Curse of September

A recent TechCrunch blog entry gave some grim recommendations for releasing products in the month of September: Don’t do it. The reason is that there are two big conferences for product releases in early September.

One September conference is DEMO Fall 08. It is being held from September 7th through the 9th. It is billed as “The launchpad for emerging technology”. There are 70 six minute presentations. I understand that you need to pay over $18k for the opportunity to speak and release your product at DEMO Fall 08.

I think I know the reason for the TechCrunch blog entry. TechCrunch sponsors its own TechCrunch50 Conference from September 8th through the 10th. I think it is safe to assume it is scheduled to coincide with DMO Fall 08. This year will mark the second annual TechCrunch conference. The goal of this conference is to find the best startups and launch them in front of venture capitalists.

The list of judges at TechCrunch this year is quite impressive. Their panel includes Marc Andreessen, Henry Blodget, Marissa Mayer, Tim O’Reilly, Kevin Rose, and Robert Scoble. It may be worth it to attend the conference to see if I could speak to any of these judges.

So the TechCrunch advice is to skip a release of your product in September due to the heavy competition. Or at least you should avoid a release date close to the conferences. However the big story may be the competition between these two conferences. Obviously TechCrunch is sponsoring the conference to make some money. But it originally started the conference last year in protest of the high fees that DEMO charges for presenters.

I could go both ways. If you are only going to have 70 total presentations at the conference, and each one is very short, you are going to want to hear from the best of the best. One way to achieve this is to review all applicants. Another filter would be to charge a high price for even being eligible to present. That is the route that DEMO is taking. I might be more inclined to put my money behind a new company/product from that conference. Still it would be fun to meet the all star cast at the TechCrunch50 judges table. Where would you like to go this September?