fascinating products we’ve been knee-deep in for months. I’ll have to keep holding my breath for a couple more days but couldn’t resist telling just a bit more about what’s on tap next week in Palm Desert. If you can’t join us onsite, stay tuned to the brand new DEMO site (launching Monday) for videos of all the live stage demonstrations.

  • Keep an eye out for a rather large delegation that may show signs of jet lag. Following a trip Chris and I took to Taipei in early December, the Taiwanese government is bringing 11 companies to DEMO, showcasing an impressive level of innovation from this small island. Two of the companies, atlaspost and Citiport, will present onstage. All are proof that tech ingenuity isn’t confined to Northern California.
  • Collaboration is a nut that simply hasn’t been adequately cracked. We keep chipping away though and have found some eye-catching and never-before-seen takes on the solution from Huddle, Chalex, and KonoLive.
  • Search engines aren’t just for the mass consumer. The heavy researchers among us are constantly looking for tools that will reduce time spent scouring data for relevant content. You won’t want to miss Silobreaker or Jodange, two companies I now consider indispensable to my work.
  • As for the just-plain-cool category, Capzles, Rove Mobile, and Yoics are good ones to keep an eye out for.

It’s always interesting to see what clicks with the audience; there are inevitably a few that I didn’t see coming and a few favorites that don’t click as much as I’d hoped. Chris and I will be blogging throughout DEMO; add us to your feed reader so you don’t miss a thing.

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