How do you argue with success Y Combinator style? I prefer Techcrunch Disrupt's model of demos, here's why

"What makes you so arrogant that you think you can improve on success, Scoble?" I don't know, but I guess that's the Silicon Valley way. We always are looking to improve everything. My dad instilled that in me as an engineer. Always is a better way. Always. History has proven him right more often than wrong. 

So many of Y Combinator companies have that same attitude, too. AirBnb made finding a place to stay better. Dropbox made storing files better.

It's why I love hanging out with startups. They are arrogant enough to think they can change the world. Of course most end up failing, but the ones that do succeed we all revere.

So, when I tell Paul Graham that Y Combinator's demo day could be better, it is in that spirit. 

I hate that it forces companies to focus so much on their slides. Very few companies gave anything close to a demo. Here's what happens: each company gets 2:15 on stage. Two minutes. It's hard to say anything useful on stage. But they all did a pretty similar thing. Gave you a sense of what their company did, showed a slide capture or two. Got into the market size. Covered the team and what made them cool. Showed off adoption to date, or profits/sales, to date, if they had them. And got off the stage. All done with Apple's Keynote. 

I realized how much I hate presentations and why I never do slides for my talks. It took me back to sitting through pitches at a computer magazine in the 1990s and through lame-ass idea shows at Microsoft in 2003-2006. It made me remember just how boring Bill Gates' CES keynotes usually were. The only non-boring parts were when they pulled out the demos. 

It's why I don't allow PowerPoint in my shows. Ever. If it ever happens I stop the interview and explain the rules. I rarely do. It's so non-human.

So, if I were Paul Graham, what would I do? Force everyone to do an actual, live, demo of their product.

When Silicon Valley focuses on product, it wins. Think back to what Apple does on stage. Do they show a lot of slides? Hell no. Always a demo. Same at Google. Or Facebook. Or really any interesting company pitch. 

Yes, I understand, the Y Combinator demo day is really not done for humans. It's done to get Venture Capitalists hot and bothered. 

The thing is, everytime I see someone like Ron Conway or Ashton Kutcher, both of whom I saw in the aisles here, they are excited about product. Companies that build great product. Companies that can show off how their product is unique. Different. Interesting. 

I really hate it when I see headlines like this: "Y Combinator's Young Startups Tout Revenue Over Users." http://go.bloomberg.com/tech-deals/2012-08-22-y-combinators-young-startups-tout-revenue-over-users/ This means the money people have taken over. That the focus isn't on the product.

Which is why I prefer a demo day where actual users get to mix in with the Investors and journalists, too. Like at Techcrunch Disrupt. There the focus is on the product, along with the fundamentals of the company. Far more my style. Far more demoing going on. It's funny that Y Combinator calls yesterday a "demo day." It really isn't. It should be called "investor pitch day." I think that's too bad.

So, I invite any of the Y Combinator companies to come and sit down with me over the next few weeks and show me their products. If you'll be demoing at Techcrunch Disrupt, or will be attending, please do get on my calendar. I'm at scobleizer@gmail.com

If you want to go to Techcrunch Disrupt I've arranged for a $100 discount if you use the code: Scobledsf12. http://techcrunch.com/events/disrupt-sf-2012/

That said, there are some really positive trends I'm seeing here that don't get reported on. First, these companies are hungry to talk about their product. I got nailed by dozens of companies walking into the hall who showed you cool products. Wired covered a few of the ones I saw: http://www.wired.com/business/2012/08/one-y-combinator-startup-follows-amazon-lockers-lead/

Other good reports: 
GigaOm: Y Combinator's debutante ball of demo days doesn't disappoint. http://gigaom.com/2012/08/21/y-combinators-debutante-ball-of-demo-days-doesnt-disappoint/

The Next Web's 10 favorite companies: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/08/22/here-top-ten-startups-saw-y-combinator-demo-day/

Techcrunch's favorite 10 companies: http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/21/best-of-yc-demo-day/

Inc: Y Combinator: New Start-ups Borrow Proven Business Models: http://www.inc.com/maeghan-ouimet/y-combinator-demo-day-summer-2012-round-up.html
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