Let's cry for the poor fragmented, underreported startups

Daniel Terdiman, over at CNET, is reporting that Demo and TC50 are potentially fragmenting their audiences.

Let’s cry for a moment for all the startups. Boo, hoo, hooo.

Back to reality. Any startup that looks at this as a loss should be refused funding.

First it’s funny that a CNET reporter is saying that. After all, CNET is one of the few organizations around that has the resources to attend both conferences. CNET should LOVE this because it gives them a HUGE advantage over 99.9% of other bloggers.

The way I look at it is that four years ago only 70 companies got paid attention to (I attended Demo that year). Now double that number will. Even if you only try out the top five companies from each conference that number will be double too. So, competition between two conferences is GREAT for startups. Any startup that says otherwise just won’t have credibility with me.

The fight between Arrington and Shipley has helped focus our attention on these two conferences (the LA Times even wrote about it) so now startups are getting even more PR than they’d get if there were only one conference. Keep in mind that each of the 70 startups on this list paid $18,000 to get on stage, so I’m sure not crying for Shipley’s business. Seems to me that it’s better than ever.

OK, now that we have the drama of the morning out of the way, let’s dig into the 70 demonstrators at Demo. TechCrunch will announce its list on Monday morning at 6 a.m.

If Shipley really cared about the startups she would have made each of the URLs in this list linkable. Here, let me do that. Then, let’s take the weekend and see what we can learn about each of these companies. What do you think of this group? Anything here catch your eye?

UPDATE: I just visited every one of these companies. Boy do they almost all suck (at least their Web sites and if their sites suck, I can’t believe their products are going to do much better).

Accordia Group, LLC; New Rochelle, NY;

Adapx, Inc.; Seattle, WA;

Alerts.com, Inc.; Bellvue, WA;

Arsenal Interactive, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;

Asyncast Corp; Campbell, CA;

Awind Inc.; Junghe, Taiwan;

beeTV; Milano, Italy;

Best Buy; Minneapolis, MN;

BizEquity Corp.; Spring House, PA;

Blue Lava Technologies, Inc.; Honolulu, HI;

Cerego; Tokyo, Japan;

Cinergix, Pty Ltd.; Melbourne, Australia;

Clintworld; Boenningstedt, Germany;

CoreTrace Corp.; Austin, TX;

crowdSPRING, LLC; Chicago, IL;

DesignIn, Inc.; Marblehead, MA;

Dial Directions, Inc.; Alameda, CA;


Enterprise Informatics, Inc.; San Diego, CA;

Familybuilder; New York, NY;

ffwd.com, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

Fortressware, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;

Fusion-io; Salt Lake City, UT;

G.ho.st; Ramallah & Modin, Palestine and Israel;

Green Sherpa; Santa Barbara, CA;

Infovell, Inc.; Menlo Park, CA;

Intelius, Inc.; Bellevue, WA;

Invision TV, LLC; Bethesda, MD;

iWidgets, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

Kadoo Inc.; Washington, DC;

Koollage, Inc.; San Jose, CA;

Mapflow, Ltd.; Cork, Ireland;

Maverick Mobile Solutions, Pvt. Ltd.; Maharashtra, India;

MeDeploy; Hamden, CT;

Message Sling; Worcester, MA;

MeWorks, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;

Microstaq, Inc.; Austin, TX;

MixMatchMusic, Ltd.; Burlingame, CA;

Momindum; Paris, France;

OpenACircle.com; Dallas, TX;

Paidinterviews, LLC; McLean, VA;

Paragent, LLC; Muncie, IN;

Photrade, LLC; Cincinnati, OH;

PlanDone, Inc.; Petaluma, CA;

Plastic Logic, Ltd.; Mountain View, CA;

Qtask, Inc.; Burbank, CA;

Quantivo Corp.; San Mateo, CA;

Radiant Logic, Inc.; Novato, CA;

RealNetworks, Inc.; Seattle, WA;

Rebus Technology, Inc.; Cupertino, CA;

