Value to the audience

I’m starting to wonder if by calling DemoCamp that we’ve confused the purpose of the event. Or maybe as the event has grown we’ve lost the original intent. DemoCamps are supposed to combine local innovation, sharing, geekery, and some social drinking. Recently, it feels closer to a local version of Demo to allow individuals and companies to launch products and technologies to an audience. That said, Demo is a great event, Chris Shipley and team do a great job screening and vetting the companies, people, presentations and demonstrations before the event happens. Companies also pay for the access to the people. Just ask Alec Saunders. Iotum won a
DemoGod award, and the entire experience cost approximately $50k this included Demo fees, hiring presentation consultants, and travel costs.

We could move towards a pay-to-present model for DemoCampToronto. This would help cover the costs associated with holding a DemoCamp. These costs while minimal, are starting real, and run approximately $500/event. Different venues have different costs. No Regrets requires that we provide a projector and rent sound equipment. MaRS isn’t a bar, and we loose a large portion of the crowd as we move from presentations to the more valuable social interactions. With sponsorship we could provide a cash bar (we need to cover the bartender and other fees). The Fifth (location of CaseCampToronto4) required projection screen and chair rental. Basically, there are costs for each venue.

A truly pay-to-present model would eliminate the efforts by non-commercial efforts by past presenters including Dave Humphrey, Bumptop, Sacha Chua and other past presenters. But I’m sick of product pitches. I like seeing what’s going on in Toronto. But this needs to be more than a sales pitch. Very few presenters are selling tools I might use. But I am interested in their design process, technology lessons learned, new techniques and tools that improved development, etc. I don’t need to see another demonstration of a tag cloud or a login box. I get it. Show me what’s cool about the problem your application solves. Show me why microformats shorten your development time and effort. Show me how light-weight anthropology helped you discover that photos are more than the pictures, they are the emotional triggers to take people back to the moment, and how your application makes this happen. Share something that makes the members of the community better.

The struggle continues to: keep the process open and accessible; provide value to the audience and community; provide technologists, designer, and entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage and share with the community.

  • Simon Law

    <p>We're having similar problems with DemoCampMontreal. And we just started!</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Let's try talking about ways to avoid only having product pitches, because they're not very exciting from a community point of view.</p>

  • Rob Hyndman

    <p>(I think cocomment might have nuked my first attempt to post this)</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>David,</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Q for you & is there a need for a demo event that would showcase for an audience other than geeks?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>E.g., you say:</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>'… their design process, technology lessons learned, new techniques and tools that improved development, etc. I don't need to see another demonstration of a tag cloud or a login box. I get it. Show me what's cool about the problem your application solves. Show me why microformats shorten your development time and effort. Show me how light-weight anthropology helped you discover that photos are more than the pictures, they are the emotional triggers to take people back to the moment, and how your application makes this happen.'</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>But you're operating at a pretty high-level on the technology side. Is there value in showcasing to people who aren't? Media, VCs, potential strategic partners, and the like?</p>

  • Patrick Dinnen

    <p>Amen.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Perhaps dull as ditchwater pitches could be discouraged by adding a buys-the-next-round penalty for obviously ill thought out answers to the question 'What do you hope to give the community?'.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>People there to sell something rarely answer that one well, 'ummm, well. ummmm, I guess we hope that the community gets to see how great our web 2.0 compatible, ajax powered social networking product is and tells all their VC friends about it'.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Of course it's easy for me to criticise when I've never stood up to give a demo.</p>

  • David Crow

    <p>Rob, </p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://casecamp.org/&quot; target="_blank">CaseCamp</a> proves tthat the format can be adopted for other topics including <strong>marketing focused</strong> events. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I think we need to focus on technology and its impact on culture, media, lifestyles, etc. This would change the demonstrations to focus on the impact it has on people. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I'd like to see demos about:</p><br />
    <br />
    &lt;ul&gt;<br />
    &lt;li&gt;Healthcare applications: patient management; lifestyle monitoring; etc.&lt;/li&gt;<br />
    &lt;li&gt;Implications of an aging population on design&lt;/li&gt;<br />
    &lt;li&gt;Web services: using S3 and EC2 to reduce costs and development times&lt;/li&gt;<br />
    &lt;li&gt;Advertising: making Minority Report reality&lt;/li&gt;<br />
    &lt;li&gt;Financing: kicking Canadian VCs in the wallet&lt;/li&gt;<br />
    &lt;li&gt;Communications: Solutions moving beyond the CRTC&lt;/li&gt;<br />
    &lt;/ul&gt;<br />
    <br />
    <p>I want to understand the pain/problem, how the product solves it uniquely, and what the community can learn from the experience of building it. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>By bring the conversation up a level, I think we address topics that would be more interesting to others, including journalists, VCs, etc.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Thoughs?</p>

