entrepreneurship, Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, Silicon Valley, the always controversial sarah lacy, User Generated Book Tour, Web/Tech

Screw It! Let's Do a Book Tour!

OK, so I'm rethinking this new conventional wisdom that book tours don't work for non-fiction, non-celebrity authors. I keep getting so many emails and tweets from people who are enjoying the book and want to go to a reading or party and the bulk are NOT in Silicon Valley. I've decided to put together a book tour on my own. I think this book is an important window into entrepreneurship in the Valley and I want to discuss it with people who are reading and enjoying it. Isn't that why I spent a year writing it?

So I'm proposing 10 cities in the U.S. NOT counting LA, NYC, or SF, because those cities are already getting events. Des Moines, Portland and Memphis have slots already, so that leaves seven open ones. I'm looking for places that have a thriving entrepreneur scene  and a cool indie book store or bar that would sponsor the event. Since I don't have Gotham on board with this plan yet, it's possible I'm footing the bill for some or all of it, and I want to make sure I'm picking the best cities where there's true demand for a fun event with real substantive conversation and debate about the state of Web entrepreneurship across the U.S.

Pass this blog around. Write in via comments or sarah at sarahlacy dot com. Tell me why your city should win, what kind of event would work and who are the "human routers" in your local entrepreneur scene who can pull in a crowd. (Marc Andreessen's term for Ron Conway-- who knows everyone.) And I'll personally make it happen this summer!


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Why not start a MeetUp group - and let the locals in each city put together the event -- the top 10 cities with highest sign ups are where you go.

Just a thought. http://www.meetup.com/

Boulder, CO seems like an obvious choice here. The human router that comes immediately to mind there is Andrew Hyde. No point in linking to him. He's a human router. Google him.

He founded 'Startup Weekend' a year ago and built a business around visiting cities with aspiring tech entrepreneurs and getting them to come to his event.

thanks for the quick responses guys! keep 'em coming! this is going to be fun- user generated book tour!

Consider contacting local entreprenuer groups over bookstores. They're always looking for interesting speakers. Here in Portland it's OEN. I'm on the marketing committee and if you need an intro I'm happy to help.

Washington, DC (or northern Virginia) is a great hub of Internet start ups. I recommend doing an appearance at the Barnes & Noble in Clarendon (part of Arlington). That's a hip, happenin' area. There are some cool indie places in DC, as well, though I'm not too familiar with downtown. Contact Frank Gruber (www.somewhatfrank.com). He's got incredible connections with Internet entrepreneurs in this area. I can personally hook you up with a small speaking gig at the AOL campus in Dulles, VA, as well.

hey michael-

would love to do something at AOL. did google last week and i think i'm going to do yahoo in santa monica in june. i haven't been to DC since the 8th grade! i'll be in touch!

This is outside of your proposed scope, but how bout a European book tour! I'd organize a kickass event in Switzerland, but London would probably be a more sensible choice for you. DO IT!

I just moved from Ann Arbor, MI, and they have a pretty good tech scene going on. It was rated something like #5 or #6 for being most entrepreneurial by one of the business mags. Borders Books HQ is there too... you could pop in for a visit. You could probably get a good showing at an event hosted by the local econ dev group, SPARK. See www.annarborspark.org

Also, RTP (Raleigh-Durham) would probably be a good place to go. I have some friends there.

And lastly... Myrtle Beach, SC, where I just moved. It probably wouldn't do much for your book, but if you want to hit the beach and go grab a drink with me and my wife, that would be cool. :)

A book tour is a great idea, Sarah, we can't wait to have you in Des Moines!

I second Michael about coming to DC/Northern VA. We've got a well connected tech/biz community here, and the spot mentioned, Clarendon, is quite hip (and expensive ... lots of people with fat wallets to buy two copies :-)

There are people better connected than me ... but I'd be happy to help get something set up.

Oh, and another group that would be great to talk to about this is is Executive Biz (http://www.executivebiz.com). They claim to reach 50,000 execs with their digital magazine, and they host Web 2.0 events all the time. I think they were behind the NewNewInternet Conference, the East Coast's biggest Tech/Web conference. I'll shoot a note to co-founder/editor JD Kathuria. Best of luck on all of this.

