June 2008 Archive

Me, Wine, Valerie

Here's an interview I did for BuzzLogic's Vino Diaries podcast. The audio is a little awkward-- Guessing my mic job on my turtleneck was part of the problem so my apologies! I love that they actually LET you drink on this podcast, unlike Happy Hour where they only pretend!


UGBT Updates: Toronto, LA

Ok, so LA isn't officially part of the UGBT, because the ground rules exclude LA, SF and NYC in favor of places publishers never send authors. So don't worry, it's not getting one of the ten slots. But, I did want to update LA folks on my signing down there. It's not going to be this weekend (Although I will Twitter my whereabouts Friday night. As always, you show up with my book, you get a signature and a free drink. How many authors give you that deal?)

It IS going to be July 8 at Yahoo's Santa Monica campus. Say what you want about them, Yahoo couldn't be more supportive of my book which amazes me given how much the book takes me away from my job at Tech Ticker. My bosses just get the importance of brand and crossover leverage in today's media world: The more successful my book, the more it helps Tech Ticker. Frequently old media is borderline hostile to reporters-turned-authors seeing time and intelligence as some sort of zero sum game. (Although, in my case, BusinessWeek has been amazingly supportive too, but believe me, this is not the norm!)

But I digress: Yahoo Santa Monica, 2450 Broadway, 4 p.m. I'll be doing a reading, but am more interested in an interactive chat about the Web and entrepreneurship so PLEASE come with questions! Books will be available, likely for my usual easy-to-calculate if loss-leading $20 price. Please, please, please bring as many $20 bills as you can gather. The book makes a great gift for people who don't know a single blessed thing about Web 2.0. I quote @ryangraves from Twitter this morning:

"...gave my 59 year old (non-tech) dad your book for fathers day...maybe he'll get on a social network! thanks again, great read."

Ryan: do keep me posted and I'll add your dad as a friend!

Oh, and Yahoo will have beer and wine too! Hope to see all of you there!

On to Toronto: You've won my heart with Twitter responses and emails. I'm definitely adding it to the UGBT. Details to come, but please keep the comments and ideas for what kind of event would work best coming!

More UGBT Good News

Just got word that my publishers at Gotham have actually decided to give me some money to fund this grand book tour idea. They almost never do this given the general sense that book tours no longer work. So all the more pressure on me (and you!) to make the events the most relevant and interesting they can be! Let's prove to publishers that people do still want to read and talk about books and ideas, and that the Web can change their industry too!

Also: What about Toronto? Why doesn't anyone in Toronto want me to come? That's a huge entrepreneur webby town right?

User Generated Book Tour: Four Slots Left!

Hey everyone. It's way too early and I'm way too sleepy at Yahoo about to head into makeup, but I wanted to give a quick update on the UGBT. It's coming along beautifully! With your help this is totally going to set a new precedent in how book tours are done. Too grand? Ok, it'll be fun for me to travel around and meet entrepreneurs outside the Valley.

Based on the feedback so far, I've selected these cities for sure:

Des Moines (tentatively: early aug)
Memphis (mid-sept)
Boston (mid-sept)
Washington DC

Boulder is close...but I don't know enough about the entrepreneur scene there...more info please?

I want to go to Austin or Dallas, but not sure if I should do both. So one or both will be on the final list. I'd also like to hit another city in the Midwest but there hasn't been any big Des Moines-like groundswell of interest so far-- more one off suggestions that are hard to chose between. Midwestern Web folks....are you out there? As a commenter rightly pointed out in the previous post, I really should go to University of Illinois given how many people from the book did!

I'm also surprised I didn't get a bigger response from Atlanta. When I was a business reporter, Atlanta was all about trying to be the next Silicon Valley-- have entrepreneurial efforts waned that much?

We've got four slots left so let me know where I should my flight next! The next step will be figuring out what type of event to do in each city (reading? party? happy hour? round table of elevator pitches?) so if your city has been selected start thinking and commenting!

Oh- and Los Angeles people: I've got an event at Yahoo in Santa Monica July 8 so mark your calendars now!

Would You Rather Be a Best-Seller or Critically Acclaimed?

My hunch is we'd all say critically acclaimed until we're actually in the situation where we're trying to build a career. Then, it gets tricky. It's a subject close to home, because while my book is selling pretty well, the reviews, letters and feedback are much better. Like any metrics, I tend to get sucked in to looking to them for validation, and have to keep reminding myself why I wrote it: To tell an important story right and inspire and educate would be entrepreneurs. Not the ego of seeing my name on a best-seller list.

There's a legitimate reason to want best-seller instead of critically acclaimed that doesn't have to do with ego or money. Numbers are like votes, so when something is a mass hit, it's an quantitative analysis that you did something good. Reviews, letters, articles -- even effusive ones-- are all qualitative, and somehow hard to trust. Less scientific somehow.

That's thinking many a Web entreprenuer gets sucked into as well: You start it for the love, then the numbers get seductive. It's so easy to think of them as an objective, rational calculation of your worth...until they stagnate or fall.


What LinkedIn Doubters Need to Know

As I said in my previous post, it has been a busy week for me. The highlight was an interview with Reid Hoffman for TechTicker upon closing his venture deal valuing LinkedIn at a (Outrageous? Conservative?) $1 billion valuation. Of course, if you read this blog regularly you know I think it’s easily worth that. And really, Reid just confirmed it for me. In this piece below, he discusses why all this talk of a Facebook-LinkedIn rivalry just misses the mark. One of his claims is that work and play will not collide, which is funny because in my BusinessWeek column this week I talked about the growing realization that our worlds are doing just that and posed the question of whether people would change their real-world behavior or abandon such heavy use of sites like Twitter, Facebook, et all.

