Shel Israel makes an interesting point: would I have said TechCrunch 40 was great if I wasn’t reporting it for TechCrunch (or words to that effect: read the post, like most of Shel’s stuff its far better put forward that I can summise it here).
Simple answer is no. If it sucked big time I’d be selling my sole for lying and Arrington doesn’t pay me enough.
The truth of the matter is that I thought it was bloody brilliant. Sure, there were some hiccups, mostly with presentations from companies with the AV setup on the first day; I’ve got no idea who is to blame for that, but it was interesting that one company would come out and deliver their spiel badly, the next was brilliant, the following poor, the next great again…I get the feeling fault may lie more with some of the presenting companies.
On the completely personal level I loved the expert panels with the VC’s covering raising VC, the middle one (can’t remember the title) and exit strategies. If I had to pay to attend I would have paid to listen to what they had to say because you don’t get advice from firms like Sequoia at that level every day…if ever at all. The startups themselves were a mixed bag, some really, really great ideas and others I wondered why they were picked to present; end of the day my likes are different to your likes are different to the next person or even Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis, it’s subjective decision making and you can never please everyone…it’s just unfortunate that some people seem to forget the rule of subjectivity.
Just for the record I did sh*tcan a couple of companies in my live blogging; sure, I was trying to be kind but one startup in particular had the worse business model I’ve seen for a long time with a worse presentation, and even the panel of experts said so as well. If the money was talking every single one of them would have received praise…but that’s not me, full stop.
On Shel’s client: I still love Cubic Telecom, brilliant idea that seemed to be lost on the Americans on the panel, probably because they don’t travel enough. Anyone who travels internationally will immediately get Cubic Telecom’s idea. The lack of mobile number portability was the only bad thing I can say about it, but for those sorts of savings, and presuming I’ll be traveling abroad regularly next year I’ll be signing up some time after they launch in October.