Most of the conferences have one rule for their speakers: no product pitch. I think they are wrong.
There are two kinds of talks: good, and bad. Good presentations are the one you enjoy, the one you learned from, the one you laugh at, the one you’ll remember. Bad talks are the one you wish you never went to, the one that makes you lose your time. It’s really subjective as it could be because the speaker isn’t good to share his passion, don’t know the subject, or maybe it’s because you didn’t sleep well last night, or didn’t read the abstract correctly. It has no relation with what people call product pitch, as guess what? All, and every talk are product pitch…
It may be the usual stuff that people qualify as a product pitch presentation: “My goal is that you buy my paid product after the presentation”. It could also be about selling something that is free and/or Open Source: “I hope you’ll use this technology because it’s the best one out there”. It can also be about hoping to get more contracts: “Even if it’s not my technology, because you saw that I have the expertise, I hope you’ll be my customer”. Surprisingly enough (or not), it may not be about the usual definition of product we have, but about marketing himself: “After this presentation, people will know that I’m a rock star”.
At the end, no matter the reason the speaker goes on stage, there is always something he’ll sell, and it may not be a paid software, but it’s definitely a product pitch.