Washington DC Archive
How do you know I'm fully committed to The Morning Don't vision of capturing people as they really are in the morning? Because I actually posted this video of my puffy face and epic bedhead. What can I say? It was a night of tossing and turning. At least you'll appreciate all the work that goes into making me presentable for TechTicker now.
Oh yeah: GO OBAMA!
Morning Don't, Episode 12 from sarah lacy on Vimeo.
I was just carpooling home from Yahoo and talking about how silly is it that Barack Obama wants to delay the mandatory move to digital TV. "If people don't get it by now, they're not going to in another few months," I said semi-obnoxiously.
This video sort of makes my point. I don't think a delay would help her. It also reminds me of something a friend of mine and fellow tech reporter once said: "I can't wait to get old and see what kind of new technology confuses me." (Thanks for the find @sadkids!)
As I've said before, I'm starting to get irrationally freaked about the downturn and just how much worse 2009 could get. But my fears of every employer of ours going insolvent, and Mr. Lacy and I ending up in the poor house are-- by any stretch-- a long shot. Even the worst case scenario is likely some belt tightening, which we've done before and can do again. (Tip: Short Diane Von Furstenberg if this occurs.)
But there is something else I'm very scared about, and it's all too rational: Unintended consequences of government intervention. The TARP bailout was merely the beginning to a drunken spree of spending, regulation and scapegoats that'll continue at least through first quarter of 2009, and I'm betting even longer. It's a mad-dash to soothe the stock market, which is irrational at best. And you know what happens in mad-dashes? People fall and trip on scissors.
First, consider, a cautionary tale from the last bust: Here's a great piece in the Wall Street Journal by Mike Malone, one of my very favorite authors. (In fact, Infinite Loop is the best book written on Apple IMHO. Not too late to get one for your favorite fan boy for Christmas....) Malone's piece echoes several of the "Nontrepreneur" chapter in my book, and a good many columns I've written about the very real problems venture capitalists are facing, although I tend to point the finger at Wall Street more than Washington. As usual, Malone makes his points in elegant style.
And now a cautionary tale for 2009. Paul "It's only fairly apocalyptic" Kedrosky likes to come up with doomsday scenarios, and sadly in 2008 a lot of them were right on. But this situation he describes in our video below is one of the scariest. (Hint: ZOMBIES!)
This is what happens when we slap-dash regulations and bailouts to pacify voters and mob-investors. I don't know a single expert, journalist, commentator or luminary that said the bailout plan was well thought out. But at the same time there was high-pitched screeching when it wasn't immediately passed. This is just one unintended consequence of the "YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!" school of governance. Do you know how many we haven't even seen yet?
I started my career covering regional banks and you can't overestimate how much the fabric of America is woven into them. The U.S. Government certainly can't afford to bail them all out. Already we're stretched so thin, China is downgrading our credit rating for the first time.
I know, I know, not exactly happy Christmas wishes. The above video is far more suited for Halloween.
OK, so remember this post about my life pre-assistant? I know I owe three people in DC shirts because they bought three books. But I can only find Frank Strong's card. (On the way tomorrow!)
At the risk of a million people telling me they bought three books, I'm asking whoever those two people are to email and let me know, so I can honor the deal!
Honor system, please! The shirts are actually a UGBT loss leader.
I love this one:
that's Peter Corbett, SomewhatFrank Gruber, Jen Consalvo, me, and my roadie Peter LaMotte. Crazily enough, Peter went to college with me and is now in the DC tech scene. I haven't seen him in about 10 years but he was kind enough to carry books and perform other roadie like duties. Thanks Facebook for reconnecting us!
I also love this one from the AOL talk, taken by Jen (not sure who took the one above!) I'm signing books and Frank is looking on wistfully. I spent a good deal of time trying to convince him to drop everything and write one. He actually signed one of mine for someone-- just to see what it was like:
Massive, massive thanks to my AOL hosts in DC, Michael Tolosa and Frank Gruber who made my visit unforgettable. Here's Michael and I at the party:
So, I have a few hours left in New York and I'm that kind of exhausted that's too exhausted to nap. We fly back tonight, and then I've got a 5 a.m. wake up for Yahoo. It's going to be BRUTAL. Just brutal. So while I have a bit of stamina, I figured I'd blog some more about my Washington DC experience.
First off-- I was blown away by the excitement of the scene. I didn't get enough time to do deep dives on everyone's businesses, obviously, but I definitely heard about a few cool ideas. Like LA, I was struck that there weren't just a lot of "me too" ideas. More than that, there is a palpable will among everyone I met to drag DC into being a hip, hot Web hotspot, kicking and screaming if they have to.
Every center of innovation needs a cocktail of things:
-wild, almost naive ambition
-a culture of risk taking
-a social scene where Valley-like serendipitous moments can happen. (You know, stuff like: Oh, hey! I haven't seen you in forever! You're starting a company? OMG I know an angel investor who's really into that space! etc)
-big companies techies can spin off from
I think DC has some of those. The ambition is there for sure, and people like Justin Thorp, Peter Corbett and Frank Gruber are great "human routers" to continually bring new people into the scene and keep the existing ones mixing, mingling-- and most important for DC-- keep them from moving to the Valley in frustration.
Every time I say I'll never mention SXSW on my blog again...
So last night TechnoSailor had the testicular fortitude to be the only person after Robert Scoble to actually come up and apologize for the SXSW heckling event. Apparently while I was sweating around NYC all day semi-off the grid everyone discussed and called it the apology of the century! I don't know about all that. But I thought it was an incredibly gracious and classy thing to do.
It seems T.S. didn't know if I took his apology so I wanted to do a quick post to say YES. Life is too short for grudges. Besides the whole incident sold way more books and got me way more speaking gigs. Not that I want such things to happen all the time. But just saying.
Here's are photos to mark (haha!) the occasion. First, "ehh...I'm not letting you off the hook..."
then, "Well, ok."
So as detailed in my last post my first stop on the User Generated Book Tour will be Washington D.C.-- a city I haven't been to since an 8th grade class trip. This time around I will not be going to the Washington Monument or the White House. I will be meeting lots of entrepreneurs and Web folks!
If you work at AOL you can catch me July 17 in discussion with some other Web folks on campus. I believe they've got about 30 books to give away so either arrive early or come with a really great question and win a copy! Or if you have a copy already, bring it and I'll be happy to sign it for you! I will likely have copies for sale for $20. That's six dollars off the cover price!
Not an AOL-er? Then you can catch me here. I'll say a few words about the book and then open it up to a very interactive q&a about whatever you guys want to ask me about: the book, the web, venture capital, silicon valley, DC's entrepreneur scene, my Yahoo show, my businessweek column, whether Michael Arrington is really a jerk, whether Mark Zuckerberg ever says more than two words, whether Max Levchin ever sleeps, assorted Kevin Rose trivia, my award winning fried chicken recipe, etc, etc. Just kidding on the fried chicken! That's a family secret. But, yes, I will answer questions about the SXSW lynch mob if anyone exists who isn't utterly bored by the topic by now.
I'm told that the Scoble-Gary Vee double header drew 400 people, so I can only hope I get some of that DC love too!
I'll also have books for sale there, and if you buy, say, three or more copies you get a T-shirt! (This is pursuant to getting the T-shirts in time...feel free to harass @sadkids on Twitter who is supposed to be designing them while I'm in LA today!)
I've been incredibly wowed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from DC's tech scene so I'm coming in with high expectations! We've got to kick this thing off right!
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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