Austin seems a natural choice. I also echo the call for a European tour, or at least one stop - in London (where you already have lots of friends). Might not be the best timing, as I don't know your deal with UK rights or releases...

Seattle's another obvious choice.

Elliott Bay Books is a great independent bookstore and is located right in Pioneer Square, near many of our web 2.0 companies' offices.

I'm sure we could whip up a 'networking event' that night too.

lots of comments! expect a new post with the finalists for cities and my thoughts and questions. i'm so excited about this!

for now:

@daryn: seattle seems doable since it's so close to portland. is there anyone who organizes entrepreneurs i could get in touch with?

and YES i am going back to london-- in sept. most likely. this is just the US leg. also going to south africa in oct. and possibly back to paris in dec. trying to organize trips to india and somewhere in asia next year so any ideas are welcome!

I'd like to second Michael's suggestion of doing an event here in the Washington DC area. It's the place that I have the pleasure of calling home.

Like Michael said, we have a thriving tech/entrepreneurial community with plenty of startups. I'm very confident we could get a lot of interest in having an event out here.

Let me know how I can help. I'd also be happy to get you in touch with Frank. He and I are good friends.

Waltham (or nearby Boston) seems like the logical choice. It's the forgotten partner in this whole Web 2.0 dance, the place where Polaroid is headed into oblivion. Remember them? Once the top technology company of the day.

In any case, I know that the folks at Backpages Books have had events at the Museum of Industry in the past... may make for an interesting venue. And there are all these techies here.

@sarah it's pretty easy to round up the seattle tech crowd. Send me an email and I can get you hooked up...

Boulder, Austin, Chicago and dare I say U. of Illinois seem logical to me. :)

Austin does indeed seem like a nice suggestion. BookPeople is probably the best place in town to host an event like this.

Hope to see you in Texas!

Cincinnati. This city has wonderful start-up tech community and 10 Fortune 500 companies. Come on over.

Hey Sarah - if you come to London in September, you should try to time it around the Seedcamp event on the 15th-18th that Saul's behind. It's a week of entrepreneurs from all over Europe getting together to network and 20 businesses will be pitching their companies in hopes of becoming one of the top 5. Perfect audience for your book and sounds like great timing. Let me know if you think it might be possible!

And I'll be in India next March/April... let me know when you're going. Will probably see you in Dec as well. Fun! :)

You can reach a big chunk of the Seattle startup crowd via Seattle Tech Startups alias (organize@seattletechstartups.com). We'd also be happy to help you promote your visit here to the StartPad.org membership.

Looking forward to meeting you.

- Mike

Boston! What if you could organize around the Webinno event on July 15 - I have only attended once, but it was pretty full (400 people-ish?) Maybe organize something to immediately follow the event? Check out all the people who are signed up! http://webinno18.eventbrite.com/

hey melissa- i don't think july 15 can work- but thanks for the heads up! i do think boston is making the list, but probably in sept, when i have another speaking gig there. more details today!


Sarah--I am in boulder for the summer and would be happy to help set you up here--come to talk to techstars!
Also have ties in Miami you should talk to.

Sarah--I am in boulder for the summer and would be happy to help set you up here--come to talk to techstars!
Also have ties in Miami you should talk to.

Looking forward to getting you into Omaha---we'll try to line up Warren B. to stop by as well!

Looking forward to getting you into Omaha---we'll try to line up Warren B. to stop by as well!

Looking forward to getting you into Omaha---we'll try to line up Warren B. to stop by as well!

Please come to Reno or Vegas. We would LOVE to meet you.

Thank you for the great book!

all the best,

Hey Sarah,

Have you done India yet? I have written two books, one on using LinkedIn (http://techgazing.com/linkedin) and another on travel (http://ajayjain.com/peep-peep-dont-sleep/) Book tours are not common in India but I am trying to put one together for myself.

It may make sense to get together some authors and do a group tour to create more of a buzz. (Being a journalist myself, I know the press will pick it up).

I have also just initiated a book club in India (http://bookwag.com). Let me know if I can help in any way - irrespective of whether your book tour / promotions are linked to mine as mentioned earlier by me).

Cheers... Ajay

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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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