The New York Times, in an article penned by Brad Stone, takes an in-depth look at the rivalry between the DEMO Conference and the new upstart TechCrunch50 conference:
Demo, a 17-year-old conference franchise owned by the technology publisher IDG, has served as the springboard for hit products like the Palm Pilot and the TiVo digital video recorder. In San Diego during the second week of September, 70 start-ups will pay $18,500 each to make a six-minute presentation to a crowd of investors, journalists and others.
To Michael Arrington, the elbow-throwing, supercilious founder of the popular Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch, Demo’s business model amounts to “payola.”
The article focuses mostly on the tension between the two conferences.
Over at TechCrunch, Michael Arrington responds:
That’s the sweet spot for me. The birth of a company is the culmination of dreams, prayers and a lot of hard work. A year or more has gone into creating a business plan, hiring the first group of employees, figuring out how to build whatever it is they’ve built, pitching investors (and us) and generally putting aside their normal life to pursue a passion that drives them forward.
So let’s put aside all the drama around the event as the old payola way of putting on conferences goes through its death throes. Instead, let’s focus on the the startup community and the amazing things that it creates.
Honestly, both conferences sound interesting. Having been to many a tech conference in my lifetime, I have to admit that I prefer the competitive atmosphere of TechCrunch50 to the “pay to play” concept that lies behind DEMO.
In the end, I have to imagine that both conferences will feature stellar content – it’s just a shame that the story here has to be about the rivalry rather than the companies that will be presenting their products.