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10 things I learnt and saw during this year’s TechCrunch50 conference


Yesterday, I came back to Tokyo from the TechCrunch50 conference that took place in San Francisco.

Here are 10 things I found particularly interesting about the event (in no particular order):

The three days of the conference began with a professional singer who sang the Star-Spangled Banner. Speak about culture shocks!

At the afterparty (held by Seesmic) of the last day, Michael Arrington stood in line for 10 minutes in the cold to enter the venue. And Michael is a) the organizer of TC50 and b) an investor in Seesmic.

This was a highly international event with Israel and Japan being particularly strong. But Europe was VERY weak this year. I think my home country of Germany (Europe’s biggest Internet market) was represented by one company only (Plista).

TechCrunch has a reputation of being sometimes too “commercial” but gave dozens and dozens of students 149 USD-tickets for the whole conference (which I think is awesome).

The selection of the winner of the conference, Yammer, was heavily criticized by the blogosphere. I liked FitBit best.

90% of people in the American web industry don’t have the slightest clue of how to pitch a blogger (about the same in Japan, I would say). Learn it here, here and here, for example. A very simple Google search will get you hundreds of similar results.

I always thought launching a web service in the course of a conference is a somewhat ambiguous thing: Too many companies trying to attract attention, too much “noise” in the background (panels, speeches, networking etc.) and not enough time to bring the idea across. But TechCrunch50 changed my mind (I would try it elsewhere if I couldn’t make it to TC50).

I had the chance to chat with MC Hammer. Kevin Rose from Digg told me he loves reading Asiajin.

While browsing through all companies that made it as TC50 finalists and to the DemoPit, I found a big number of participants that were too lazy/disrespectful/stupid to provide TechCrunch readers and CrunchBase with information about their companies and products. Here is an example of what I mean. This is beyond my understanding (this company gets it).

The quality of some companies taking part in the DemoPit was really, really HIGH. Some of them should have made it as finalists in my view. IAMNEWS has a terrible name but is (as the DemoPit winner) only one of many examples.

Serkan Toto About Serkan Toto
I am the CEO & Founder of Kantan Games, Inc., a Tokyo-based game industry consultancy focused on the Japanese market. Please subscribe to updates on this site via RSS or Email.