September 29, 2009
DEMO: Much More than Products, VCs and Press
Amazing: Chris Shipley somehow gets IDG's mastermind Pat McGovern to dance on the DEMO stage this year.
As I stood there shooting from the floor in the front, I turned around as Pat was giving kudos to Chris and saw Jan Ziff and Allan Davidson to my right. Suddenly, a memory from twenty years ago filled my head -- as if it were yesterday.
You see, IDG was one of my first clients when I was a pup in the PR biz and the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards, which Pat attended in those days, was my first serious gig.
I met Allan and Jan at this exclusive D.C. event, the same one where I first met Pat, even though I had already been pitching his excellence to the business and broadcast press for months.
Looking at Jan and Allan and then back to Pat on stage, it was as if I was reliving my very first technology event. I could see every visual: the red and blue carpet, my perfectly manicured bobbed haircut and nails, my black cocktail dress, the standard for flacks at that time, the giveaway bag with the silver and purple tissue paper, the balloons, the silverware, Paul Gillin at my table who was then an editor at Computerworld, the trophies for the winners -- all of it.
It reminded me how small the industry really is....and how many of the old timers I first met twenty years ago are still around, even if they have reinvented themselves.
As traditional media gets shaken up, some have become marketers or developed products, some have moved from enterprise to consumer and then back again, or traveled around the world and are now running a startup, while others are now funding the kinds of companies they ran in the 90s.
Many of us are still 'in it' whether or not we thought we'd be in it for the long haul when we started in this business twenty some odd years ago.
This brings me back to Demo, the spirit of what it brought to the industry and still does and why I remain a fan. Demo isn't just about products, nor is it just about getting funding and or press for your launch.
Demo is about a community that has created a tradition, a tradition of gathering year after year to exchange ideas, collaborate, team up with potential partners, learn, grow and yes, build companies.
While it certainly attracts young start-ups and always has, it is still the event for 'grown-ups.' By combining wisdom of those who have been in the industry for 20+ years and the innovation and ideas from creative young entrepreneurs, great things can happen and ideas can flourish.
If you're one of those people who complain that events are not what they were or that you don't get the value anymore, then think about the power of traditions, consider the importance of face-to-face in addition to your online community, the result of smart networking and step up into a role that creates energy rather than waits for it to come to you. Step into a role that ignites rather than merely captures.
If you put energy, heart and ideas into your networking, trust me, you'll get energy, heart and ideas back....and quite possibly relationships that will help you create a new product, accelerate an existing one or start a new company.
While we're on the topic of tradition, below is a video of Chris Shipley, someone who has given a tremendous amount of herself to the industry over the years: Pat McGovern presents a much deserved lifetime achievement award to her. Chin Chin Chris and thanks Demo. Onward and upward.
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