Posts Tagged Sarah Lacy

The Vortex: Deep Thoughts Edition

It’s funny – I started this weekly wrap-up to skewer the insanity of the technosphere. It’s an odd little world that thinks an awful lot of itself and needs a dose of reality on a regular basis. But sometimes I just can’t muster the energy to make fun of Scoble’s latest rant, or whatever that week’s kerfuffle is. And, as you may have noticed, these posts have been drifting more towards actual news updates and app reviews. So I’ll put the question to my small but faithful group of readers: which Vortex do you like better – Jekyll’s or Hyde’s?  (If you need a prompt, Hyde was the evil one.) In the meantime…

Robert Scoble thinks Twitter is worth “five to ten billion dollars.” Sigh.

–Sarah Lacy is mad at Brazil because she didn’t get her visa arranged in time. The only thing missing from this temper tantrum is the sound of stamping feet.

–We’ve all done it but John Hodgman did it in spades. What was meant as a direct message on Twitter instead went out to his 82,000+ followers – his cell phone number.

–Yeah, this site is petty and mean. But gosh, it’s funny.

And with that, I’ll leave you to a happy holiday weekend. Step away from the computer, get some sun, and meet me back here next week.

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The View from Guidewire: New Year, New Silliness

I let ‘The View’ posts slide during the holiday malaise but the first work week of 2009 brings a bevy of technosphere fun. And apparently it also brings a rise in my snark quotient. I’ll try to be nicer next week.

News from the Social Media Vortex

-Several celebrity Twitter accounts, including Obama and Britney Spears, were hacked, causing much kerfuffle and official statements from Twitter. Users were alerted to “change your password!” because no one wanted to admit they weren’t famous enough to be hacked.

-The big discussion this week on FriendFeed was… FriendFeed. Louis Gray wrote a post on what FriendFeed needs to do to grow (some great ideas in there, by the way) and it gets 140 comments on his site alone. Several others chime in to debate further, including Sarah Lacy, who predicts “a modest acquisition in someone’s future.”  Hmmm, I’ve heard that somewhere before… Paul Buchheit, FriendFeed investor and founder, then has his say, requesting that folks remember there is no such thing as overnight success. I probably skipped a few steps in there but you get the gist: FriendFeed needs to grow and attract more mainstream consumers. See also: Pope’s hat and bear in woods.

-Gawker Media continues to sell off its properties, with Consumerist going to Consumer Reports, and my beloved Defamer looking for a home. Seriously folks, someone snap up Defamer – it has some of the wittiest writing online.

2008 in the rearview mirror

-I’ve had Jason Kottke’s Best Links 2008 in an open tab all week. There’s a lot to wade through but it’s all fascinating. And there are a couple of fun games buried in there too. [Note: why can’t I get Passage to run on my computer? I’ve been dying to play it since I read Jason Rohrer’s Esquire profile.]

-Speaking of games, Mochi Media released its list of the top 10 flash games for 2008. Click that link at your own peril. Hours of time suckage lie in wait.

-And don’t miss Pitchfork’s 20 Worst Album Covers of 2008. I think my favorite comment is on Brad Paisley’s cover: “The artist who did this also designed GeoCities pages for people in 1996.”

Apps on the Radar

-WebEx introduced its iPhone app, for those times when you want your browser to crash on a smaller screen.

-ReadWriteWeb tells me there’s a iPhone app now available but I’m not sure I believe them. Searches in iTunes and on my phone turned up nothing. **Update: Christopher Corfi was kind enough to include links to the app. See comment #2 below.

-I finally downloaded Enigmo and am officially hooked. It was voted best iPhone game at last year’s developer conference and completely merits the title.

DEMO trends – where the innovation is with DEMO 09 applicants

-Consumer-controlled marketing – allowing users to control the conversation on business sites

-Social Web – a remote control for your online experience

-Immersive learning – transitioning education to 21st century tools


-Apple is possibly developing iPhone gloves. You heard me correctly – gloves for using your iPhone in the cold. For those times when you just can’t abide the extra five minutes it takes to, you know, go inside.

Tweet of the Week

It’s a three-way tie this week, since we haven’t named anyone in several weeks. Drumroll please…

-Funniest: (And cheating a bit because this was a FriendFeed entry) Alex Scoble, brother of Robert, – “I’ve created a pastime out of coming up with new ways to humorously say that my brother’s head is gargantuan.”

