Twitter Wins Crunchie for Best Product of the Year

The fourth annual Crunchies have come to a close, with some of this year’s winners coming as a surprise. The show was well done and the hosts did their best to keep the assembled crowd amused. However, I have to say that Om Malik was likely the most engaging personality to hit the stage tonight. His commentary each time he stepped up to the mic kept me snickering long after the show had moved on to another award category.

The Best Overall Startup or Product for 2010 went to Twitter, who beat out some stiff competition in Groupon, Facebook, Zynga and Quora. Each of those nominees took home at least one statue tonight – other than Facebook. CEO Dick Costolo took to the stage and admitted that their win came as a shock to him. He wasn’t the only one a tad surprised, I’m sure. However, I have to go on record as saying that I wholly agree with this decision. Facebook has had significant growth, yes. The other companies have done their fair share of taking the world by storm, as well. But Twitter has become such an integral part of our daily lives in SO many more ways than a simply social platform. I feel that this puts them heads and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.

Here is the full list of winners from tonight’s awards:

  • Best Internet Application – Pandora
  • Best Social App – Dailybooth
  • Best Social Commerce App – Groupon
  • Best Mobile App – Google Mobile Maps for Android
  • Best Location Based Service – Foursquare
  • Best New Device – iPad
  • Best Technology Achievement – Google Self-driving Cars
  • Best Design – Gogobot
  • Best Touch Interface – Flipboard
  • Best Bootstrapped Startup – Addmired (iMob)
  • Best Enterprise – Buddy Media
  • Best International – ViKi
  • Best Clean Tech – SolarCity
  • Best Time Sink Application – Cityville
  • Angel of the Year – Paul Graham, Y Combinator
  • VC of the Year (individual) – Yuri Milner, DST
  • Founder of the Year – Mark Pincus, Zynga
  • CEO of the Year – Andrew Mason, Groupon
  • Best New Startup or Product of 2010 – Quora
  • Best Overall Startup or Product of 2010 – Twitter

Which of the winners came as a shock to you? Do you agree with the decisions?

How Does Google Affect Your Brain?

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TechCrunch had a great title for a recent article: “Just Because Google Exists Doesn’t Mean You Should Stop Asking People Things.” We get annoyed when co-workers or bosses ask us silly questions that they themselves could have Googled. However, the bigger issue is whether or not we are so reliant on Google that we are dumbing ourselves down? The Pope thinks that the Internet is increasing the risk of a “sense of solitude and disorientation” and basically numbing us, calling it an “educational emergency.”

Lamarr has to agree with TechCrunch AND the Pope. Google has become a verb, and it’s making us all a little “dumber.” We are supposed to actually learn things. Instead, we are relying on Google to tell us the answer without ever knowing how to arrive at that answer ourselves. How is this expanding our minds?

What are your thoughts?

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TechCrunch and AOL: A Match Made in Heaven?

The web has exploded with news of AOL purchasing TechCrunch. Instead of rushing to throw a blurb here on my blog, I wanted to take time to read what everyone else is saying. What are people thinking about this massive merger of minds? Is the tech blog world as we know it about to end? Do readers hate this idea… or love it? It’s impossible to know how one feels about something so colossal unless you take the time to see what others have to say and digest it.

Make no mistake, fellow tech geeks: this is definitely colossal news. Yes, Mike Arrington is reportedly staying with the company. Yes, TechCrunch will retain editorial control. Yes, AOL promises more technology and stability behind the scenes. Yes, the entire TC staff is welcome to stay on in their current roles. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, of course.

When thinking only of those pros, one would think that nothing much will change. TechCrunch will be as important to us as it has always been. The site will continue to deliver the news in a way that makes us want to read, right? All of the people we love (or love to hate, in some cases!) are still going to have their bylines splashed across the juiciest articles. What’s the big damn deal about the sale, then?

Even though there are several amazing people working at TC, there is no doubt that the driving force behind it is Arrington himself. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that when he speaks (or writes), people tend to listen carefully. He’s never been afraid to say exactly what is on his mind about any subject at any time. He has Cojones made of steel, and uses them to post whatever the hell it is he feels the need to. This is what makes TC as vital and unique as it is.

I’m not trying to take away from writers such as MG Siegler or Jason Kinkaid. However, if any type of muzzle is placed on Arrington, the site simply will not be the same. The deal reportedly gives TechCrunch complete editorial control. Does that extend to allowing Mike to run with stories in HIS way whenever he wishes? Will he continue to be able to report stories such as AngelGate without having someone slap him on the hand and tell him no?

