Pouring Our Heart Into TechCrunch50

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I Don't Understand Y Combinator Hate

TechCrunch50, where fifty new startups (give or take) will launch, is less than a month away. The conference team is fried after reviewing over 1,000 applications from companies preparing to launch. We’ve been interviewing these startups for weeks, often scheduling calls in the middle of the night because there just weren’t enough business hours to schedule everyone in.

The NYTimes is featuring the conference in today’s paper. They’re focusing on the tension between our conference and DEMO, which charges companies to present. We’re happy for the coverage, but what the article doesn’t talk about is just how excited we are about the event and what is going to happen there.

We are down to the last few slots, and most companies have been notified one way or the other. Based on our experience from last year, these last ten or so companies are the hardest because there are at least 40 more that are perfectly qualified to be at the event. Each of us interviews the companies, sometimes multiple times. Over the weekend I had eight of them come to my house and do in person demos as well.

The event itself is going to be a bit of a spectacle. We expect anywhere up to 1,500 people to be in the audience, which is much larger than last year’s event which we had to cut off at 900 (we have a bigger venue this year). There will be a lot going on – venture capitalists perusing the companies, demopit startups vying for attention, big companies scoping out possible acquisitions, and even a couple of mega-parties being put on by sponsors.

But at the core of it all are 50 very special companies who are gathering together to launch their products. Engineering teams will be working until the last minute to finish products. Ops teams will worry about launch day traffic spikes and keeping their sites up. CEOs, many of whom have never been on stage in front of that many people, will be sweating and praying that they are able to communicate their core message to a diverse audience.

That’s the sweet spot for me. The birth of a company is the culmination of dreams, prayers and a lot of hard work. A year or more has gone into creating a business plan, hiring the first group of employees, figuring out how to build whatever it is they’ve built, pitching investors (and us) and generally putting aside their normal life to pursue a passion that drives them forward.

It is an honor to host these startups as they launch. And we are so grateful to our panel of experts for spending their time thinking and talking about the demos as they occur.

So let’s put aside all the drama around the event as the old payola way of putting on conferences goes through its death throes. Instead, let’s focus on the the startup community and the amazing things that it creates.

Thanks to all the blogs that have written posts competing for a free ticket to the event (some links below). We’re going to let as many as we can of you into the event with press passes (and we’re giving deep discounts to students as well). See you all at TechCrunch50 soon. We’ll network in the halls until we have no more business cards, eat lots of crappy-yet-exorbitantly-expensive food and party all night thanks to our sponsors. And most importantly we’ll see fifty very special startups launch, too. This event is about them and for them, and I can’t wait.

Some recent blog posts about the event:

Cyan Banister, ButtonAll, Infinitely Meta, Interesting Things, Learnanyway, Zemote, Adam Fisk, Webalytics, Rob Blatt, Andrew Fielding, uLiken Media and Brad Hill (let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any).

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