What I Learned at the Crunchies

Feb 12, 2014 Anne Baker


 Photo by Steve Jennings for TechCrunch.
On Monday night, the tech community’s best and brightest gathered for the 7th annual Crunchies Awards at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. The event celebrates the greatest achievements in tech, with categories ranging from “VC of the Year” (Peter Fenton) to “Biggest Social Impact” (Edward Snowden)  to “Best Technology Achievement” (Bitcoin). It was an interesting and insightful evening with plenty of interesting lessons about San Francisco and the tech culture here. Here are three things I learned about the Bay Area tech scene at the Crunchies:
1. Techies know their image – and are trying to change

As was noted during interviews on the “green carpet,” the tech community isn’t experiencing a ton of popularity within San Francisco at the moment, with housing prices and the Google busses becoming particular flash points. There were even protesters outside Monday’s festivities. In an effort to combat those negative feelings, the Crunchies kicked off with speeches from two philanthropists. In the first, Sf.citi chair Ron Conway encouraged techies to do what they could, particularly around inequality when it comes to housing, education and poverty. Theresa Preston-Werner, founder of the non-profit Omakase then spoke passionately about the need to show how much good work and giving the community is already doing. By putting these two speakers first, the Crunchies subtly acknowledged the image problem techies face in SF – and how to overcome it.

2. Marissa Mayer is a tech goddess

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has been the subject of plenty of snark and pretty meh press since taking over as the company’s CEO, but you wouldn't know it by her reception Monday night. There was a noticeable hush as she walked out on stage to say a few words and received loud applause. In a room full of notable CEOs, it was her presence that seemed to hold the audience’s attention the most. Despite her critics, she is indisputably a tech rock star.

3. Tech culture is growing up

“I remember five years ago and you wouldn't believe how disorganized this event was. Look at us now,” one presenter stated offhand. There were mentions throughout the evening of how far the tech community has come. For the most part, the t-shirts were forgotten at home in favor of sleek black suits and pretty dresses. The evening’s winners accepted their awards with grace, often speaking passionately and articulately about their work and gratitude for the tight-knit community.

Thanks to the Crunchies (and most definitely hilarious host John Oliver) for a great evening.



Topics: Technology
Anne Baker

For Anne, public relations is all about the storytelling. She considers her clients partners on a shared mission to craft the strongest narratives and get those narratives in front of the right people. Anne was the first Inkhouse employee in San Francisco and knows all too well the late nights and scrappiness required to get a start-up off the ground. Anne approaches public relations with a strong bias towards execution, doing whatever it takes to get the job done and provide strategic insight.

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