I chatted with Chris Shipley (you can listen by clicking the podcast link below) as she was getting ready to launch Demo 2009, where 39 companies plan to introduce new products.
Shipley gave me a sneak preview of what to expect, including a new screen capture product from Citrix Online (of GoToMyPC), some "hard-core development platforms," and consumer technologies, including a live streaming Web service for individuals from Avaak.
There will also be a new Netbook computer "that fits in a space between an iPhone and a laptop" and a product that is "putting a financial framework around your home," helping you manage that asset.
And one company is, quite literally, a life saver. Silverstone Solutions will introduce technology to make it easier for people needing kidney transplants to find matches.
The economy, says Chris Shipley, will result in a Demo that is "more concentrated," which is a nice way to say that it's smaller than the Demo six months ago. Reasons include companies going belly-up, as well as others that have had to delay their launch because of cutbacks in engineering resources.
Still, says Shipley, it's a "great time to be innovating in the marketplace. It's a time to be putting products to market that are about helping people do more with less," and "it's still a flight to quality."
While Demo isn't nearly as large or as glitzy as the Consumer Electronics Show, it's a lot more fun to cover because what it lacks in size, it makes up for in heart and soul.
It's a chance to meet with entrepreneurs who--in some cases--are putting everything on the line to try to realize their dream. Some, like the founders of Palm--may get wealthy from their efforts. Others will go on stage, announce their products, and soon find themselves having to shut their doors. And, being entrepreneurs, some of them will come back to another Demo to try again.
Even during good years, launching a tech product is a risky business. In a recession, it's an act of faith.
Rafe Needleman, Daniel Terdiman, and I will be at Demo, blogging and twittering as new products are unveiled.
Listen to my interview with Chris Shipley (5 min, 6 sec)