Award Shows

So they did The Crunchies yesterday. It got me thinking about award shows. I am not a fan of any process that selects a best of anything that doesn't involve the parties getting out on a court or field and battling it out. But clearly award shows are a big deal and people love going to them, watching them, and winning them.

And what exactly is the point of selecting the best of any of these things? The best movie? Was it really the best? The best social media company? Was it really the best? The best book? Was it really the best?

Why can't we celebrate the diversity of the work, the many efforts that were made, and all the amazing things that got created in the past year. But instead we focus on the one single very best one. As if there were just one.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    oxygen – they do it, you blog it.

    1. fredwilson

      good point.

      1. jason wright

        it’s a little trite, but holds true

  2. Fernando Gutierrez

    I like it, death duels at dawn in Hollywood Blvd instead of the Oscars.

    1. jason wright

      The Punchies?

    2. fredwilson

      It would be huge

    3. sdefor01

      For VCs: The Funder-dome.

  3. jason wright

    …and the vc world?The Hunchies?or perhaps The Lunchies?maybe even The Munchies? (a tad controversial)

    1. fredwilson

      That’s good!

    2. kenberger

      they had a category for “best vc of the year” or something like that. Oddly, all 5 nominees were huge sand hill road firms only. Seemed inconsistent w/ some of the company picks because a respectable number were maverick / underdog.

      1. fredwilson

        i was nominated for that for several years. i asked them to denominate me. they would not do it.

    3. Elia Freedman

      Isn’t The Munchies the award for the best pot producer?

      1. ShanaC

        hahahaha – now that should be the award show for California πŸ™‚

        1. Elia Freedman

          Colorado and Washington state…

      2. Brandon Burns

        i’ll judge that show. :o)

    4. JamesHRH

      The Alps – cause you returned mountains of cash to your LPs.

      1. jason wright

        The Nix (Olympica). Fred would want to win that.

  4. William Mougayar

    Would it better if they selected 5 equal winners instead of 1 in a particular category?Reality is that about 100 or so startups capture our imagination, time, or wallets, and collectively they are all winners.

    1. awaldstein

      Never going to happen.Here’s the rub of course. When your company or you are on a top whatever list do you tell the world? Feel at all good about it?I bet yes and the lists mean nothing of course;) Exactly same thing IMO.

      1. William Mougayar

        If I’m on a list of 10, 20 or100 peers, yes I’m happy about it.The real competition and win is with the users and customers. They really tell you.If you’re a winner, you don’t need to be told….unless you’re a Hollywood actor.

        1. awaldstein

          You are a better person than I.if my company wins an award, I would certainly insure that ‘someone’ was happy about and let the world know.

    2. fredwilson


      1. William Mougayar

        I did learn about 3 companies I had never heard about from that list of “winners”.

    3. Richard

      Nine weak startups (or moviews) dont make the (S0-S0) 10th worthy of an award.

  5. Anne Libby

    Watching an awards show always makes me feel like I’m watching someone else’s sales conference.

  6. Rohan

    I think a big part of doing great work is to do it without expectation of applause. But, I think of big part of being an artist is building from the recognition.Else, all you hear are the critics whose voices always seem louder.That said, I’m not so sure about the purpose of awards for start-ups. I think it makes sense for movies, for example, though – especially if it means getting recognized within the tribe. (Screen actors guild etc)I don’t watch award shows though. I don’t fancy being the spectator on these things. So, maybe the right commenter is someone who enjoys these.

    1. jason wright

      “I think a big part of doing great work is to do it without expectation of applause.”Yes. “But, I think of big part of being an artist is building from the recognition.”Not necessarily. Depends on the art.

  7. LIAD

    one big circle jerk.

    1. jason wright

      the feeling’s mutual

    2. reece


    3. RichardF

      nice, succinct phrasing there Liad.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      You beat me to it.It does serve a purpose though, primarily gains in exposure – whether you win or not.

      1. karen_e

        The people I work with are totally divided on the issue. Some of the creative stars feel they absolutely have to win awards. Others feel it’s a ridiculous waste of money and time to enter. Hence the line items on the marketing budget are subject to change every few years.

        1. awaldstein

          Ahh….let’s presume that you can win without spending the money to get there. If you win, I bet there is no argument about spending money to market the win.Am I wrong?

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I think it would really depend on if awards could be seen as important by whomever you’d want to see them. “Awards” in the car industry are mentioned in most advertisements, however there are dozens of “award agencies” who give out awards for basically the same options – and so they’re roughly fabricated so a company can announce a “best in class” award from whatever agency. Most people aren’t educated or care deeply enough and then could be manipulated just on hearing the award. Ratings / reviews are fairly similar, though the integrity of the platform or curator(s) is then important.

