words and pictures by Brian Solis

I was there and indeed it was everything it promised to be…a forum for startups to showcase their technology to influential VCs, press, bloggers, and industry peers.

Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis kick things off.

I’m not going to give you a rundown of the presenting companies. Obviously if you check Techmeme or Twitter, there’s plenty of other voices on the subject. However, you won’t see video coverage like ours, which we’ll start running in a series of posts over the next two weeks.
I’ll just help paint the picture of what it was like to be there and capture it through pictures for everyone to enjoy.

First, it was oversold. The room held 500 and rumor had it that 1,000 tickets were sold. Basically, if you didn’t get a spot early, you were relegated to the floor.


Aside from the hiccups throughout the day, TechCrunch40 was something spectacular to witness. Whether you like it or not, Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington did a killer job of launching a major conference that stole the spotlight – and in doing so, also created a globally watched platform for startups to launch to pretty decent fanfare.

Was it DEMO? No, not even close. But, nor should it be either.

The two events can co-exist and should continue to be the launchpad for new startups – just set at different times of the year. They are both invaluable events.

Overall, the presenters took the stage for eight minutes at a time to talk about what they do and why we should care. Some captured our attention while others, well lost it. Please people, it’s a stage…take the time show us something that will keep us from not only falling asleep, but also get us excited about what you’re doing. There are 40 companies presenting, make us remember you!

One of the better presentations – Jason Nazor of Docstoc

Viewdle presents


Demos were grouped into themes and at the end of each session, a panel of experts, and company founders would sit together and discuss business models, viability, and exit strategies. In my opinion the panel of experts added a much need opportunity to analyze and process the series of presentations, and, definitely much better than a machine gun approach to introducing companies.

Panel of experts featured Om Malik of GigaOM, Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired and author of The Long Tail, Marissa Mayer of Google and Marc Andreessen

Marissa Meyer of Google

MC Hammer and VC Ron Conway

The one thing that stood out for this event, was the sheer star power it attracted. For example, the keynote panel featured a panel hosted by Sequoia‘s Michael Moritz and boasted Marc Andreesen (Ning, founder of Netscape and Opsware), David Filo (co-founder of Yahoo), and Chad Hurley (co-founder of YouTube).

The other main event of the day was the keynote chat with Michael Arrington and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It was an informative chat, and more important, the platform for Facebook’s new FBfund announcement, which I covered earlier.

Also the DemoPit was a very interesting sidebar to the event. 50 companies filled a ballroom with tabletop demos and very interesting tech.

TC40 DemoPit “Exit” strategy

All in all, it was overwhelming, but in a good way. And, of the many conferences I’ve been too, TC40 offered some of the best hallway networking I’ve ever experienced.

Some of the more memorable people I caught up with include (aside who’s already listed under pictures):

Chris Brogan, Stephanie Agresta, Nicole Jordan, Shel Israel, Gabriel Rivera of Techmeme, Duncan Riley, Julia French, Michael Copeland of Fortune, Robert Scoble, John Furrier of Podtech, Heather Harde of TechCrunch, Mike Macadaan of Twiistup and AOL, Frank Gruber of AOL and Somewhat Frank, Reese Corey, Desai Krutel, Matt Marshall of VentureBeat, Harry McCracken of PCWorld, Kara Swisher of All Things D, Loic LeMeur, Ouriel Ohayon, Jeff Clavier, Sam Whitmore, The Guardian’s Jemima Kiss, Ben Metcalfe, Barney Pell, Jeremy Pepper, and Denise Howell.

Good friend Hooman of CBS’ Radio Alice 97.3 morning show

Powerset gave out vodka shots in test tubes.

Eric Savitz of Barron’s.

Hooman interviews Ron Conway

The people at the event, in many ways, made it a more valuable experience than the 40 companies that presented.

Here’s the rundown:

Yahoo introduced Yahoo for Teachers.

AOL introduced BlueString, a community/tool for storing and sharing media online.

The TechCrunch40

1. Search and Discovery

Powerset, Cognitive Code, Cast.tv, Faroo, and Viewdle

2. Mobile and Communications

Cubic Telecom, Yap, TruTap, Creedo, Loudtalks

3. Community and Collaboration

Storyblender, TripIt, Flock, MusicShake, 8020 Publishing

4. Crowd Sourcing

Cake Financial, DocStoc, TeachThePeople, CrowdSpirit, Ponoko

5. Xobni, Orgoo, App2You, Mint, Kerpoof

6. Revenue Models and Analytics

Spottt, Clickable, GotStats, Pubmatic, ZocDoc

7. Rich Media and Mash Ups

xtr3D, Broadclip, mEgo, Wixi, BeFunky

8. Entertainment for All Ages

FlowPlay, Areae, Woome, Zivity

Rafe Needleman and Josh Lowensohn of Webware

Maggie Tsai of Diigo chats with Allen Stern of CenterNetworks

The wonderful Orli Yakuel

For more pictures from the event, visit bub.blicio.us album on flickr.

Connect on Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce or Facebook.

About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Visit Brian's page at http://www.briansolis.com

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