It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was an age of Super Bowl victories and ridesharing disputes, an age of foolish statements about women in tech and rocket explosions.
Welcome to GeekWire’s 2014 Year in Review — compiled through the top quotes of the year. As you’ll see below, it was quite a year in technology. Enjoy, and thanks for reading GeekWire.
—“I just wanted to hear Macklemore.”—T-Mobile boss John Legere after getting kicked out of a concert by the Seattle rapper hosted at CES by rival AT&T.
—”It’s too early to speculate about the cost or long-term schedule implications of this issue. We’ll continue to work with (Seattle Tunnel Partners) to determine ways to make up time lost during the blockage.”—A message from the Washington State Department of Transportation following news that the tunnel boring machine “Bertha” had stopped in its tracks after encountering a steel pipe under the city of Seattle.
“This trip has actually changed me a lot. I can feel the energy of all the small startups here. It’s much more energetic than what I saw. It might be good to think about having an office here.”—Alibaba CTO Jian Wang in an interview with GeekWire, foreshadowing the company’s move to open an office in downtown Seattle later in the year.
—”Yahoo is the second-most-loved brand among consumers, second only to Disney.”—Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at her CES 2014.
—“Starting off with that statement, she undermined her credibility for the rest of the keynote”—A tech pro reacting to Mayer’s statement, in a study by Portland market research and audience analysis startup Dialsmith.
—“The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform.”—Newly-appointed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comments on his new job at the software giant where he took control after a prolonged search following the unexpected departure of Steve Ballmer.
—“I’m thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up, substantially increasing the time that I spend at the company. I’ll have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups, and it will be fun to define this next round of products, working together.”—Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in his welcome message to newly-appointed CEO Satya Nadella. Gates announced he was stepping down as chairman of the company he co-founded in 1975.
—“To be able to bring the NFL trophy back as someone who was born and grew up in Seattle is just an amazing feeling,”—Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen speaking to reporters after his Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.
—“What? WhatsApp? What’s WhatsApp? I don’t use it.”—University of Washington college student Sean Murphy commenting on Facebook’s whopping $19 billion purchase of the messaging service. Not one of the 20 students we spoke to had WhatsApp installed on their smartphones.
—“I think they can beat Amazon. Why? Because they are a technology company in the women’s apparel business. It’s a revolutionary company. I urge everyone to take a look at ZU. The reason why it’s up is because it deserves to be up.”—CNBC talk show host Jim “Mad Money” Cramer gushing about Seattle online retailer Zulily, whose shares peaked at $72 in late February. The stock has since fallen to $23.28, just above its IPO price.
—“We can’t dodge this problem any longer. What we decide today isn’t a complete fix, but it is a start.”—Seattle City Council Member Sally Clark, who chaired the Committee on Taxi, For-Hire and Limousine Regulations, speaking about new regulations for ridesharing companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.
—“As the CEO of a company, this is something that I would never do to a shareholder. Period.”—Former Redfin CTO David Selinger commenting on a lawsuit he and Redfin co-founder Michael Doughtery filed against the real estate company alleging that the company attempted to prematurely cash out their stock. The suit was later settled, and Redfin went on to raise another $70.9 million in venture funding.
—”We have the good fortune of a large, inventive team and a patient, pioneering, customer-obsessed culture – great innovations, large and small, are happening everyday on behalf of customers, and at all levels throughout the company. This decentralized distribution of invention throughout the company – not limited to the company’s senior leaders – is the only way to get robust, high-throughput innovation. What we’re doing is challenging and fun – we get to work in the future.”—Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos in a letter to shareholders.
—”Unsurprisingly, given their dominance in the cable television marketplace, the proposed merger would give Applicants the ability to turn a consumer’s Internet experience into something that more closely resembles cable television.”—Netflix, in its formal opposition to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger.
—”There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast and we are the only ISP in the country that is currently legally bound by the FCC’s vacated Net Neutrality rules.”— Comcast, responding to Netflix’s opposition.
—”We have a culture of innovation, a technologically talented population, and a social conscience. When you put those three things together, we’re able to act as an incubator for solutions that could help the entire world as well as our own community. We’d like to keep it that way.”—Candace Faber, one of the organizers of the Hack to end Homelessness.
—“I’ve been building up a feeling as I’ve watched the changes in Silicon Valley over the past 14 years that things aren’t actually going in that great of a direction for society, for people, for the middle class. I don’t feel like it is a healthy place to be.”—Napster co-founder Jordan Ritter on why he decided to set up his new innovation studio, Ivy Softworks, in Seattle.
