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news Domain Insights from TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 Agenda

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Next month in San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 is happening. This event brings together tech leaders and enthusiasts, startup founders, and early stage investors.

It struck me that the conference agenda and speaker list could provide valuable insights for domain investors. So what did I find?

The 8 Industry Stages

In the past, TechCrunch has had stand-alone sessions, but this year they are combining them as 8 stages at the main TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 event.
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The 8 Industry Stages & Tracks at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023. Graphic courtesy of TechCrunch Disrupt.

While the Builders stage is devoted to broad aspects of getting your startup idea into development and building a client or customer base, the other seven stages each represent sectors domain investors might consider.

Artificial Intelligence

It is no surprise that artificial intelligence, AI, is listed first. For domain investors, sales of .ai domain names, and .com names with artificial intelligence applicability, are hot right now.

Let’s look at the AI Stage agenda to see ideas that domain investors should keep on their radar.
  • Several sessions deal with potential negative impacts. For example, Gary Marcus is speaking on Between Hype and a Hard Place: AI’s Next Steps. Kathy Baxter and Camille Crittenden lead a session Bias, Toxicity and Hallucination: Can AI Be Ethical?.
  • The release of Chat GPT opened the floodgates for AI generative text. The limitations of generative text, and how much it can be trusted, continues to be debated. A panel on the stage discusses AI Can Write Words — But Can It Understand Them?
  • John Spitzer and Tye Sheridan in the session entitled Lights, Camera, Algorithm! Where AI Fits into Movies, Games and Creativity remind us that AI is about far more than text. Finding domain names that can have application to fields such as these is probably better than further saturating the generative text AI niche.
  • There may be significant rewards for those who think about AI applications that few are talking about. One of these is featured at the conference, with a session on supply chain and CPG (consumer packaged goods). But there are hundreds of application niches that are not obvious, and domain investors who understand all of business, technology and AI will find opportunities.
  • So far we have seen applied AI mainly in the cloud. Will things stay that way, or will it migrate to local devices. Both views are represented on the agenda, with Thomas Kurian of Google Cloud giving a session AI in the Cloud, while Qualcomm Inc are sponsoring a session The Next AI Evolution Moves into Your Hands.
  • Check out the complete stage agenda for other sessions, including robotics and automotive applications.
Artificial Intelligence has been widely discussed on NamePros:
SAAS

The second theme at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 is SAAS (also written SaaS), Software As A Service.

There is an overview of the SAAS stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023.

Some of the sessions are geared to developers, with topics on GitHub, Atlassian and Cloudflare, and on scaling and selling your SAAS.

Others, such as The Workplace of the Future is Here by Erik Braund, on how SAAS enables different models for effective working, are of broader interest.

You might not at first think of quantum computing and SAAS together, but the TechCrunch Disrupt session on The State of Quantum suggests cloud-based quantum computing tools may be closer to reality than we think.

There does not seem to be nearly as much coverage of SAAS as AI on NamePros, but here are a few links to get you started:
Fintech

Next up on the TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 stage is Fintech. While financial technology has been a major trend for a number of years, there is no sign of it dropping any time soon.

The usual array of topics, such as The Future of Payments, fill much of the agenda for the FinTech stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023.

I found the opening talk, on Embedded Finance, particularly interesting:
Creating a bank account, storing money, receiving a payment card and lending money should be as easy as opening an account on a social network. Or at least, that’s the promise of embedded finance. That’s why a new wave of finance infrastructure companies are reinventing banking — and they could potentially turn any company into a fintech company.
The session is by Peter Hazlehurst, Amanda Swoverland and Laura Spiekerman. I later discovered that @brainland had already introduced the topic of Embedded Finance to NamePros.

While there has been lots of requests for FinTech names, and reported sales of FinTech names, and some mention of topics in the tech news, I had trouble finding many NamePros consolidated informational threads on the topic. Hopefully readers can suggest some in the comments.

Security

Security issues are everywhere, and it is no surprise that it was selected as a TechCrunch 2023 stage topic, with the presentations on the final day of the conference.

Here is a list of some of the security stage session titles:
  • Signal and the Future of Encrypted Messaging
  • Ransom-where? The U.S. Cities Fighting Back Against Hackers
  • The Insecurity of Things
  • What We Can Learn from Cybersecurity Trashfires
  • Why is Web3 Such a Trash Fire of Cybersecurity?
  • The Spyware Industry is Out of Control. Now What?
No doubt the number of startups that seek to help solve the multitude of security threats, online and offline, will need effective names to stand out in a crowded and confusing field.

Sustainability

The sixth major theme at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 is sustainability. While it is hard to read or watch anything without being reminded of the importance of sustainability, I sometimes wonder if domain investors have not given it quite the weight it deserves.

Sustainability is a very broad topic, with many niches including low carbon energy sources, conservation, biodiversity, recycling and reuse, more efficient housing and transportation, electrification, and numerous other topics.

We already hear a lot about the circular economy, and that will only increase.

