China, India

Week Two of Hell, Not *Too* Hot Yet...

Quick update on last week's progress: I killed it on China. It's DONE and far better than it would have been without this last trip. People who say I didn't have to travel this much to write this book have no idea how critical deep, on-the-ground reporting is. Huge-- just HUGE-- thanks to everyone who helped me navigate that country over three long trips!

This week: Finishing up the India section. I finished drafting this section before I left for Brazil a few months ago, but haven't done much with it since. This is probably the easiest week I'll have, because the India stuff came out the best on a first draft. For some reason, India was the most frustrating country to be in but the easiest to write about. Always has been for me. Go figure. 

Next week: Brazil. This is where my job gets tougher. I could really use another trip to Brazil, but I'm out of money and out of time. It's mostly drafted but the weakest part of the book right now. (I mean that writing-wise, not material-- my failing as a writer, not Brazil's entrepreneurs.) I'm hoping two months away from the material will have done me some good. I drafted it stressed out just before I left for my five-week trip all over the world. The plan is to drink caipirinhas and listen to the Seu Jorge Pandora station and just you know make it work somehow.


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You're welcome.

I am curious, which is natural, since I am Indian. I have lived most of my life in India, but have also lived several years in China, Singapore and England. I travel to Europe every two months, so I do see differences between India and the other countries.

So, the question for me is this: why do you find India to be one of the most frustrating countries to be in, yet one of the easiest to write about? I find it very difficult to write about my own country.

I am a bit curious about one of your statements, which is natural, since I am an Indian.
You mentioned that "India was the most frustrating country to be in but the easiest to write about".
I've lived in India most of my life, and I have lived in China, Singapore and England. I also travel to Europe often.
I find India to be difficult to write about. So, I am a bit curious about your comment.

so in terms of hardest to be in: the infrastructure is the worst in india of any country i've traveled to, including central africa, south america, south east asia and china. hands down, it is the hardest place to be unless of course you are at a resort or vacation area or not leaving a five star hotel. i don't know many people who travel a lot for business who'd disagree, indian or not.

india is the only place where i get sick, (i eat street food in other countries) there are power outages, the traffic is the worst, i have found the service in many hotels worse and the reality of the urban slums in india is really upsetting.

that said, i think there's a lot of beauty and expressiveness in the country that lends itself to finding great stories. that's probably one reason i always have an easy time writing about it.

On the issue of infrastructure, I agree with you. It is trully terrible in India, and I really have no clue about when this will be rectified.
Well, I returned to India last year, after 7 years away, and one of the more frustrating things for me about my fellow Indians, is the complete lack of respect we generally have for other people's time (it has improved, however). We blithely blame unpunctuality on the roads and traffic.
For the rest, about the beauty and expressiveness, I agree.
I once compared India and China, in a discussion with people in my ex-company. I said,"When you get off the plane in India, the shit hits you in the face. If you can get past that, you see the beauty in the country. In China, everything seems hunky-dory, until one day you wake up, and find you are neck deep in shit" Simplistic, I know, but there you have it!

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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, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

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