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An In-Person DEMO and Techcrunch50 Comparison
I think I am the only person to attend both DEMO and TC50 this year. I’d like to share my thoughts on both events. This is only a logistics comparison — not a startup comparison. My thoughts on all of the startups will come later this week. Overall both conferences were full of attendees which is awesome. Hats off to both events as I know these type of massive events take an amazing level of preparation and staffing.
DEMO is held at a traditional conference center, TC50 is held at an art house. I preferred the DEMO location as it was much larger and felt more spacious. People are basically sitting on top of each other at TC50. Last year there were many complaints of having to stand at TC50 and I’ve seen several people standing this year as well. TC50 has a number of round tables outside of the presentation room which is great for having casual conversations, something I didn’t see at DEMO.
When you sit in a chair for over 10 hours, that chair better be comfortable. I found the DEMO chairs to be more comfortable and frankly the TC50 chairs hurt my ass (I’m not alone with this comment).
After speaking with many attendees, TC50 gets the nod here. Most feel like the experts bring some entertainment value to the event and break up the individual presentations. DEMO seemed like the presentations were never going to end.
Both conferences have excellent wired Internet access.
TC50 has a one computer setup so each presenter has to swap out while the previous presenter speaks with the experts. The "mood" on the TC50 stage feels a bit warmer than the DEMO stage. DEMO had a two-level stadium style setup where each presenter had their own setup which was quite impressive. They also used a handheld camera which provided some interesting angles on the presenters and their products (especially the mobile products).
Both schedules are way too packed. There needs to be more time for breaks and networking. The startup presentations at DEMO were in nearly four hour clips – I would have split them in half and provided a bio break in the middle. It’s also critical to follow the schedule when the day goes so long – DEMO was within one minute of the schedule while TC50 was quite a bit behind.
Food seemed to be about the same at both, with DEMO winning by a small margin. I’d suggest to both conferences considering adding snacks, especially in the afternoon. Other attendees agreed. Actually, both conferences really need to kick up their overall food offering big time. For $3k a ticket, there better be food all day, this is non-negotiable.
DEMO created an outdoor (covered), non-airconditioned pavillion where each of the 72 startups had a stand with a large uniform sign. The demopit has small tables with small personalized signs. The DEMO setup looked better although I like the setup at TC50 as you are forced to walk past the demopit companies to get to the presentation center. The DEMO pavillion had more energy – perhaps it was the very high ceiling of the tent.
Apparently there were no chairs provided to the demopit companies – this was an issue last year as well. Although this year the startups just took chairs from the sitting area.
DEMO has a huge badge but very small type for the name and company. This is one of my big frustrations with conferences in general. Make the name and company large enough so anyone can read it as they walk by. Also, DEMO had a small colored strip to note the type of attendee (press, exhibitor, sponsor, etc.) – this strip could have been larger as well. TC50 has color coded badges and the type is larger. Overall I like the TC50 badge.