November 2008 Archive
At first glance, it appears the title of this post could also serve as the title of a seventies-style lite rock album. Hm. Truth be told, Sarah and I are feeling pretty chilled out after amazing beach-filled holidays with our families. Which is why we're really pumped for the LAST tour stop on the epic User Generated Book Tour: Boulder, Colorado!
It's been a rocky road getting to this final stop, what with some crazy unforeseen scheduling conflicts, so kudos are in order for New Tech organizers Robert Reich and Micah Baldwin. Thanks to their undying enthusiasm, Sarah will be appearing at the December Boulder Denver New Technology Meet-up on THIS Tuesday, December 2nd with books and t-shirts to sell, and pen poised to sign. (more details here)
However, Robert and Micah are probably the only two Boulder-ites (Boulder-ians?) that I can think of as we've heard nary a peep from the rest of you! Despite numerous requests for return trips to neighboring cities like Portland and Seattle, Sarah's had her reporter's eye trained on Boulder. Yet, we've had crickets chirping in return. I mean, Boulder's constantly touted as a hotbed of entrepreneurial and tech activity, right? So what gives? Where's the fire that led Sarah to select Boulder as a UGBT stop in the first place?
Here's my proposition: SarahLacy.com will be in town for one night only, and we want Boulder entrepreneurs to show Silicon Valley's top reporter what mountain men and women are really made of. If anything, it would be terrific to end the UGBT with an icy beer and a bang! So BE THERE.
Really, it's easy. Easy like a Tuesday evening. (How's that for some seventies-inspired cheese?)
It may not sound like a relaxing way to end a vacation to you, but believe me, the closer I come to working through a back-log of Flipcam footage from the last month, the weight is just lifting off my shoulders. Now if I could only finish that BusinessWeek column and other secret project....ah well, that's what a long plane ride is for, right?
Among Flipcam gems I've found today are these two clips from London, featuring two of my favorite people Robert Loch and Paul Carr. In both, the guys have to hide how nice they're actually being to me, by kinda acting like jerks. But I see through it. They love me.
Pets.com may have been one of the most wasteful and frivolous of dot com companies, but Dogster is one of the most disciplined of the Web 2.0 generation. It's interesting since Pets.com had a clearer business model, and satisfied a more obvious need. Just goes to show execution wins, in a downturn or no. While a lot of Dogster's smart moves were made in the company's early days, there are plenty of tips in my TechTicker interview with Dogster CEO Ted Rheingold for cash-strapped entrepreneurs worried about 2009.
Clip two (featuring moxie!):
After three takes we decided we just had nothing very interesting to say, but we wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving anyway! Especially those of you who read, comment, buy books, buy geoff's photos or in any other ways have helped make 2008 an amazing, amazing year for us!
Happy Beachy Thanksgiving! from sarah lacy on Vimeo.
I met two very impressive gents at the Entrepreneur Summit in Cancun last week, and as a result I'm declaring a zero gift, all-giving Christmas at least for me, hopefully roping Mr. Lacy and other members of my family into this plan too. I've had an amazing year-- I never thought I'd be able to buy a house in San Francisco or publish a book or any of the other things that I've enjoyed in 2008. I don't need anything else, and so many people in the rest of the world do. This year I'm going to help give them shoes and water.
Gent #1 was Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes, an organization that set out to put shoes on poor people around the world back in 2006. It's on pace to donate 200,000 shoes this year alone. The premise is simple and perfect for the holidays: You buy a pair, and TOMS gives a pair. This Christmas it's setting out to give away 30,000 pairs and most of my loved ones will be getting TOMS shoes to that end. Here's a video that explains more:
Gent #2 was Scott Harrison of Charity: Water. Scott has an amazing story, and I'm not going to do it justice in one blog post. In short, he was living the high life (literally) in New York as a club promoter dating super models and ordering $400 bottles of Grey Goose at parties. He was miserable, so he set out to do the exact opposite and got a volunteer job on a Mercy Ship, which travels around performing free surgeries for poor people. Scott documented a lot of things we've never seen in this country, like people being choked by tumors the size of grapefruits. The most pressing need he found was for clean drinking water.
For just $5,000 his organization can give a village a well and 100% of the proceeds goes to the cause. In the interest of fair video play, here's a PSA Charity: Water produced. As you can see here and from the site, the organization has brilliantly used design to get attention, tell its story and raise money. But don't be fooled: this is a lean organization of just seven people.
