Are "demo shows" really free for anyone?

I’m seeing a LOT of hype about TechCrunch 40 being free for companies to demo at. Eric Norlin repeats that, for instance, on his blog.

That just isn’t true, if you look at it the right way.

Most companies I know are bringing five people to a show like TechCrunch 40 or Demo (which is next week). Shel Israel, in an interview that’ll be up this week on ScobleShow, told me that he recommends startups bring EVERYONE to shows like Demo or TC40 (everyone being someone involved in building the product/service, not support staff like secretaries or janitors). Why? Because the hallways is where the real networking is done and where the real stories get written about companies. If you have five people at a conference like this you’ll have five times more opportunities to get a hallway discussion started that’ll lead to a major blog post or an article in the New York Times (I’m writing a column for Fast Company and am already including at least one company from TechCrunch 40 in it, for instance).

At TechCrunch 40 those people need to buy a ticket. So that’s far from “free.”

Plus, many companies that are coming from outside of San Francisco region need to pay the travel, hotel, and meal costs. That’s not insignificant.

Even people who get in free (and there are always some of those) need to take time away from other things that are important and/or cover travel costs. That’s hardly “free” in my book.

So, what’s the most “free” for both attendees and demoing companies?

How about ScobleShow.com? I’ve had hundreds of companies on my show in less than a year. Far more than you’ll see at Demo or at TC40. Yet none of them, other than Seagate, paid to be there.

Also, no one at home pays to watch those demos and you don’t even need to travel to see them.

So, Eric, you’ve already got your “free for all” demo show! Even better, if someone gets boring you just turn them off!

Oh, and I patterned my demos after Chris Shipley’s Demo. No PowerPoints. Short demos (most of my demos are less than 10 minutes).

Every single company that’s been on my show should say thanks to Seagate. That’s the model for making a “free for everyone” demo show.

Comments

  1. Hey Robert – yes, of course there are incidental costs for companies coming….i was speaking more to the attendee side of things than the company’s side of things.

  2. Hey Robert – yes, of course there are incidental costs for companies coming….i was speaking more to the attendee side of things than the company’s side of things.

  3. No attendee pays to watch demos on my show. I don’t get why we need more demo shows. We already have too many. The quality of the companies coming out of the woodwork don’t justify doing more.

  4. No attendee pays to watch demos on my show. I don’t get why we need more demo shows. We already have too many. The quality of the companies coming out of the woodwork don’t justify doing more.

  5. OK… your demos are free to watch and free to the demoing company. But how do you deliver the value that Shel sees in these gathings? In your demo videos, where’s the value of the gathering, the hallway conversations, the facetime? If we don’t need these shows, how come you announced you were sneaking off to attend TechCrunch?

  6. OK… your demos are free to watch and free to the demoing company. But how do you deliver the value that Shel sees in these gathings? In your demo videos, where’s the value of the gathering, the hallway conversations, the facetime? If we don’t need these shows, how come you announced you were sneaking off to attend TechCrunch?

  7. Michael: this sure seems like the hallway at TechCrunch 40 to me. The value for me to these conferences is I can meet people face-to-face and they can get around my email limitations.

  8. Michael: this sure seems like the hallway at TechCrunch 40 to me. The value for me to these conferences is I can meet people face-to-face and they can get around my email limitations.

  9. @6 Seems like you are saying the conference is valuable to you but not anyone else. How does one do a Q&A with the company rep on your videos? While the videos are good for exposure there is still value in the customer meeting the company face to face.

  10. @6 Seems like you are saying the conference is valuable to you but not anyone else. How does one do a Q&A with the company rep on your videos? While the videos are good for exposure there is still value in the customer meeting the company face to face.

  11. Robert: let me get this right. You think you can’t ask questions underneath my videos? What planet are you on? Can’t you type? Can’t they type back? If not, can’t we head over to Kyte and post videos to each other?

  12. Robert: let me get this right. You think you can’t ask questions underneath my videos? What planet are you on? Can’t you type? Can’t they type back? If not, can’t we head over to Kyte and post videos to each other?