March 2009 Archive

What Israel Does Well (Beyond Tech)

2667_60883269626_517774626_1459757_3994747_sYossi Vardi-- the famous Israeli investor and entrepreneur (see right)-- insists that people give positive encouragement to start-ups. I plan to blog about the risks and benefits of this for TechCrunch, but as  people feel free to flame me ALL THE TIME, I can certainly see the merits! Also, Yossi is one of those guys like Roger McNamee: He may have crazy hair, (or in the case of this picture, a crazy hat) but I'd never question his general wisdom on a host of subjects.

So, Yossi, consider this post my homage to you: A list of things I've found that Israelis do incredibly well over the last two weeks of my visit that aren't in the tech category.

1. Wines
. One of the best things about being a reporter is when I travel, part of my job is a ton of dinners, parties and lunches, and I have ordered only Israeli wines at each of them. I don't remember all the names (usually I let someone else pick) but I do remember Flam and The Cave. (Made a Plato joke when we ordered the latter a few nights ago that only my corny philosopher father would have laughed at.) According to a Twitter friend, Israeli Wine Direct is a great resource for Americans buying Israeli wines, and he's hosting an event in San Francisco in April!! I'll be attending if I'm in town. And, um, invited.

2. Flowers.
They are stunning everywhere I go, and apparently Israel ships these flowers though out the world.

3. Cotton
. Being from Memphis, Tenn. it seems weird to give Israel props for cotton, but I bought a beautiful cotton dress last time I was here, and I understand fashion designers here are known for designing with cotton. Unfortunately, I've been working too hard to go shopping, but I hope to remedy that before I leave town!

4. HOTEL SERVICE.
Roi Carthy, the Israeli correspondent for TechCrunch, recommended the Hotel Montefiore, and I have absolutely blown away by everything about it. There are only about a dozen rooms, and each one is beautifully designed, with a full library of classics in English and Hebrew and art and design books. Everyone on the staff knows me by name, by my preferred wake up time, even by how I like my coffee. I've had some of the best meals in Tel Aviv here (which is saying something). The Wireless Internet is even pretty good. They've arranged cars for me everywhere at a moment's notice, and this morning, one guy even ran out and fetched a cappuccino for me because they don't have to go cups here, and I was running late. They look like they are going to cry if I lift my own bag. I can not say enough great things about this hotel, and I'm paying less here than I did for a hotel in Africa; FAR less than I've paid in New York, Paris or London for lesser experiences. It's so great, for such a great value, I worry they might go out of business! Please, if you come to Tel Aviv, do yourself a favor and go to the Montefiore and tell them I referred you because I plan on staying here every time I come to Israel and would like *even better* service, if possible.

Snackofchamps-small And do yourself another favor: Order the crispy duck Vietnamese-style. The shrimp cocktail also makes a delectable snack even with the creepy eyes. (See left.) And by all means, if you have a cold or need comfort food, the Montefiore's club sandwich rivals any one I have ever had.  just polished one off in the lobby and a French woman walked across the restaurant and said "Sometimes you see someone eating so sweetly and enjoying it so much that it just moves you and you wish you were part of the experience." I'm not kidding. My last time in Tel Aviv, my hotel experience wasn't so great. But considering this post is an homage to Yossi, I won't name names.

5. Interior Design. I am not one of those architecture buffs that swoons at a Bauhaus building. So I don't particularly find the exterior of Tel Aviv compelling. But inside unassuming buildings you find a trove of stunning bars and restaurants that could rival any in Paris or Manhattan. (Below, a painting I found in a bar and wish I owned.)

Martianchicksmall

6. Food and nightlife. Ok, so Tel Aviv actually gets huge cred for food and nightlife. But it's so rich, it bears another shout out.

7. Shedding Inhibition I think in the U.S. we're always concerned with "looking cool," even in Silicon Valley. This might be a KinnerNet thing, but everyone at the event felt safe to do absurd and wacky things and make complete fools of themselves without any fear of looking like a nerd. Ahem, photos of yours truly getting sucked up in just that below...

