Who will win TechCrunch 40?

Part of the fun of the next two days will be seeing who’ll win the $50,000 at TechCrunch 40, which starts in a few hours here in San Francisco.

I’ve asked a few of my friends and the early hype goes to Cubic Telecom, a company from Ireland headed by Pat Phelan. Several of my friends say that they are the ones to watch — their demo is on Tuesday (makes international calling, and traveling with a cell phone overseas, better than before, my friends say). Formerly known as “Roam4free.”

The problem is no one who has seen all these companies’ new offerings is talking (the companies are under strict embargoes not to show anyone their stuff outside of NDA land), so we’ve gotta do some triangulation to figure out who’ll be the best (which also makes this, at best, an educated guess at what will win).

Why try to pick a winner before you know? Well, that gives you some context. You go check out the company that’s getting the early hype from your friends (they usually are right, by the way) then you compare everyone else to that company. If you find a company that’s better than that one you have a story.

So, how about it — which company is better than Cubic Telecom?

Oh, and I love that the early favorite doesn’t come from Silicon Valley. I bet if Cubic Telecom wins Ireland’s best tech blogger, Tom Raftery, will have a big party.


From TechCrunch’s backyard: new BlogTalkRadio launches

I’ve given up trying to compete with Mike Arrington. Instead I learned it’s easier just to hang out in his house and interview companies. Seriously. Here’s an interview I did there with BlogTalkRadio’s CEO, Alan Levy.

They just launched a bunch of new features and he tells me the inside scoop.

What’s funny is that Dave Winer called me in the middle of this interview (he had no idea I was doing it). That added some levity because Dave Winer worked with BlogTalkRadio to build TwitterGram.

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