Is there a good reason to launch at a trendy event like DEMO or Techcrunch20?
Of course events like these offer some obvious concentration of useful(?) people, but everyone there is also pretty easy to get a hold of online through email and blogs, etc. Probably the most useful goal is generating ripple-effect press coverage after the event. If an event generates more press coverage for you than you could generate without the event then it might be useful, but if this is true, it’s pretty likely that you are only getting coattail PR because of an eminent speaker or another, more exciting company. The biggest problem is that of noise. When an influential blog does the ‘DEMO round-up’ and you get a couple of vapid lines in the middle of the page along with 19 other logos, is that really better than getting a stand-alone, in depth review from a journalist who has had the time to dig into your service at their leisure? It’s pretty easy to have your launch overshadowed at an event, when you launch on your own, you can be the center of attention. The argument against an event launch is related to the ‘ignore the competition’ line of thinking.
I think the real answer is that if you are able to successfully generate a lot of quality press on your own, then there’s no harm in coming to a launch event, too – but if you can’t, an event is not going to vault you above your station.