I'm at the keynote session here at Demo '08 and I'm pretty stoked. Before you read on, a disclaimer : I'm pretty much typing this out, taking pictures, recording videos etc., live. So I apologize for typos, grammatical errors and things I would otherwise be pedantically aware of.

So how did these companies get picked to show off their application at Demo '08? Several 100 companies submitted applications to "Demo", but only 77 were hand-picked based on industry trends and how they fit in to a wide array of ideas. BitGravity has been streaming the show live.

My opinions and observations  :

  • Vertical Search - Custom search based on a certain vertical.
  • Web-heavy - A lot of these applications are web-based. Even some applications that didn't make sense to be run in a browser were running in a browser.
  • Not everyone is a good demoer - Seriously, every startup that plans on demoing at one of these events needs to hire an evangelist. Seriously.
  • Who will read this? I'm interested in seeing how many of these founders are going to Technorati/Blog Search their company after Demo'08. I remember Jeremy Stoppleman from Yelp reaching out to me after reading some of my blog posts. That's a sign of a great CEO, keeping his finger on the pulse.
  • I like Demos! I like the no-slide demo-heavy nature of this conference. Demos are not more than 5 or 6 minutes long.
  • Lot of the demos were being run off of 'localhost' on a PC.

Here are some companies who demo's this morning (in NO order) :

TimeTrade Systems : TimeTrade was the first to go, and introduces the concept of including a "Schedule Now" button inside of an email. A web interface then helps you figure out the best time for the two (or more) of you to meet. The system syncs with Exchange, Google Calendar etc. I wasn't super impressed.

Iterasi : How do you bookmark a link to a dynamic page? How do you bookmark dynamic content? Iterasi demo'd their application using housingmaps.com as an example. The demo was impressive because it even saves your dynamic web content. The question though is whether this is anything more than just a toolbar? Iterasi can seem to do a lot lot more, but is this a simple tool that is trying to do something that a simple browser-plugin should be able to handle?

Liquid Planner : This is a web-based project management tool. Clearly this tool one ups Microsoft Project by filling in some deficiencies on the client. With all this talk about "managed certainty", where is this information being stored?

CitiPort : The first application this morning that is running ASP.NET. Me happy :) CitiPort gives you localized user-generated information about a certain city. Thus far there is information about over 100 cities from 50 countries on the site, all user-generated. The user interface needs a MAJOR face-lift. The concept seems nice, but I'm concerned about local business trying to cannibalize the site. The site also lets you "create your own itinerary" based on businesses or locations you choose from the site if you are visiting a certain city.

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LeapFrog / Tag : My favorite demo this morning! This demo was really all demo. Basically, Tag is a handheld unit (pen-like) for kids aged 4-8 that does word for word reading off of books. I'm voting for these guys! I'll have a video up soon!

SkyFire : One of those companies that needs a better demoer/evangelist. The idea's good and tries to tackle genuine issues in the mobile market. Skyfire claims to be a fully PC-like web browser on your mobile device. They demo'd ESPN.com and RockYou's SlideShow facebook app running rather well on a PocketPC device. They also compared it to PocketIE, OperaMini and the iPhone, although I don't think they gave Safari on the iPhone enough credit. SkyFire supports JS, AJAX and Flash. What about Silverlight, yo (that's a rhetorical question, don't try answering that, or questioning me about it). Skyfire looks very promising!

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Fabrik / Joggle : Joggle's an app built on Adobe AIR. Fabrik claims to have $250mils in revenue per year. It helps you find your content, aggregate it and share it very easily. They demo'd your Flickr content, photos from a USB drive, your iPhone Library all aggregated and presented in one single application - Joggle. This is one of the most useful apps I have seen so far, from a consumer perspective. I wonder if they plan on having an API so other content sites can be easily added and aggregated?

StepLabs : Another shot at the noise-cancellation market. The idea for this demo was great, but it was executed rather poorly.

NotchUp : I'd blogged yesterday about all the attention that I thought NotchUp was getting. NotchUp, in spite of some demo glitches, did manage to yet again get quite a bit of attention from the crowd here today. Apparently Me.dium, a Microsoft Startup Accelerator company is a client of NotchUp's.

Education.com : I missed some of this demo, but this is another example of 'vertical search' in the Education market. I wonder how they will target the international audience?

800PBX : These guys seriously need better demoers. Both their guys on stage were horrible. The idea was GREAT, don't get me wrong, but I get turned off by people who do not know how to speak up their product when really, that is what you are trying to do in front of a giant crowd that wants to evaluate your product. Basically, MyGenie (I think) supports 35 different application platforms and aggregates them - you can then voice control this portal of yours. And these applications are called "quickies" - nothing should be ever called a quickie. Their tag-line is to "bridge the internet with telephony". Good idea, horrible demo!

SpeakLike : SpeakLike tries to get language barriers out of the way in chat. The chat tool includes real-time translation and can also facilitate multi-person chat in different languages. I wonder how many languages are supported and if they plan on supporting an API so that other popular chat engines can plug in and use their service?

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