But if you watch this video, you see a lot of clues to why I think LinkedIn is the sleeper big, standalone public company that emerges from Web 2.0. There are so many moments where Hoffman – and I should add Dan Nye the current CEO—have resisted cheap growth, from both users and revenues, in favor of building a sustainable business. The business side of LinkedIn has always made it a little different from the rest of the Web 2.0 crop, which is fitting since it started in 2003—a beyond bleak time for Web companies when VCs were demanding some sort of business model. Although Reid decisively rejected that—and stepped in to fund a good many early Web entrepreneurs who did too—you can still see that thinking in how quickly the company got to profitability and how quickly it began building it’s own salesforce, rather than, say, off-loaded ad sales to a third party.

I could go on, but just watch the clip. Two other pieces below it with Reid: One on the $1 billion valuation and the prospect of a LinkedIn IPO and the other on Reid’s thoughts about Web 2.0 and it’s twin growing pains of monetization and persistent outages. I was lucky enough to spend hours at a time talking business and the Valley with Reid while I was writing my book, but haven’t seen him in a while. I forgot how much I enjoy his willingness to answer nearly every question you put to him in a direct and honest way. I’m  trying to think now of a single time he’s said “no comment” to me and coming up blank! Anyway, enjoy:

Any Multi-Tasking Tips?

I’m a pretty big multitasker. I actually booked meetings at my new box-filled home tomorrow morning so I could get something done as I was waiting on the cable guy. But even I am struggling these days.

As it turns out technology and uber-efficiency can only create so many extra hours in the day. Between promoting my book, co-hosting TechTicker, writing my column for BusinessWeek and of course blogging, it seems like I always focus on one, only to inadvertently neglect the other. Then when I try to compensate, I neglect something else.

When I started blogging, I was ahead on columns, and I was traveling so not some 30 hours at TechTicker. Blogging was a snap and my traffic soared. When my book came out, my column was hopelessly late and TechTicker suffered a bit, though I should note both overlords couldn’t have been more understanding or supportive. When I tried to resume those duties, plus still blog, my book promotion suffered.

This week, I finally had a BusinessWeek column run and I really had a kick-ass week at TechTicker. As a result my plans for my User Generated Book Tour have stagnated a bit, and well….blog? What’s that? Throw in a move, and a new house with no Internet yet and just forget it.

As Mr. Lacy and I work on painting, unpacking and transforming our home into a digital wonderland the balance will stay hard.

I am imploring other multitaskers out there: What are your secrets? Is there technology I am missing to make my life easier?

My hunch is I need a part-time personal assistant. This is something that fellow Web 2.0 authors Charlene Li and Tara Hunt and I were talking about earlier this week. Are there good services for finding very part time, highly skilled assistant? Charlene pointed out that the answer wasn’t college kids but stay-at-home moms wanting a few hours of work per day, or alternately one day a week out of the house. Are there sites (other than Craigslist) where you can easily connect with them? That’s a business opportunity I think.

Engineers and Cats...The Two Life-Forms I Spend Too Much Time With!

You've probably seen...but I just love this video.

Princess Leia Returns...

I was thrilled to find my black "thank God I don't have to fix my bangs today" headband hiding in a random drawer this morning. I hope to find many other lost items during our upcoming move. (Just over to the Mission-- you're not done with me, Silicon Valley!)

Here's a segment I did on the advertising numbers. Actually looking for someone to interview tomorrow about specific online ad business models if someone has a suggestion. My usual peeps can't make it.


ValleyWag wrote something nice about me and helped promote my User Generated Book Tour! Owen Thomas is like that puppy that eats your shoes, but then brings you the paper so you like him again.

By the way, I'm not ignoring everyone who has commented or written to me about the UGBT, I'm carefully going through everything. I've nailed down about six of the cities for sure and will do a post on this soon. Just waiting a bit because responses are still pouring in. VERY excited about this project!

Also, Geoff spotted this today. Thanks for the nice review! It all helps on the dreaded Wednesday: The day I get weekly book sales numbers. Wish me luck.

Hope to see any ladies at this event tonight. If you're coming enter here to win a free iPod courtesy of FiveEdge Media. That's John's company! Another fruitful business relationship thanks to Twitter!

Sarah Lacy’s entertaining and informative tour of the world’s fastest growing economies undeniably proves what we’ve known at Endeavor for more than a decade: that impressive and inspiring Entrepreneurs can truly come from anywhere! In taking us on a whirlwind journey bursting with frenetic energy – matched only by that of the amazing entrepreneurs she meets – Lacy gives us an important glimpse into the future of the global economy – a place where the craziest, high-impact entrepreneurs from anywhere and everywhere set the pace.
Brilliant. Crazy. Cocky.

New Book

An unforgettable portrait of the emerging world's entrepreneurial dynamos Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky is the story about that top 1% of people who do more to change their worlds through greed and ambition than politicians, NGOs and nonprofits ever can. This new breed of self-starter is taking local turmoil and turning it into opportunities, making millions, creating thousands of jobs and changing the face of modern entrepreneurship at the same time. To tell this story, Lacy spent forty weeks traveling through Asia, South America and Africa hunting down the most impressive up-and-comers the developed world has never heard of....yet.

Excerpt »

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Srah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is an award-winning reporter who has covered high-growth entrepreneurship for more than fifteen years. She is the founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of PandoDaily.com, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

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