Startups, superheroes, and the economy at a crossroads: Voices from Seattle’s tech community


Clockwise from upper left: Yoodli co-founder Varun Puri; Dave Cotter, WTIA chair and Leafly chief product officer; Tech Alliance CEO Laura Ruderman, and Mo Bhende, Co-Founder & CEO at Karat, talk with Todd Bishop at the GeekWire Awards. (Jordan Curtis Photos)

After holding the GeekWire Awards virtually for the past two years, there was a feeling of real catharsis Thursday evening as hundreds of people streamed through the doors of the Showbox Sodo in Seattle for our annual celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s top tech startups, leaders, and innovations.

For the finalists in the 2022 GeekWire Awards, recognition at the superhero-themed show came with the added bonus of knowing that their companies made it through a period of unprecedented challenge and change.

But the week also brought a new sense of uncertainty about what’s to come.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s widely cited memo on Monday was a flashpoint for the tech industry, adding to existing concerns by warning of a “seismic shift” in the markets, signaling tougher times and tighter belts ahead. Some of the startup CEOs in attendance acknowledged reading his message closely.

So we took our cues from the backdrop, literally and figuratively – taking tech leaders aside at the event to ask questions such as:

  • What’s your take on the possibility of new economic realities?
  • What are your biggest challenges and priorities for the rest of the year?
  • And, of course: which superhero best reflects your company’s ethos?

The result was a glimpse into the collective psyche of the tech community in a key US innovation hub, at a pivotal moment for the country and the world.

Guests on this episode, in order of appearance:

Listen above, or subscribe to GeekWire in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Read about all of the GeekWire Awards finalists and winners in our special coverage.

Thanks to the tech leaders who answered our questions, to our GeekWire Awards attendees, finalists, and sponsors, and to our social media partner Jordan Curtis of Line Leader Media for his help with this episode.

Opening GeekWire Awards performance: Robert McPhersonthe Drunken Tenor.

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