—”Amazon gets blamed for a lot of things: overworking employees, not paying taxes, killing bookstores, cannibalizing the publishing industry and here in Seattle, increasing construction, traffic and rents; and, it turns out that the company’s rapid growth here is also having a big impact on the straight dating scene in Seattle…. The women here seem more distracted than ever before and at times, I’ve felt like a number to them. Turns out, the statistics back up my qualitative experience.”—Seattle techie and GeekWire guest columnist Jeff Reifman complaining that Amazon’s hiring practices, and predominantly male workforce in Seattle, have made it harder for guys to find female dates.
—“If people are going to understand what Bitcoin is, they need to touch it and feel it in a safe and secure manner.”—Coinme General Manager Nick Hughes on the installation of the first Bitcoin ATM in Seattle.
—“There has never been a better time — opportunity, opportunity, opportunity.” Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaking at the University of Washington commencement, channeling his famous ‘developers, developers, developers’ chant.
—“Buuteeq has built an innovative, cloud-based marketing platform that we see playing a key role in helping us deliver even more value to our global accommodations partners worldwide.”—Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston in a statement about its acquisition of Seattle hotel marketing startup Buuteeq.
—”As the company head, my mission was to protect customers and employees. I’m deeply sorry. I’m frustrated with myself.”—Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpelès on the collapse of the Bitcoin exchange.
—“We just ran out of time.” Lively CEO Dean Graziano in an interview with GeekWire about the unexpected closure of the music app that allowed fans to easily get concert audio and video.
—“Now, I am not just mad at Amazon. I am mad Prime. So, watch out Bezos because this means war.”—Comedian Stephen Colbert in his attack on Amazon over its fight with publishing giant Hachette, a 6-month dispute that was resolved in November.
—“It never has been personal. It has always been business, I guess is the way I describe it. Maybe it is the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. There is certainly a rivalry there, but it is not a hatred. We both are in this game, and we are both very successful, and we can compete on the field but still respect one another off the field.”—Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff commenting on the company’s planned $3.5 billion bid for longtime San Francisco-based rival Trulia.
—”Having a clear focus is the start of the journey, not the end. The more difficult steps are creating the organization and culture to bring our ambitions to life.”—Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an email to staff explaining the need for a 14 percent reduction in staff, the largest in the company’s history.
—“The talented staff members in Seattle and Bothell have made enormous contributions to advancing biotechnology over the years and the surrounding communities have been very supportive, so it is with great reluctance that we acknowledge the need to leave.”—A statement from Amgen on its plans to abandon its 40-acre waterfront campus in Seattle, as well as a facility in Bothell, part of a larger effort to cut 12 to 15 percent of its worldwide workforce.
—”The purpose of this mail is to introduce a new policy that will better protect our Microsoft IP and confidential information. The policy change affects US-based external staff (including Agency Temporaries, Vendors and Business Guests) and limits their access to Microsoft buildings and the Microsoft corporate network to a period of 18 months, with a required six-month break before access may be granted again.”—An internal Microsoft memo explaining a new policy requiring a 6-month break for vendors and other contingent workers.
—”I’m going to challenge three more people: Elon Musk, Ryan Secrest and Chris Anderson of TED.”—Bill Gates in his epic ALS ice bucket challenge.
—”Juno continues to make significant progress in developing new therapies with the potential to radically change the outlook for patients battling cancer.” Juno CEO Hans Bishop in announcing the company’s $134 million funding round, bringing total funding a the time in the spin-out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children’s Research Institute to $310 million. It later went public in December.
—“We’ve been in the hardware business for 10 years. Kindle has become a huge success — we’ve had seven generations of Kindle, four generations of Fire tablets, one generation of Fire TV and Fire phone. These things are super-early. Ask me in five years!”—Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos speaking about the company’s long-term vision in the wake of the disastrous launch of the Fire Phone. Amazon took a $170 million write-down in October related to Fire Phone inventory costs.
—”Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3,”—Minecraft maker Mojang on its $2.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft.
—“Great companies are acquired, they’re not sold.”—Concur CEO Steve Singh in a conference call after the announcement that his 21-year-old Redmond company was being sold to SAP for $8.3 billion.
—”We are probably going to get rid of these iPads, aren’t we?”—Clippers coach Doc Rivers to new Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
—“You could smoke a lot of pot and still have a great company, if the business model is as robust as Twitter’s”— Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel saying that Twitter has been horribly mismanaged.
