Techcrunch 40 – An attendee’s opinion

I attended the Techcrunch 40 event this week. There’s been a lot of reviews and opinions from popular blogger – but here’s some feedback from an attendee’s perspective.

I was there just to look at what was going on in the startup world without any other motive to raise money or connect with investors. I also paid for the event myself, so I believe my opinion was not influenced by external factors.

The location

I think the location and the arrangements were very good. There were complaints about people having to stand, but you have to take that in your stride or be early enough to come into a room. The lunches however left a lot to be desired – especially on day 1 when they ran out of food.

The companies

Some of the companies were not upto mark and I’m not sure if they really needed to be in the 40 – or for that matter there even needed to be a 40. I think 30 might have been more better and they would have been able to eliminate some derivatives and companies that we know about. Example: docstoc, app2you, flock, crowdspirit and maybe even Wixi to name a few.

The other presenting companies could have done better at preparing. I disliked some of the presentations – namely zivity, broadclip, mEgo. Kaltura was one other one that I was not sure how it made it as the top audience choice.

That said, there were a lot of applications that I see becoming very viable soon. Orgoo, TripIt, Xobni, Musicshake, Trutap, Cake Financial, Cast TV, Yap, Clickable.

There were some that were impressive but I have my doubts about their success namely Mint (which got the Techcrunch 40 award), Pubmatic, Powerset, Cognotive code, Extreme reality.

The people

I tried to move my locations around, so I could get a sense of who was attending. Most times I was with people from startups, however there were quite a few people from larger companies as well trying to scope out startups – someone from Intuit was actually taking notes on all the companies to pass around within the company.

There was a lot of chance to pitch to angel investors and VC’s. I saw several attendees that I could identify from the top angels and VC groups.

The experts

This was the biggest crowd puller – with the likes of Marc Andreeson, Marissa Mayer, Guy Kawasaki attending. But this was by far the biggest disappointment of the event. The experts were TERRIBLE. I could have done a better job than Marc Andreeson in giving the startups better feedback. I am not sure why they were holding back. And if they did not want to be blunt, then there should not have been this session at all.

The timing

This was probably the highlight of the even with Jason Calacanis leading the way. He did GREAT. I sat through all the 40 presentations and did not feel rushed nor did I feel that there was too much going on to absorb (granted I’m faster than many people but I’m assuming the caliber of the attendees was good)

All in all, maybe I would give the Techcrunch 40 (or whatever it is called next year) another try – but just one more. They have to improve a lot in terms of content and format for them to be a long standing conference that attracts the glitterati of the internet .


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