Crazy for steak and moustaches-small

From TechCrunch: Has Israel Lost Its Mojo? (I Hope Not)

Here's the cross post of my first post as a permanent TechCrunch-er. It took me about five days, hours of looking through spreadsheets and about a dozen interviews to write. That's not going to scale if I'm doing several posts a week! In case it's not clear, I personally believe in Israel a great deal; I wouldn't be spending my own money to travel here if I didn't. But the numbers are pretty shocking and worth considering.

When I moved to Silicon Valley in early 2000, I quickly became fascinated with Israel. A very tight relationship had formed between the holy-land-for-all-things-tech and the actual Holy Land, bolstered by success of people like Yossi Vardi and Checkpoint’s Gil Schwed.

The rapid pace of liquidity in the late 1990s meant Valley investors couldn’t find enough start-ups to stuff their money into, and unlike dot com fluffiness that was roaming around San Francisco, Israelis were hard-core techies with a work ethic that seemed to defy basic human needs like sleeping and eating. Most of all, Israelis, particularly those in high-tech and cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, had a reputation for living like there was no tomorrow, because when you’re surrounded by hostile neighbors there may not be.

The 1990s were a period of a lot of structural change in the venture business. It was no longer about families and private money investing—money came from big public pension funds and endowments, and more of it was coming online as the baby boomer retirement accounts swelled and the American stock market made everyone richer. That kind of scale forever changed the venture game. Meanwhile, the Internet enabled companies to be flipped in under two years—also unheard of before. Similarly, Israel represented one of the first times the cozy boutique Sand Hill Road firms ventured overseas and made money as a result. For a time, Israel had more Nasdaq-listed companies than any other country in the world.

Then the crash, happened here and there. Only Israel got a double whammy of the Second Intifada and a resurgence of violence starting around the same time. The talk was always that Israel would come back as a hub for brilliant, crazy, ballsy entrepreneurs, and the returns would come back too. Weren’t these things just cyclical? A positive sign was how many Israeli VC firms were opening their doors. For much of the last ten years, investments in Israeli companies by Israeli VC firms has roughly equaled foreign investment in Israel, according to stats from Ben Gurion University’s School of Management. That’s a huge strength, as Valley and Boston investors always like to invest with local partners, and a lot of developing economies don’t yet have that local infrastructure.

By 2004, an executive from Silicon Valley Bank was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle after leading a contingent of VCs back to the Holy Land saying Israel was poised to explode again. He crowed that the crash and violence aside, Israel was getting more venture money than anywhere other than Silicon Valley and Boston and it was only ramping up.

But it turned out, he was wrong.

Jerusalem

I'm a big believer that this book isn't just about following around entrepreneurs and asking them business questions. It's about absorbing the culture of the place they are from. So it seemed fitting to spend my first day in Israel touring old Jerusalem with Cathy Brooks. We did this last year with the "Traveling Geeks" group, and it was powerful both times, but it different ways. We spanned about 4,000 years of history and three major religions in one very packed day. Touring the several-thousand-year-old water system of the City of David, it was clear that Israelis were always innovating problem solvers! The whole experience was beautiful and intense.

Finally we made it back to a rainy Tel Aviv and realized we'd eaten nothing since breakfast. So we inhaled some delicious burgers.

Here's mine, topped with bacon and an egg. Delicious!
My burger

Then dessert came...
Chocolate cake 1

We cut open the cake and warm chocolate oozed out...
Chocolate cake 2
"OK, Cathy *one* bite..."
Chocolate cake 3
Ahem...
Chocolate cake 4


Today, my calves are aching and my mind is still spinning, so I'm holed up in my lovely hotel catching up on some work for Yahoo, TechCrunch and BusinessWeek. Gotta pay the bills!