          2. awaldstein

            All rewards are fabricated. That’s the point ;)As companies we make awards for our customers. Communities choose moderators or admins as much as an award as activity.Status is manufactured against a scale even when earned.And when they become old or overplayed they go away and are replaced by another. That’s life.

          3. Matt A. Myers


          4. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            Just curious about how you feel about awards when it comes to wine?

          5. awaldstein

            I’m a huge disbeliever in the numerical point scale. It works, I disdain it.Dislike Parker for the same reason I don’t like Klout. Some things don’t fit numerical scales even it they are easier to digest that way.Top ten lists work. There is such a think as quality in wine. But awards–depends on the reputation of who is giving them. Like everything else.It’s marketing, It’s useful if it provides benefits to the consumer.

        2. ShanaC

          you should do some statistical analysis to see if bringing in awards bring in business. It would resolve the argument

    5. kenberger

      just quoted you in another comment.

    6. Brandon Marker

      looks like the AVC community has awarded you with best comment today

    7. Eric Friedman

      As my friend once said “true, but its fun when your in it”

    8. ShanaC


    9. wiwa

      Its the big aggregate circle jerk, each and every company in question has its own little circle jerk going on all the time, and once a year they join hands to make an even bigger loop – jerk across america

    10. William Mougayar

      Lol. You’re the badass enfant terrible of AVC πŸ™‚

  8. markmay

    People like to be praised, rewarded and awarded. I hear where coming from but I think it’s ok to do an awards ceremony once in awhile. This post wins my ‘best rejection of award shows of the yr’ award. See, don’t you feel better? My 2€

    1. fredwilson

      Not really

      1. ShanaC

        we should do a fun friday nonprofit post?

  9. John Ford

    I guess for the same reasons you are focusing on the best entrepreneurs…You are not doing any humanaterian work

    1. fredwilson

      In my business endeavors

  10. Ela Madej

    Some big (and unsexy, so not Box) enterprise businesses would never win any “public” awards. These are awards for good/great companies (cause they mostly are) who also happen to have great PR–and that’s how award shows should be understood. It’s stating the obvious but the market shows which companies are best.

    1. fredwilson

      Exactly. They should call it the hype awards

  11. Randall Bennett

    I’d love to see something where it actually operated the way the internet does… in some sort of open, collaborative fashion over a period of time.Of course that isn’t as fun to get dressed up for… now is it.

  12. reece

    cui bono?the $how organi$ers

  13. Guest


  14. Alex Bangash

    We are hardwired to do what other people think. Awards validate that instinct. There are two reasons why VC’s invest in companies: one, to make fees; the other, to boast about it. Dropbox had trouble finding investors at series A, but everyone wanted to invest at 100X later at a $4B Valuation.

  15. rimalovski

    I agree that picking the best is silly at times. But if the award serves as a carrot to get people to do their best (or better than they might otherwise), then I’m all for it. I see that in our Entrepreneur’s Challenge (venture competitions) at NYU. The winners are not necessarily the best startups, but if the competition and prize money gets more student & faculty to think about commercializing their technology/research/idea, learn from the bootcamps, workshops & mentors, and get out of the building to speak with potential customers, partners, investors, etc….then that is a very good thing indeed.

    1. fredwilson

      Good point



  16. BenParis

    I would agree with you Fred, it is a bit depressing and outdated. Any business event which claims to celebrate great entrepreneurship and innovation should be done as an open source contest. Unfortunately, and it’s true in any business sector, people in charge of communication and PR, specialized media and other stakeholders, tend to recognize only a few of the good challengers (and most of the time miss the best performers) simply because people love to identify “supposed” winners!It’s a bad habit of staying within the comfort zone, instead of reaching out to the less conventional ones…hopefully the internet and social media have revolutionized this…

  17. Tracey Jackson

    Boy, do I agree on this. Most of the film awards are about who spent the most money promoting and advertisng. The rest usually based on box office and then so they dont look like total sell outs they honor some film made in the UK. It is sad as careers are made often by rigged choices. Since there are now awards for everything I fear creativity often suffers.

  18. awaldstein

    People create their own heroes. Human nature.But award shows, top lists, whatever just don’t work. We don’t remember the winners or the losers. Like lots on the web, exercise not result.

  19. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Absolutely. It’s one big perpetual media ‘piss-up’ (to use the English parlance) – and on expenses. Also, it gives many of same media types loads of crap content to drone on about – much easier than thinking and writing meaningful stuff. Utter bore-fest.

