Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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2/5/2007
08:14 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Demo Class of 2006: Where Are They Now?

Having just returned from the Demo 07 Conference in Palm Springs, I noticed last year's Demo 06 Conference booklet on my shelf. Flipping through it, I am reminded just how hard it is to start a successful business. Aside from the ringers at the show -- already successful companies such as AOL, CNET, IronPort, and Yahoo -- none of the 69 companies that presented at last year's show has become a household name.

Having just returned from the Demo 07 Conference in Palm Springs, I noticed last year's Demo 06 Conference booklet on my shelf. Flipping through it, I am reminded just how hard it is to start a successful business.

Aside from the ringers at the show -- already successful companies such as AOL, CNET, IronPort, and Yahoo -- none of the 69 companies that presented at last year's show has become a household name.A few of the consumer-oriented startups seemed to drop off the face of the Net. Zingee.net introduced a secure content sharing service. Its Web site no longer appears to be active. ZinkKat unveiled Chili, an all-in-one wearable cordless phone, MP3 player, podcast and Webcast receiver that makes Microsoft's Zune look like a best-seller. Entertainment search engine BiggerBoat.com issued a single press release following its Demo 06 debut, news of a partnership with All Media Guide.

Demo's official guide said, "If 2006 is the Year of Tagging, RawSugar is the social search engine with the greatest shot at broad adoption." Evidently, 2006 was not the Year of Tagging -- RawSugar closed in December.

eVoke TV, a social TV listing service, only made it to September before folding for lack of funds.

And other promising services, notably social search site Gravee.com and media sharing service Plum.com, seem to be locked in a state of perpetual beta. There isn't yet a MooBella ice cream machine anywhere in California and Ugobe's Pleo robot is currently on track to ship a year late.

I might add that I'm still waiting for a really good e-book reader (Apple's iPhone?), a paperless office, and the Moller skycar.

The Internet may make it easier than ever to spread the word, but talk is cheap. Building a business will cost you.

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