In a city known for being on the cutting edge of technology, there are few events that grace San Francisco like the one we participated in earlier this month. This event is well-known among those of us that work in tech as the pinnacle of emerging and exciting startups and is regarded as the “go-to” gathering for getting a first-hand look at some of the industry’s newest players. I am referring to, of course, TechCrunch: Disrupt.
TechCrunch is an online publication focusing on the tech industry, and more specifically, reporting on the business related to tech, technology news, analysis of emerging trends in tech. It was one of the earliest publications to report extensively on tech startups and funding and has had a hand in helping some of the most well-known companies find their first footing in the industry. Some of the past participants include Dropbox, Trello, and other large applications we use on a daily basis. Kloudless was even a past-participant in their Techcrunch: Startup Battlefield competition, where startup founders pitch their company’s mission to a massive auditorium of attendees.
The event has grown into a large affair where A-list celebrities, professional athletes, and startup founders rub shoulders and chat over what the next “big thing” in tech might be this coming year. This year’s celebs included Will Smith, Ang Lee, and half of the Splash Brothers, Mr. Stephen Curry himself.
We, on the other hand, were not there to hobnob with the elite. We were there to spread the gospel of our Unified APIs and the benefits that come with them. Armed with a few hundred pairs of Kloudless branded sunglasses, we settled into our booth in the Taiwan Pavilion and got to work.
Over the three days we spent at the event, we spoke with hundreds of attendees regarding their interest in our product. From smaller startups looking to add integrations to their codebase with as little hiccups as possible to sharply-dressed VC’s that sought out exciting startups to fund, we spent countless hours diving into the nitty-gritty about everything Kloudless. We also had the wonderful opportunity to network with numerous peers, both younger and older, about what challenges they were facing in the industry.
There’s something special about Techcrunch: Disrupt that gets lost in the melee of huge tech conferences. It offers a unique feeling to those of us in the startup game that gets lost at other events. At many of the other yearly gatherings, we find ourselves standing alongside the giants of the industry who come equipped with massive booths and enough screens and lights to be mistaken for a nightclub. At these events, many of the attendees are less interested in your product than what cheap swag you can pile into their tote bag to be later forgotten and tossed into a drawer.
At Disrupt, much of the pomp and circumstance is removed to force focus on the product itself. Investors and startups alike are focused on not only differentiating themselves from each other but banding together as the next wave of possible powerhouses in the community. It allows for a more laid-back and holistic approach to tech that gets lost in other events.
Another unique aspect to Disrupt is the hope that those who promote their business at the event share. Huge companies with 9-figure valuations have got their start in the same way as the current seed companies that come to the event for the first time with stars in their eyes. There is nothing to cast doubt on the possibility that they too will see the same success as those that came before them. It inspires a level of confidence for those who are setting out on their company’s journey and reinforces the fact that they belong there just as much as any other application.
When it’s all said and done, Disrupt’s uniqueness is truly what we all take away from the event. It feels as large as any other conference that graces the Moscone Center, but once inside, it still has an organic feel that many of the other events have lost over the years. We were happy to participate, as always, and we look forward to being back in the future, both for promoting our own company, and seeing what the future holds for the industry we hold so dear.