Int’l Travel Tips: The Perfect Suitcase

 GE_SRL_Suitcase_02  I’m on a flight to Israel now, and I’m feeling pretty smug. Ladies and gentlemen: I have gotten international travel down. Of course, it’s easy if you’re rich. You settle into your first class or business class seat and practically get massages and pedicures while you fly. Sadly, I’m not rich, despite my half-dozen jobs. As I write this I am in row 32, middle seat firmly wedged back in coach.

Travel is always a pain these days, but international travel for the not-so-rich—especially to far flung parts of Africa and Asia— has its own unique headaches including no cozy direct flights, several days of travel-time, the lack of reliable baggage check in the developing world and connections and long layovers in airports that are every bit as “emerging” as their economies. As such, I’m quickly becoming an expert in all the products that make even the longest trip not only bearable but comfortable.

Since I’m spending nearly 40 weeks in other countries over the next year and a half, I thought it might be fun to blog about a can’t-leave-home-without travel find or tip on each departing flight from San Francisco. If you want to read all of them, they’ll be tagged under “International Travel Tips.”

Today, I am writing about my favorite find: The perfect suitcase. It honestly makes me happy just to look at it, as you can see from the photo Mr. Lacy took this morning. It’s made by Hideo Wakamatsu and for all you San Franciscians, they’ve got a store in the Mission. As a sucker for design, I adore the day-glow green color (I have a purse in the same hue, believe it or not), the grey trim and the compact shape. In fact, that’s why I bought it just before I went to Africa in February. But during the trip I discovered so many other things to love.

For one, it’s light as a feather. Shockingly so. I can pick it up over my head easily even fully packed. With my old suitcase, I always had to do that southern girl thing and ask some gent to lift it into the overhead for me. I had no idea how convenient this would be traveling in Africa, where a lot of airports don’t have escalators or elevators, just lots and lots of stairs. The only thing I’d complain about is the lack of a handle on the side, which would make it even easier to lift.

When you unzip it, there are two compartments, and there’s only a thin layer of fabric that sits between your stuff and the hard metal exterior of the case. That means nearly every inch goes to storage space. And while the hard case won’t bow out if you over-pack, there is some elastic give around the zipper.

The best part: THE WHEELS. You can tap this suitcase with one finger and send it flying down a long hallway. That sounds stupid, but anyone who has had to pull a traditional rolley-bag through a huge airport or down several blocks knows the strain it starts to put in your arm. This bag all but jogs along side you. And the wheels work in every direction. So when you’re passing through a narrow space, like the airplane aisle, you just swivel it to the side and keep wheeling.

I know I sound like a Hideo commercial here, but it’s rare that a product brings me continual delight the more I use it. I actually smile every time I see it in my house. I’m making Mr. Lacy get one before he goes back to Africa with me in June, because all the vaccines in the world won’t keep him from dying of jealousy at how easy mine is to pack, lift and navigate around. Fortunately for him, they do come in more masculine colors.

Spring Cleaning Part 2: A Post Cleanse Wrap

The most impressive thing about BluePrint Cleanse is this: You honestly do not feel like you are fasting for three days. And overall, I’m thrilled with the results. I’m definitely thinner, especially in my waist. In fact, I'm not sure it's ever been this chiseled. On the less vain front, I feel less run-down, and a nagging cold/allergies I’ve had most of the year are completely gone.

That said, as I wrote three days ago, I came in with high expectations given my friends who’d raved about BluePrint, and I didn’t share all of their experiences.

I’d gotten the impression from everyone, including the company’s Web site, that day one would be the hardest, day two would be easier and day three would even better. Julia Allison swore day three was absolutely euphoric. So I was pretty happy when I felt great on day one. I didn’t have a headache, didn’t feel hungry and didn’t even seem to miss the caffeine.

And, to my surprise most of the juices were delicious. The only shock was the green juice—which is half of the daily intake. At first taste Mr. Lacy declared it “the most disgusting thing he’d ever tasted.” (To be fair, he hates cucumbers and it’s very cucumbery. But I love cucumbers, and I could barely drink the first bottle.) But it got better for both of us with each bottle, and we barely minded it towards the end.I remember having the same reaction the first time I drank tomato juice, and I adore bloody mary's now.

