Clockwise from top left: Yoodli co-founder Varun Puri; Dave Cotter, WTIA Chairman and Leafly Chief Product Officer; Tech Alliance CEO Laura Ruderman and Karat Co-Founder and CEO Mo Bhende speak with Todd Bishop at the GeekWire Awards. (Jordan Curtis photos)
Having held the GeekWire Awards virtually for the past two years, there was a sense of true catharsis on Thursday night as hundreds of people poured through the doors of Showbox Sodo in Seattle for our annual celebration of the best tech startups, executives and the Pacific Northwest to celebrate innovations.
For the 2022 GeekWire Awards finalists, recognition at the superhero-themed show came with the added benefit of knowing their companies have weathered a time of unprecedented challenges and change.
GeekWire Awards 2022 Announced: The Community Celebrates the Big Winners of Pacific NW Technology
But the week also brought a new sense of uncertainty about what is to come.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s much-cited Monday memo was a flashpoint for the tech industry, adding to existing concerns by warning of a “seismic shift” in markets, announcing tougher times and tightening belts. Some of the startup CEOs in attendance admitted they read his message carefully.
So we took our cue from the backdrop, both literally and figuratively – and pulled tech leaders aside at the event to ask questions like:
- How do you assess the possibility of new economic realities?
- What are your biggest challenges and priorities for the rest of the year?
- And of course: Which superhero fits best with your company ethos?
The result was a glimpse into the collective psyche of the tech community at a key innovation hub in the US, at a pivotal time for the country and the world.
Guests in this episode, in order of appearance:
- Xiao WangCEO of Boundless Immigration, finalist for CEO of the Year.
- Maria Karaivanova, Co-founder and COO of WhyLabs.
- Varun Puri, Co-founder of Yoodli, winner of Young Entrepreneur of the Year with his co-founder Esha Joshi.
- Lisa GurryCOO of Truveta, winner of the Health Innovation of the Year award.
- david cotter, Chief Product Officer of Leafly and Chair of the Washington Technology Industry Association, sponsor of the Public Policy Champion for Innovation Award.
- Laura RudermanTechnology Alliance CEO.
- David KirleyFounder and CEO of Helion, finalist for Innovation of the Year.
- Stephanie WinslowTeacher, South Kitsap High School, one of three STEM Educators of the Year.
- Grant GoodaleCarrier Experience Officer, Convoy, Former Next Tech Titan winner.
- Mon BundeCo-founder and CEO of Karat, finalist for Next Tech Titan.
- Feisal Masud, CEO of Fabric, finalist for Next Tech Titan.
- Kiana PanPresident of CodingDojo, winner of the Geeks Give Back category.
- Tushar Garg, Flyhomes CEO, finalist for Workplace of the Year.
- Byron Baker, Head of Design at Blink UX, judge for UX Design of the Year.
Listen above or subscribe to GeekWire on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you hear it.
Read about all of the GeekWire Awards finalists and winners in our special report.
Thank you to the technology leaders who answered our questions, to our GeekWire Awards participants, finalists and sponsors, and to our social media partner Jordan Curtis from Line Leader Media for his help with this episode.
GeekWire Awards Opening Performance: Robert McPhersonthe drunken tenor.