    1. Avi Deitcher

      OK, so why do people participate? If so many – other than the show organizers – know it is meaningless and a mediafest, why do so many nonetheless get involved?



  20. andyswan

    Go if the bourbon is good and the attire is worthy. Who doesn’t enjoy an evening among beautiful, smiling people?Leave the trophies for the kids.Starting a company is its own award show. Every day. Every client. Every employee. Every partner.Build your own audience. Earn their votes.Win.

    1. awaldstein

      Of course you are correct here Andy.But if Voomly was nominated and won, would you bother to crow about it πŸ˜‰

      1. andyswan

        Depends on the bourbon and attire…

        1. awaldstein

          We need to meet ;)I’ll dress up and sip a bourbon with you!

        2. ShanaC

          nah, you’d still crow event if the event was dry

          1. andyswan

            You’ve obviously never seen my disqus flask. No event is dry Shana.

          2. ShanaC

            you have a disqus flask?

          3. William Mougayar

            Don’t you love imgur it’s like an Image Roulette

          4. ShanaC

            haha. How did you get that?

          5. Donna Brewington White

            Life is not fair, is it?

          6. Donna Brewington White

            I think I saw that on Instagram. Very nice. Or maybe it was someone else’s.Beverages poured from a flask always seem to be more enjoyable. Why is that?

          7. andyswan

            Naughty factor

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Didn’t see that coming.

          9. fredwilson


        3. sdefor01

          Work on the company AND drink bourbon. Wear whatever the hell you want. Problem solved!

    2. Elie Seidman

      If they’re handing out Pappy, it rapidly becomes a very good event.

  21. David McMahon

    Fred, you will never win VC of the Year Crunchie with that attitude ;-)Aren’t award shows a celebration of the diversity by showcasing all companies? Choosing a winner is a way to bring it all together and unifies the process.Everyone loves a winner….

    1. fredwilson

      i would refuse to accept the award. they know that as i have told them.

  22. Tom Labus

    People like to see “winners” crowned even if it’s not the case. They also like to see the “winners” get pounded later on.

  23. aminTorres

    If 10 companies in the field of education came to USV and pitched, will you invest in all 10 to celebrate diversity or will you invest in the one that you think deserves your investment the most?

    1. fredwilson

      we have four edu investments right now (five if you include stack in edu) and we will make more

      1. aminTorres

        Education was provably the wrong example here. I was more referring to the analogy of picking and choosing and how that related to award shows in provably not that different from the investment process to pick a company over another for investment.Glad to see USV invest in multiple companies in the same field though.

  24. brian trautschold

    the next ‘judgement’ of most of these companies will be ‘how much money they raise’ or ‘how many users download this quarter’ – not truly aligning the incentives for the best outcomes for the companies.but it can be good entertainment… Still wager that our team can out 3v3 any startup in sand volleyball…which is the only award/ battle that counts.

  25. gregory

    The value of award shows isn’t about recognizing past achievements. It’s about giving creative licence for the next achievement.I watched a great interview with Francis Ford Coppola in which he described fighting with the studio management while making The Godfather to the point that he heard they were planning on replacing him as director. Then we won an Academy Award for Best Writing for Patton which he’d written several years earlier. Coppola said the only reason the studio didn’t replace him as director on The Godfather was because they were too embarrassed to fire someone right after they won an Oscar.(Full disclosure: As you know, my company owns an award show. The reason we keep doing it is because we have our own share of stories like this.)

    1. fredwilson

      and you know my distaste for them already Greg



  26. Philip J. Cortes

    This reminds me of the “Quality” discussion in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” The basic logic is that quality is impossible to define, but based on the sum of your experiences, you know it when you see it.I’m with you – one Crunchies year “” won over in a category…and that was just shocking. Bing? Since when is a Microsoft search engine a “startup”?Awards and lists are fantastic marketing schemes though…TechCrunch gets a lot of press and momentum out of it, because they’re aligning their brand (via their award) with succesful, hot and buzzworthy, companies.

    1. falicon


    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Marketing, exactly. Time-honored money-maker.

    3. LE

      “TechCrunch gets a lot of press and momentum out of it,”Not really outside a very small industry circle. Practically nobody cares about the crunchies. They don’t even get the word out to the legacy press (because that is what you have to do) and there is no mention of this anywhere other than the tech press.

      1. ShanaC

        :/ so what is the point exactly?

