Further evidence of the decline and fall of live events
This turgid PC World headline popped out of my newsfeed this morning: Startup Company Asked to Leave Demo Show. Naturally, I had to click on this and find out what the fuss was all about. Here’s the skinny:
A scheduled presenter, mEgo at the semi-annual DEMOfall conference was summarily thrown out after it was learned that the company broke the rules by unveiling its product two weeks early at the TechCrunch40 conference.
Ok, seems fair enough. The first rule of DEMO is, show at DEMO first. mEgo (gotta love the interCap there) broke the rule so DEMO showed them the door.
But that’s not my point. My point is that the only reason I am blogging – or even thinking – about DEMO and mEgo is that mEgo broke DEMO’s rules. This fancy conference of first-ever product announcements simply didn’t make my radar screen. mEgo’s product, whatever it might be, would have been completely unknown to me. Am I out of touch? Maybe. Did mEgo engineer this cynical but effective PR move? Hard to tell. Their site and blog show no evidence of either righteous indignation or contrition.
But you know who does get it here? TechCrunch40, that’s who. That’s not just because they have an interCap. TechCrunch40 is the blog that mEgo announced with before DEMO, and this “controversy” is all over their site. As the challenger going after some of DEMO’s established market, TechCrunch has everything to gain by not only scooping DEMO with a prior mEgo announcement, but also by making a fuss about it after mEgo gets kicked out of DEMO.
What’s the takeaway here for smart companies? Big live events have long lead times, and you can only lose your product’s launch virgininty once. Choose your partners wisely, and don’t be afraid to use all the tools of PR to your advantage.