RemoTV, Inc.; New Haven, CT;

Rudder, Inc.; Houston, TX;

Semanti Corp.; Alberta, Canada;

Sim Ops Studios, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

SitScape, Inc.; Vienna, VA;

SkyData Systems, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;

SpinSpotter; Seattle, WA;

Telnic, Ltd.; London, England;

TetraBase, LLC; Boothwyn, PA;

The Echo Nest Corp.; Somerville, MA;

tikitag, an Alcatel-Lucent Venture; Antwerp, Belgium;

Toolgether; San Mateo, CA;

TravelMuse, Inc.; Los Altos, CA;

Trinity Convergence, Inc.; Durham, NC;

TurnTo Networks, Inc.; New York, NY;

UbiEst S.p.A.; Treviso, Italy;

UGA Digital, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;

Unity Solutions, LLC; Clearwater, FL;

Usable Security Systems, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

WebDiet, Inc.; Henderson, NV;

Xumii, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;

Zazengo, Inc.; Santa Cruz, CA;

PR-less launch kicks off a stack overflow of praise

This is the way I love to learn about a company.

No, not from a PR firm.

No, not from a CEO (or anyone else from the company) calling me up or writing me email.

No, not on some junket.

No, not on stage at Techcrunch 50 or Demo or Under the Radar or some other conference.

No, not by reading Mashable.

No, not on Twitter. Or FriendFeed. Or Facebook. Or MySpace. (I really hate direct messages, by the way).

No, not in an advertisement.

“OK, Scoble, knock it off, how did you learn about it?”

A beta tester (a developer I know and trust) came up to me today and said “this is the coolest thing I’ve used in a long time.”

He then gave me a peek at his screen. I agreed after seeing what was on his screen.

But instead of letting the world that, I asked Twitter and FriendFeed if anyone had heard anything about the service yet.

They had. And how.

So, what is it?

It’s StackOverflow. A community knowledge exchange, for programmers, that is being built by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood (both famous programmers).

It’s in a closed beta so far (you can sign up for the beta on the StackOverflow Blog), but look at the replies I received on Twitter:

Joel Gray: “@Scobleizer As a participant in StackOverflow, I have to say that it is great. Good community of folks so far, quite easy to get answers”

Levi Figueira: “@codinghorror Man, I’m loving stackoverflow!! Great resource and userbase!! Let’s hope it doesn’t get wild after it goes “public”… :)” and “@Scobleizer I’ve been following their podcast since #1 and am part of the beta!! It’s the best thing for developers ever! ”

Phil: “Impressed with StackOverflow. They’ve really thought through usability and trying to create a sticky experience.”

Michael Krakovskiy: “stackoverflow beta rocks!”

Chris Benard: “@Scobleizer Here are a couple of screenshots I just took for you: http://is.gd/1nul and http://is.gd/1nuo ” and “@Scobleizer It’s an experts-exchange for programmers, without all the annoyances. ”

schwarzwald “@Scobleizer furthermore, stack overflow is experts-exchange without blackhat SEO techniques (cloaking) and annoying superfluous graphics.”

If you are exciting your early users like this you will get found. I so wish more companies built their stuff this way. Go slowly. Built PR by building a great service and turn your users into your PR agents. Oh, yeah, and blog and podcast about it to get to this point (but look at how they built a community, they didn’t get all “pushy” about what they were doing — they just were informative and inclusive).

Keep in mind that this is only a few days into beta and they only have a few hundred beta testers, but this is going to get big pretty fast because it is a well-thought-out service that already is getting major praise from developers, who are very hard to get to hype anything.

Believe me, we all will hear about your product if it really does rock. There’s no reason to go crazy with a PR firm if you build something that people want. Atwood and Spolsky are proving that right in front of us.

This got me fired up about the tech industry again. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this kind of user passion.

UPDATE: Jeremy Toeman has a good rebuttal to this post (he’s the guy who first showed me Bug Labs and Sling Box).