It’s going to be interesting to watch this development unfold, and to see where exactly it takes us. My sincere hope is that nothing will really change over there, other than a boost in hosting and technology. An infusion of new readers, commenters and “fans” is a welcome thing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that nothing changes when it comes to the way the news and stories are told.

Super Sleuth Mike Arrington Uncovers a Plot – or Does He?

I know from talking to people in our community that all of you either absolutely love Michael Arrington – or you hate him. Either way, you have to hand it to the guy today: he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is on the side of what is right. Is he always right himself? Of course not… none of us are. I don’t happen to always agree with him, just as many of you don’t agree with me every time I type something. If you ever doubted Mike’s intentions, though, today’s detective reporting should put an end to that.

The TechCrunch founder got wind of a super-secret meeting being held today, with ten of the heaviest-hitting angel investors involved. Mike did what he felt any good journalist would do… showed up at the meeting unannounced. Being friends with every person in the room, Michael fully expected a round of drinks to be had before he left them to their meeting. Instead, he was greeted by an awful lot of dead silence. No one even greeted him. Not one person offered him a chair. A few of those in the room even looked quite ashamed to be there.

Arrington did what he felt best and beat a hasty retreat. Then, of course, he headed to the computer to do what he does best. If even a few of his speculations are true, this could be quite a serious issue. However, what if the people were gathering together to discuss something innocent that they aren’t ready to unleash on the public as of yet? Wouldn’t that account for their secrecy? I know… I’m trying almost too hard to see the good side of things. These ten people have already been drawn and quartered in nearly every blog across the world. However, I’m still holding on to my optimism until we have cold hard facts.

Bartz Curses Arrington at TechCrunch Disrupt

Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz participated in a cozy little chat with TechCrunch CEO Michael Arrington earlier today during TechCrunch Disrupt. True to himself, Michael opened the chat by asking Carol “So how the fuck are you?” Niceties aside, Arrington got down to the nitty gritty.

There have been a couple of major changes over at Yahoo! in recent weeks. Personals are no longer a part of the site. Instead, Yahoo! and have teamed up to take dating to a new level. Additionally, the company just recently announced a deal with Nokia. Both of these moves show that the company is struggling to catch up and try to become the powerhouse they once were.

Michael asked some tough questions of Carol, such as: “How important is social to Yahoo?” Carol seemed to fumble through her answers at times, as though she wasn’t quite sure what to say. In response to that particular query, she quipped: “Back when social had a broad definition, you could almost say that Yahoo Finance chat was the first social product. We have a million comments a day now. We had 85,000 comments on day one at Yahoo News. And we’re merging in some of the big products like Twitter, etc. We’re doing some new cool things with Mail next month too. It’s about finding out the new things about people.”

I hate to tell you, Carol, but you guys are just a tad late to the party. If you want to consider the Yahoo Finance chat to have been the first social product, we’ll go ahead and give that to you. However, while other companies such as Twitter and Facebook have been dominating the field, Yahoo! has remained stagnant and forgettable. The claims of being “on 37 million of the 82 million mobile devices in the US.” honestly don’t ring very true. Take a glance around the Internet – ask people how often they use any of the Yahoo! site or services. I have a feeling you’ll be pretty shocked at the reply.

Arrington was ruthless in his questions to Carol regarding Google. He attempted to call her on a few things she has said in the past, when she claimed that Google “needs to grow a Yahoo every year — just go into a lot of businesses. They have to be a 20% grower.” What, exactly, are they supposed to be growing? Google has already carved out their niche, and they continue to expand on it nearly every day. Have we forgotten Google TV already, Ms. Bartz?

What bothers me most about this interview is Carol’s lack of professionalism. I don’t honestly care how much Arrington grills you… you don’t tell him to “fuck off” at the end of the interview. I know that she (and the audience) laughed it off, but it was a serious gaffe. She was frazzled by all appearances, and knew that Michael had gotten the best of her. Just moments earlier, she had stated that she is only “one of many” people who could do her job, and that that was “the beauty of it.”

Here’s a piece of advice: NEVER tell the world that others could do your job as well as you can, and then tell the CEO of a “very tiny” business such as TechCrunch to fuck off in front of a live audience. The point isn’t that she said it to Arrington. The point is that she said it at all. Sure, I curse on occasion. However, I don’t go around telling people to f*ck off when they have made me uncomfortable. You’re supposed to smile and nod your head. Give back as good as you get. Above all else… remain calm.

You get more flies with honey than you do with the F word. I’m willing to bet that the “many people” who could do her job wouldn’t have caused such an uproar.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that Carol’s send-off was appropriate, or something she should have likely kept to herself?