Is the Demo conference still worth $18,500?For nearly twenty years, the Demo conference has been considered the place to be for tech startups seeking attention for their new products. Instead of speeches, companies are required to give live demos of brand-new products, basically launching them onstage. Demo organizer Chris Shipley has a reputation for picking products worth flying to a conference to see. But in this economy, Demo has a problem: The show makes money by charging participants $18,500 to get onstage. The rival TechCrunch50 doesn't charge. What does $18,500 buy? Shipley has published a list of conference benefits. Don't bother reading it. Instead of checking off fluffy perks like "an online microsite" and "invitation for one senior executive of your company to attend the invitation-only CEO/Dealmaker's dinner," Shipley should write another post: List all the successful products that were launched at Demo. Because right now my stomach hurts too much to remember them, and I know I'm not alone.