  • John Kopanas

    <p>I have personally have always fought for having these events at universities were at least in Montreal for us would carry no cost. I have attended DemoCampToronto and was not a big fan of the Mars Center and I MCed DemoCampMontreal and felt the local did not really create, for me, the right ambience.</p>

  • http://www.law.yi.org/~sfllaw/ Simon Law

    We're having similar problems with DemoCampMontreal. And we just started!

    Let's try talking about ways to avoid only having product pitches, because they're not very exciting from a community point of view.

  • Ryan

    <p>If Democamp did go this route, I think there still could be room for students. Perhaps one slot per Democamp could be reserved for a student. I’m sure some of the democamp regulars would be happy to sponsor that slot provided that there was a vetting process to insure that the student had something interesting to show the community.</p> <p>Another option would be to reserve a spot for a theoretical presentation by a prof or other luminary that would address larger issues that are (or should be) relevant to this community. Maybe somebody that Radiant Core has had in for one of their lunch and learns.</p> <p>You could potentially alternate monthly between a student presentation and a prof presentation.</p>

  • /pd

    <p>'But I am interested in their design process, technology lessons learned, new techniques and tools that improved development, etc.'</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I very much agree with Dave !! Me2 is very interested in this type of information. I think this is the critical part of the innovations cycle /learning curve. I hear the frustration in this post.. its' very simple,IMHO -there's actually nothing new (innovative) happening !!</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Ryan has a good point & with the 'room for student' slot. In fact, I think Democamp should only Showcase stuff that the students are doing.. NO Company should be allowed to demo, however they can speak on some of the issues echoed above !!</p>

  • David Crow

    <p>Corporations do all sorts of interesting things and don't need to be excluded. The underlying value of DemoCamp continues to need to be refined. Individuals build interesting things. Companies build interesting things. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p><strong>Entertain me. Educate me. Challenge me</strong>.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>We've captured people's attention for a 2 hour time block, what are we going to do with it!</p>

  • http://www.robhyndman.com Rob Hyndman

    (I think cocomment might have nuked my first attempt to post this)

    David,

    Q for you & is there a need for a demo event that would showcase for an audience other than geeks?

    E.g., you say:

    '… their design process, technology lessons learned, new techniques and tools that improved development, etc. I don't need to see another demonstration of a tag cloud or a login box. I get it. Show me what's cool about the problem your application solves. Show me why microformats shorten your development time and effort. Show me how light-weight anthropology helped you discover that photos are more than the pictures, they are the emotional triggers to take people back to the moment, and how your application makes this happen.'

    But you're operating at a pretty high-level on the technology side. Is there value in showcasing to people who aren't? Media, VCs, potential strategic partners, and the like?

  • http://www.hogtownconsulting.com/wordpress/ Patrick Dinnen

    Amen.

    Perhaps dull as ditchwater pitches could be discouraged by adding a buys-the-next-round penalty for obviously ill thought out answers to the question 'What do you hope to give the community?'.

    People there to sell something rarely answer that one well, 'ummm, well. ummmm, I guess we hope that the community gets to see how great our web 2.0 compatible, ajax powered social networking product is and tells all their VC friends about it'.

    Of course it's easy for me to criticise when I've never stood up to give a demo.

  • http://davidcrow.ca David Crow

    Rob,

    CaseCamp proves tthat the format can be adopted for other topics including marketing focused events.

    I think we need to focus on technology and its impact on culture, media, lifestyles, etc. This would change the demonstrations to focus on the impact it has on people.

    I'd like to see demos about:

    • Healthcare applications: patient management; lifestyle monitoring; etc.
    • Implications of an aging population on design
    • Web services: using S3 and EC2 to reduce costs and development times
    • Advertising: making Minority Report reality
    • Financing: kicking Canadian VCs in the wallet
    • Communications: Solutions moving beyond the CRTC

    I want to understand the pain/problem, how the product solves it uniquely, and what the community can learn from the experience of building it.

