So here I am at DEMO ’07 in Palm Desert, California. I expected to find sunshine in the desert, but so far it’s cloudy and could rain; but that will certainly not dampen my enthusiasm for this trade show. This year the theme of Demo 07 is the Age of Empowerment, according to DEMO CEO and organizer Chris Shipley, “Yes, that’s right. You have become incredibly powerful because of the technology you and others use everyday, and you may not even realize it".
WOW, makes me feel pretty good right off the mark! This theme is about the consumer, Time Magazine’s person of the year the “YOU" becoming the participant... it follows my last post about the book Wikinomics and demonstrates essentially, that while those authors may have missed a lot in terms of history and philosophy, they hit the trend.
Now in its 17th year, the DEMO conferences have been the platform for small start ups and major innovators to launch some pretty cool stuff, some of which you may use now as you participate in this information revolution we call the net. Somewhat high profile former participants who have launched products at DEMO include companies like Adobe, Skype, WebEx, salesforce.com, TIVO, RIM, TrendMicro, Balthaser Online (which I used to build my first corporate web site) Microsoft, IBM, Kodak and NASA. There have been many others as well who have demonstrated the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship which drives our new economy forward and you can check them out by going to the DEMO ’07 history site. Until today you couldn’t find out who was presenting at DEMO ’07 and as a member of the press I also had no idea until I arrived at three o’clock this afternoon. It’s cranking up and this year’s 68 presenters cover a wide range of technologies which for the most part are all about “You".
Some of the technologies being launched in the next few hours include, the first video email and messaging service, a GPS product that allows users to control their vehicles wirelessly and video ringtones. There are small business solutions for email, collaboration, shipping & receiving, marketing and CRM (one of the these companies I’ve already had a chat with and they built their whole platform using free software... more on them later). There is also software that tracks plagiarized blogs, Mobile applications platforms and personal publishing technologies amongst others.
My first stop after checking into the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort and Spa, which, by the way, is no small place to have a bunch of technology geeks launching new products... DEMO has definitely picked an interesting spot with pink flamingos lounging around in the water accents in the front of the hotel, valets dressed in Khaki wearing pith helmets and ferries that traverse a lake in the middle of the hotel. I’m going to check out the Flamingos tomorrow... maybe they’re not real, but no ferry rides as I’m from British Columbia and I’ve seen enough ferries... anyway I digress and am showing my provincialism... back to the show.
The reception this evening was a crowded with a densely packed plethora of enthusiastic launchers all ready to tell whoever they bumped into all about the great products they are launching. I have never been to such a thickly intense get-together where the modus operandi is literally bump into. No one is shy here and everyone wants to talk.
This is no Chamber of Commerce mixer with the usual suspects skulking around hunting for connections. This is a place where you are here by invitation only because you’ve actually got something that will change how “I" work, live and play. The buzz in the room reverberated like a high strung electrical wire with the latest Web 2.0 trends to put “me" in the driver seat (see Mixpo, Mobio, Helium...) of the new economy... collaboration, distributed computing, wireless and inkless mobile printing, personal publishing and musical collaboration sites. Within five minutes of grabbing a quick cheese and cracker, I was chatting it up with folks who are all nervous about their 6 minutes in the spotlight tomorrow, but equally as excited. I’ll be spending a number of blog posts talking about who I have chatted with here and what they are launching; but tomorrow is the day to see the presentations on the future... stay tuned, I’ll be back.