I love a road trip, so when our longtime client Brian @GreenGoose offered us free tickets to Launch Festival 2013 in San Francisco, I jumped at the chance. Between rousing versions of 80’s hair-metal songs and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, we tooled the Touareg down I-5, anxious to see what tomorrow brings.

If you haven’t been before, Launch Festival is a 3-day event filled with internet-famous folks, start-up pitches, and the “Big Stage”. The Big Stage hosts interviews with successful startup founders, VC’s, technology truth-tellers, and select companies looking to launch their product with a bang.

Behind the scenes sits the lowly “Demo Pit”, where anxious and enthusiastic entrepreneurs stand beside 24” round tables with their MacBookPros and their business cards, scanning the crowd like circus carnies vying for the crowd’s attention.

Anxious and enthusiastic entrepreneurs stand beside 24” tables with their MacBookPros and their business cards.

These sorts of events usually bring with them the standard “male nerd bait” of Booth Babes, but thanks to Jason Calacanis - the event’s organizer - there was none of that at Launch Conference. Calacanis explains that “Sexism is ok at most trade shows, but not at mine". +10 for a family friendly show!

In the demo pit we encountered a startling array of launchers, and we were looking for the Brave ones. We were not disappointed! Two French guys form Australia who left their day jobs to start Maestrano (focused on moving SaaS to the next level), and put everything on the line to travel to Launch Festival this year were the very picture of youthful technical entrepreneurship:


Maestrano

The guys at Cubicle Ninjas were presenting their first app in what they hope will be a new business unit, Sales Fu (focused on helping the busy salesperson):


SalesFu

William @TripTease (improving the state of travel reviews) won “Best Design 1.0” from the conference judges:


Trip Tease

And Issac @Flyer.io is revolutionizing the way Real Estate flyers are created & displayed, and they showed some serious HTML5 chops in their product:


Flyer

There’s not enough room to mention everyone here (see our video interview page for 30 demo-pit interviews), but I’d be remiss to leave out the two services that, in different ways, “predict the future” for your personal social network.

There’s not enough room to mention everyone here but I’d be remiss to leave out the two services that “predict the future”...

GonnaBe lets you see where the people you care about will be in a “Social Weather Forecast” over time, so you can catch up with them more easily:


GonnaBe

And WhatsBusy lets you view the predicted traffic of places you visit, so you can time your visit accordingly. For example, if you knew when the DMV was going to be dead, or when that new hot nightclub was going to be packed, wouldn’t that impact when you decided to go?


Whats Busy
If you knew when the DMV was going to be dead, or when that new hot nightclub was going to be packed, wouldn’t that impact when you decided to go?

Thanks to everyone who we met there, and we wish you all the best of luck. If you’re curious what the future holds, and how your business may be on the brink of suffering a “Big Bang Disruption” check out these launchers and hold on tight. It’s going to be quite a ride!