—”Working my way through a giant bag of Doritos. I’ll catch up with you later.”—Twitter CEO Dick Costolo responding to Thiel’s comments in a Tweet.
—“So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”— Apple CEO Tim Cook discussing his sexual orientation in an Oct. 30th editorial in Businessweek.
—”And that, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.”—Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaking about compensation of women in the tech industry at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event in Arizona.
—”One of the answers I gave at the conference was generic advice that was just plain wrong. I apologize. For context, I had received this advice from my mentors and followed it in my own career. I do believe that at Microsoft in general good work is rewarded, and I have seen it many times here. But my advice underestimated exclusion and bias — conscious and unconscious — that can hold people back.”—Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an Oct. 15th internal memo to Microsoft staff about his botched comments regarding compensation for women.
—”Now, what you are going to see in the years ahead will be a rapid acceleration in mobile device purchases, and a continued significant migration away from bricks-and-mortar commerce. There’s obviously a huge prize there.”—Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaking about the coffee retailer’s bold push into mobile payments, where he said the company holds a 90 percent market share and will have a major role to play in the future.
—“They make no money, Charlie. In my world, you’re not a real business until you make some money.”—Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an interview on The Charlie Rose show, speaking about money-losing Amazon.com.
—”Well, Apple makes phones, Microsoft makes computers, Google makes search engines, and Amazon sells stuff, so they’re all pretty much equal.” — Alex, age 11, when asked by GeekWire which company is better.
—”As this launch failure and history have demonstrated, spaceflight is inherently risky.”—Planetary Resources after its experimental satellite was lost in the explosion of the Orbital Sciences Antares rocket.
—”Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company. His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals.”—Uber CEO Travis Kalanick apologizing on Twitter for the comments by Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael about ideas to hire researchers to dig up dirt on tech journalists.
—”Life is short, enjoy it – don’t give it all to Amazon. Leave work at a reasonable hour, don’t work nights and weekends.”—Former Amazon employee Kivin Varghese launched a one-man protest against the Seattle online retailing giant over what he alleged were unethical and deceptive business practices at the company, a protest that later escalated into a hunger strike. In his letter to Amazon, he stressed that the hard-charging company alter its treatment of employees, and suggested that staffers slow down and not work so hard to keep the ship running.
—“We recognized then that we had to change because our only growth asset at that time was our Kentucky Open Derby event.”—Churchill Downs Chairman Bob Evans explaining a strategy shift at the company that started a decade ago and ultimately led to the $885 million purchase of Seattle gaming company Big Fish in November.
—”I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”—President Obama in an edict to the FCC.
—“If you don’t cry during your entrepreneurial journey, you are not working hard enough.”—Andy Sack in a tearful farewell to TechStars Seattle, the tech accelerator he ran for the past five years.
—“The incredible density of talent in Seattle … means that this is going to be a big, long-term presence for us.”—Dropbox Vice President of Engineering Aditya Agarwal commenting on the company’s new engineering office in Seattle, one of more than two dozen tech giants that have established branch offices in Seattle in recent years.
—“It’s confusing. It’s like walking blindfolded into fog and trying to find your way. It’s a skill.”—Seattle entrepreneur Joe Heitzeberg on helping technology professionals make the leap to startups, something he is trying to help foster at Madrona Labs, a new tech incubator associated with the Seattle venture capital firm.
—“This is morally irresponsible, and as a business it’s problematic to allow this to continue when we know for a fact that they have the capability to provide for secure communications because as soon as you go to purchase that book, as soon as money’s involved, they turn it over to encryption.”—Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden on Amazon.com’s security practices.
—”I got back to Seattle, and I ran into the office, I’m having so much fun.”—Jeff Bezos on what he did after vacation.
—”The bottom line is that this was an unparalleled and well planned crime, carried out by an organized group, for which neither (Sony Pictures Entertainment) nor other companies could have been fully prepared.”—Cybersecurity expert Kevin Mandia in a memo to Sony employees about the purported attack by North Korea over the release of the movie The Interview.
—“Here I have this thing which I consider a gateway to the world. I just can’t believe how marvelous it is. I come from so far back. … I used to read science fiction. The more advanced science fiction had this. It’s absolutely unbelievable. … I call this anti-depression, because if you use this, you can’t be depressed.” —Bill Sleeper, at age 96 in 2011. Our most famous Geek of the Week died this month at the age of 99.