-Pithiest: @marshallk, who got married New Year’s Eve (congrats!) and said, “thx everyone. gotta say though, wedding license applications, next to “domestic partnership” apps, felt like a whites’ only water fountain.”

-And this one came in just as I was wrapping up the post.  Most Out of Touch of With Reality goes to @JasonCalacanis: “Must. Not. Order. Corvette. ZR1. STOP. DON’T DO IT. Recession. Not appropriate. DRIVE TESLA. Save. Planet. STOP. DON’T ORDER.”

We should all have such problems.

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Shoddy Reporting, Invective, and Arrogance. Yeah, I Want Some of That

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.

As I was growing up, my mother instructed me that, when I got angry or frustrated, to count to ten before saying anything.  Quite honestly, I’ve counted to ten ten-times over.  I’ve bitten my tongue and clenched my teeth and I’ve really tried to let it go.

And now, I just can’t help myself any longer.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read too many blog posts (notice how we don’t call them “stories” any more?) filled with invective, passed-along assumptions, and outright misinformation that I can’t help but to call into question the standard of “reporting” going on in the echo-chamber we call the blogosphere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Becoming the Story: A Cautionary Tale

Earlier today, my business partner Mike Sigal and I had a robust discussion about Carla’s post on the Sarah Lacy kerfuffle at SXSW on Sunday. Neither defending nor attacking Lacy, Mike asked whether The Guidewire did a service to the community by entering the debate. “How,” he asked, “are we additive to the debate?”

It’s a fair question and I do think Carla made a key point:

It seems that the audience was misread at several junctures. In the end though, the only question that needs to be answered is whether Lacy did her job as a reporter and interviewer.

Whether you like or dislike Lacy’s style, whether you appreciate her body of work, whether you were in the room or not, one thing has become clear: Lacy became the story.

In fact, I’ve been hard pressed to find much coverage at all of comments made by Mark Zuckerberg during the hour-long keynote Q&A, so I went to YouTube to find video of the interview. Lacy talked about her visit to facebook, her previous discussions with Zuckerberg, her forthcoming book, her interview techniques, her indignation. . . herself.

In short, Lacy made the interview as much about her as it was about Zuckerberg. That, my friends, is an amateur mistake that a journalist of her position should not make.

But, oddly, it’s almost understandable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mob Rule

I know, I know: you likely can’t take one more analysis of the Mark Zuckerberg/Sarah Lacy debacle. But as tempers have calmed and more thoughtful analysis beyond “she sucked” emerges, I must add my two cents. As someone who was sitting smack in the middle of the audience and experienced the vibe, I disagree with those who are now calling it a witch hunt and an overreaction by an unsympathetic audience. The packed-to-the-gills ballroom sat on their hands and kept their mouth shut for the majority of the Q&A. But as time ticked by and Lacy continued to cut off his answers, plug her upcoming book, and relate personal stories that weren’t of interest to the crowd (his profuse sweating in their first interview, for example), the murmuring and discomfort became palpable. Frankly, I was embarrassed for her. It was like watching a tanking Saturday Night Live sketch that has gone on far too long.

From what I know of Lacy, she’s a sharp reporter – BusinessWeek isn’t in the habit of hiring dimbullbs. But she was off her game in this interview and didn’t ask the questions this developer audience wanted to hear. The attendees unhappy with the interview weren’t in “the back of the room,” as TechCrunch surmises. They were everywhere and were of all shapes and sizes. Three people on all sides of me – none of which were developers – got up and left before the kerfuffle kicked in, uncomfortable and fed up with a highly anticipated keynote that went south.

We can all agree that Zuckerberg is a tough interview. But the audience wasn’t displeased with the answers he was giving; they were displeased with Lacy’s unprofessional and weirdly personal interview style. Jeff Jarvis hit the nail on the head; she should’ve researched her audience more. And Brian Solis (linked above) makes a good point that SXSW organizers should take part of the blame. It seems that the audience was misread at several junctures. In the end though, the only question that needs to be answered is whether Lacy did her job as a reporter and interviewer. Turning an entire ballroom of excited attendees into a torch-wielding mob is an answer in itself.

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