Marissa Mayer Won CES

What’s that old saying? Software will eat the world? That was never more evident than at CES 2014. Now that the dust has settled, the Gorkana Group has released a social insight report for the event, and one thing is instantly clear: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won the show.

Based on Twitter mentions alone, Mayer dominated other CES keynote speakers. Gorkana clocked 5,200 Twitter mentions about her keynote. Intel’s Brian Krzanich and Sony’s Kazuo Hirai received 2,100 and 1,400 mentions, respectively.

As Gorkana notes, though, it wasn’t just about Twitter. Many media outlets live-blogged her talk. We even sent three writers to cover her keynote where other keynotes only got one. We used to blow off Microsoft’s because we knew it would be a snooze every year. And every year it was.

This attention was partly because this is the first time Mayer talked at CES. The CEA has always brought tech titans in to speak. CES attendees, who are often dry and burnt-out like myself, have for years heard from Microsoft, Samsung, Ericsson, Verizon and the like. They heard from the establishment — the old dogs of hardware. And with the notable exception of Qualcomm’s WTF-extravaganza in 2013, they’re all snooze fests: self-promoting rubbish from a stuffy hardware executive.

But maybe with Mayer, we, the tech press, collectively hoped it would be different.

It wasn’t. It was still the same dry talk but with fresh faces.

Yahoo rolled out its new stars in Katie Couric and David Pogue, and Tumblr CEO David Karp shared the stage with her to talk ads. Mayer announced that the company had just purchased Aviate, an Android launcher. But it was mostly self-promoting rubbish about the future of Yahoo. And why not?

Yahoo is on a tear. If by perception alone, Yahoo is making a fantastic recovery and is quickly reinventing itself. As Yahoo’s captain, Mayer had, and will continue to have, a lot to brag about.

Being the most popular kid at school doesn’t mean you’re the best, though. For my money, Intel’s Krzanich gave the most interesting talk. Sure, he also highlighted Intel’s recent advancements, but he talked about the recent trends of the Internet of Things and wearables — spaces that are set to explode in the coming years. The report notes that wearable technology was the most prominent trend mentioned on Twitter during CES with 61,000 hits.

Will Mayer return for a repeat performance next year? I’m sure the CEA hopes she will. The reaction to her talk proved that companies do not have to debut hardware to make waves at CES.

Interestingly enough, Micheal Bay garnered over 15,000 tweets for his little flub. Apparently, if you don’t talk on stage, you’ll get even more attention.