There were two Golden Globes ceremonies this weekend: one for movies, and one for Technology. The latter, the Crunchies took place in San Francisco, and despite the posh venues – Herbst Theatre and the City Hall – it was definitely less glitzy then her Hollywood sister. Here are some of the major fashion observations dedicated to my fashionista friends:
Birkenstocks are back:
(Photo credit: Nandor Fejer)
Or does it mean I am back? Anyway, that’s Paul Graham being interviewed by TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld.
Flip-flops are out: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is definitely stepping into the “upper class” –as far as dress-code goes. He lost the trademark Adidas flip-flops and wore sneakers, and (OMG!) a white shirt with a (double OMG!!!) tie. But don’t worry just yet, he hasn’t become a suit: preferred a North Face fleece instead of the jacket.
Mark and Paul were by far not the only celebrities: half an hour before start the name tags on the reserved seats read a full who is who of the Digerati, including Marissa Mayer, Loic Le Meur, Jason Calacanis and .. wait… who is that silver hair? OMG again, none other but Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie! He was there to receive the Best Technology Innovation / Achievement award for Live Mesh.
(Photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)
An here’s my chance for a dissenting opinion: I can appreciate the Grand Vision, and yes, Live Mesh will be a significant achievement one day – when it works. Apparently I was not the only one surprised, CNet’s Dan Farber shares by opinion and offers a hint at how this may have happened:
Given that Microsoft is often vilified by the Web 2.0, start-up community, and the stellar competition in the category, it’s hard to imagine that Microsoft won without a little help from the Crunchies Committee.
The awkwardness of the moment did not escape Ray Ozzie’s attention, who started his acceptance speech by thanking all – for being so open.
Oh, well – I think the Crunchies would do well adapting some of the criteria Under the Radar applies:
- existing, working product
- really under the radar (new, undiscovered)
- actual startup – not a new product from a large company
“Startup or not” was the key underlying issue throughout the event, perhaps reflecting the Crunchies’ indentity crisis (OK, just dilemma): it started out as a startup-focused event, but several categories were dominated by industry behemoths this year.
For example, let’s compare the Enterprise category in 2007 and 2008. In 2007 the nominees were 37signals, Attributor, EditGrid, Ribbit, Zoho – all pretty much in the same weight group. The 2008 nominees: Amazon Web Services, Force.com , Google App Engine, Yammer & Zoho – what is little Yammer and Zoho doing in this group? Has anyone for a minute had any doubts that this category could only be won by Amazon?
Another interesting question to ponder is just what “best” means here:
- Is it a well known brand and millions of users? They were certainly well represented: Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook and many others. Immensely popular, all money-losers – see more at this Drama 2.0 0 post today.
- Is it financial success? Loic Le Meur presented a few contenders from the Land of 2-hour Lunches
. I’ve never heard of ventee-privee, and chances are, neither have you: this private shopping club is decidedly secretive. But they made over 500 million euros – yes, it’s half a billion even before conversion to $ – last year.
- Is it “doing good”? The Most Likely To Make The World A Better Place category had all good contenders, and the Crunchie went to GoodGuide, a rating system that allows consumers make enviromentally conscious buying decisions. (Btw, you may want to check out competitor GreenerOne, which has no funding but has retail chains as customers, and has an open –crowdsourced – model for building the database.) Nice, useful, but if you ask me, Better Place will have a far bigger impact on the World. Run by former SAP exec Shai Agassi this is the company that will bring the infrastructure we need before we can sit in electric cars: the recharging grid, replacement stations, a whole new business model – it’s a fascinating story, go read it. But they are busy making deals with governments and industries, are not consumer-facing, so had no chance at the Crunchies.
I could go on picking on some of the winners – e.g. does lunching something that grows so big you can’t handle it and keep on stumbling through problems for a year really make you the Best Startup Founder, or are you just an OK entrepreneur who found a great wave to ride? – but such is the nature of these votes: popularity wins, no matter what the category is about.
So rather than picking on more, let’s finish this on a positive note. Last year I asked whatever happened to business software. This year I’m glad we had more business applications, and even more “crossovers” that may be primarily consumer-oriented but can be used in a business context. It was great to see a Better Place category, and another one, the Best CleanTech Startup also had very powerful candidates. It was also great to NOT see any of the farting, poking stupidity (although there was a Time Sink category), in other words, almost everything we saw at the Crunchies was Stuff that Matters
. I hope this trend will continue, and by the third Crunchies the startup or not dilemma will get sorted out.
a new satirical piece at the Crunchies:
Perhaps understanding the need for monetization (warning: non-PC content) the Richter Scales slightly renamed the four major blogs who put up the Crunchies… so thank you: