Last week was the TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 conference.
I like volunteering for this event because it not only gets me a free ticket to attend the event, which normally costs thousands of dollars, but I also get to meet amazing people.
I was there last year, so attending this year gave me a good chance to view the current trends and where it feels like the market is heading compared to last year.
There was far more excitement last year compared to this year. The frothiness appears to have gone.
There were still start-ups with amazing traction, such as Fab, who gained 4.5 million users and $100 million in sales in their first 11 months.
It reminded me of last year where Kevin Systrom was on stage telling us how Instagram had 4.25 million users.
Perhaps the subdued atmosphere had something to do with the AOL effect on TechCrunch post-acquisition, the absence of Mike Arrington, a lack of founder speakers, too much discussion on funding (particularly the CrunchFund) and just plain old bad weather.
Although it was bucketing down on Monday, it was great to hear that Fred Wilson still managed to take the subway as he always does.
Overall, it just wasn’t as good as last year. The things that stood out were:
- Design is now important
- Every website is now a Pinterest clone
- Every mobile app is a Path clone
- Hardware integrated with a mobile device, or “wearable computing” as it’s called, seems to be the next wave (remember Pebble?)
- Ashton Kutcher wasn’t there this time, but
- MC Hammer was there (no one knows why)
Adrian Grenier was there to talk about his venture Churchkey Can Company.
I am not sure how they are relevant to technology and internet start-ups, perhaps it’s because of their retro churchkey and flat-top can fitting with the theme of design.
Or perhaps it was because the CrunchFund is an investor and they are expanding to the east coast. I think the latter.
This quote from a young fellow volunteer could sum up the event: “My TechCrunch Disrupt experience is fulfilled, I just met Chuck Arrington!”