TechCrunch50: Where are all the great ideas?

Today is day 2 of the TechCrunch50 conference.  Yesterday I spent 11 hours watching early stage start-ups launch their products via rapid-fire 8 minute presentations.  After each presentation, a panel of judges provides feedback American Idol-style.  The energy is palpable and I’ve met some wicked smart people (and even got to see Ashton Kutcher launch his new company) — it’s very inspiring. 

But one thing that’s been a little disappointing is the ideas.  The 51 companies presenting this week were selected from 1038 applications, so these are the best of the best.  But most of the ideas I’ve seen so far are either features that are too small to stand alone as products or incremental improvements on stuff that’s been done before.  I’ve seen very few interesting ideas and even fewer interesting companies (i.e. ideas that can make money).

Where are all the big, game-changing ideas? 

The Internet may not be in its infancy any more, but it’s still a toddler and we’ve only begun to see the ways it will change our lives.  Maybe Silicon Valley can’t see the forest for the trees.

[Side Note:  The most interesting company I’ve seen so far is OpenTrace out of Japan.  OpenTrace allows you to trace the ingredients in a product (say, a box of cereal) back through the supply chain and measure the environmental impact of producing and consuming it.]


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