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Friday, February 02, 2007

Arrington does a Sethi in launching TechCrunch20

There's a remarkable post on TechCrunch. Michael Arrington criticises DEMO before announcing his own competing conference (also launched by Jason Calacanis).

Strangely this seems to be exactly the same thing Sam Sethi did on TechCrunch UK, which resulted Arrington firing Sethi (and leaving TechCrunch UK dead in the water, thanks).

The organisers of Under the Radar were sufficiently annoyed at the criticism Arrington is levelling at them to send out an e-mail:

"It’s funny because he’s basically accusing conferences like ours of lacking an honest vetting process. As much as we’d like to comment, it would look really bad if we did. But – it sure would be cool if someone goes to bat and defends the honor of Under the Radar…after all, we’re all putting in a lot of work vetting and selecting companies.

We of course understand though if any of you feel uncomfortable writing a post about this... nobody wants the wrath of Arrington J."

It's nice to see an alternative conference format, but I do disagree with a number of Arrington's points. I don't think UtR are lying when they say work hard on vetting companies, and I'm sure Chris Shipley isn't lying when he says Demo has a rigorous selection process.

More than anything though Arrington misses the point of Demo. It's not a launch pad to the public - no expensive conference with 60+ demonstrations could be. Yeah a couple might get picked up by bloggers and the media but it's not going to be many. No, companies go there to get funding, as Scoble points out. That's why the 60+ companies, presenting in rapidfire succession, are so keen to go.

TechCrunch20 will no doubt show twenty good startups (altough with just twenty over two days, the demonstrations might get a little long, and the halls are going to be mighty quiet), but it's not going to be anything special purely because participants don't have to pay a fee.

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