Posted on April 3, 2008
Filed Under Valley Drama |
But even as the pile of bodies grows, it’s rarely enough to quell the urge to kill and TechCrunch seems to be the source of an increasingly morbid philosophy.
The latest victim of this morbid philosophy is the DEMO conference. In an interview Wednesday, the TechCrunch founder stated, “Demo needs to die.”
According to Arrington, DEMO, which has been serving as a launch pad for new startups for 18 years, needs to go because it has “an old-school model…It clearly involves pay to play, and what we’re offering is better.”
In an effort to kill DEMO, Arrington has scheduled the TechCrunch50 conference to be right on top of DEMO, essentially forcing entrepreneurs (and others) to choose which conference they’ll attend. While Arrington insists that the scheduling is completely unintentional, this is hard to reconcile with his comments.
There’s certainly some level of exaggeration in Arrington’s remarks. After all, Arrington has been served well by making abrasive statements. It’s far easier to grab attention using words like “death” and “kill” than it is to do so with tasteful statements.
This is, of course, entirely emblematic of a Web 2.0 “industry” where style beats substance and ego increasingly trumps enlightenment.
But the drama between TechCrunch and DEMO is still a bit disappointing because it really does represent a low blow to the “community.”
There’s no harm done in letting big media player haters make asinine comments about the death of industries that are still making billions of dollars. And it’s probably fun to fantasize about killing off poorly-managed companies. But there’s no reason that a difference in opinion over conference formats needs to turn into a dick-swinging contest that slaps everybody else in the face.
What baffles me, though, is why an organization that purports to encourage startups would create an environment that effectively asks them to scream in a hurricane.
By putting TC50 up against DEMO, TechCrunch has created a challenging dilemma for the best startups.
Sure, they’ll have to choose which venue will more appropriately serve their needs — and the should. Here, DEMO stands on its 18-year record. The entire DEMO organization, from me and Carla who screen companies to Jackie DiPerna who helps them prepare for their DEMO experience, to our A/V team that coaches and supports their on-stage demo, to Becky Sniffen and Erica Lee who provide media support, to the DEMO.com crew who continues to cover DEMO alumni companies for years after they’ve presented at DEMO. . . DEMO is all about putting entrepreneurs first to accelerate their go-to-market efforts.
Critics argue that DEMO, which charges presenters an $18,500 fee, is taking advantage of startups, but ostensibly the entrepreneurs behind those startups are capable of deciding whether the potential exposure is worth the fee. Contrary to what some in the Web 2.0 community believe, everything that isn’t free doesn’t need to be made free.
And just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to try to kill it. The talk of death and killing was amusing for about as long as Friendster was popular. Now, it is downright creepy.
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