    By bring the conversation up a level, I think we address topics that would be more interesting to others, including journalists, VCs, etc.

    Thoughs?

  • http://www.kopanas.com John Kopanas

    I have personally have always fought for having these events at universities were at least in Montreal for us would carry no cost. I have attended DemoCampToronto and was not a big fan of the Mars Center and I MCed DemoCampMontreal and felt the local did not really create, for me, the right ambience.

  • http://www.redflagdeals.com Ryan

    If Democamp did go this route, I think there still could be room for students. Perhaps one slot per Democamp could be reserved for a student. I’m sure some of the democamp regulars would be happy to sponsor that slot provided that there was a vetting process to insure that the student had something interesting to show the community.

    Another option would be to reserve a spot for a theoretical presentation by a prof or other luminary that would address larger issues that are (or should be) relevant to this community. Maybe somebody that Radiant Core has had in for one of their lunch and learns.

    You could potentially alternate monthly between a student presentation and a prof presentation.

  • http://peterdawson.typepad.com /pd

    'But I am interested in their design process, technology lessons learned, new techniques and tools that improved development, etc.'

    I very much agree with Dave !! Me2 is very interested in this type of information. I think this is the critical part of the innovations cycle /learning curve. I hear the frustration in this post.. its' very simple,IMHO -there's actually nothing new (innovative) happening !!

    Ryan has a good point & with the 'room for student' slot. In fact, I think Democamp should only Showcase stuff that the students are doing.. NO Company should be allowed to demo, however they can speak on some of the issues echoed above !!

  • http://davidcrow.ca David Crow

    Corporations do all sorts of interesting things and don't need to be excluded. The underlying value of DemoCamp continues to need to be refined. Individuals build interesting things. Companies build interesting things.

    Entertain me. Educate me. Challenge me.

    We've captured people's attention for a 2 hour time block, what are we going to do with it!

  • Mitch Brisebois

    <p>I've had great responses to my presentations at both CaseCamp and BarCamps Ottawa. But, as you point out David, these events are showing growing pains. Demo Camp is especially at risk, partly because presenting companies get great web traffic from being on the wiki. The temptation is to do a sales pitch. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Could the organisers vet the presentations ahead of the event to ensure that it's not a sales pitch? Maybe rule out demos of beta software & just alpha or prototypes?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>The comments on the bar scene aspect were interesting. In Ottawa we have a terrific downtown brew pub named The Clock Tower. Its entire basement bar can be reserved for camps (holds up to 50 people) The next Ottawa BarCamp organised by Peter Childs and Co. is in the foyer of one Carleton University's buildings. Could work. but no bar in sight!</p>

  • Derek

    <p>I don’t know… maybe it’s just me but I think requiring payment to present takes away from the community feel of Democamp. Sponsorship is an easy one of course, but perhaps ask the presenters to pay what they can or pay what it’s worth?</p> <p>To keep the quality of the demos high and on interesting topics, you could let the community vote and pick the demos they want to see from a list of proposed presentations.</p>

  • Rohan Jayasekera

    <p>David, I imagine that mentioning pay-to-present is just “troublemaking” on your part rather than an actual suggestion.</p> <p>I think the “Mars Bar” approach actually works pretty well. That is, MaRS or similar auditorium-style space for demos, followed by drinks and chat at a nearby bar. Sitting down at tables at Pogue Mahone’s hasn’t been as good as stand-up mingling, but perhaps we could solve this problematic aspect without throwing out the whole approach. And I think the departure of many people immediately following the demos is “normal” given the large percentage of the audience who goes to one DemoCamp and doesn’t return (as evidenced by the consistently high percentage of first-timers within an overall audience that isn’t growing that much).</p> <p>And given the experience of DemoCampToronto9 I’m now a big fan of having the drinking only <strong>after</strong> the demos.</p>

  • http://www.sensorymetrics.com Mitch Brisebois

    I've had great responses to my presentations at both CaseCamp and BarCamps Ottawa. But, as you point out David, these events are showing growing pains. Demo Camp is especially at risk, partly because presenting companies get great web traffic from being on the wiki. The temptation is to do a sales pitch.

    Could the organisers vet the presentations ahead of the event to ensure that it's not a sales pitch? Maybe rule out demos of beta software & just alpha or prototypes?

