SAN DIEGO--The Demo community--an august group of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and technology reporters--gave a fond farewell Wednesday afternoon here to longtime Demo managing director Chris Shipley.
As is well known, Shipley is leaving the helm of Demo, having now officially handed off the reins to VentureBeat founder Matt Marshall.
But as just about the last official act of DemoFall 09, Pat McGovern, the founder and chairman of IDG, which owns the Demo conferences, led the audience in a standing ovation for Shipley.
Prior to that sentimental moment, meanwhile, seven Demo God winners were announced, as well as the two winners of IDG's media prize.
The seven Demo God winners were:
The last two companies were selected from among the 14 "AlphaPitch" presenters, which had just 90 seconds to make their case, rather than the six minutes given to each of the nearly 60 regular Demo companies.
IDG also awarded its two media prizes, one to a consumer product, and the other to an enterprise play. Each winner will receive up to $500,000 worth of free advertising across IDG properties.
The consumer winner was Emo Labs, whose Edge Motion technology may well change the way the public experiences speakers. The enterprise winner was Liaise, whose software is meant to help companies with "the capture and management of KeyPoints--tasks, issues, dates, and priorities--buried inside e-mails, IMs, and other communications."
As is generally the case, the acceptance speeches were a bit teary-eyed, especially by Demo God and media prize winner Emo Labs' CEO Jason Carlson, who noted that his company had only come to Demo after being convinced by Shipley that he and his team could put together a coherent six-minute presentation.
Earlier, Shipley gave out a series of Lifetime Achievement awards to tech luminaries like Palm co-founder Donna Dubinsky, Diane Greene, a co-founder of VMware, Better Place founder and CEO Shai Agassi, and (in absentia) Marc Benioff.
In his own defiant and emotional moment, Barry James Folsom, CEO of Demo God winner Twirl TV urged the entrepreneurs in the room to carry on, despite any roadblocks they might encounter along their path to success. "If you do not have an obstacle, or someone telling you it's not a good idea, or someone telling you it will never work, and you believe them, you're not an entrepreneur," Folsom said. "(The) Lifetime Achievement award winners...They did it in spite of everyone telling them they couldn't."