But that was the only thing that got better! I felt great in the morning and afternoon of day two but as the day wore on I was hungry and irritable. The cravings for food were so bad by the evening, if I’d been at a party or a dinner it might have been too much to take. For sure, I wouldn’t have been pleasant to be around. (Just ask Olivia who for some reason picked this moment to cook the most fragrant meal she’s ever made, eat it in front of us, then leave the bowl on the table when she left the room. I felt like Stains.)

Day three got worse. I spent the entire day with a blistering headache and because I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for a Yahoo shoot, I had to space the juices out longer, making me feel hungry and out of sorts most of the day. Finally by late afternoon I got a few bursts of euphoria, but the headache kept coming back, putting a pretty big damper on it. And Geoff, sorry, I mean, "Mr. Lacy," felt really ill that night. And be forewarned, what you think is a three-day commitment is really more like a six or seven day commitment because there are huge restrictions on what your system can digest when you break the cleanse. A big disappointment as I really wanted a goodbye slice of Arinell's pizza before I left for Israel. :(

All-in-all, I would definitely give BluePrint another shot. One-and-a-half days of feeling “meh” is worth slimming down and bolstering my immune system, and the company does a fantastic job of coddling you through the process. Also the packaging is great. They clearly label your bottles and send you a little cooler to carry them with you so you don’t have to be tethered to a fridge. This was, after all, my first cleanse, and no doubt a bit of a shock to my system, as much as BluePrint tries to mitigate that with different levels and instructions to prepare for it. I'm sure it'd go smoother next time.

When will that next time be? The site recommends you do it monthly for best results, and that’s probably too much for me. But I plan to try it again in May. As for Mr. Lacy, he’s very prone to headaches and has a wickedly fast metabolism, so the fact that he could function during a fast is nothing short of amazing. He usually flips out if he skips a meal. He ultimately saw it as a good way to kick caffeine, but too much of a sacrifice to do more than a few times per year. Especially since you have to eat salads and steamed vegetables for several days after the fast. As Homer Simpson once said, "You don't win friends with salad."

I can’t say it’s changed my life the way Julia promised it would, but I recommend it to anyone wanting a quick and relatively pain-free way to feel thin and healthy.

Big News! Also, Yes, I Am Back at TechCrunch

As loyal readers know I’ve been spending quite a bit of the last few months quietly working on some pretty radical and exciting career changes. I’ve already blogged about my role shifting at Yahoo's TechTicker, and the fact that I’m cutting out almost all conferences this year. I'm finally able to talk about the last two pieces of news today, and you’ll see why it was crucial for me to make a little more time in my schedule. 

The first one is something I’ve been working towards since December 2007: I’ve finally closed my next book deal. Before I tell you about it, let me step back and say that the experience of writing “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good” was probably the most exhilarating and challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. I knew I wanted to do another book, but I was worried that anything would pale in comparison.

Business reporters are rarely in the middle of something that’s also a mass cultural movement, the way Web 2.0 was. And it’s even rarer to be the reporter in the middle of that trend early-on, with near-unfettered access. The book was also the culmination of ten years of covering startups and the Web, with so many of the themes of the book coming out of articles I’d written week-after-week and conversations at endless breakfasts, lunches and dinners with investors, coders and nearly everyone who makes up the Valley ecosystem. I worked hard, but I was also in the right place at the right time, and I didn’t think it was possible that I’d find another book that I could be that passionate about again.

Then, a month after finally turning it into my publishers in 2007, I was sitting on a beach in Mexico and my next idea hit me. (My husband may never take me on vacation again.)

