For anyone who doesn’t believe that tools–and communication–are getting easier and easier–completely disrupting one vertical after another (think entertainment, media, commerce, etc.) the news that Jason Calcanis and Mike Arrington are going to do a free DEMO-style conference called “The TechCrunch 20” just shows–along with BarCamp, Bloggercon and other events and the supporting tools of upcoming, confabb, etc.–shows that the conference business is just as open to disruption.
“Getting a presentation slot at a demo conference can really help launch a company, but the fact is that demo-style conferences have turned into cash cows for big conference companies and the small entrepreneur is now being forced to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to buy their space.”
“The startups will be invited based on the recommendation of a committee of expert analysts, entrepreneurs and journalists. Twenty companies will be invited, plus a couple of alternates. If a selected startup isn’t ready to launch ten days or so before the event, they’ll be bumped and one of the alternates will take its place.”
And finally (Jason again):
“How will we make money off the event? Well, frankly we don’t need to make too much money, and we think the ticket sales and a couple of top level sponsors (i.e. one law firm, one tech firm, one VC firm, and one accounting firm) will cover things.”
One of the interesting points to note here is how this event is another way to leverage the techcrunch brand–but another is that these guys don’t need to make mucho dollars from the event–they can do it for the pleasure of doing it right (and disrupting the current world order).
In my ideal world, the fellas would:
- Make sure there were a good cross section of women helping to select the companies
- Let the audience select a couple of presenters via the web
- Provide real time live event streaming for those remote viewers
- Franchise it as the next American Idol (okay, kidding on that one.)
Maybe they should see if Yahoo wants to donate space on campus…