Kara Swisher

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Demo Duo Chris Shipley (Outgoing) and Matt Marshall (Incoming) Talk!

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This past weekend, BoomTown revved up the Mini and headed out in the pouring rain to a Peet’s Coffee in Fremont, Calif., to the exact spot where Demo Executive Producer Chris Shipley proposed that VentureBeat founder and Editor-in-Chief Matt Marshall take over the longtime, semiannual conference where several dozen start-ups strut their stuff in front of an industry crowd.

Shipley will still be running the show at Demo09 starting Sunday in Palm Desert, as well as the next Demo in the fall, with Marshall working alongside until he takes over fully in 2010.

(Shipley will remain on the advisory board, but will mostly be focusing on her consulting firm, Guidewire Group. She has run Demo for 13 years.)

Shipley and Marshall talked about it all in a video interview, as well as the fake controversy ginned up last year by champion ginner-upper TechCrunch–which, big surprise, runs a competing conference–about Demo’s longtime (and transparent) practice of charging a large fee to presenters.

“It was a false argument created as a marketing tool by a competitor,” said Shipley flatly.

What will be more pertinent and interesting in the Marshall era will be the integration between his VentureBeat Web site and the IDG-owned Demo conference, which could be a good way to take the conference and make it a year-round community of interest.

“We want to turn from a five-day affair into an ongoing conversation 365 days a year,” said Marshall, who also said the Demo model still works well. “It’s not that broken, so we will be tweaking it more than fixing it.”

Here’s the video of the pair chit-chatting about it all (sorry about the coffeeshop noise, but it was very festive):


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