        1. LE

          “what is the point exactly?”For which party are you referring to? The people giving the awards, or the people receiving the awards, or the people who don’t get the awards but know of the awards existence?I guess the short answer is “it’s a party in their brain” as well as the brain of others. I mean why does it matter if someone wins any award? It makes them feel good (party in their brain) but sometimes it puts a halo around them which gets them better treatment or other benefits that are quantify.Recognition of different types has benefits that extend way beyond the obvious.For music groups it might be “Cover of the Rolling Stone”.The girl who recently sold me carpeting a few times was in Playboy twice in the early 90’s. (I didn’t know this when I first dealt with her but in all honesty I kinda thought there was something special and wondered what she was doing only selling carpet.). Then it turns out that she started dating the local weather celebrity in the area. And you know every single article about their relationship mentioned that she appeared in Playboy. She wasn’t a Playmate she was in the college issue. But some actually called her a playmate. I mean nobody gives a shit about playboy anymore (as far as a venue for naked women) but that “Playboy” brand is so strong that it’s still talked about and important.Why does it matter that anyone is a Rhodes Scholar or an Eagle Scout (mentioned previously that I was impressed Fred was because it’s not something that I would or could have ever done so it seems impressive to me). Part of the reason is that it’s talked about by the main stream media and therefore many people know and are somewhat impressed by those designations.But nobody in the mainstream knows about the crunchies so it will never hit a tipping point. Just like nobody cares who the most talented person in the country is that can fly RC Helicopters other than a select small group that thinks about that stuff.This is super difficult by the way and I’m sure anyone watching this has absolutely no idea how impressive it is (the landing on the wall part):



        1. fredwilson

          I walked into a tech company’s office on Friday and the dev team had a fake grimlock poster on the wall that said something like “keep coding until your server is one fire”It gave me a huge smile

          1. fredwilson

            i think that is what the poster said. so great.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            ME SAY THANK YOU.

          3. laurie kalmanson

            secret avc filter: grimlock posters in the office or not

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            HURR HURR.

  27. takingpitches

    “i cannot abide by the judgment of other people, because if you accept it when they say you deserve an award, then you have to accept it when they say you don’t.”

    1. fredwilson

      I love that. Who said it?

      1. Gregory Edward

        Woody Allen. He’s known for not being into award shows.

      2. takingpitches

        Woody Allen: re getting an Oscar (although insert jokes about other types of opinions that he has no regard for) Sent from my iPad

        1. fredwilson

          i love woody

    2. Elie Seidman

      Deeply true.



    4. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      good one!

  28. GreenEggsAndHam

    Love it or hate it, it is human nature. For example, would you be more likely to read an article entitled “Here are some good VCs in New York” or “Here are the top 10 VCs in New York”?In other words, people like to read about winners and losers.

    1. fredwilson

      hate all of those things. lists, awards, etc. makes me ill.



  29. falicon

    In catching up with all the news this morning…the question that was on my mind was “what the hell is a startup these days?”None of the ‘finalists’ for startup of the year were actually created that year…in fact most have been around, and fairly large by my startup standards, for awhile now…all have raised multiple rounds (some have even already sold)…

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      That’s a good question. When does a company stop being a startup?

      1. ShanaC

        well, what is a startup? (I guess knowing what is would mean precluding the not)

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          I do find it an interesting question. Seems like VC’s would be a good group to poll .

  30. William Mougayar

    “Why can’t we celebrate the diversity of the work, the many efforts that were made, and all the amazing things that got created in the past year.”Because it’s harder to figure that out. You would need to spend time gathering that info, and the media doesn’t have time for that πŸ™‚

  31. Terry J Leach

    It’s all about me! I ignore the “best” label and use my own criteria to determine what is best for me at a particular time. The “best” label is fashion or opinion, there should be small print with a disclaimer that, “This might not apply to you and what you consider best for your situation”.

  32. Semil Shah

    I tend to agree with you. I do think people like the ritual and don’t take each category so seriously. At least in what I do (a weekly column, a weekly TV show), I try very hard to shine a light on a diverse range of things. But, I do it for sport — it’s not my job.

  33. Craig T. Wood

    Long time reader, first time commenter.I think of awards as an incredible celebration of your industry and great publicity for doing great work.Is it all-encompassing? No. Nor can it be. But if an awards show can inspire someone new to start that company or take that risk, then it’s worth it. If an awards show can bring people together to talk about ideas and creating great work, then it’s worth it.I don’t think of awards as excluding work that’s not nominated, I think of it as bringing people together to celebrate the work that we all do.

    1. ShanaC

      How do you make sure it is a celebration and not another popularity contest though?(PS: Welcome!)

    2. fredwilson

      thanks for commenting!

  34. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Banal and meaningless, but harmless, I think. It’s just a marketing event for the industry as a whole, which maybe is good in many ways.

