The Most Awkward Moments in Tech


Technology might form the sector we are living in these days, however there are lots of tech enthusiasts who nonetheless believe themselves just a little awkward. As anyone who as soon as advised a room complete of people who enjoying Vampire – The Masquerade: Bloodlines was once essentially the most memorable second of my existence, it’s a stereotype I will be able to relate to. But it isn’t simply the fanatics that may be bit “socially uneasy” – a variety of moments throughout the business have made us draw back over time. Here are probably the most maximum toe-curling.

Steve Ballmer – “I love this company.”

If there’s one title you might want to all the time depend on to make your jaw drop in a mix of surprise, horror, and slightly little bit of awe, it was once Steve Ballmer. The former Microsoft CEO’s a lot of antics imply he makes multiple look at the listing, however this can be a non-public favourite.

It was once at a Microsoft company tournament in 2000 when Ballmer took to the level with the power of a person who’d simply snorted each and every gram of cocaine the 1980s produced (he hadn’t). Managing to seek out an excellent aggregate of sweaty enthusiasm, wild-eyed terror, and full-on aggression, his efficiency probably impressed staff, who at this level had been most probably fearing for his or her lives in the event that they didn’t display an identical ranges of adoration.

As Ballmer enters a Berserker-like frenzy, you’ll understand that even the harm he suffers across the zero:25 mark doesn’t sluggish him down. When he is in spite of everything completed bouncing round and screaming, he’s taking to the rostrum – perhaps hiding an enormous middle assault – and broadcasts: “I LOVE THIS COMPANY. YEEEEEEAAAAAHH!”

The tournament is a second that may live to tell the tale perpetually within the annals of tech historical past. It was once just lately parodied in HBO’s Silicon Valley when Jack Barker mimicked the regimen on level at Hooli-Con.

Mark Zuckerberg sweats like a pig, is accused of working cult

Mark Zuckerberg might exude self assurance these days, however on this 2010 interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, the Facebook CEO is so uncomfortable that he seems to be slowly liquefying. As he rambles on for mins with out announcing a lot, his urge to run away turns into painfully obtrusive. The agonizing time it takes to take away his microphone is lovely awkward, however no longer up to when Swisher suggests he’s working a cult.

Michael Bay walks off level at Samsung tournament

While the former two entries had been as fun as they had been awkward, this one is so tricky to observe it should motive your bones to curve inwards.

In Michael Bay – director of big-budget Hollywood motion films like Transformers and Bad Boys – it gave the impression that Samsung had landed a big begin to advertise its curved televisions at CES 2014. But issues went from unhealthy to terrible very, in no time.

As Bay made his approach onto the level in entrance of the amassed journos and business pros, he had the demeanor of a person who would slightly be in different places. Less than a minute into the presentation, he loses his position at the teleprompter. At this level, Bay publicizes he’ll “wing it,” whilst definitely wishing he may just simply soar within the TV he’s failing to advertise.

After wringing his palms such a lot they’re in peril of turning to mud, Bay abandons all semblance of composure when he is requested how the curve of the TV will affect audience. “I’m sorry,” apologizes the director as he scuttles away, Zoidberg-style, leaving Samsung exec Joe Stinziano to with a bit of luck ask the group to offer thank you for the only minute and 10 seconds he was once on level.

Bill Gates and his elusive slideshow

What’s worse than publicly selling your corporate’s product and having all of it move incorrect? When that corporate is Microsoft, and also you’re Bill Gates, that’s what. Note how Gates feigns amusement whilst Conan O’Brien laughs at him because the generation he is praising many times fails.

Way again at CES 2005, Gates shared the level with the debate display host. The billionaire was once seeking to sing their own praises the power to perform Windows Media Center the usage of a faraway regulate. But the one factor he controlled to do was once squirm awkwardly in his chair whilst the elusive slideshow refuses to seem.

Further makes an attempt to run this system end up simply as futile. You can nearly see Gates internalizing his murderous fury as O’Brien many times tries to make gentle of the placement. Still, no less than he may just name on one among Media Center’s product managers to show the device’s complete attainable, however the Blue Screen of Death had different plans.

iTunes and the U2 album

U2 can have bought over 150 million albums international, however, in part due to the antics of frontman Bono, they’re catching up on Nickleback within the ‘maximum disliked band’ class. So, what higher option to regain the recognition they loved within the 80s than to drive their new album onto part one thousand million iTunes customers’ accounts.

At the iPhone 6 unveil tournament on September 2014, U2 made a wonder look on level. The Irish rockers proceeded to announce that their new 11-track album was once being made to be had to someone with iTunes – without spending a dime!

After lower than 1 % of iTunes customers had selected to obtain the album, Apple made up our minds other people merely mustn’t notice what a terrific alternative they’re passing up. In a work of promoting that may simplest be described as “drunken,” the corporate made up our minds to make the downloads automated.

Strangely, an terrible lot of other people didn’t recognize the turgid, middle-of-the-road ‘Songs of Innocence’ – which won tepid evaluations – barging its approach onto their more than a few Apple gadgets. In what should no doubt have felt like an overly awkward transfer on Apple’s section, the iPhone maker needed to create a webpage explaining how to take away the album. But essentially the most gut-churning second was once in all probability Bono’s rationalization of why the band went thru with it:

“Drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard.” Thanks!

Incidentally, Tim Cook’s painfully terrible “Rawk” satan horns/top 5 with Bono merits an access of its personal.

