Chris Shipley, the extraordinarily hard working executive producer of the bi-annual DEMO conference is stepping down this year, and taking over is Matt Marshall, founder of VentureBeat.
During Shipley’s reign at DEMO, the conference has served as an exception launch pad for tech startups and services, including well known names including Salesforce.com, TiVO, VMWare, WebEx, Palm Pilot and many, many more. I’ve never had the opportunity to meet Shipley, but those that have nearly exclusively talk Shipley’s overwhelming commitment to the business, and the amazing job she has done.
DEMO of course today has competition from the TechCrunch 50 conference, a 2 year old annual event that showcase startups fee free on stage, but charges for a massive demo pit and every other part of the conference. Rivalry and competition can be healthy, but from very early on TechCrunch 50 was promoted as a conference primarily focused on killing DEMO. What is a decent conference highlighting some amazing startups became quickly polluted by hate filled rhetoric aimed at DEMO, where as it could, and should be able to stand on its merits alone.
With Michael Arrington taking a month off, you’d think that maybe TechCrunch would maybe back off on the attacks. Add to this a “TechCrunch friend” in Matt Marshall taking over (VentureBeat partners TechCrunch in the Crunchies); a perfect opportunity to bury the hatchet and show some respect.
But you’d be wrong.
TechCrunch’s Erick Schnofield took the opportunity to double the venom in a little exercise of how to lose friends and anger people.
Class is a word completely lost on Schonfield. In attacking the opposition and calling them desperate, TechCrunch looks like the ones who are desperate.
Allen Stern gets it right with “Wait a Moment… Who is the Desperate One?”
In a very tight market, this sort of venom coming out of TechCrunch can and will hurt them when the conference comes around. They should be selling the event on merit, but instead they are damaging it with this rubbish.
The proof: the comments and widespread commentary on the post. There’s not a lot of people sticking up for TechCrunch over this, but plenty who are criticizing it, including previous supporters.
Best of luck to Shipley in what ever is next, and we look forward to catching some of DEMO online in March.