Dilemma. Two major tech stars receive lifetime achievement awards the same night, at opposite sides of town, and we want to attend both events.
At the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the financial district, SFMOMA is giving Jonathan Ive the 15th annual "Bay Area Treasure Award." At roughly the same time, the Commonwealth Club's Inforum is giving Marissa Mayer the "21st Century Visionary Award," at the Castro Theatre.
Jony vs. Marissa. Apple vs. Yahoo. What to do?
Thanks to precise scheduling and a fearless driver, we can report we're the only media organization to attend both!
Maria Tengelia Watson, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Jony Ive, Frances Anderton, Neal Benezra
First, Jonathan. Arriving promptly at 6pm for SFMOMA's Benefactor cocktail reception, the room was already crowded. Nobody wanted to miss a moment with the man who designed everyone's favorite Apple products since 1998.
Attending with wife Heather Ive, and colleagues from Apple such as Paul Deneve (formerly the CEO of Yves Saint Laurent), Christopher Stringer, Julian Hoenig, Rico Zorkendorfer, Alan Dye, Makiko Fujikawa, Ben Shaffer and Peter Russell-Clarke, Ive was warmly received by a ballroom full of fans and friends.
SFMOMA's design curator Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, and design expert Frances Anderton, held an in-depth conversation with Ive on stage about the upcoming Apple Watch. Among those listening intently were Bob and Randi Fisher, Dede Wilsey, Trevor and Alexis Traina, Allison Speer with fashion designer Andrew Gn from Paris, Christine Suppes, musician Stephan Jenkins, Ken Fulk, Yves Behar and Sabrina Buell, Seth and Courtney Dallaire, George and Dolly Chamas, Mark and Alison Pincus, and Norman and Norah Stone.
We then sped across town to the Castro just in time for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to receive her award and sit down for an interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (wearing his Giants cap.) The event opened with a special message by Mayer's former boss at Google, Eric Schmidt. "Marissa Mayer designed Google as you know it today," he said. Big praise indeed!
The 1400-seat Castro was packed for the event, with Mayer's husband, Zachary Bogue, seated front row center, along with her mother and father.
Marc Benioff and Marissa Mayer
"I see an idea from someone, and I'm able to hopefully shape it, shepherd it and execute that vision, and bring it to something that's really meaningful," she said, responding to Benioff's question about her strength as a leader.
But the highlight of the evening was when a 10-year old girl named Indigo approached the microphone to ask a question.
"I like programming," she said. "What is your favorite language in programming?"
"That's an amazing question. What have you programmed lately?" Mayer asked her young fan.
A design genius, tech visionary, French fashion designer, rockstar, billionaire CEO, and a child prodigy all in the space of three hours. Just another night in San Francisco!
Photos: Drew Altizer (SFMOMA); Instagram/jennhagan; Instagram/jensterjuice