Oya Attends the Crunchies Awards

It has become a tradition to welcome the new year by attending the Crunchies Awards hosted by TechCrunch. Clearly in competition this year with attracting an audience that might otherwise be at CES, the ceremony welcomed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, Google’s VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra, Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda (he has an app), Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, the fabulous entertainers the Richter Scales, and many others.

The annual event, featuring on stage interviews by TechCrunch founder and blogger Michael Arrington, acknowledges the success and efforts of internet and tech industry startups. The award categories include best apps (mobile, social, internet), tech achievement, bootstrapped startup, international startup, design, enterprise, clean tech, PR, VC firm, Angels, new gadget, founder, CEO, and best overall startup. Facebook has dominated the CEO, founder, and overall startup categories for the last 3 years, leaving some questioning what a startup actually means today.

Although the event is into its third year now, the ceremony continues to create a reputation of being unorganized and terribly casual. Music abruptly turning on and shutting off, losing presenters back stage, dead air, mics not turned on (or off), slides skipping forward to reveal the winner for a split second before even being announced, titles on the slides that can hardly be read, and so on. Many jabs were taken at this tragedy by presenters, award winners, and even the hosts. While Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park… does anyone else struggle with calling it Linkin and not LinkedIn?) was preparing to announce the winner of the award for best new gadget, he muttered “I have been to a lot of award shows and I just want to give you guys a little kudos for your production value today. I think it should be noted that any one of the nominees here tonight could probably buy the VMAs ten times over. It’s nice to see you guys are keeping it modest”. The crowd’s chuckle confirmed his observation.

Despite desperately needing a stage manager and presentation designer, the awards ceremony has become an event that the tech industry looks forward to each year. It’s a chance to step out from behind the virtual curtain and mingle with the people who create the gadgets, networks, communities, and internet phenomenons. And, if that doesn’t interest you, there’s plenty of food, drinks, music, and photo opportunities at the after party.

See you next year.

Find out who the winners are.

Watch footage from the event.

View photos from the event.

Check out Oya’s photos from the event.

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