How conferences get started

A little less than two years ago, I suggested that “the reason you’ve heard of podcasting is because no one first “demo’d” it at a conference and no corporate marketers were involved.” I was taking a cheap shot at the DEMO conference at which startups who pay $10,000+ can make a six minute presentation to a room full of VCs. Today, Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington are posting of their aggitation with the notion of startups being charged $15,000+ (apparently there has been some inflation) to DEMO their ideas. And so, they have a barn and they have a stage, so they’re going to put on their own show where startups can demo for free. “A committee of expert analysts, entrepreneurs and journalists” will be choosing 20 such startups, so you can also anticipate a coming round of angry excluded startups who will want to start yet another competing conference. (See: BarCamp) Frankly, I don’t think what the world is missing is fee-free DEMO. However, I’m a big gung-ho supporter of anyone trying out a new idea — including yet another tech conference. I’m sure it will be a barn-burner of a well-attended show. I know it will be a blast and a great time will be had by all. While I doubt it will be the launching pad of any major new tech successes, connections will be made and old friendships renewed. But the real innovators will be at home somewhere, too obsessed with their ideas to attend.