Demo '06 prep doesn't go without a hitch

With less than 24 hours to go before giving a presentation at Demo, one company's execs sweat out the rehearsals. Photos: Multiverse does Demo '06 Photos: The faces of Demo '06

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
PHOENIX--It's 19 hours before Corey Bridges and Bill Turpin are scheduled to step onto the stage for their all-or-nothing presentation at the Demo '06 conference here, and they're fighting some serious technology problems.

The hallmark of Demo is its format: Companies pay thousands of dollars to come here and get just 6 minutes to make the case for their product or service to an audience of hundreds of journalists and venture capitalists. And they'd better be ready. If something goes wrong, or if they forget their lines, too bad. The next presenter is waiting in the wings.

Demo

So for Bridges and Turpin, of The Multiverse Network --which has created a platform for developing online games--the clock is seriously ticking. And it shows as they sit in their hotel suite, running through their presentation over and over again.

On the coffee table, the remains of a room service pasta dish lie forgotten, and shaving is left for later.

"We've done a couple run-throughs (today), and I keep forgetting my lines," said Turpin, the CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Multiverse. "We're a little late to this, so the script's not finished."

Turpin explains that for the past few weeks, he has been working to line up venture capital support, while Bridges, the marketing director, has been polishing a press release announcing that film director James Cameron has agreed to join Multiverse's advisory board. These are important things for such a nascent company. But it's not helping them prepare for Demo.

"Getting ready for Demo kept getting pushed back," Turpin said.

In their suite Monday afternoon, Bridges and Turpin are fighting with two computers, trying to get the machines to properly run the demonstration. At the moment, the hotel's network is down, so their battle with the machines isn't bearing much fruit. And it's a problem for Turpin, who is trying to run through his script in time with the digital side of the show.

He walks over to one of the computers and tries to hack his way through the problem. Bridges grins and watches his boss.

"This is a benefit of having a CEO who's been an engineer," Bridges said.

But the network problems are making life hard for Turpin, who curses the "unusable" technology.

With things going so poorly for Turpin and Bridges, it's natural to wonder if they're going to be up practicing all night. But Bridges said the structure of the conference forces them into a hard stop in just a few hours, when Multiverse will do a dry run of its presentation on stage.

"We have to leave the computers in the (auditorium) tonight," he said. "If you're on in the morning, you do your technology rehearsal tonight. And then they leave your computers in

 

Correction: This article incorrectly stated the name of the CEO of Multiverse Network. His name is Bill Turpin.

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