    The comments on the bar scene aspect were interesting. In Ottawa we have a terrific downtown brew pub named The Clock Tower. Its entire basement bar can be reserved for camps (holds up to 50 people) The next Ottawa BarCamp organised by Peter Childs and Co. is in the foyer of one Carleton University's buildings. Could work. but no bar in sight!

  • http://www.redflagdeals.com Derek

    I don’t know… maybe it’s just me but I think requiring payment to present takes away from the community feel of Democamp. Sponsorship is an easy one of course, but perhaps ask the presenters to pay what they can or pay what it’s worth?

    To keep the quality of the demos high and on interesting topics, you could let the community vote and pick the demos they want to see from a list of proposed presentations.

  • http://www.rohanjayasekera.com/blog Rohan Jayasekera

    David, I imagine that mentioning pay-to-present is just “troublemaking” on your part rather than an actual suggestion.

    I think the “Mars Bar” approach actually works pretty well. That is, MaRS or similar auditorium-style space for demos, followed by drinks and chat at a nearby bar. Sitting down at tables at Pogue Mahone’s hasn’t been as good as stand-up mingling, but perhaps we could solve this problematic aspect without throwing out the whole approach. And I think the departure of many people immediately following the demos is “normal” given the large percentage of the audience who goes to one DemoCamp and doesn’t return (as evidenced by the consistently high percentage of first-timers within an overall audience that isn’t growing that much).

    And given the experience of DemoCampToronto9 I’m now a big fan of having the drinking only after the demos.

  • David Crow

    <p>The pay-to-play is only a suggestion.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>But if I have to sit through a set of uninteresting, uninformed demos of a tag cloud or a login box. Demos that don't teach me, entertain me or engage me, I'm going to want who ever is demo'ing to pay for beers (to sedate me ;-)</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>This is a community-driven event. It is about our community members. This means I'm looking for ways to improve the overall audience experience. Changing the rules of DemoCamp to make the audience experience top-notch. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Presenters need to remember that DemoCamp is always about the audience.</p>

  • Mark Kuznicki

    <p>This is an excellent discussion. I've had similar ambivalent feelings about DemoCamp, it is great for the community feeling but it can suck when it descends to pitchfest.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>To Rob's question, I would argue that David's priority about 'show me something new, interesting, challenging' is absolutely correct. I am bored by pitches. Any journalist or VC who's been there, done that should be bored too.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>The authentic sense of wow comes from a show of acrobatic ingenuity, the dramatic stories of challenges overcome. VCs and journalists worth their salt should be just as fascinated by that as the technologists will be. If they're not, I question why they have an interest in technology in the first place.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I would hate to see DemoCamp descend into Pitchfest. CVF is nothing but pitches, which I found to the dullest of the dull. Pencils in my eyes dull.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>If you want to launch or get VC, go to Under the Radar or Demo.</p>

  • Sandy Kemsley

    <p>Remember The Gong Show? Look it up on Wikipedia if it was before your time, but basically, a panel of judges could “gong” your act to stop it if they thought that it was really bad. I’m not (necessarily) advocating a gong, but maybe if there was a way to cut short presentations that didn’t fit the model, and the presenters knew that, it might improve the quality.</p>

  • Thomas Purves

    <p>David, I believe the fund-raising issue and the quality issue are two valid problems that I think are going to be hard to solve the same stone.</p> <p>Pay to play to me would seem to make your quality problem worse. Why would you pay to present unless you had an agenda (eg. pitch) to get across in order to make the money worth it?</p> <p>I still prefer the idea to let the community vote on presentations digg style in advance of the event. The community may still not always get what they were hoping for but – they will get what they voted for.</p>

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/bunnyhero bunnyhero

    <p>maybe the audience needs more power (or rather, needs encouragement to use its power). a tougher audience might mean fewer pure product pitches. i know at democamp 12 (the only one i’ve been to) you reminded the audience that since it was a *camp, we were expected to ask questions and interact during the presentations… perhaps we are just too polite and need more prodding to get out of our shells :P</p> <p>or maybe more tools. it’s unfortunate that at no regrets the wifi seemed limited, so there was no opportunity for backchannel.</p> <p><b>ponders</b></p>

  • Martin Dufort

    <p>Wow, what an eye opener for me… Sometimes we fall into the trap of product pitches because, and this is my case, we think the complete meal is more attractive to the audience and the ingredients that were used to make such. </p> <p>I think the problem is, as you said David, the association between DemoCamp and the Demo conference… People and especially presenters are viewing the former as a micro-event of the latter.</p> <p>Would you care about our tublespace implementation…our real-time correlation engine or how cool or fun is the actual application / service…</p> <p>I’m still left wondering…</p> <p>Thanks for injecting a question mark in my head as we prepare to present at DemoCamp Montreal at the end of the month.</p> <p>L8er – Martin</p>