    1. Max Yoder

      Thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed it.

  35. kenberger

    I attended. Given the selection process, the winners/runners-up were super predictable: if you read a lot of TechCrunch and related blogs (guilty), you could nail it almost every time.But the event, and the big party after, were very enjoyable. Because I can attest it feels good, and homey, to have the existence of an “Oscars for Startup Tech”, even if this certainly is a “circle jerk” as LIAD says, or maybe more cleanly a group hug.I’m also *stunned* at what awesome brand recognition TC still has. Almost every winner actually showed up. Zuck?! That amazes me that he wouldn’t shun this. I’m reminded of Woody Allen who blew off every hollywood movie award show and played his clarinet at his local nyc jazz club instead.

    1. ShanaC

      Why was zuck there? And do you think the winners deserved it?

      1. kenberger

        He won for a category i don’t remember, “best ceo of the year” or something like that, you could look it up. People shrugged, few thought he’d actually stroll on stage, but there he appeared and gave a nice, quick acceptance speech and took the (quirky-looking) “deserving”, it’s quite literally a popularity contest, I think they make that clear when they solicit the popular vote on TC in the months before.

    2. fredwilson

      i would never attend no matter what. i have been nominated a bunch of times and told them not to pick me because i would not show. it makes me ill just thinking of the thing. yuck.



  36. Richard

    There is few awards worthy of celebrating, “most original”, “sales”, and “most utlity’ and perhaps greatest “value creator”.

  37. Shawn Oates

    It speaks to the competitive nature of the human race. We enjoy watching shows like American idol to see the worse be worse and clarification that our favorites are indeed everyone else’s favorite.

  38. BillSeitz

    Even “getting out on a court or field and battling it out” is still an artificial ZeroSumGame.

    1. fredwilson

      really? why so?

      1. BillSeitz

        Well, it’s a tautology/GameRule that the guy/team who won the match won the match.Whether that can be extrapolated to “that same guy/team would have won again under the same conditions with a 95% confidence interval” is open to question.And, even if that’s true, to extrapolate to “that same guy/team is” “better” or “best” is even more questionable.And then you can ask whether the game rules tweak the general idea behind the game in a way that makes the game-winner not quite the best. Best example of this: TimFerriss “winning” a Chinese kickboxing title by gaming the weigh-in rules and push-out rules.And then you can add in extra questions like “who’s on the juice” or “who’s sacrificing their long-term neural health” – yum these cigarettes give me energy…Pretty much in all human endeavor, defining the “best” or “winner” is Magick. It might be useful Magick (competition creating (extrinsic?) motivation), but it’s useful to remember it’s just magick.

        1. fredwilson

          Got it. Great way to think about it.

  39. bob

    I just love the founders who tell me they “just won second place in the XYZ award” and have thus validated their business model. I want to smack’em. As you say, sir Fred, the only way to win is to duke it out in the marketplace. In some countries, startup teams seem to make their “revenue model” one of how many award checks they pick up and put into the bank…. sadly laughable. not sustainable. and those dollars are not sales, they’re petty cash…

    1. fredwilson

      your point is that they do battle it out, not on a field or a court, but in the market. that’s a terrific point Bob!



  40. TamiMForman

    As a corporate communications director the most loathsome part of my job is the award program. High effort, high risk. Reward is high if you win (and possibly if you place) but is zero if you don’t. And it’s all meaningless! Are the lists of most valuable companies actually the most valuable companies or are they just the most valuable companies with smart PR teams? Such silliness.

    1. fredwilson


  41. EmilSt

    Same in politics

  42. RudyC

    my problem w/all the awards is mainly just like his it’s a popularity contest more than anything else. That and the fact that people campaign for them with their p/r agents working behind the scenes….In movies it means more $$ for the film, actors and everyone generally. With the internet it’s more like anything I can do to remain relevant and on people’s minds is worth it..

  43. John Best

    The very definition of the vanity metric. Best is a highly subjective term. Award shows generate attention by the media and for the media. Certainly any recognition or accolade is a great ego boost, but measurable success endures.

