Backlash mars annual tech awards


The Crunchies are a San Francisco-based dog and pony show for the tech industry, hosted by technology business news site Tech Crunch. But amid rising San Franciscan anger, this year's Crunchies took on a decidedly different tone.

At the outset of the Feb. 10 awards ceremony, big-time investor and noted "Godfather of Silicon Valley," Ron Conway, asked a question. "Raise your hand if your company is located in San Francisco," he asked the tech employees gathered in Davies Symphony Hall.

Hundreds of hands rose across the audience. That's San Francisco's point of pride, and point of contention. Techies bring jobs and growth, supposedly, to the city, but also all the side effects thereof: a housing crisis, mass evictions, overpriced toast, rising unrest. Even the Crunchies' master of ceremonies, comedian John Oliver (of Daily Show fame), took it to the techies of the city.

"You're no longer the underdogs! It's very important you realize that," he said to the crowd, roasting the attendees who still laughed anyway. He even brought the Google buses into the mix. "Now you're pissing off an entire city, not just what with what you do at work but how you get to work. It's not easy to do that!"

Cue the Crappies, the awards ceremony for the rest of us. Hosted on the sidewalk just outside the Crunchies, the Crappies highlighted folks in tech most responsible for turning San Francisco into a playland for the rich, as opposed to a hometown for families, and put them on blast.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was named Best Tax Evader of the Year, in honor of the now estimated $55 million Twitter local tax break championed by Mayor Ed Lee. The man who confused attacks on the one percent with Nazi Germany, Tom Perkins, was honored for Diarrhea of the Mouth. Google was honored for driving a Bus in a Bubble. Ron Conway, the angel investor who invested early in companies like AskJeeves and Twitter, was named Angel of Death.