Posts Tagged DEMO

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!

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Finding Support from Women Entrepreneurs

Sometimes, I don’t exactly know what I think until I read what I’ve said or written in someone else’s media.  Such is the case with this interview with TheNextWomen, the London-based media startup that bills itself as the “business magazine for female Internet heroes.”

The site describes itself as. . .

the first Women’s Internet Business Magazine, with a focus on startups and growing businesses, led, founded or invested in by women. We bring news on business, events, funding and tech from a female angle and interview and profile Female Business Heroes, make them notable and quotable.

We are the female Business Week, the female Techcrunch and the business Red.

We [are] compiling a database on female founders, CxO’s and VC’s of internet companies.

Among the site’s heroes (thank, you, God, that they haven’t reclaimed that horrific feminist label “sheroes”) are women as diverse as Esther Dyson, Catherine Fake, Arianna Huffington, and Queen Elizabeth.

But enough about them. . . this was an interview with me.  Site founder Simone Brummelhuis’s questions were wide ranging, but the one that jumped out, asked what European women entrepreneurs can learn from their U.S. counterparts.

My simple-to-say-but-apparently-complex-to-do answer:

There are still far too few women who take the path of technology entrepreneur. No doubt there are many subtle and obvious reasons for that path.

I think at base, though, the best thing women entrepreneurs can do for each other is to challenge them to perform at exceptionally high standards, to create businesses with meaning and impact.

If women drive women to be the best entrepreneurs they can be, supporting their unique talents and limitations, then I do think we’ll see more women choose the path of startup CEO.

The fact is that women entrepreneurs do support other women entrepreneurs.  And we need to because frankly we often don’t get the kind of support we need from women who are outside the startup world and don’t understand the life choices that entrepreneurship requires.

Building a business is hard work (for women and men) and there is really no “balancing” of work and personal life in the earliest days of a company.  We need strong support systems: of other entrepreneurs, of family members, of our friends, and of communities both inside and outside the startup world.

Which reminds me: Thank you, Nancy, Mom, and all those friends I don’t see often enough.  You all, as much as my colleagues inside the company, allow me to do what I do.

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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.

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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.

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The Vortex: Little Green Men

There is so much to share from this week that I’m literally giddy. In such a busy week, though, there have been no standout tweets. I may just nominate myself. We’ll see how I feel at the end of the post.

News from the Social Media Vortex

-Hutch Carpenter developed a handy chart to delineate the Angels and Demons of Social Media. I’m going to have to go with Rizzn who commented, “I mean no offense to Hutch, but…you’re either using it for business purposes or you’re using it to screw around and talk to people. If it’s the former, it doesn’t make you a demon and if it’s the latter, it doesn’t make you an angel. You’re still just a user.”

-I warned you about Scoble’s Army last week, didn’t I? Apparently he was listening, because it only took a couple of days to put that army to use. Seems he embedded an Amazon affiliate link in a tweet and the hue and cry from the technosphere was vociferous. I can’t say I fault him, actually. The man has 25,000 followers, for pete’s sake, and should find something to do with that colossal number. Either he sends them occasional ads or instructs them to revolt and become our masters. I’ll take the Kindle ad over Kang and Kodos any day.

-The Washington Post launched WhoRunsGov.com this week, a compendium of key players in D.C., including “members of the new administration, Pentagon officials… [and] senior congressional aides.” Or as my favorite Politico Mike Allen put it: “Translation: It’s Wikipedia for the Obama administration.”

Apps on the Radar

Plinky – I’m either completely in love with this new content creation site or classify it as a key indicator of Web 2.0 frivolity. Perhaps both.  Louis Gray has an in-depth review of it. My two-cent summary: A cure for online writer’s block.

-For those with the opposite problem, check out TwitterEyes, a Firefox add-on that shortens your tweets to the prescribed 140 characters.

-And I confess to not having checked it out yet, but Pixelpipe is high on my list. Post one thing – video, text, or photo – to 60 different services. Perfect for those of us with more profiles than we can remember.

DEMO Trends – where the innovation is with DEMO 09 applicants

-A cleaner, more targeted take on mobile coupons

-A totally new way to look at and manage your email

-A new method of HD projection

Ephemera

-Little known fact about me: I love a good conspiracy theory. Yes, I’m one of those who thinks Oswald was a patsy. So imagine my glee when I read Duncan Riley’s post this morning on a UFO sighting during the Inauguration. Look! At the 11-second mark! A flying blur!

Tweet of the Week

-Since no one stepped up to the plate with my call for nominations (save for seedub with the helpful “yo mama”) I’m awarding this to myself. Well, really to Obama, for what I thought was the best line of his inaugural speech:

“All deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

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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.

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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 »

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