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Jolie O'Dell says the TechCrunch Crunchies are rigged. And Katie Stanton says Crunchies 2015 showed a public lack of respect for women.

Jolie O'Dell Crunchies 2013 TechCrunch rigged awards - Imgur

Jolie O'Dell and Daniel Lopez at the 6th Annual Crunchies Awards.

Davies Symphony Hall on January 31, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

Photographer: Steve Jennings/Getty Images North America. 


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Jolie O'Dell explains on Facebook that the Crunchies are fixed:

So here's the thing about the Crunchies: they're rigged.

Everyone on the inside already knows this, but the nominees and winners are picked in a series of closed door meetings between three to five tech blog editors. The popular vote is for appearances only. Used to be the people and companies got picked by senior writers and editors from TC, VB, and GigaOm, but it looks like GigaOm is out this year. I used to be part of the selection "cabal," and to put it bluntly, winning or losing came down to a few highly biased people's opinion of your work, your potential, your product, and your financials.

There's no science to it, no real analysis, and a whole lot of personal agendas. Oh, and regardless of whether the cabal thinks you win or lose, you don't get a trophy unless you buy a ticket and someone from your organization is physically present at the show.

Again, I think pretty much everyone knew this already.

I'm just bringing it up because if San Francisco is ever going to have another Crunchies show, we should be thinking long and hard about why that needs to happen. Do we really need to keep lauding the rich, blissfully un-self-aware VCs and entrepreneurs in this audience? Personally, I think the money and ample external validation they get already is more reward than they deserve.


I didn't know this already. I'm naive. And I completely agree with Jolie.

Katie Stanton explains on Medium that the Crunchies are disrespectful to women:

At the Crunchies, comedian T.J. Miller, a star of the show “Silicon Valley” (which I watch and love), threw out a bunch of playful zingers in his opening act. But then at one point, he engaged with a woman (Gabi Holzwarth) a few rows in front of me by calling her a “bitch”. She responded increduously, “Did you just call me a bitch?” He then said, “Bitch, Asians aren’t supposed to be this entitled in the U.S. … Is this bitch from Palo Alto?” The audience laughed nervously. I was so uncomfortable I wanted to leave, but of course I couldn’t given that our award was coming up.

The weird, almost hostile theme continued when a presenter remarked about Airbnb’s logo looking like a “hooha”. More uncomfortable laughs. I don’t remember the names of the presenters — one was male and one was female. They both joked that they each liked “hoohas”. The next presenter followed suit, also letting the audience know that he likes “hoohas” too. Why that was important to share (or presumed to be funny), I don’t know.

I left as soon as I received the Crunchie, saddened and disappointed to see such a public lack of respect for women. And apparently I wasn’t alone...


There is a lot of innovation to celebrate. But last night was no celebration. It was a dismal reminder of how much work we still have to do. If the Crunchies want to produce a productive event that celebrates great achievements, Selena Larson’s suggestions are a good place to start.


I've never been to a Crunchies but I am appalled to see such public disrespect of women.

Selena Larson's article is excellent:

Despite the overall insularity of the night, there were a few attempts that reminded everyone that there is a world outside Silicon Valley. To kick off the show, angel investor Ron Conway brought out London Breed, the Supervisor for District 5 in San Francisco to talk about the importance of civic engagement and being involved within the community. 

But just as quickly as we were reminded of the bigger picture, it was made clear that it's only so big. Conway asked the audience to raise a hand if they lived in South Bay, where Google and Facebook are located; then again if they lived in San Francisco, the home for so many startups. Without acknowledging the East Bay, the area that includes Oakland and Berkeley, Conway moved on. 

And just to really cement industry stereotypes, Breed was one of three women who weren’t presenters that spoke on stage at the event. Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, accepted the award for best health startup, and Jeanie Han, CEO of Line Euro-Americas, thanked the audience after winning the best international startup. 


I don’t know what I was expecting. Well, actually I do: I was hoping the industry would respond to criticism, or at least acknowledge it. I was hoping that companies who so often write about representing minorities in tech would represent them. I was hoping to hear about plans for change and civic engagement. But the Crunchies, as I learned, is not the place for any of that. It really is the Oscar's of tech: The same people win awards, the same people get snubbed. We all dress up, millionaires congratulate millionaires, and then we go home. 

The night's "Biggest Social Impact" award (which went to Twitter) was a blip in the evening. (The runner-up was "Tim Cook's Public Coming Out.") 

So I propose a change. 

This industry should have a tech awards show but one we can take seriously. We should recognize the makers and founders and people who are moving the industry forward in ways that weren’t recognized on Thursday. 

Let’s give Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code a Crunchie for empowering young girls in underrepresented communities to pursue an interest in programming. 

Let’s give Brianna Wu and Lindy West Crunchies for standing up to online harassment and working to improve the lives and safety of women on the Internet. 

Let’s give SpaceX a Crunchie for (almost) landing a rocket on a boat and pursuing private space travel to Mars.

Let's acknowledge ideas like Be My Eyes, an ingenious app to help the blind see, and give more attention to 3D-printing body tissues

Let’s give Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser, two teenagers from New York City, Crunchies for building a mobile game to help end the stigma around periods. 

Now that would be an award show we could take seriously.


I like Selena's proposed changes. A lot.

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