First some background. TechCrunch50 is a conference where web start-ups can pitch their wares to an influential bunch of silicon valley A listers (and lots of hangers-on). DEMO is a similarly focused conference. Apparently there is little love lost between the two conferences due to some conflicting scheduling (and me thinks due largely to hyper-inflated silicon valley egos coming into play).

It seems that one of the TechCrunch50 people posted an article about the ten most important things for an entrepreneur to know. So far so good.

Now it gets murky – one of the DEMO organisers wrote to the TechCrunch50 organisers questioning the origins of the article and claiming that much of it was lifted from an old article written by then. Note that the email sent to TC50 was private, wasn’t accusatory but merely questioned the origins of the material.

TC50 then posted the email in full, for all the world to see and jumped up on its high horse claiming shock and horror at the allegations (which TC50 would seem to liken to allegations of war crimes given their reaction).

So here are my thoughts, with a particularly pragmatic Kiwi perspective….

  • The article was 10 tips for entrepreneurs, not War and Peace. The ideas espoused are pretty obvious, DEMO should relax a little
  • That said, unattributed copying of published material is a bad look
  • TechCrunch50, by publishing the email, was making mountains out of molehills – a simple reply to the email, in private, would have sufficed
  • Judging by the number of comments on the TC50 people are getting really excited about this (which is why, I surmise, TC50 posted it – to gain a bit more exposure)
  • The two parties should be taken to a dark room and told to stand in the corner until they can play nicely

Grow up guys – both of these conferences are there to help web start-ups – focus more on that and less on your own egos!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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