Megadeals, metaverse, and outer space: Test your tech knowledge with GeekWire’s 2021 news quiz

Sam Fried

This year was a bit of a blur, fighting through waves of Delta and Omicron. But there was other important news, too. And before we wave goodbye to 2021, we thought it would be fun to test your geek knowledge. Many of the quiz questions below were derived from GeekWire’s […]

This year was a bit of a blur, fighting through waves of Delta and Omicron. But there was other important news, too. And before we wave goodbye to 2021, we thought it would be fun to test your geek knowledge.

Many of the quiz questions below were derived from GeekWire’s list of the most-read stories of the year. So, heavy-duty GeekWire readers should fare well. And just to make things a little more fun, here’s a scorecard on which to judge yourself.

  • Uber Geek: 23 — 29 correct answers (A true Jedi master)
  • Super Geek: 16 — 22 correct answers (The force is strong with this one!)
  • Average Geek: 11 — 15 correct answers (Stay the course, and you will one day be a Jedi master)
  • Geek in Training: 6 —10 correct answers (Keep studying young, Padawan!)
  • Novice Nerd: 0 — 5 correct answers (Get informed. Sign up for the GeekWire daily newsletter here!)

Take the quiz at this link, or below. Answers are at the bottom of this post — but remember not to cheat by peeking at them or checking the internet! Good luck.

See answers and links below. After you’re done, you can listen to GeekWire’s Taylor Soper and Todd Bishop compete in the quiz on the GeekWire Podcast.


  1. Name the Seattle technology executive who said this: “We’ve determined the unpredictability in forecasting home prices far exceeds what we anticipated…” Zillow Group CEO Rich Barton in a November press release announcing the closure of Zillow Offers, the company’s iBuying unit.
  2. Which of these Seattle area companies did not go public via a SPAC or special purpose acquisition corporation in 2021(possibility of two points)? Remitly and Rad Power Bikes. Remitly went public through a more traditional IPO process in September, while Rad Power Bikes raised more than $300 million in venture funding in two blockbuster rounds. 
  3. Who did Amazon tap to lead its Amazon Web Services cloud business in March 2021? Adam Selipsky, the former CEO of Tableau who previously worked in executive roles at AWS for 11 years. 
  4. Which of these people did not make suborbital trips on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket ship this year? Billie Eilish. (Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer, participated in the July trip along with Jeff Bezos. Star Trek star William Shatner participated in the October mission at the age of 90, becoming the oldest human to venture to space. And former football star and Good Morning America host Michael Strahan completed a Blue Origin voyage in December.)
  5. The idea of the metaverse grew in popularity in 2021 with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg jumping on the bandwagon in a big way, touting the virtual world concept in a founder’s letter in late October. But the concept actually stretches back three decades to a novel by this Seattle area author? Name the author and the title of the book where the metaverse term was coined? Neal Stephenson, author of “Snow Crash.”
  6. Funko, the Everett, Wash.-based maker of pop culture products, played a part in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City with a balloon of what character from a popular Star Wars series? Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda.
  7. In one of the largest acquisitions of the year, this Seattle area identity tech startup was acquired by Okta for $6.5 billion. Auth0.
  8. According to a report released in October by jobs site Hired, what does the average tech worker in Seattle make annually? $158,000, up 4.6% over last year and the second-highest average tech salary in the U.S. behind the Bay Area at $165,000.
  9. In addition to giving away billions in 2021, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott also found love and married Seattle’s Dan Jewett. What’s Jewett’s profession? Science teacher. 
  10. OceanGate Expeditions of Everett, Wash. sent a submersible to explore what famous shipwreck, discovering that it is rapidly deteriorating? The Titanic. 
  11. True or False: Amazon workers at a fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama struck a victory for organized labor when they successfully voted to join Retail, Wholesale Department Store Union in April? False. Amazon workers soundly rejected the unionization effort, even though the National Labor Relations Board in November called for a new union election at the facility. 
  12. Name the automaker that took a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, the Seattle company that’s pioneering electric outboard motors for power boats? General Motors invested in Pure Watercraft in November, valuing the 10-year-old company at $600 million.
  13. Amazon added two new leadership principles this year: Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer and Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility. How many total leadership principles does Amazon now have? 16.
  14. Seattle text messaging startup Zipwhip was acquired by this cloud-based communications company this summer for $850 million. Twilio.
  15. Former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene was confirmed by the Senate as the CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology at which federal agency? Department of Veterans Affairs.
  16. Helion raised $500 million in funding in November, making it one of the Seattle region’s many unicorn startups. What promising clean energy technology does Helion hope to deliver via its Polaris generator? Fusion energy, a technology that could produce limitless, carbon-free power.
  17. Seattle tech veterans Jennifer Wong and Peter Hamilton announced plans to open a museum to showcase art connected to what emerging technology that was all the rage in 2021? NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. 
  18. Bill Gates’ backed TerraPower chose which U.S. state for its next-generation nuclear reactor? Wyoming.
  19. OK, and now one for our loyal GeekWire podcast listeners: Which of these leaders DID NOT appear on the GeekWire podcast in 2021: Textio CEO Kieran Snyder; founder Hadi Partovi; Former Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke; U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene. The answer is Kieran Snyder, though we’d love to have her on the show next year! (Check out the GeekWire podcast here, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts).
  20. Match the below Pacific Northwest startups — all of which raised venture capital in 2021 — to the industries they operate in (possibility of eight points):
  • Rec Room … VR-based online gaming community.
  • Highspot ….. Enterprise software to boost performance of sales reps.
  • Headset …..  Data analytics for the cannabis industry.
  • Evrnu ………. A textile tech startup.
  • Karat ………. Technical job interviewing platform.
  • Syndio …….. Data science tools designed to resolve pay equity.
  • Esper ………. Management of cloud-based IoT devices.
  • Ozette ……… AI platform for managing combinations of proteins.

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