Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 20

Tonight was Edmonton’s 20th DemoCamp, a pretty great milestone for an event that began back in early 2008. The event still manages to attract both new and familiar faces, which makes it a great opportunity to connect with others in the community. We had a really strong turnout tonight and a very solid lineup of interesting demos.

Tonight’s event was held at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus, and featured six demos (in order of appearance):

  • Dan Haight showed us the EMS analytics application that Darkhorse Analytics has built. It runs on an iPad and provides emergency services professionals with insights into the data they already collect (every time you call 911, that information is recorded, along with response times, lat longs, hospital information, etc). The app is very attractive and the UX seems really intuitive. It could easily be adapted to markets other than EMS as well.
  • Next up was Gezim Hoxha who showed us Team Do List, a super simple task list sharing application. With a focus on simplicity the app doesn’t let you do much more than create a list and add tasks to it, but that’s the idea. You don’t even need to create an account to create a task list, you can just start adding tasks. When you’re done, you can share them via email or SMS.
  • Neil Lamoureux was up third and he showed us CodeBaby’s suite of tools for creating intelligent virtual assistants. I have to say, it looked a little too good to be true! In just a matter of minutes, Neil had created an animated, lip-synced virtual assistant for TD Insurance, it was really impressive. The application features a friendly drag & drop interface, and includes the ability to preview an assistant on a live site without making any code changes. Very slick!
  • Our fourth demo was from Ashley & Dana Janssen and Matt Riemer who showed us Tradetacular, a platform for trading Magic: The Gathering cards online. I thought they did a good job of showing us why Tradetacular is better than the alternatives that already exist. I also really enjoyed the fact that they had multiple accounts and browsers setup and open to facilitate demoing a trade. While they are focused on Magic: The Gathering right now there is no reason that Tradetacular couldn’t be used for other collectibles in the future. They’re on to something!
  • Jeff Marvin was up next to show us BioWare’s N7 HQ, an online companion site for the popular Mass Effect 3 game. The site lets players track challenges and awards, view characters, inventory, and leaderboards, and explore profiles of other players. I was hoping for a little less talk and a bit more demo, but it was interesting to gain some insight into a big company like BioWare.
  • Our final demo of the night was from Sam Jenkins and Estyn Edwards who showed us WellNext, an interactive service that helps organizations implement employee wellness and engagement programs. Tonight they focused on a specific integration they built that uses data from a blood test to provide insight into how healthy an individual is, and then provides the organization with an aggregated view of the health of their employees. It was really neat to see it in action!

I think most people in the audience were impressed by how smoothly all of the demos went tonight, so great job to all of the demoers! I’m a sucker for analytics, so I really enjoyed Darkhorse’s demo. But we’ve seen them at DemoCamp before, so I’m going to go with Tradetacular as my favorite of the night, followed closely by WellNext. I loved the attention to detail in both, as well as the confidence in how to address their respective markets. Also, as Cam mentioned, the Tradetacular demo was really well done:

Some of the announcements from the event include:

DemoCamp Edmonton 20

This being a milestone event, I thought some of you might like to go back in time and revisit our past events, so here are my recaps and links for all 113 demos:

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 21!

  • http://mover.io/ Eric Warnke, Mover.io

    Nice recap, Mack :)

    One thing I think needs to be reiterated at the next democamp is that questions about business models aren’t allowed.

    • http://blog.mastermaq.ca Mack D. Male

      I don’t remember people being as upset with that kind of question before!

    • http://pageoneseo.ca Alain Saffel

      Reiterated? When has there ever been a rule that there are no questions about business model? I think it’s a fair question and it’s often something I often wonder about demos, keeping in mind that I know some people are doing things just for fun and seeing if they’re able to put something together. Not everyone who attends is a programmer or designer either.

      There’s a good debate here about questions at Democamp: http://www.startupottawa.com/?p=1770 I agree with the sentiment that there’s no question that should be off the table, but how the question is asked is important.

      • http://mover.io/ Eric Warnke, Mover.io

        Since the beginning of DemoCamp in Edmonton (remember, we’ve done 20 now) it has been an unwritten rule. Early on it was, in fact, spoken aloud but the practice of listing off rules has been deprecated.

        Simply put, it isn’t in the spirit of DemoCamp to talk about money. The entire point is to show off something you created and that you’re proud of, not to discuss business models.

        There’s obviously opposing views about what DemoCamp IS and what is used to be, or what it should be. I do know, however, that I’m not alone in noticing or talking about how commercial it has become.

        • http://blog.mastermaq.ca Mack D. Male

          Well, having attended all 20 myself, I can tell you that the “how do you make money” or “whats the business model” type questions come up pretty much every single time!

        • http://pageoneseo.ca Alain Saffel

          Having attended a number of Democamps as well, I’ve noticed that questions about business models are, by far, in the minority. Most of the questions tend to be of a technical nature, or about the features of the demo.

          I don’t think the business model question should be off limits nor should any question really, as long as it’s related to the demo. Really, what is wrong with asking about business models? Seems to be a key question in private conversations people have about startups.

          Maybe we need a BusinessModelCamp. ;)

          • http://mover.io/ Eric Warnke, Mover.io

            DemoCamp isn’t about startups.

          • http://pageoneseo.ca Alain Saffel

            You’re right, it’s not about startups, but they’re a subset. It’s about software and hardware demos, under the banner of Startup Edmonton. We’re splitting hairs though.

            You didn’t answer my question: what’s wrong with asking questions about business models?

            I’m certainly curious what thought people have given to it, especially considering the smart people doing the demos. If there was no intention to sell the software or make money from it, that’s okay too.

          • http://mover.io/ Eric Warnke, Mover.io

            Talking about business models during a demo shifts the focus from the idea and the hard work of the presenter to one of making money, which in my opinion, is contrary to the spirit of the event.

          • http://mover.io/ Eric Warnke, Mover.io

            I agree, they shouldn’t be “not allowed” but they should be discouraged.