I couldn’t be more jazzed about the vortex of energy gripping this year’s Fall DEMO Conference: 80-plus companies launching products on stage, nearly 100 members of the press attending and about 1,000 top industry influencers — descending early next week (Monday thru Wed) on Silicon Valley’s Hyatt Regency.
As exciting as it is to tell the story of innovation unfolding (we do this daily at VentureBeat), it’s even more of a rush to shine a light on deserving companies building technologies that are changing our world. They have a lot at stake — months or even years of development. With the help of DEMO’s 2011 scholarship program, we’ve identified the best of them, and invited them to participate without regards to their ability to pay. I traveled the world to find them.
There are lots of conferences going on in the SF Bay Area next week. But I feel it’s never been more clear that DEMO is the place to be. What sets DEMO apart is its keen focus on the demonstrators, rather than drama and warring egos behind the scenes. Our speakers embody the no-nonsense vision and commitment necessary to ground-breaking innovation — Reid Hoffman, founder of Linked-In, Bill Campbell, Chairman of Intuit, and Geoffrey Moore, best-selling author and partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures.
We’ve got a whole list of others here, and more keep piling in. Since we last posted, the following have agreed to join us: Rich Wong, hot-shot partner at Accel Partners (and backer of Admob and Atlassian among others), Sheila Jordan, VP for Communication and Collaboration IT, Cisco, and Scott Weiss, co-founder and former CEO of Ironport (which sold to Cisco for $830M), and now partner at top venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. We’ll have Scott Case, CEO of StartUp America, make a big announcement on stage about some of the latest coups on his front, and showcase how startups are working successfully with big companies. There’s the MEGA Startup Weekend that runs into DEMO.
And we’ll have a host of star reporters sharing the stage with us. They include Brad Stone, formerly of the NYT, now with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Jon Fortt from NBC.
If you do take a close look at the names above, you’ll see that they represent the very best in the ecosystem — we picked them because they’re true inspirations for entrepreneurs.
It’s truly humbling to have Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, join us. He’s been a hero in the valley, an angel investor and mentor, and someone who is always trying to do the right thing. He kept his hand steady at LinkedIn, even as rockets like MySpace and Facebook ahead of his company at different times, was vigilant about its privacy policies, and steadily grew that company into a giant with sustainable worth.
Even more flooring is that Bill Campbell will be present at DEMO. Known as the “Coach,” Bill has always worked behind the scenes, taking a low-profile role coaching some of the best entrepreneurs of all time. It is rare that he takes the public stage, and it took some arm-twisting. He’s turned me down more times than I can count. But he said he’d come for the entrepreneurs in the room. He’s worked with Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, the Google Troika (he worked with the Google co-founders in the early days, and he’s coaching Larry Page in his transition to CEO), and yes, Steve Jobs. (Campbell has been the longest serving board member in Apple’s history). He’ll be sharing stories about his coaching, as well as valuable tips for entrepreneurs about how to grow companies for the long-haul.
And then there’s Geoffrey Moore, whose most recent book “Escape Velocity” is being releasing this month. Check out his early lecture about his approach here, and you’ll see why you want to come hear him. At DEMO next week, he’ll be elaborating on his approach for social media companies, revealing on stage for the first time his philosophy (and new slides backing it up) about what it takes for social companies to break through.
He’ll talk about the four “wheels” — user acquisition, engagement, monetization, and virality — that companies need to get spinning simultaneously before they can really explode. He’s come up with this new concept, because his prior approach, “Crossing the Chasm,” doesn’t apply for companies in this sector. He’ll use examples like Twitter, Facebook, Groupon and Zynga to explain.
I just can’t wait for this show to begin, because it’s going to be big. See you there!
Register now by sending Deb Becker an email, and request the $995 rate (standard rate is now $2,495).
[Meghan Kelly contributed to this piece.]