The new book is about global entrepreneurship. What I don’t mean by that is globalization or social entrepreneurship. It’s the story of real, ambitious, risk-taking entrepreneurs in emerging markets around the world who are taking advantage of the turmoil all around them to build huge businesses, the Western venture capital money that’s trying to invest in them, and the cultural chasm the two are, so far, having a hard time crossing. To tell this story right, I’m going to spend between 30-40 weeks on the ground in Israel, China, India, Africa and Mexico/South America over the next year and a half. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've actually already started. It works out to roughly 2-3 weeks at a time overseas, followed by 2-3 weeks here, and a few months with no travel here and there for sanity. My publisher is John Wiley & Sons and, yes, I was border-line insane to try to sell a book in this market. Huge thanks to them for believing in the project so much, and my agent, Daniel Greenberg, for pulling off the impossible once again.

I’ll still keep a foot firmly planted in Silicon Valley—after all, it’s an integral part of this story, too. And I’ll still write my Valley Girl column for BusinessWeek and do three-to-four interviews per month plus my daily Valley Buzz post for TechTicker. I’ll also still appear on NBC’s Press:Here during the weeks that I’m in town.

So, to sum up, we've got a column, I'm hosting one show, commuting an hour to be a regular guest on another and traveling around the world to write a book…is that enough to keep me busy? Hardly. That’s why I’m also announcing that I’ll have an ongoing gig with TechCrunch. Actually, Michael Arrington already did. Given my other responsibilities, I won't be there everyday, but I’ll be writing two-to-five posts per week, likely a lot on the weekends, a lot on airplanes and a lot from the road. You're better off sending announcements about your latest product launch wherever it is you send them now, because I’ll be focusing on analysis of the business of Silicon Valley, emerging markets and the collision between them.

While I've been working on pulling the book together for more than a year, no one is more surprised than I am at the TechCrunch announcement. You should have seen the Cheshire cat "I won" grin on Michael Arrington's face when we finished negotiating it all. He and I have had an ongoing Abbot-and-Costello routine about how I'd never write there because I was too busy and liked writing on this site too much.

But when I filled in for him in February, my thoughts changed. Trolls aside, I was blown away by the level of engagement and love for that blog among entrepreneurs around the world. It's not just a blog about Silicon Valley and Web 2.0. Subscribing to newspapers or business magazines doesn't really mean you read them. (Ask the tall plastic-wrapped stack in my hallway.) But TechCrunch readers read every single thing on that site, chew it up, digest it, spit it out and talk to their friends about it. It seemed the perfect place to write about what I was seeing on the road as the book unfolds, because I'm well aware I can't write this book alone. It needs a community. After all, a world of entrepreneurs is a pretty big topic.

I'm not killing SarahLacy.com. I'll be cross-posting my TechCrunch stuff here, linking to BusinessWeek and Yahoo stuff, and writing more personal posts about my experiences on the road as I travel. And yes, we'll have FlipCam footage.

I said in an interview late last year that my next book would be "stupidly ambitious" and I think I've delivered on that promise. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I know I will.

Guest Post: A Facebook Addict Gets Twitter Religion

This is a guest post by Eric Nam, of Boston College, who I met on the school's "TechTrek" to Silicon Valley a few weeks ago. We had a debate about Twitter just before Facebook changed their site to be more Twitter-like. I'd anticipated the changes would cause kids like Eric to find even less reason to start using Twitter. On the contrary, he's had quite a different experience. I found his thoughts interesting, and I thought you would too, so I asked him to write up a guest post for us. Enjoy!

Within the past two weeks, Twitter has successfully started a civil war of sorts within my closest group of friends. The argument: Twitter is pointless, a stalker’s paradise, and its services are already covered by Facebook. I completely understand this sentiment, as I was a cynic myself up until two weeks ago. However, within this short period of time, I have become a Twitter evangelist and a staunch believer in Twitter’s ability to fill a niche in the social networking world.

During a recent dinner with Sarah, my Boston College Tech Trek peers and I asked Sarah about her opinions on Twitter. Until this point, we were all skeptics, cynics and nonbelievers of the Twitter world. However, Ms. Lacy articulated the reasons as to why Twitter was so great, presented in her last Business Week column. Convinced, many of us joined the Twitter world as soon as we got back to our hotel.