  • Sandy Ward

    <p>Maybe alternating “pay-to-play” and free events would be a good way to balance the events. Or even having a maximum of one “pay-to-play” presenter at each event?</p> <p>Having a corporate sponsor once and a while of course would be good! And I happen to have some influence at Yahoo! Canada and we would happily sponsor a DemoCamp.</p> <p>David: Maybe we can talk more about how this would work…</p>

  • http://davidcrow.ca David Crow

    The pay-to-play is only a suggestion.

    But if I have to sit through a set of uninteresting, uninformed demos of a tag cloud or a login box. Demos that don't teach me, entertain me or engage me, I'm going to want who ever is demo'ing to pay for beers (to sedate me ;-)

    This is a community-driven event. It is about our community members. This means I'm looking for ways to improve the overall audience experience. Changing the rules of DemoCamp to make the audience experience top-notch.

    Presenters need to remember that DemoCamp is always about the audience.

  • http://remarkk.com Mark Kuznicki

    This is an excellent discussion. I've had similar ambivalent feelings about DemoCamp, it is great for the community feeling but it can suck when it descends to pitchfest.

    To Rob's question, I would argue that David's priority about 'show me something new, interesting, challenging' is absolutely correct. I am bored by pitches. Any journalist or VC who's been there, done that should be bored too.

    The authentic sense of wow comes from a show of acrobatic ingenuity, the dramatic stories of challenges overcome. VCs and journalists worth their salt should be just as fascinated by that as the technologists will be. If they're not, I question why they have an interest in technology in the first place.

    I would hate to see DemoCamp descend into Pitchfest. CVF is nothing but pitches, which I found to the dullest of the dull. Pencils in my eyes dull.

    If you want to launch or get VC, go to Under the Radar or Demo.

  • Kieran Huggins

    <p>Maybe the <strong>Demo</strong> isn't broken, but rather the <strong>Camp</strong>.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>My suggestion: reformat it to more of a BarCamp format where we have several (or all) demos going concurrent and for longer periods of time. That way people can use the BarCamp 'vote with your feet' ideology to reward the most interesting demos with attention & feedback.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>'Press Release' style demos would be largely ignored, and Mark wouldn't have to stab anyone with his pencil, though that would be entertaining ;-)</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Also, from the demo-er's point of view, it removes the time factor entirely and allows them to dynamically change the scope of their demo depending on the current audience.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I agree with Rohan that beer should be consumed…after the demos :-)</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I like Tom's idea of digging the demos before hand. This system would seem to allow us to <em>prioritize</em> the next 5 (or more?) demos we want to see @ DC. Maybe that would also help weed out crapulent demos? Maybe we could grade them such that only demos with a certain % of positive crowd feedback are asked to present?</p>

  • http://www.column2.com Sandy Kemsley

    Remember The Gong Show? Look it up on Wikipedia if it was before your time, but basically, a panel of judges could “gong” your act to stop it if they thought that it was really bad. I’m not (necessarily) advocating a gong, but maybe if there was a way to cut short presentations that didn’t fit the model, and the presenters knew that, it might improve the quality.

  • http://thomaspurves.com Thomas Purves

    David, I believe the fund-raising issue and the quality issue are two valid problems that I think are going to be hard to solve the same stone.

    Pay to play to me would seem to make your quality problem worse. Why would you pay to present unless you had an agenda (eg. pitch) to get across in order to make the money worth it?

    I still prefer the idea to let the community vote on presentations digg style in advance of the event. The community may still not always get what they were hoping for but – they will get what they voted for.

  • http://www.bunnyhero.org/ bunnyhero

    maybe the audience needs more power (or rather, needs encouragement to use its power). a tougher audience might mean fewer pure product pitches. i know at democamp 12 (the only one i’ve been to) you reminded the audience that since it was a *camp, we were expected to ask questions and interact during the presentations… perhaps we are just too polite and need more prodding to get out of our shells :P

    or maybe more tools. it’s unfortunate that at no regrets the wifi seemed limited, so there was no opportunity for backchannel.

    ponders

  • http://www.kakiloc.com Martin Dufort

    Wow, what an eye opener for me… Sometimes we fall into the trap of product pitches because, and this is my case, we think the complete meal is more attractive to the audience and the ingredients that were used to make such.

