So here we go then, the fourth and final part of my award-winning TechCrunch50 coverage; the all-important ’round-up’. This is where I ask appropriately round-uppy questions like “what did we learn this week?” “what were the highlights of the event?” and “is there any chance it will happen again next year, given that the whole spectacle climaxed with Arrington walking off stage as co-host Calacanis led the audience in some weird, embarrassing clapping game?”
As anyone who unfollowed me on Twitter this week will testify, I found an annoyingly large number of notable moments across the two days. My TC50 drinking game went splendidly, especially after Scoble handed the TechCrunch team a bottle of 18 year old whisky from the stage. Special thanks are owed to those contestants who went the extra mile to ensure that we got wasted in record time, particularly the founders of the The Whuffie Bank who not only wore identical shirts (swig!) but also identical jeans (swig!), shoes (swig!), ties (swig!), glasses (swig!) and faces (swig?!).
By the end of the presentation I imagine anyone playing along was so paralytically drunk that The Whuffie Bank actually started to sound like a viable business. For my part, I lobbied passionately for the company to be awarded the grand prize on the condition that they agreed to take their prize money in Whuffies.
And yet, despite my annoyingly persistent Twitter coverage, there remained a few special moments that were just too brilliant or too ridiculous to be explained in 140 characters. Moments which, at the time, made me think “I can’t possibly Twitter this”, but which – now that the dust has settled – make me think “screw it – they’re too good not to share.”
Here, then, are my top five unTwittered moments from TechCrunch50 2009…
Anyway, my favourite part of what some pundits are already calling ‘Flaggate’ came when I jokingly asked over Twitter if anyone had a giant French flag that I could fly on the other side of the stage. A freedom flag, if you like. My first surprise came when when, within minutes, Loic LeMeur forwarded me an email from someone offering to courier a gigantic flag to the venue. My second surprise came when I saw who had sent the mail. It was Pierre-François Mourier, the French Consul General in San Francsico – the highest ranking French diplomat in Northern California. I swear I’m not making this up…
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 23:51:44 +0000
Subject: Marseillaise and Star Spangled Banner
To: Loic Le Meur
I have just read Paul Carr’s tweet and I am ready to deliver a huuuuuge French flag as he requested to TechCrunch50, just tell me if I should put Paul’s name as recipient?
And, of course: I don’t want this gesture to be interpreted as a manifestation of French imperialism in California!
Now, I’m sure we can all agree that à cheval donné on ne regarde pas le dents, but sadly before I could take M. Mourier up on his kind offer of manifesting French imperialism in California, Arrington removed the flag from the stage for a final time. C’est la vie; there’s always next year.
Or is there….?
Anyone who knows either Michael or Jason will tell you that they both have ridiculously strong ideas about how things should be done, and that neither has a functioning compromise chip. Why then should their falling out at the end of a stressful conference be a cynical stunt as opposed to, say, a perfectly logical outcome? Frankly it’s amazing they held it together that long.
For those who didn’t stick around until the end of the event (for shame!), the final confrontation came when Arrington, irritated by what he called ‘the Jason Calacanis Conference’, chose to walk off the stage and leave Calacanis to present the final awards. In response, Jason lead the audience in a round of applause that was either intended to bring Michael back to the stage or to bring Tinkerbell back to life. I’m not sure which.
Either way, the attempt was unsuccesful: Arrington had left the building. The question is, will they kiss and make up now that the stress has passed, or is this really the end of the most volitile on-stage partnership since that tiger bit Roy’s neck? Yesterday, in an interview with VentureBeat, Jason said that next year’s event – and the partnership – is definitely still on. And yet at dinner last night, Arrington refused to comment on the record. When I told him that his silence might be interpreted as a continuation of the spat, he simply smiled, shrugged his shoulders and poured himself another glass of Diet Coke.
Say what you like about Jason – including the fact that he seems to be turning into Leo Getz – but he certainly provides splendid entertainment….
The ending says it all. Watch this space, and roll on 2010.