  44. LE

    My company made the “Inc 500” back in the 80’s when it actually meant something and Inc. Mag was a big deal (might be hard to believe now). We got so much traditional mention for that (it was in the Philly papers and other national press and a million places). People came out of the woodwork there was a plaque, a characacher of me done, and all sorts of what is now called “swag” we were given. Then yearly I was invited to all these, what Mark Suster would call, “conference whore events”. I never went obviously.Anyway we milked it for all it was worth for years creating reprints of the article along with the cover of the mag and handing them out to customers and using it for all sorts of promotion. (That was back when you actually had to sell people you just didn’t just stick your hand out and catch customers as is the case today.) We also got better pricing from vendors because they thought we were growing so quickly! [1] Most importantly when I decided to sell it was a total big deal and mattered to the buyers. They loved it long time since they bought into the whole mindset of the list being important. So there was definitely a happy ending.The methodology Inc. used to determine the list is bogus and can be gamed but it didn’t matter. The end result was it did something for us and was viewed in a positive light by everyone. Of course “everyone” back then was limited in the sense that if someone thought it was crap you never knew that. Only the traditional press had a mouthpiece.[1] For Max Yoder I present this additional “story” about back in the day I just thought of. I used to ask salespeople for quotes for things (paper we needed for jobs) that we never intended to buy. Of course they didn’t get the order because there was no order. When they asked if they had won the bid, I told them the “other guy had a cheaper price”. As a result they thought we were buying much more than we were and consistently gave us lower pricing then we would ever qualify for based on the volume of business that we had. If I had to come up with a name for this I would call it “teasing the dog”.

  45. LE

    And what exactly is the point of selecting the best of any of these things? The best movie? Was it really the best? The best social media company? Was it really the best? The best book? Was it really the best?Also important to realize that being the best is relative to others participating in a given time frame. Shift the time frame and the results will change, right? Even sports (which I will agree with you is the purest form of “best”) suffers from this. To be number one it matters who you are competing against in a given year.[1] In music, anyone remember the year that Christopher Cross won the grammys? Although the wiki page doesn’t mention it I remember very distinctly that people felt it was a joke and that he had no real competition.

  46. Matt A. Myers

    When are the AVC Awards?

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I laughed, thanks. πŸ˜›

    1. fredwilson

      every day. looks like LIAD won yesterday

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Ha. Love it.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Great example of an award being reflective of the marketplace, battlefield, game court, etc. Except it is skewed to some extent by the timing of the comment. Liad has the early bird advantage combined with being insanely clever.

  47. kirklove

    #haterStill laughing at that “……tross” line though.

    1. fredwilson

      took your advice last night. worked out great. thanks!

  48. charlieok

    I didn’t attend CES and won’t be able to look at most of the stuff shown there, but after that flap about Dish’s DVR and its award, I might go check out that DVR.

  49. Tom Labus

    Howard Lindzon was quoting you last night on Bloomberg West about Stoctwits.

    1. fredwilson

      i will track it down and watch it

  50. LE

    As I’m sure everyone has already noticed there are all sorts of pseudo award organizations that come up with awards for hospitals, lawyers, doctors and the like. And you see these awards listed in the advertising that those people do and in their offices with plaques on the desk and on the walls. Sandblasted lucite looks really good if you don’t offer glass.In case you are wondering if that works with the end client or patient viewing the award, it does. Also with the office staff.People aren’t sophisticated enough to recognize the validity of those awards and they end up being a decent marketing tool. I’ve seen hospitals running billboards with awards they’ve won which were given by companies whose job it is is to consult for hospitals. It’s a neat trick and it works in building their client base to do that. The hospital doesn’t care if it’s legit because the patient population isn’t sophisticated enough to know the difference so they look the other way and go with it.Here’s Super Lawyers: here’s one of Super Lawyers premium offerings:…Other ways to make money from people chosen when you make a list of winners is to charge hanging fees for the trophy etc and then all sorts of “must haves” that marcom people will gladly snap up.Most important to keep in mind when creating an award list is to have all sorts of degrees of granularity so you can choose more people but still maintain the appearance of importance. So you can have a list of “best business schools” then do “best public” “best private” then “best in the east” then “best entrepreneurship program”. In the end there is a prize for everyone but the list maintains it’s cache. And then everyone talks about it because they made the list in one way shape or form.Lastly when making a list don’t forget to include the usual suspects. If you’re doing best business schools and you don’t mix in Harvard, Wharton etc. and the legacy known top schools nobody will take your list seriously.

      1. ShanaC

        i actually think that trophy is kitschy-cute….

        1. Ellie Kesselman

          And I think you are correct! It is cute.As for the Crunchies: It’s difficult to take them too seriously, given the name. No, that isn’t fair. Silly name, but pre-AOL (and pre-Facebook commenting social plug-in), TechCrunch had credibility. Clout? They maintained Crunchbase. It wasn’t sterling quality data, but was superior to the alternative i.e. nothing and DIY.

        2. pointsnfigures

          See if you think your legal bill is kitschy cute!