Scott said he thinks Charity: Water can bring clean drinking water to some billion people who don't have it now. He estimated the cost at just over $10 billion. That's a lot of money. But pointed out that Americans spend some $450 billion annually on Christmas. So, I'm giving my family members and loved ones a choice: water or shoes. And they also have a choice for which to donate to instead of buying me a gift.
As a side note, I talk to entrepreneurs in the Valley all the time who've suddenly made millions and want to give, but don't know how. As people who've built nimble, scrappy businesses, entrepreneurs want to make sure the organizations they give to are just as, well, entrepreneurial. They're out there, and these are two great examples. These guys have not only used YouTube, Facebook and other Web apps to get awareness and make the world a better place, they've borrowed from the very ethos and soul of how a scrappy startup is built.
So, come on, who else is willing to forgo material items this year for the greater good?
So, I’m standing chest deep in freezing water wearing a bright orange mining helmet, some water shoes with holes in the toes and a rented wet suit that was already wet when I winced and shimmied into it about ten minutes earlier. (Ew.) I’m hundreds of feet below the earth in an ancient Mayan death cave that’s just been discovered two years ago. Apparently a local who thought a creepy jungle 40 minutes from civilization would be a good venue for weddings and Sweet 16 parties bought the property a few years ago. One day he saw an Iguana, which is apparently equivalent to Kobe beef in Mayan culture. Like some Mayan Alice in Wonderland, he chased the Iguana into a hole and kept digging while the hole got deeper and deeper. He found this enormous cave. How enormous? No one knows. They haven’t even explored all of it yet. In fact the Discovery Channel is coming next week to help. A white thread tells you when you’ve entered unchartered territory. That, and some skulls. After all, they don’t call this a death cave for nothing.
I’ve already been told not to hurt the spindly crab spiders who also share the death cave, and I nodded, even though I know I’m smashing that guy into a rock if he comes near me. I’m trying to avoid jagged rocks and growing stalagmites on the floor of the cave and looking up to see a huge vaulted cave ceiling with thousands of sharp pointy stalactites over which is our van or a forest or something. Maybe even that MIA iguana. Being from San Francisco, I immediately start thinking about earthquakes and these thousands of spears coming crashing down on all of us.
Just then, the guide tells us in broken English that we’re about to turn off our helmet lights and sit in total blackness for a while. And I freak out, mostly because I can’t understand what he’s saying I just hear “total darkness” on top of the uncomfortable situation I’m already experiencing. “I’M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THIS!” I shriek. Yeah, all those people who keep writing about how fearless and ballsy I am? A cave full of entrepreneurs now know the truth. Especially Tony Hsieh of Zappos, whose hand I squeezed so hard, a few fingers could be broken.
Did I mention I’d actually signed up for a lazy afternoon of snorkeling?
Super excited about judging LA's Twiistup 5. I've heard so many great things about the event, and I've been looking for an excuse to head back to LA and meet with some of the startup posse. Funny story: this link calls me a "showoff judge" because the contestants are called "showoffs." Mr. Lacy thought they were insulting me-- imagine his shock when, for once, someone wasn't!
Let's plan a fun Tweet-up while we're in town, LA, shall we?
Here's some clips from my London book launch event, which in Robert Loch's infinite politically correct wisdom was held at the second oldest strip club in London. It sounds shadier than it was. It was actually an amazing venue and the proper business-y crowd and Fidelity Ventures sponsorship poshed it up more than my Minnie Mouse hairbow ever could have. If you've heard me speak, you've probably heard half of this before. If not, enjoy! Thanks again to Loch, Washy and Carr for an amazing event. Let's do, say, Germany next?
Signs that we're back to the daily grind in dear old San Francisco:
- Sarah is MIA because she has sequestered herself to write the last chapter for the paperback/ added on extra days down at Yahoo/ is writing something, for someone, somewhere
- Mr. Lacy has downloaded 15 different bootleg Lil' Wayne albums onto the rap ipod, which we bump in the car like the gangsters we are
- I wake up with a crumpled Sunday Times beneath the sheets and a cat wrapped around my head like a football helmet
- the blog has been overrun with videos (substantive reporting to return soon)
This past week has been so busy, our London trip seems like a dream; a haze of bubbly Brits, the longest book title ever conceived, and an out of this world, six-day pub crawl. Oh, but how quickly that dream snaps into reality when scouring over the thirty plus videos of Flip footage. I mean, did we really....? Yes, yes we did.
In this case, I really taught London's Hugh Hefner how to dance like a Memphis girl. Sarah is making me post it. Otherwise, I'd hit delete. So, enjoy or "Njoy." Whatever you prefer.
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.
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