You may know Rick Fox as an NBA champion, but he is Co-Founder and CEO of Partanna. His session at TechCrunch Disrupt, Doing Something Concrete on Climate, talks about making building with concrete more efficient. About 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to cement. Partanna promotes carbon-negative building materials, replacing Portland cement and high temperature processes with concrete from alternative natural and recycled materials.

I did not do a complete analysis of NamePros discussions related to sustainability, but here are a few:
Space

Next up on the TechCrunch stage is Space. With India having just successfully landed a rover on the lunar surface, and people returning to the moon in the coming years, renewed talk of space resources extraction, small satellites transforming offering of services and sensing, and private space tourism a reality, the space sector has received a lot of attention of late.

The TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 Space stage has a short but diverse set of topics, from partnering with governments to fund space projects, to AI and space warfare, to quantum computing and a new age of space-facilitated espionage. I was surprised that some obvious topics, such as extracting resources from near-Earth asteroids or the moon, were not mentioned.

Back in 2019, @MackieMesser started a NamePros Showcase for Space Related Domain Names.

There is a separate Showcase for Space Travel Domains, started in 2022 by @rokoroko.

I covered a space startup and domain name acquisition by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: The Interesting Buyer and Plans for the Domain Name Privateer. As part of that article, I list possibilities for space sectors and naming opportunities – see the section Space Domain Name Opportunities.

Builders

The final theme, Builders, is broad. I think it is important to domain investors two ways. Some of the aspects of building a startup apply to building a domain enterprise. Also, domains that are well suited to service providers related to building businesses is a topic not to overlook. Check out the TechCrunch Disrupt Agenda to see the list of sessions.

Final Remarks

While I focussed on the TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 thematic stages, there were also a few topics of direct interest to the naming and branding community.

Three presenters from Koto Studio offered a session Why Brand is Your Most Valuable Asset Class:
In an age where technology allows for rapid duplication of product features, brand stands as a company’s prime defendable asset. While lasting differentiation seems unthinkable when rivals rapidly mimic functionality, a distinctive brand remains impossible to replicate. Sharing examples from the last decade’s most disruptive and category-defining brands, hear from brand and digital agency Koto on why brand is the most under-leveraged asset class in tech and learn how to utilize it for building a competitive differentiation and a lasting business advantage.

A number of other NamePros discussions are relevant to this topic. For example, @enterscope started a discussion a few months ago pointing out how well NamePros members did in identifying various tech trends in the early stages.

@FavourB started What Is The Next Big Thing? back in 2019.

It is interesting to compare the TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 agenda topics with the themes identified in the analysis by @narbuq of domain names used by Y Combinator W22 and S22 startups. FinTech, SAAS and Space Exploration were popular in both lists, and Sustainability reflected in solar energy and other narrower terms.

If considering names in a new niche or sector, keep in mind that it is best to invest in areas that you know well. See Catching Trains and Avoiding Train Wrecks for other caveats.

The NamePros Blog covered Finding Technology Trends and Opportunities.

I look forward to reading your input on this topic.
  • Please share your opinions on how these 8 sectors may play into the demand for names in the coming years.
  • In particular, which of the 8 do you think will be most important to the naming community?
  • Please comment on what other topics they think should have had a place on the TechCrunch Disrupt stage?
Please do not use the comment section to promote names that you have for sale, however.

If any NamePros members are actually attending TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, I hope they will share what stood out for them. Here is the link to TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, in San Francisco, Sept. 19-21, 2023. It is not yet too late to buy tickets, if you see yourself being in the area.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Bob, I just want to take a moment and personally thank you for all of the time, energy and expertise you tirelessly and selflessly provide to the industry with these timely, cogent and helpful analyses. You are a true pro and are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 
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Bob, I just want to take a moment and personally thank you for all of the time, energy and expertise you tirelessly and selflessly provide to the industry with these timely, cogent and helpful analyses.
Thank you so much for your incredibly kind comments, Kate. I really appreciate all that you have contributed to the domain community, and the model of excellence and success that you set. Thanks for coming by NamePros, and I am glad you found the column interesting.

I appreciate the opportunity that NamePros gives me to share something new each week, and the incredible expertise and spirit of sharing within the domaining community.

Thanks again,

Bob
 
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I'm already on a road to San Francisco :ROFL:
Zach Galifianakis Thumbs Up GIF


Thanks Bob!
 
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Most under-exploited categories: Sustainability, Security.

Most under-exploited angle overall: Brandable names geared to be names and not literal descriptions.
 
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A similar theme over at Ycombinator

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Most under-exploited categories: Sustainability, Security.
Thanks for offering your opinions, @trelgor.

My personal feelings are the same. I think security in all its forms and sustainability offer the best opportunities that have not already been overexploited.

I welcome others to express their views on this, and in particular on what major sector should have had a TechCrunch Disrupt stage theme, but didn't.

In the latter, my personal choices would be biotech / medical tech and housing. You might think housing is essential, but boring, but I think the widespread housing supply/demand shortfall will spur a whole host of startups on innovative modular construction approaches, new forms of housing, new ways to sell and finance housing, etc.

-Bob
 
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