Favorites from TechCrunch50

When we’re weren’t presenting or evangelizing MIXTT, Diana and I had the privilege of getting a first glimpse and an inside look at some other awesome startups and the teams behind them.  By far the greatest standout for me was Swype, a technology that lets you input text through a continuous “swiping” motion on a keyboard screen.  It lets you easily write text at over 50 words per minute, compared to regular tapping or T9’s systems’ average of 20.  One of the co-founders is the guy who invented T9 predictive text – it’s really neat to see an entrepreneur improving upon his own product (rather than continually insisting that it’s the best there is).  If the competition were up to me, Swype would have won.

For its practicality I loved DropBox, which leverages cross-platform cloud storage to give you a headache-free, online back up all your essential files.  It syncs conveniently and easily with your PC and enables you to share as well.  Also of note in the practical category was GoPlanit.  I’d honestly use this to figure what on earth to do when I land in a new city and only have two days to experience it.  Hats off to those guys as well for coming up with a smart name.  We’re still trying to come up with some catchy (AND not lewd) that MIXTT can stand for.  Suggestions always welcome.

Causecast gets my vote for nice design and valuable content, Akoha for a pretty innovative and born-of-goodness idea, and BlahGirls for its entertainment value, and, admittedly, for being attached to Ashton Kutcher.  Pretty cool for a TV celebrity to make a foray into the tech world, if you ask me.

The best aspect of TechCrunch50 was the cast of people who made it what it was: the TechCrunch staff – bloggers-turned-event-creators, passionate entrepreneurs, enthusiastic investors, and big-name industry celebs like Ron Conway, Kevin Rose, Marc Andreessen, Roelof Botha, Mark Cuban, Don Dodge, Robert Scoble, and Yossi Vardi, to name a few.  I’m already excited to see who shows up next year.

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Taking the Stage at TechCrunch 50 (1 of 2)

Our BIG news, and the reason we disappeared off the map for a few weeks, is that we were selected as one of TechCrunch’s 50 “Best Start-Ups” for 2008.  This means we got a spot on stage in front of 1000+ of all the industries top tech execs, VCs, and press to give an 8-minute presentation about MIXTT this past week.  We were honored to have the opportunity, and now, 2 days into the conference, can say we have been having an awesome time.

Before the real deal, though, I had the opportunity to take the stage for merely patriotic purposes, and open the conference with the anthem.  Day 1 also brought Diana and me the opportunity to stalk Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (Ashton was there launching blahgirls.com), and to stuff our faces at the VIP party (sushi and oysters, holllllaa) while trying to “network” in between it all.  Here are some pics and clips of the highlights.

Ashton Kutcher talking up Blah Girls

Ashton Kutcher talking up Blah Girls

At Jason Calacanis's VIP Party . . . oooh V-I-P

At Jason Calacanis's VIP party - oooh V-I-P

That's Demi Moore!  (and example of how I'm short)

That's Demi Moore!

Taking the Stage at TechCrunch 50 (2 of 2) – MIXTT LAUNCHES!

Backstage, minutes before the presentation

Backstage, minutes before the presentation

Diana getting mic'd up

Diana getting mic'd up

Revving up with warrior pose

Revving up with warrior pose

OK, the real reason we were at TechCrunch 50 was not for my mediocre anthem singing (shocking), not to stalk Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (ok it sort of was), and not to gorge ourselves on the amazing food at the VIP party (ok, it sort of was that too) – it was to present www.MIXTT.com, of which we are so proud.  And to get grilled by the likes of Kevin Rose, Mark Cuban, Don Dodge, and Roelof Botha.  Actually, the expert panel had a pretty positive reaction to our pitch overall, and we’re thrilled with how the whole day transpired.  We made some amazing progress with respect to funding and partnerships, and most importantly just ate up all the awesome energy of the place.

Check out TechCrunch’s coverage of MIXTT at http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/09/mixtt-hooks-up-groups-for-dating-other-activities/.

The article includes a link to the live recording of our on-stage presentation.  Enjoy!

After it was over, happy and relieved!

After it was over, happy and relieved!