Upon my entrance in to the Twitterverse, I was criticized by my friends who claimed that I had stalker tendencies by following @johncmayer, @gallaugher, @terrymoran @the_real_shaq and others, however I went ahead, unashamed and tweeted to my best ability. Since then, my number of “victims” has increased to 60 and includes a select group of friends that I care to keep up with, as well as my favorite websites and news sources such as @nprpolitics, @cnbctv, @theeconomist, @cnnbrk. What Twitter has done is capitalize on Facebook’s status update and transformed it into an incredible tool that keeps me connected with people and the stories that I am actually interested in.

As a deeply invested and long time Facebook user, I appreciate Facebook for providing me with embarrassing photos, easy ways to create events, and connections to my long lost friends. However, throughout my years of Facebook use, I have accumulated ‘friends’ who I am close with, but many more that I don’t care to keep up with, or are merely my acquaintances. 

Though Facebook’s newest platform attempts to preemptively negate Twitter’s allure, the real-time updates on my Facebook friends doesn’t draw me in. Honestly, I don’t care to be updated on what Billy from the 3rd grade is doing or how Susie wrote on Kimberly’s wall. Some may argue that I should “de-friend” them, but really, let’s think about how that’s perceived. Either 1. Sorry I don’t like you anymore 2. I don’t care about you anymore or 3. Who are you? Yeah, it’s not the greatest of feelings.

Furthermore, Facebook’s design has gotten out of control.

Spring Cleaning

It's been a rough 2009 so far, at least for my health. Between the cold that wouldn't leave for nearly two months, some pretty severe sleep deprivation, and more stress than usual, I've turned to comfort foods and comfort wine a bit more than I probably should. Author-Sarah would hardly care about a few extra pounds. I am, after all, in my 30s and married. Isn't that when we're all allowed to get fat?

But on-camera Sarah has to care. About a week ago, I decided to go back to what's always helped me slim down and feel happier before: The South Beach Diet and a few hours a week sweating on the elliptical listening to loud rock music. But no sooner did I Twitter something about these plans, then a trove of friends all told me I should try a juice cleanse instead.

I had one initial objection: That just sounds way too California. I already do Pilates three times a week and eat more tofu than I do red meat. I have to keep true to some of my Memphis roots, or they may not let me back in for BBQ-fest.

As I did more research on BluePrint Cleanse-- the company that everyone from Julia Allison to Michael Arrington have gone to for cleansing needs-- there were a few other red flags.

How Celebrities Are Bringing Twitter to the Normal People (Guest Post from Paisano)

Twitter founder Evan Williams predicted on Charlie Rose that his service would be popular with "Normal People" in five years, but it's beginning to look like he was way off. It appears as if incredible amounts of common every day non-tech types are starting to join Twitter and the reason for this massive increase in adoption is ironic. Apparently, celebrities using Twitter has generated a great deal of interest by their fans and viewers of TV shows.

It's becoming clear that the more that celebrities talk about using Twitter, the more people become curious about this oddly named service and actually join to check it out. Some of the most well-known celebs on TV that are sharing their addiction to Twitter are Kelly Ripa, Ellen Deneres, Jimmy Fallon and American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest. By the way, Jon Stewart from The Daily Show recently went on a hilarious rank on this whole Twitter phenomenon.


The problem with all of this is the fact that Twitter is the least user-friendly service when it comes to new members. I've heard countless new members grumble and complain about the confusion they experience when they join and see nothing there. Most don't realize that they need to start adding people to follow, including their beloved celebrities.

Thankfully, Twitter has an improved search tool and a Find People area that can help a little bit. Also, their new Recommended Users tool can help newcomers find people to follow. While these certainly help to come degree, it still isn't enough to fully enhance the Twitter experience.
Rec_users 

Anyway, one of these new members is my wife. She's not interested in blogging or Sillicon Valley and merely wants to follow some of her favorite celebrities on Twitter and wasn't having much luck with Twitter's built-in tools. So I went on a quest to find some cool third party tools to help her and other fans find real celebrities that use Twitter.

Twellow has been around the longest in this roundup. It's basically a yellow pages for Twitter members and includes sections for all kinds of categories much like the phone book.

