A lot of people, including SFist, were quick to call 2014's bubble-riffic round of tech company holiday parties "excessive," which has perhaps prompted them to be a little more low-key about talking about them this year particularly as angel investors and everyone else have been increasingly chattering about unicorns being overvalued, etc. But the big, established companies still had pretty grand affairs around SF elsewhere this holiday season, and we've gathered what intel we can despite these being private events we weren't invited to.
Spending was not exactly frugal for some of these affairs, including the annual Yahoo party, which despite the company's troubles cost at least $2 million by one account, and maybe as much as $7 million, per Quartz. It was, highly ironically, Great Gatsby themed.
The weird thing is, despite the fact that Baz Luhrmann's flashy Gatsby remake came out two and a half years ago, the very American tale of boom-economy glitz and the fictions we create for ourselves was actually the chosen theme of not one, but three different big-tech holiday parties! Pretty sure the party planning staffs didn't know about this bizarre coincidence, and the irony is lost on them, but not on the rest of us.
Being an enormous company with multiple offices, Google/Alphabet had multiple parties once again this year, re-using a couple event venues they used last year but apparently shuffling the groups/teams who got to use them. There was one party over the weekend at the Academy of Sciences, as well as two parties at the Design Center, one aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda, as well as our second Great Gatsby-themed party of the season at the Kohl Mansion in Burlingame.
One of the two Google fetes at the Design Center was James Bond themed, as the Silicon Valley Business Journal noted, and they had a white Aston Martin parked outside the venue with velvet ropes around it, for effect. The other Design Center party was reportedly "winter wonderland" themed.
Yahoo's big bash at Pier 48 was another example of CEO Marissa Mayer's love for big party-throwing, with a Great Gatsby/Roaring 20's theme, a flapper-style stage show, and a vintage Rolls Royce greeting guests. The 20's thing was reportedly a reference to Yahoo turning 20 years old this year, and not a nod to blind excess and impending crashes.
LinkedIn also had their holiday party at Pier 48, on Saturday, and it looked to be a little less ostentatious and they had a charitable component, with proceeds going to help this non-profit that supports music education in schools. They did, however, have an under-lit, rainbow-colored dancefloor.
Last year it was Facebook that laid claim to AT&T Park, with tents set up down on the ball field. But this year, on Friday, it was Twitter's turn to do the same.
But Facebook once again pulled out some stops, using the San Mateo County Event Center for their own Roaring 20's/Great Gatsby-themed affair on December 4. As Business Insider somewhat generously suggests, "Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently vowed to gradually give away 99% of his wealth to support various causes, providing a contrast to the unbridled excess and extravagance of the 1920s."
The party featured a feathered, female trapeze artist swing overhead, gold-leaf-gilded palm trees, and a giant, Art Deco-styled Facebook "f".
What's that about "the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us..."?
And good lord, Yahoo. Can you really afford all that?