    I think the problem is, as you said David, the association between DemoCamp and the Demo conference… People and especially presenters are viewing the former as a micro-event of the latter.

    Would you care about our tublespace implementation…our real-time correlation engine or how cool or fun is the actual application / service…

    I’m still left wondering…

    Thanks for injecting a question mark in my head as we prepare to present at DemoCamp Montreal at the end of the month.

    L8er – Martin

  • Taylan Pince

    <p>I believe that events like DemoCamp have a certain life cycle. First DemoCamps were amazing because there was a small group of people, and the events gave the attendees a chance to connect in a very intimate atmosphere. The demos were just an excuse to get together and discuss technology.</p> <p>I stopped attending DemoCamps around October last year, because the events lost this aspect. It was just about watching the demos, the crowd was too big to be able to meet anyone, and I am more interested in meeting people than going to a lecture.</p> <p>In that sense, it might be a good idea to turn DemoCamp into a pay to present event and embrace this aspect.</p> <p>That said, I believe there should be more focused, smaller Camps that allow people to actually share their ideas on a much simpler level.</p>

  • http://www.bringmywine.ca Sandy Ward

    Maybe alternating “pay-to-play” and free events would be a good way to balance the events. Or even having a maximum of one “pay-to-play” presenter at each event?

    Having a corporate sponsor once and a while of course would be good! And I happen to have some influence at Yahoo! Canada and we would happily sponsor a DemoCamp.

    David: Maybe we can talk more about how this would work…

  • http://kieran.ca Kieran Huggins

    Maybe the Demo isn't broken, but rather the Camp.

    My suggestion: reformat it to more of a BarCamp format where we have several (or all) demos going concurrent and for longer periods of time. That way people can use the BarCamp 'vote with your feet' ideology to reward the most interesting demos with attention & feedback.

    'Press Release' style demos would be largely ignored, and Mark wouldn't have to stab anyone with his pencil, though that would be entertaining ;-)

    Also, from the demo-er's point of view, it removes the time factor entirely and allows them to dynamically change the scope of their demo depending on the current audience.

    I agree with Rohan that beer should be consumed…after the demos :-)

    I like Tom's idea of digging the demos before hand. This system would seem to allow us to prioritize the next 5 (or more?) demos we want to see @ DC. Maybe that would also help weed out crapulent demos? Maybe we could grade them such that only demos with a certain % of positive crowd feedback are asked to present?

  • http://taylanpince.com Taylan Pince

    I believe that events like DemoCamp have a certain life cycle. First DemoCamps were amazing because there was a small group of people, and the events gave the attendees a chance to connect in a very intimate atmosphere. The demos were just an excuse to get together and discuss technology.

    I stopped attending DemoCamps around October last year, because the events lost this aspect. It was just about watching the demos, the crowd was too big to be able to meet anyone, and I am more interested in meeting people than going to a lecture.

    In that sense, it might be a good idea to turn DemoCamp into a pay to present event and embrace this aspect.

    That said, I believe there should be more focused, smaller Camps that allow people to actually share their ideas on a much simpler level.

  • Sanjiv Sirpal

    <p>I’ve yet to attend, however I’m very intrigued by the idea of Demo’ing the design process. I think it’s fascinating to learn what challenges other people are facing, and how they are dealing with them.</p> <p>It also sounds like there is a need to pitch things. Perhaps the pitching should be limited to one or two demos (pay-per-play), and the rest are all design/process/problem oriented.</p>

  • Josh

    <p>The audience at a DemoCamp is varied.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>There are geeks looking for technology, visionaries looking for ideas, VCs and investors looking for new opportunities.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>It's great to be able to cater to them all. That's why I think the sales pitch is fine by me.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>However, what makes a boring presentation is the lack of communication of the real benefits of what you are showing.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Think marketing.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Features are fine.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>But Benefits, Benefits, Benefits is the way to go.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>These can be benefits for the individual geek, benefits for your business or for your money, or benefits for the society.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>The very fact that the audience is varied and the type of presentations can be diverse means that this contributes to the dynamism of the local tech community.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>This said, I'm all for brainstorming world-changing breakthough ideas with bright people. Then, taking action about it all.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Best.</p>

  • http://www.culturesculpture.com Sanjiv Sirpal

    I’ve yet to attend, however I’m very intrigued by the idea of Demo’ing the design process. I think it’s fascinating to learn what challenges other people are facing, and how they are dealing with them.