Qualcomm at CES 2013

We’re firmly again into 100 % awkwardness territory with this one. Qualcomm’s keynote at CES 2013 is so tricky to observe, there’s an overly actual threat of your skeleton leaping from your frame to flee the horror. There’s a just right reason it’s known as “the most awkward event ever.”

Assuming you’re making it previous the actors whose portions can have been written by means of the bodily manifestation of the “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme, what higher option to tone completed the uncomfortableness than by means of bringing Steve Ballmer onto the level?

The tragedy continues as the type of other people you can certainly be expecting to look at a chip producer’s tournament are rolled out: Guillermo Del Toro, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Eve – from Star Trek Into Darkness – and Big Bird.

For the overall cherry at the cake, Maroon 5 closed complaints. But because of Qualcomm no longer securing a license to flow the band, the webcast audience had been handled to silence, then Dido.

Steve Ballmer laughs on the iPhone

Ballmer makes some other look at the listing, regardless that this time the awkwardness is a results of his arrogant laughter and horribly fallacious predictions about this so-called iPhone factor.

Shortly after Steve Jobs unveiled the primary iPhone, Ballmer complained that the instrument’s loss of keyboard made it unappealing to companies and “not a very good email machine.” The remark got here again to chew Ballmer within the ass on a lot of events, particularly after what turned into of Microsoft’s Windows Phone endeavors.

Almost a decade later, Ballmer stated Apple convincing carriers to subsidize the iPhone was once the cause of its good fortune “I wish I’d thought about the model of subsidizing phones through the operators,” he defined final yr. “You know, people like to point to this quote where I said iPhones will never sell because the price at $600 or $700 was too high. And there was business model innovation by Apple to get it essentially built into the monthly cell phone bill.”

It’s value bringing up that sponsored telephones had been a factor ahead of and after his mockery.

He additionally stated Microsoft must have moved into quicker. At least he was once proper about that.

Steve Jobs – “Turn OFF your Wi-Fi!”

Steve Jobs, a person who wasn’t recognized for his Zen-like calmness and sunny disposition, turns to the group blaming his product’s failure to paintings at the target audience.

At the 2010 iPhone 4 release tournament, the Apple co-founder invoked an strange roughly passive-aggressiveness when he advised the amassed newshounds to show off their Wi-Fi, which was once it seems that screwing with the handset’s connectivity.

“Would you like to see the demos or not?” he asks the group. It’s sudden that he doesn’t observe this up with “because I’m here for your benefit. I could just as easily go home and count my money.” Not content material with that telling off, Jobs then asks the target audience to snitch on someone who hasn’t complied along with his calls for.

At the tip of the Keynote, the previous CEO displays off Facetime by means of calling Jony Ive, who can have been busy developing comically overpriced books, to inform him in regards to the target audience behaving like naughty kids.

Palmer Luckey’s Time Magazine duvet

One of the largest problems surrounding VR was once that many of us noticed it as a super-nerdy interest, one who was once about as cool as admitting you consume your personal toenails. Step ahead Oculus Rift writer Palmer Luckey and Time, who controlled to get a hold of what’s no doubt one the worst covers within the mag’s historical past.

One would believe that making Luckey seem to go with the flow in mid-air, palms gracefully flapping within the wind, could be sufficient to spice up digital fact’s symbol, however no; to highest constitute the breath-taking, alien worlds VR can shipping us to, they superimposed a generic seaside into the background. And the most efficient section? Someone seems to have made off with Luckey’s sneakers ahead of the shoot began.

The duvet did no less than lead to masses of very good memes. Luckey himself stated he didn’t get stuck up in it an excessive amount of. A yr later, he took a good larger PR hit when it was once found out he helped fund a pro-Trump ‘shitposting’ motion on Reddit. These days he turns out content material to expand border surveillance generation.


How time and again are you able to many times say the phrase “developers” ahead of you get started sounding insane? Four? Five? Not simplest does Steve Ballmer arrange to shout it fourteen instances in a row, however he additionally dances alongside to his rantings like he is reciting a Daft Punk music.

Samsung’s exploding washing machines

After dragging itself thru two Note 7 remembers, Samsung most probably idea its 2016 couldn’t get any worse. Incredibly, some other one among its merchandise needed to be recalled because of its flamable nature. This time, it was once 2.8 million washing machines – awkward. What else may just move incorrect? Vice chairman Lee Jae-yong being arrested on bribery fees, that’s what.

Windows 98 loves to crash, Windows Vista displays its speech reputation talents

A complete vintage. Before Windows 98 introduced it was once intended to be proven are living at Spring Comdex in Chicago to a packed area by means of none instead of Bill Gates, then Microsoft’s CEO and notorously the richest guy on earth (that also holds true these days).

For additional context, Windows 98 was once to suceed a well-liked and just about ubiquitous Windows 95, at a time when Windows NT was once additionally a factor — NT later turned into Windows 2000, and additional down the street took over as Windows primary department. Among Windows 98 largest options had been USB reinforce, advanced efficiency, networking improvements, AGP graphics and multi-monitor reinforce, in addition to advanced diagnostic equipment.

The demo was once going smartly till the running device BSOD’d in entrance of the target audience. Gates embarrassed by means of the outcome was once sleek in noting “this must be why we’re not shipping Windows 98 yet.”

Today, Microsoft says speech reputation has reached human parity. But again in 2006, Windows Vista couldn’t inform “Mom” from “Aunt,” and gave the impression to grasp the phrase “killer” from skinny air, worryingly.