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.