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9th Annual Crunchies Honors Silicon Valley Movers And Shakers


And the envelope please - ready for the awards for best venture capitalist of the year, best CEO, best startup? It is the Crunchies, the annual awards gala where Silicon Valley-types celebrate each other for being, well, them. NPR's Aarti Shahani was at the event in San Francisco and has this report.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) This is an Italian song. Let me translate.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: San Francisco War Memorial Opera House was bursting with tech founders and investors.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) This is the tech awards, show us your dashboards.

SHAHANI: And the show, hosted by the industry blog TechCrunch, started in song, a spoof aria that playfully roasted the crowd of aspiring billionaires and diligent networkers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Before they want my China.

SHAHANI: Comedian Chelsea Peretti took to the stage and put her task of hosting this year's Crunchies in perspective.

CHELSEA PERETTI: All the glitz and glam of the Oscars with none of the pressure of public interest.

SHAHANI: Though she did not shy away from issues of public interest. On income inequality...

PERETTI: The city looks amazing. I love what you did with the poor people.

SHAHANI: On diversity...

PERETTI: I hate all white men. Sorry, everybody here.

SHAHANI: And on the quixotic tech economy in which startups are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars but have zero revenue to speak of, Peretti suggested nixing every award category and creating a new one.

PERETTI: And it should be called viable business, and the nominees should be Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook.

SHAHANI: The awards did follow, and with them, a kind of mixed message. On the one hand, locals who were eager to demonstrate were not just an old boy's club. So when Slack, the office networking app, won for fastest rising startup, they sent four women of color, all engineers, onstage to accept.


SHAHANI: On the other hand, the usual suspects kept getting nominated. Take best mobile app - even though we're at a historical moment in which apps are being created around the world to deliver medical care or education, the award went to a messaging service, Facebook's. Aarti Shahani, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Aarti Shahani is a correspondent for NPR. Based in Silicon Valley, she covers the biggest companies on earth. She is also an author. Her first book, Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares (out Oct. 1, 2019), is about the extreme ups and downs her family encountered as immigrants in the U.S. Before journalism, Shahani was a community organizer in her native New York City, helping prisoners and families facing deportation. Even if it looks like she keeps changing careers, she's always doing the same thing: telling stories that matter.