I was deeply saddened to read Erick Schonfeld's post on TechCrunch entitled "DEMO Gets Desperate: Shipley Out, Marshall In." The feud between Mike Arrington and Chris Shipley has been well documented. Arrington has gone so far as to hope for the demise of the DEMO conference. He and Jason Calacanis have taken great pains to question the ethics of DEMO's business model. They have lashed out at Chris Shipley repeatedly. And now Erick Schonfeld has jumped on the DEMO-bashing bandwagon.
I have known Chris Shipley for many years. She is fair and honest. She is smart and thoughtful. And she has worked long and hard to build the DEMO conference into a premier outlet for startups. Chris Shipley is a believer in the power of technology and the value of emerging companies. She has helped launch many hundreds of great companies and products. And she is a powerful advocate for those companies that she has showcased on the DEMO stage.
Today it was announced that Chris is handing over DEMO to Matt Marshall of VentureBeat. My congratulations to Matt. I wish him the best of luck in his new role with DEMO. I have long been a fan of the DEMO conference and hope that it will continue to prosper. As Marshall Kirkpatrick writes in ReadWriteWeb, "We'd like to see a bunch of successful conferences thrive and bring great technology into the public eye." I couldn't agree with him more.
I look forward to attending this year's DEMO conference a little over two weeks from now. I am sure that I will see some compelling demos, meet many great entrepreneurs, and get a broad overview of the startup landscape. But, most of all, I look forward to seeing Chris Shipley on the DEMO stage one final time and to wishing her the best as she passes the torch to Matt Marshall. Chris has been a wonderful steward of the DEMO conference and her thoughtfulness will surely be missed.
 I personally believe that the suggestion that DEMO's business model is somehow less ethical because startups are charged to participate in the event is silly. It is, no doubt, a different model than Arrington and Calacanis's conference which makes its money through sponsorships and registration fees, rather than demonstration fees. But that does not make it less ethical. Is it unethical for Sprint to charge for 411 calls merely because 1-800-FREE411 will provide information for free? I don't think so. It's a shame that Chris Shipley has had such strong accusations leveled at her over these last couple years.