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25 Completely True Observations from TechCrunch Disrupt

Ian Eck and Ellen Cushing | September 11, 2014 | Story

TechCrunch's annual Disrupt conference ended yesterday. We spent the last few days wandering the halls of Pier 48 and soaking in the electronic ambiance. If Silicon Valley is a high school, here are the yearbook superlatives:

Most tweetable speaker: Peter Thiel, who said all of the following: “I believe that Silicon Valley will be the center of the US economy for the next 20 years.” “The first person to live to a thousand is alive today” “The slogan for Uber should be: do a little bit of evil and don’t get caught.” “[San Francisco] is better than the rest of the country, but we shouldn’t believe it too much.”

Most entertaining speaker: Mark Cuban: “There is no sport as competitive as business. It’s 24 by 7 by 365 by forever and there are all these young kids out here trying to kick your ass,” he said, grinning. “I just love to kick your ass. Fuck you."

Understatement of the year: "I would do so many things differently" —Tinder's Sean Rad on the company's sexual-harassment lawsuit.

Most sexist startup: LA-based social video network app Groopie entered Disrupt with an array of shapely women who grabbed attendees and snapped selfies with them.

Best food: Hampton Creek's eggless cookie dough.

Worst food: The inaptly named "veggie delight" sandwich on offer for lunch on day 3.

Most likely to be the future Zuck: Max Lock, founder of Disrupt Cup finalist Shipstr, started his international shipping app when he was a freshman in high school. He graduated in June.

Most admirable startup: SOP Notify, a Nigerian startup that aims to track Nigeria's power grid, in order to better monitor and report on rolling blackouts throughout urban areas.

Most idealistic person: Laura Arrilliga-Andreessen. Stanford's philanthropy professor claims that in order for companies to succeed within "the Millennial paradigm shift," they need to be socially conscious. OK, but how do we get rich first?

Most embarrassing pop-culture reference: The repeated, irony-free showings of various Silicon Valley clips. Y'all know it's a satire, right?? Or is it???? (Ed. note: it is.)

Most political speaker (who nonetheless claimed to not be political): Marc Benioff. When asked why he wouldn't go into politics? "I say what I feel." Nevertheless, he rattled off a few things he wish would change in Silicon Valley: immigration reform, patent reform, and international tax reform.

Most Yo-like: The backpack on a skateboard. It's just... a bag, on a skateboard. We think.

Most likely to upset the activists: Alfred. It's literally a butler. Or, as they might put it, a scalable convenience app that manages all your convenience apps within one convenient app.

Most likely to upset the activists, runner-up: Golfscape, a company that aims to solve the incredibly widespread and truly heartbreaking global problem of... not being able to book golf in advance when you're on vacation.

Most painful self-deprecating joke: When Matt Burns brought up—out of the blue—an old interview he did with 50 Cent. "I called him Mr. Cent." Cool.

Most buzzy buzzwords: "The 1099 economy" "Simple" "Scalable" "Convenience" "Disrupt" (used both ironically and unironically), "Optionalize"

Most common outfit: For men: startup T-shirt (with a blazer over top if you're trying to look fancy), jeans, and stylish sneakers. For women: lots of black, power suits, scarves (the warehouse was really cold)

Most terrifying costume: Hipchat's rageface mascots.

Most opaquely named startup: Melon, a brain-training hardware startup that has nothing to do with delicious fruits :(

Least opaquely named startup: Billy's Billing, an accounting software company presumably founded by a dude named Billy.

Cutest social network: Doggybnb. Puppies are now part of the sharing economy.

Things we're apparently most likely to see disrupted soon: biotech, commercial banking, food, higher education, convenience, cars, golf, and cookie dough.

Most inspiring jargon: "We're trying to understand your body's vital narrative" —Glen Tullman on his startup, Livongo Health. I don't know about you, but I kind of want to know my body's vital narrative now.

Most boyish of the boy king founders: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. It's tough claiming a guy is the Darth Vader of startups when he looks like the kid from Bobby's World.

Best vision of Disrupt: A community of mostly smart people that might be able to self-manifest revolution just by claiming they are revolutionaries.

Worst vision of Disrupt: A bunch of companies riding on the coattails of a bunch of other overvalued companies.

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Email Ellen Cushing at ecushing@modernluxury.com
Email Ian Eck at ieck@modernluxury.com
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Follow Ellen Cushing on Twitter @elcush
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