          1. ShanaC

            hey, I’m trying to deal with lawyering on the cheap. So I know what you mean. :(. I’ve been told that maybe I should raise the money. I dunno anymore

  51. Chris Rechtsteiner

    Mr. Hubble says trophies are for people with self esteem issues.

  52. Paul Sanwald

    “I am not a fan of any process that selects a best of anything that doesn’t involve the parties getting out on a court or field and battling it out.”I love this quote fred, and hope to borrow it at some point. really awesome!

    1. fredwilson

      thanks paul. feel free to use it as you see fit.

  53. pointsnfigures

    if there was a true unifying Entrepreneurship Awards similar to the Academy Awards, how geeky would the red carpet look? No one would look up to smile at the camera, they’d be heads down tapping on keyboard in jeans and a t-shirt with Converse All Stars on.

  54. tywhite

    Couldn’t agree more. We were nominated last year for iPad App of the Year with an app that had a couple hundred downloads, and that we hadn’t even marketed yet because it was half-baked (had a hardware component we hadn’t launched yet). While it’s nice to be honored for your work, it feels more genuine when the honor comes from your customers and not the press.It’s also kind of hilarious that you can vote a million times just by clearing your cache or using Chrome Incognito. As such, the only thing I could think to do was my best Ryan Gossling impression at the event, sporting a shirt that said “Hey girl, I cleared my cache so I could vote for you all night.”

    1. ShanaC

      So should I wish you mazel tov?

      1. tywhite

        No, the whole thing was absurd. Had a quorum of our customers gotten together and said “This is the best app ever!!!” it would’ve been rewarding. Having some journalists + anonymous online voters lavishing praise seems…empty.



  55. ShanaC

    I still think a lot of the oscar “best pictures” are classics. And I guess it is that: how do you find a classic?

  56. vruz

    Which is kind of ironic from someone whose profession is to pick a handful prospect entrepreneurs out of tens of thousands.But I agree, we all win by having a wide spectrum of successful builders, makers and thinkers, not just a handful of “winners” according to a — who knows which — specific criteria.It’s just that the inconsistency between that idea I agree with, and any VC’s business model in our current day is a bit jarring.Maybe there’s something I’m not seeing something right, but that’s the way it looks from this side of the table.

    1. fredwilson

      i think you will like what i said in this interview about thathttp://www.technologyre…

      1. vruz

        Well, it’s not a matter of aesthetics or personal whim.It’s about what works to bring about better outcomes for Internet users and the Internet as an ecosystem. The current model is the same tried and true accretion model that made Wall Street and Silicon Valley infamously dysfunctional.There’s simply a mismatch of interests.As for the link, I think I’ve read you comment on the future of VC and it’s about the only humble and refreshing sign that there may be a future ahead for the industry.Which is both a good thing and a bad thing because you’re probably a drop in an ocean of nonsense.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Vruz in the house!

        2. fredwilson

          Yeah. We need to make it about the service and company first and investors second. I hope you saw the brief video of Chad Dickerson I posted last weekend

      2. vruz

        BTW, Disqus won’t render properly the link you pasted, can’t click through. Maybe it’s a little bug in the new interface?

        1. fredwilson

          I will investigate

  57. Drew Meyers

    Totally not a fan of these competitions either. Liad’s comment – “one big circle jerk” – pretty much sums it up for me.

    1. JamesHRH

      @fredwilson:disqus did you see this? Very, very funny – even by Seinfeld standards.

      1. fredwilson

        watching now

  58. Irving Fain

    Amen! Most award shows end up being an elite group of people getting together to celebrate one another. It’s not about the larger populous.

  59. John Rorick

    For what it’s worth, this is the best VC blog post of 2013…to date.

    1. fredwilson

      its early πŸ™‚

  60. Jean-Michel Koenig

    Triggerfish Animations Studios from Cape Town, South Africa is up against the majors at the Annie Awards tomorrow night – the Oscars for the animation industry. It’s a big deal for us. We’re a small studio with outsized ambitions – the barbarians at the gate. It’s the recognition of our peers. We’re the first African studio to be nominated. We’re damn proud.

  61. kidmercury

    awards are meaningful when they are authentic and reinforce the culture of an organization. when it is all about money and marketing it can be effective for those ends, at least in the short-term, though it will suffer from the empty feeling of purposelessness.

