Why are Technology Conferences So Bad?

Another week, another venture capital-centric technology conference. Why are these things so bad? With rare exceptions — Chris Shipley’s spirited and interesting DEMO being one of them — such conferences are deathly.

There are too many venture capitalists delivering a talk that I feel as if I’ve heard one thousand times in the last decade. Tip: We know that a lot of money was raised in 1996-2000, and numbers have since fallen. And some more: We know that markets are changing; we know that Microsoft’s monopoly (heh-heh) is good for profits; and we know-know-know-know that the Internet (still) changes everything. Say something else. Something interesting. Anything. (And don’t even get me started about VCs on panels. Why most (present company excluded) say nothing interesting and then don’t even have the decency to argue with one other, I have no idea.)

There are too many entrepreneurs who are under-coached in the art of delivering a pitch presentation. Keep it lively, tell us why you’re worth listening to, show something, tell us what you want, and then get the hell off the stage. Can that possibly be news to anyone? Apparently so, given the cringe-inducing cadence and content of much I continue to hear at conferences.

Okay, I feel better now.