    It also sounds like there is a need to pitch things. Perhaps the pitching should be limited to one or two demos (pay-per-play), and the rest are all design/process/problem oriented.

  • http://www.yashlabs.com/wp Josh Nursing

    The audience at a DemoCamp is varied.

    There are geeks looking for technology, visionaries looking for ideas, VCs and investors looking for new opportunities.

    It's great to be able to cater to them all. That's why I think the sales pitch is fine by me.

    However, what makes a boring presentation is the lack of communication of the real benefits of what you are showing.

    Think marketing.

    Features are fine.

    But Benefits, Benefits, Benefits is the way to go.

    These can be benefits for the individual geek, benefits for your business or for your money, or benefits for the society.

    The very fact that the audience is varied and the type of presentations can be diverse means that this contributes to the dynamism of the local tech community.

    This said, I'm all for brainstorming world-changing breakthough ideas with bright people. Then, taking action about it all.

    Best.

  • http://www.yashlabs.com/wp Josh Nursing

    The audience at a DemoCamp is varied.

    There are geeks looking for technology, visionaries looking for ideas, VCs and investors looking for new opportunities.

    It's great to be able to cater to them all. That's why I think the sales pitch is fine by me.

    However, what makes a boring presentation is the lack of communication of the real benefits of what you are showing.

    Think marketing.

    Features are fine.

    But Benefits, Benefits, Benefits is the way to go.

    These can be benefits for the individual geek, benefits for your business or for your money, or benefits for the society.

    The very fact that the audience is varied and the type of presentations can be diverse means that this contributes to the dynamism of the local tech community.

    This said, I'm all for brainstorming world-changing breakthough ideas with bright people. Then, taking action about it all.

    Best.

  • Paul Dowman

    <p>David, you say “DemoCamps are supposed to combine local innovation, sharing, geekery, and some social drinking”. That’s exactly what I go for, and on the whole I think that’s what I get. I’m confused though because if that’s what you want DemoCamp to be, then you can’t really be proposing that presenters must pay, in that case all presentations would be sales pitches and commercial product launches.</p> <p>So far we’ve had proposals to charge presenters and introduce a gong. I, for one, think DemoCamp is good just the way it is. I still meet new people, catch up with people I don’t see too often, and get a good overview of what people are doing technology-wise in Toronto. I like that there’s a mix of product launches and individuals’ geeky side-projects. It’s all interesting and inspiring to me.</p> <p>Is there really a consensus that something is broken? If so, focus on what really is broken:</p> <p>* Need to cover costs? Why not explore sponsorship and perhaps donations by attendees?</p> <p>* Demos are boring? Feedback is a good thing but IMHO a gong is a bit aggressive, can we not weather the occasional less-interesting demo and use the feedback to help when selecting presenters next time? If you really want “sharing” and “geekery” let’s try not to discourage people who may have a cool little project on the side but who may not have experience presenting—they’re often not seasoned presenters like those who have something to sell.</p>

  • http://pauldowman.com/ Paul Dowman

    David, you say “DemoCamps are supposed to combine local innovation, sharing, geekery, and some social drinking”. That’s exactly what I go for, and on the whole I think that’s what I get. I’m confused though because if that’s what you want DemoCamp to be, then you can’t really be proposing that presenters must pay, in that case all presentations would be sales pitches and commercial product launches.

    So far we’ve had proposals to charge presenters and introduce a gong. I, for one, think DemoCamp is good just the way it is. I still meet new people, catch up with people I don’t see too often, and get a good overview of what people are doing technology-wise in Toronto. I like that there’s a mix of product launches and individuals’ geeky side-projects. It’s all interesting and inspiring to me.

    Is there really a consensus that something is broken? If so, focus on what really is broken:

    * Need to cover costs? Why not explore sponsorship and perhaps donations by attendees?

    * Demos are boring? Feedback is a good thing but IMHO a gong is a bit aggressive, can we not weather the occasional less-interesting demo and use the feedback to help when selecting presenters next time? If you really want “sharing” and “geekery” let’s try not to discourage people who may have a cool little project on the side but who may not have experience presenting—they’re often not seasoned presenters like those who have something to sell.

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