  62. RD Huffstetler

    I think there are two reasons we want to know ‘the best.’ First, an award show is a way for us to quickly create artificial constraint. Almost all media, products, revenues follow 1/x pattern, and when things don’t, we crave that. An award show is a forcing function to reduce the number of choices we have. Seems like a very rational thing for us to do. It’s a fairly efficient mechanism to focus attention. There could be more transparency, e.g. people can only vote if their vote is public, and it could be more efficient, but overall not a bad marketplace.Second, I think it’s culture. America loves a winner! There’s a reason that we haven’t adopted a parliamentary system or changed the electoral college for proportional vote by state. We want a President that wins a majority, not just a plurality. I think this mentality carries over to the rest of our culture as well.

  63. Clay Hebert

    Exactly, Fred. I feel the same way. “Best” is so subjective.For example, The Wire (what many consider to be one of the best TV shows ever) only received two Emmy nominations in its five year run. This quote from Jacob Weisberg nailed it for me:”It’s like them never giving a Nobel Prize to Tolstoy, said Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate Group and a correspondent for It doesn’t make Tolstoy look bad, it makes the Nobel Prize look bad.”

    1. fredwilson

      nice quote!

  64. David Petersen

    The Oscars seem to work very well at highlighting 50-100 movies. The nominations in fact are almost as good as actually winning in terms of helping an actor/director/producer/writer/movie gain respect and attention.Most startups can use all the attention they can get. It’s validating and morale boosting for employees and founders alike.Of course, it’s all fun and games. I’ll take respect from Google over respect from “The Industry” any day of the week.

  65. Elie Seidman

    It’s a good business for TechCrunch. But other than that, it’s pretty silly.

  66. JamesHRH

    I had to explain to my daughter, when she was 5, why i did not like synchronized swimming (she was taking swimming lessons in a facility that hosted a club in CGY that has produced a dozen Olympians).It took me a while to come up with the answer (a couple of days I recall).”I like art & music. You can just say about art & music: that’s really good, its original, you can see / hear her talent & skill. I like sports where there is a winner: he’s faster, they scored more points. I don’t like it when someone judges who is the winner. You can’t win at art.”+1000 on your post.

  67. Pete Griffiths

    This is the best blog. πŸ™‚

  68. Vikas Paul

    No body can judge anyone It’s all paid awards and a brand building process

  69. Brad Lindenberg

    Couldn’t agree more – nice to be rewarded but the good stuff worth rewarding is happening in an apartment somewhere and the world hasn’t found it yet. Popular culture TC BS.

  70. Murali Apparaju

    When I’m in a business and I’m courting investors & clients alike all the time, out there if there’s one event that has a better brand equity than my new start-up’s wet-behind-the-ears name has…., I’d surely want to jump right in & improve my chances of getting that extra nano-sec of attention, exposure and the possible business that could come along – please note my usage of would, could – no guarantees here folks, like in any investment, there’s only hope which is not always merely fond…Surely, self-nomination requires some amount of self-assuredness if not cocksureness…& if the few eyeballs I got when I figured in the nominations turn to lot more when I win – hey, am not complaining – you shouldn’t even!

  71. Murali Apparaju

    Posted this link on my blog here….http://vishrasayan.blogspot…Awards: So what if there are some & some win them?”

  72. John Revay

    Fred,I generally agree w/ your rant…it still must be pretty neat – knowing or having met most of the people who won the awards…..I think saw at least two USV portfolio companies as winners – Code Academy and SoundClound.Maybe the better gauge – is the top ten down load app listing from the app store – re: real users vs just PR/ voting.Interesting side note on this post – I saw that it was posted or tagged under “rants” – I clicked through to see what the other rants you went on – this was only one of two listed /tagged under rants.The other one was from last fall…Don’t Believe Everything you Read.



    1. Jack Gavigan

      I disagree. I think most smart people recognise that the Crunchies aren’t to be taken too seriously. I was there and it struck me as a kind of deliberate parody of the Oscars and more of an excuse to have a big party than any serious attempt to claim that, for example, Mark Zuckerberg is a better CEO than Elon Musk.It’s nice to go and have a fun evening and meet some random strangers every once in a while, just so long as, for following morning, you get up, shake off your hangover and get on BEING ON FIRE AND AWESOME!tl;dr: Lighten up! (Preferably by BEING ON FIRE!)



        1. Jack Gavigan

          I concur.Also, it’s worth noting that there were lots of hot chicks at the Crunchies.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Jack Gavigan

            LOL! I don’t think anyone, ever, in the history of the Universe has ever thought to themselves, “I’m going to do a tech startup so I can meet more chicks!” πŸ™‚

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  74. heyehd

    self-congratulatory, self-serving, self-aggrandizing awards shows – but then again, that’s just me. “shut up, get to work, let the product speak for itself”

  75. Arnaud Bilquez

    Because “This is a mans world!”.