It was a great pleasure to attend the Demo conference. Here is my top ten list of "best in show."
1. Riya: Best of show by a long shot. The new user interface is phenomenal. I've written about them before here. It is a great pleasure to see Munjal and team delivering on their vision. It's gotten more accurate and a lot easier to use, and they have an uploader that works.
2. Tagworld: Launched 3 months ago and has 700,000 users. What's their angle? It's understanding consumer behavior. For example, they showed us a very easy way to create an online store to sell goods. Teenagers will be all over this, and Myspace can't do it. That alone is enough to get people to switch. They clearly understand the consumer, and they have the numbers to show it.
3. IPSwap: It's Elance for small projects. Now that all our devices are built on open source software and all have a mechanism for updating, why not outsource for $30 the features you want on it? In this marketplace you can look for or ask certain features you want on your devices. A great example is a new firmware for my Linksys router to overclock it and extend the range by 50 ft. Basically, you become your own product manager and contract out features you want on your products. Good idea. How do you grow it? Start by college kids. I repaired PCs for $4.25/hr in college to pay for my education, with this product I could have lived like a king.
4. RawSugar: Automatic categorization of content within a web page. Google gets you to the web page you want but when you search in it, you may get an overload of information. This nifty tool lets you categorize what's in a web page. Doesn't talk about monetization but most likely this is ad or sponsor driven.
5. Multiverse: Platform for developing MMOGs. Multiplayer games are a big success. World of Warcraft has 5M users paying $15/mo to play, but the platform cost $50M to build. They give away the platform and get revenue share if a game is launched on it. What's also intersting is that they enable a marketplace where developer can share/sell items they build that work on the Multiverse platform. If they can control the customer then this company can transcend being a tool and run the "uber network" of MMOGs.
6. Kaboodle: Social browsing for shopping. Very Web 2.0. Allows you to shop better going through others who've shopped for the same things. How they grow this is unclear, but a good idea.
7. Plum: A common place for me to share my images and pictures with my community. Great consumer value proposition. Collects images and text from all kinds of sources (Flickr, Gmail, Hard disks...) and put them in one place. However, husband and wife team may make them unfundable.
8. Blurb: It's an online book publisher. Their user interface is extermely easy to use. I've used Lulu.com before and this blows it away. Well thought out and worth taking a good look at.
9. Moo Bella: Real time ice-cream vending machine. Very high on innovation, but longer than 1 year payback time for the machine make it a tough investment opportunity. The ice cream is OK as well.
10. VSee.com: Video conferencing application that works well even on low bandwidth. Infrastructureless, no need for servers a la Skype. Easy user interface. They made a horrible demo but the underlying product may be one that makes videoconferencing ,finally, easy.