This years TechCrunch award program called “The Crunchies” was so vastly different from all of the others, it took me a full week, plus, to figure out what I was going to say. The nature of blogging is to state your unvarnished view, so here goes: The Crunchies made me sad. Yep: sad.
Sad because the event was the brainchild of TechCrunch under the blog’s founder Michael Arrington, who also put on the famous Crunchies gorilla suit (as has now former CEO Heather Harde) since the beginning, but last year’s family separation between Arrington and much of his core staff from the online publication, left for an event that was just lacking in soul.
That’s not to say the audience wasn’t great, and there weren’t fun moments like this one with the BBC’s Richard Taylor hold court with funny impersonations, wowing the team that started the Tap Tank company, and we managed to get popular venture capitalist Ron Conway into the act too :
That was just a taste of the fun. But the awards program itself came off as, well, awkward. At first, I really expected Mr. Arrington to make an appearance at the show, and even be on stage. It was nice – no, great – that Heather Harde was honored, and in a moving segment, too. But to then have a little known social-media based comedian say that Ms. Harde was the “un-Michael” was insulting. I’m pretty sure the guy didn’t know Michael Arrington well at all, and I’m not saying I do. But the ribbing was of the nature that’s best delivered from a friend, and he is not one to Michael, I know that much.
I mean you can get mad at something Michael does or says to you as one who’s acquainted with him, but you can still like Arrington, too. Some people take Michael’s shtick a little to much to heart, and for no good reason. That was clear at The Crunchies.
I didn’t like that, and I disliked that the show opened with us being subjected to Arianna Huffington, as if she had something to do with The Crunchies other than being its new manager-of-sorts. The appearance of her Twitter tweets where Arrington’s would normally have been in the opening bit was unsettling, given all of the rumors of discord between the two of them.
Arianna could have elected to leave her face out of The Crunchies and include Michael’s face instead, or an on stage talk would have been much cooler. But having her face and Twitter tweets in the audience’ collective face, seemingly in place of Michaels’s, just wasn’t a classy thing to do. I was really surprised to see that.
It was as if Huffington was giving weight to all of the blog posts about their soured relationship, and writ large for all to see at Davies Symphony Hall.
Bring on the awards, right?
Well, once The Crunchies team did get to the presentation, it was marred by constant out-of-synch naming of companies with the presentation of the company’s logo on screen. So one company was called something else, and this happened again and again. It made me cringe.
After the event, someone I will not name said there was a lot of stress backstage. That’s really, again the word, sad to read. All of the people connected to TechCrunch are, from what I’ve experienced, good people. To see them go through this problem for no good or really defensible reason was difficult to do.
I’ll save a review of who won what for the second blog post, but I had to get this one out. I delayed presenting it to find the right words because I didn’t want to upset anyone. But I realized that I’m a good person and I’m not trying to do that, just provide a critical eye – and who’s going to care about my view, anyway? But, yeah, I wasn’t happy with the way people I consider friends were treated and who gave so much to make The Crunchies what it became.
I was also less than pleased with the use of what turned out to be the very cramped Davies facility. If San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is going to take a lot of time to make a political speech, as he did to help open The Crunchies, couldn’t someone trade that for the continued use of San Francisco City Hall for The Crunchies Post-Party? Davies was way too cramped for the event; it was a mosh-pit at times, and so jammed packed at the bar area as to be unhealthy.
That’s all; that’s enough.