There are a lot of stupid apps out there, ranging from just dumb to wildly offensive. People with bad ideas and big ambition are hard to stop, which is why Lulu exists and Ashley Madison is a thing. But most people in the tech world don’t expect major conferences like the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon to provide a platform for pure idiocy.
Apparently no one told Australian programmers Jethro Batts and David Boulton that you shouldn’t come to a Hackathon and spew nonsense ideas that sound like they were generated by a rejected tweet from Men’s Humor, because they took the stage as they day’s first presenters and launched Titstare with the deranged confidence of 10 year-old science fair contestants who forgot to complete their assignment and are now trying to pass off a hamster ball split in half and duct-taped together as a new sports bra for women. It’s lazy, completely misguided attempt at making something for women.
And yes, you read that right. They launched an app called Titstare. It that collects images of people (men) looking at breasts.
Now, the whole thing was a joke, but a profoundly unsuccessful one. For starters, it wasn’t funny, which is the biggest problem a joke can have. The joke didn’t seem to have a target — it wasn’t a satirical bit about tech culture’s tendency to objectify women, it didn’t have any discernible comment on anything. If anything, women who are resistant to being reduced to their chests were the targets.
Compounding the problem of Titstare being un-funny and tinged with misogyny, the hapless Aussie programmers also suffered from an extremely poor choice in venue. Maybe if they’d created a Web video for the product, it would’ve been more warmly received on The Chive… but they chose a major tech event. Considering pretty much everyone else (including a brilliant nine year-old) at the hackathon was attempting to promote services and tools they had worked hard to make and genuinely wanted to be successful, this boring, crappy joke presentation looked extra inappropriate.
It was also a bad choice because the whole thing just reinforces the brogrammer cliche. And according to my Kiwi friend, it also reinforces the whole boorish Australian cliche.
TechCrunch has already apologized for the tacky presentation, promising to be more diligent in reviewing who they put onstage. The apology referenced another presentation that simulated masturbation.
If you feel like spending your Monday lunch break hate-watching something, here’s the presentation in all of its horrible glory:
- 4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives
- Long before Gates or Jobs, 6 women programmed the first digital computer
- Booth babes, banned sex toys, and other mishaps at CES 2019
- In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech
- Can gamers build a society? We’ll find out in Amazon’s ‘New World’