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How DEMO and Techcrunch50 Differ in Pre-Event Press Handling
Next week is a big one for the technology startup world. Both DEMO and Techcrunch50 will be held from Monday-Wednesday; DEMO in San Diego, Techcrunch50 in San Francisco. We’ve received press passes to both events and I thought it would be interesting to share how both conferences differ in the way they handle the press before the conference begins.
Update: VentureBeat has a breakdown of all of the presenting companies at DEMO broken down by category.
DEMO allows the presenting startups to contact the press before the event begins. Approximately two weeks ago the emails started hitting my mailbox from PR firms pitching their clients for coverage on CN. I am sure all press outlets received the same emails. Of the 72 listed startups, I received pitches from about 24. Not sure why the others didn’t come forward with their pitches. By contacting me ahead of time, this allows for a story to be created before the event begins and then I only need to publish when the embargo opens. The downside here is that some press outlets may break the embargoes.
What I’d prefer to see is a portal which DEMO creates that houses all of the startups, their press releases, etc. I would receive a login to the portal and this would allow me to select the startups my audience is interested in. I could click to setup an interview with the startup and/or get more information. This would make things much easier than receiving so many emails from the PR firms and I could go directly to the startup.
Techcrunch50 handles the pre-press coverage nearly opposite to DEMO. They have decided not to share any information about the selected startups until the night before the event (thats’ what they did last year). Presenting startups have been informed not to speak with the press either although from watching a chat between FastCompany employee Robert Scoble and Seesmic CEO Loic LeMeur, at least a few of the startups have started to talk. By not sharing any information until the night before, this makes it difficult for the press to get any coverage ready pre-event. Last year I worked through the night to get several reviews and other posts prepped.
This week a few of the demo pit companies have contacted me. The conference organizers note that their policy is designed to prevent any leaks and to "increase audience engagement". Their method of handling pre-press coverage certainly accomplishes that.
I am excited to see the 124 startups that present next week. As for which method is better overall, that’s up for debate. In my opinion a hybrid of both would probably be the best overall solution. Perhaps no public announcement until the day of the conference and utilize the portal idea I mentioned above for press.