Who needs Clooney when you have Conway? SHIFT Attends the Crunchies

By, Brittany Votto (@brittanyvotto)

When Brad and George start making the rounds on your TV and it’s not because Spike is running a 14 hour marathon of the “Ocean’s Eleven” saga, then you can be confident that it’s here. Awards Season. I knew it the second I saw a svelte Jonah Hill on Matt Lauer’s couch.

Though I could expand on why I think it’s ludicrous that, in the company of Hollywood royalty Glenn Close and Meryl Streep, Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy is an Oscar nominee for her ability to portray flatulence in a bridal suite, I digress. We’re here to chat about Awards Season in Silicon Valley. Where angel investor Ron Conway is our George Clooney. Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is our Brad Pitt. And MC Hammer is the opening act’s dad. Really.

Last week, Katherine Walters (@kayjeedoubleyou), Madeline Willman (@MadelineWillman) and I (@brittanyvotto) had the honor of attending the Crunchies – a tech awards program hosted by media rivals TechCrunch, GigaOM and VentureBeat at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall. As noted in the closing remarks from each blog’s editor-in-chief, Erick Schonfeld, Om Malik and Matt Marshall (respectively), the editors and reporters usually racing each other to the embargoed finish line filed their stories by iPhone put their deadlines aside to celebrate the greatest minds in tech.

Host Harris Wittels of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” channeled Ricky Gervais and kicked off the night with a few #humblebrags from folks like Google VP Marissa Mayer and Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington. He took a few moments to elicit snickers from the crowd by jabbing Google+ squarely in the jaw, only to watch the social network win the Crunchie for Best Social Application about seven minutes after his clever jests.

During that seven minutes, our very own Mayor Ed Lee took to the podium to emphasize his support of the Bay Area tech community, mentioning his re-election campaign only a handful of times.

Over the next hour or so, 20 Crunchies were handed out to the best of the best, with a particularly stimulating acceptance speech from Founder of the Year Jack Dorsey, where he urged the crowd to always reach for that “founding moment.” The inspiration continued with a heartfelt dedication to former TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde, in which her colleagues described her as smart, patient, humble, thoughtful – “the un-Mike,” referring to Michael Arrington, the infamous founder of TechCrunch who recently left the blog to begin CrunchFund.

With a level of class worthy of her tribute, Heather took to the stand in support of Mike, first reminding the mass audience that Mike was the start of TechCrunch and then sharing his perspective: “Startups are like pirates, and we should celebrate them like rock stars.”

I think all in attendance would agree that at the 2011 Crunchies, everyone was a rock star for a night.

One last thing – I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t direct you to the riveting commentary by The Daily Dot’s founding executive editor Owen Thomas on the night’s fashion. After all, there was a red carpet, and like any awards show, the Crunchies needed its Joan Rivers.



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