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Chef CEO Barry Crist addresses the crowd at the GeekWire Summit Welcome Party.

The 2015 GeekWire Summit officially kicked off on Wednesday evening, the start of the Pacific Northwest’s premier technology conference — and our biggest event yet.

IT automation company Chef hosted the Welcome Party in their swanky new Pioneer Square headquarters, with plenty of brews, tunes and Beecher’s macaroni and cheese to go around.

A large crowd of GeekWire Summit attendees showed up, along with speakers including Highway1 vice president Brady Forrest and New York Times reporter David Streitfeld.

GeekWire co-founder John Cook and Chef CEO Barry Crist squared off on the ping-pong table, initially wagering a $1,000 donation to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship by the loser.


GeekWire co-founder John Cook.

Cook seemed to have the upper hand, but Crist brought in a ringer when the stakes were raised to $2,000. Chef software engineer Jay Mundrawala ended up beating Cook 2-1 in a best of three dual, but both sides agreed to make a $2,000 donation.

Chef software engineer Jay Mundrawala.

This was just the kickoff for this year’s GeekWire Summit, as we have two full days of panel discussions and fireside chats lined up. The action picks back up Thursday morning, with a conversation with longtime Seattle investor Greg Gottesman, followed by a panel of former Amazon executives and managers moderated by Streitfeld, co-author of “Inside Amazon, Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace.”

See more pictures below, and stay tuned for full coverage from the GeekWire Summit as it kicks off on Thursday.

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