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July 12, 2009

TechCrunch Europas: Optimisim & Creative Destruction Alive and Well

UPDATE: Added a photo of the Herbinator name badge, cleaned up formatting, deleted multiple postings (thanks Typepad iPhone app :), and spell checked it).

Mike Butcher and the rest of the TechCrunch Europe crew did a great job with the 2009 "Europas" Awards last night at the Delfina near Tower Bridge. Lively, packed crowd that was there to drink, be merry, and talk tech shop. 

You can get a more detailed list of the startsups that pitched and the eventual winners over at TechCrunch UK or on TechMeme I'm sure but here were my takeaways.

1- Sure times are tough but you can't kill the entreprenuerial spirit. People were looking for a reason to celebrate a little bit (Spotify was the big winner last night) and there's always comfort in a shared experience, whether it's a struggle or a success. 

2- the Europe v. U.S. flared up ever so slightly when the panel of experts at the break between pitches and awards discussed how increasingly innovative startups are coming from other places. Sarah Lacy had a good thesis on this, stemming from her book research, that we should be looking to China or India. But the question that kicked it off was how European startups should attack the market rollout question, stay local or pan-European service at the beginnning?

TechCrunch Europas: Optimisim & Creative Destruction Alive and Well

Is harder to reach scale if you're only in one market like just the UK, France, or Germany, and that's because Europe is distinct countries and languages. But this is a ever present challenge so how can Europe move on from this question? You can keep using it as an excuse or crutch but you'll only fall father behind the longer you dwell on it.

3- question Malte (my colleague) and I discussed, per the scalability and market size question: could Twitter have started in Europe?

Lots of reasons yes and no but a valuable thought experiment. What do you think?

4- with the pitch part of the night, they were good to average. You gotta practice your pitch, have it down perfectly, and for God's sake don't read your bloody PowerPoint slides. And no music either, we want to hear you, not some frilly electro crap that distracts from understanding what the hell you and your company do. Tc_europas_badge

5- Venue was goodfor networking but poor for the presentation side of the night. Not until halfway through did they get the doors closed off to the bar area. So it was noisy and hard to hear those speaking. That being said, per #4 above, speak loudly when you present to a room and audience like this...

6- that being said, kudos to Scoble for yelling at the crowd to shut up. He's obviously had some practice doing that.

7- Sarah Lacy almost had a wardrobe malfunction with her skirt and the akward stool setup for her and the panel but she deflected it gracefully and there was no Paris Hilton moment.

I'm sure there's more to say than that but it's time for work and them I'm off to Shanghai for a week tomorrow.


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