A Night At The TechCrunch ‘Crunchies’

I’d received a free ticket to attend the 9th annual TechCrunch Crunchies award ceremony from one of my journalist friends, assuming they had something more important to report on, like some grass growing.

This celebratory gala event is put together by the fine folks at TechCrunch to honor the brave pioneers and visionaries in Silicon Valley and to give recognition to the humble and under-appreciated venture capitalists that have brought so much hope and prosperity to our peers.


The event, while not strictly formal, was treated by most as an occasion to put on their finery as though attending a real gala or ceremony thus greatly livening the atmosphere, at least as much as can be done at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Slightly diminishing it perhaps were the advertisements for Toyota Priuses everywhere, accompanied by the cars themselves.

Photo by TechCrunch

This Year’s Fashions

All of the guests that went to the trouble to get their grown man or woman on were the very picture of distinguished radiance, play-acting in their nouveau riche dress-up party. The event was meticulously styled up to resemble the Academy Awards but with more sensible hybrid driving options and white people.

In the invitation letter I was tastefully informed,

Attire is up to you. At past Crunchies, attendees have dressed down and dressed up but the majority comes dressed to impress.

All eyes were on the outfits sported by those desiring to impress, and boy they outdid themselves this year!

Mrs. A. C. Came replete in a Vera Wang tout ensemble worn with tasteful aplomb. The hangers-on ordered her many drinks though possibly for the purposes of pouring onto her evening skirt topped with a Gap white button-down.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 4.08.52 PMMr. B.-B. G. was strolling the promenade in his Men’s Wearhouse T-Bone Chuck Blazer with Carolina Herrara’s signature white dress shirt, attracting gazes from admirers wanting to take him for a spin in their new sedans.


Mr. M. A. as usual went in his signature Karl Lagerfeld chic-waiter look with belted waists and sans chapeau, letting his unusually pointy bald head complete the space alien wedding singer look. He was measurably engaged, posting a mere three dozen tweets during the entire span of the ceremony.

The Snapchat Ghost was in an impeccably tailored Tory Burch white inflatable ghost costume which drew hundreds of selfie-takers into his orbit of ghostiness and cash flow positive magnetism.


The Awards

The MC for the evening was some sort of actress who was actually on television sometimes, though I honestly have no idea. To her credit she was pretty mean to the audience and made fun of the crowd a lot, although nearly everyone I spoke to mentioned that last year the host was someone from HBO’s Silicon Valley and was really really drunk and went way over the line in ripping the attendees a new asshole for being terrible human beings. Needless to say they were glad he wasn’t invited back.

Really sad I missed it

But enough about the hosts, let’s talk about some of this year’s nominees and winners!

The TechCrunch Crunchies are all about Tech. As in technology. As in boilerplate database-driven software written in high-level boutique scripting languages employing proprietary walled-garden frameworks. Innovation and disruption are the name of the game, breaking down old staid ideas and replacing them with dynamic new market-driven efficiencies. So it should be no surprise that the Best Mobile App for 2016 went to Facebook’s Messenger app, a revolutionary new take on AOL Instant Messenger, like the ICQ of Western Europe, or kind of like WhatsApp but with ugly avatars (wait shouldn’t they be the same thing by now? Didn’t Facebook buy them?)

Props to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, winner of CEO Of The Year (his second award). Dude has hella cash so you pretty much gotta give it to him I guess.

Biggest Social Impact was won not by the people fighting child sexual exploitation as expected but code.org, which teaches people to program.

Best overall startup was a tough race between Slack, Docker, Snapchat, Uber and Xiaomi. I had hopes for Docker but suspected I may have been the only person in the audience who’s actually used it. The award went to the service that everyone was seen using shortly after the event ended – Uber! I feel really happy for their CEO Travis Kalanick, we were all pulling for him! Maybe he can pull more chicks with his Uber hat at The Battery now.


Mega congratulations are in order for Bill Gurley, winner of VC of the Year. I don’t know who this man is but he sure is tall and could buy and sell my whole family on a whim! I enthusiastically clapped for his acceptance speech along with the rest of the crowd. He then went home to bathe in a tub of rare Wu-Tang albums to wash the hoi polloi germs off.

Scott and Cyan Banister, actual decent human beings, won Best Angel Investor(s). They have a sweet First Amendment Clinic in support of free speech legal amicus briefs which I’m a fan of.

Also Cyan was one of the few people who didn’t look like they were wearing a dress ironically


The Press

I sat in the press section by Owen Thomas, former Valleywag gossip columnist and noted writer of words. He recently quit his job at ReadWriteWeb and was attending the ceremony on behalf of his personal enterprise Ditherati. When questioned as to the nature of his new venture he replied that it was still being figured out.

A reporter seated next to me and I had some lively chats guessing who would win the awards. I did pretty good at predicting the winners and should have put down some money. Mostly I was a royal jerk, hollering and clapping loudly for Facebook and Apple, deriding the stupid nominations and generally trying to get thrown out. I am ashamed to report that I failed in my quest. Next year I’m bringing a bottle of something vicious to stoke the fires of righteous disgust. Or maybe the bubble will finally burst and impoverish the usual guests, as my Uber driver told me he prays for daily.

Congrats to all the winners!

Photo: the bold italic
Photo: the bold italic

Thanks to Toyota for their sponsorship – Discover the Redesigned Prius Now!

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