WeFollow  is a new service from Kevin Rose and the folks at Digg. It looks and smells like a Twitter directory powered by hashtag categories for the type of people you want to find to follow. This includes celebrities.
Wefollow

Twitterists is a little different because it's not just trying to be an all-inclusive directory of all types of Twitter members but instead focuses on the famous folk that use Twitter. It allows members to add new famous twitter users much like Mahalo counts on its members for content. The service doesn't have much data at this point and the user interface can be much better.

Valebrity is the best service that I found when it comes to finding actual celebrities that use Twitter. Ok, I must confess that I did not find this service. It was my Twitter newbie wife that discovered this excellent service! Talk about humbling, here I was the big time blogger of all things new and my rookie spouse finds a service that was much better than any I could find.

Valebrity 

Anyway, the reason why Valebrity is better than the others is because of the way that it validates each and every celebrity account on Twitter and other social networks.

There's also a handy list of "confirmed fakes" which can save you lots of time by not bothering to follow accounts that pretend to be the real deal. The list is updated all the time which makes it a useful resource to check on a regular basis.For example, Valebrity has confirmed that the Tina Fey twitter account is indeed a fake despite the fact that most people seem to believe it's really her. Tina actually commented on this by saying I don't know who it is but they're very funny.

Members can also contribute to the listings through the Contribute section. Also, celebs or their people can add them thru the Get Added section. At the bottom of every entry there's a "How we validated" link that will show you how Valebrity validated the account or confirmed that it was a fake.

Final Thoughts
Twitter is getting a ton of love these days so it doesn't really matter how people find it anymore. Whether it's for marketing your business or personal brand or simply just to follow the tweets of your favorite celebrity, the end result is that the Twitter network is growing which is only a good thing. The fact that there are already services in place like Valebrity that go to the trouble of validating the identities of certain accounts is another valuable tool for all members.

Please share some other services you like to use that help identify whom to follow on Twitter, celebrity or otherwise.

Doriano "Paisano" Carta is a writer for several blogs including ThePaisano.com and Chris Brogan's Dadomatic.com where he is also Editor-in-Chief with a staff of over 70 daddy-bloggers. He's also an I.T. Professional that is very interested in social media and Enterprise 2.0. He's a devoted husband and proud father of three wonderful children.  

I'm Alive, BTW

Just wanted to say a quick blog hai. Things have been nuts for me lately, and now that I'm officially off Michael Arrington-duty, I am trying to dig out of a swamp of logistical things I've been putting off for weeks. Like, getting emails working on my BlackBerry and getting AT&T out here to fix my phone line so I can do radio interviews and have my TiVo back. I'm very proud I finally found time to call the bank and let them know it was indeed me in Africa logging onto my account, not some fraudster, so I can finally pay my bills online again. My various bill collectors are probably glad too. (Yes, I do need a new assistant. I know.)

Long time readers might remember that I'm neurotic and goal-obsessed enough that I not only make a very well thought-out list of New Years Resolutions, but every month I grade myself on how well I do. In January I scored a lousy 61 out of 100. In February I upped that to a 72, partially because i scored higher on the "Be Nicer to Mr. Lacy" category. I'm up to a C-student!

Speaking of goals, I should have some cool news soon. In the meantime, here's the coverage I did for TechCrunch in February, a link to the last two Press:Here shows I was on, my latest ValleyGirl column on unsexy but profitable eNewsletters, and, below, a few segments on gadgets I did with BusinessWeek review honcho Steve Wildstrom for TechTicker last week.

I am still lusting after the Palm Pre more than any other gadget, but the Kindle 2 is a close second.  With all the international travel I'm doing these days Bose Noise Reduction Headsets are a close third. And Mr. Lacy and I have been close to caving on a huge new flat panel for more than a year, but we're taking Mr. Wildstrom's advice in clip #2 below instead. Not that we can afford any of these indulgences. Oh to be back in pre-recession days!

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 »

Buy it from these sellers

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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