There’s a proposition on the California November ballot to legalize marijuana. Sarah Lacy must be smoking some already. Her TechCrunch post “Now that the Recession Officially Ended….Whatever Happened to that Other Shoe?” is so out of touch with reality—what else could it be?
- Sarah is so much the rich bitch living inside the Silicon Valley bubble she is clueless about the real America?
- To pay for this month’s pedicure, she needs to write something outrageous to drive up TechCrunch pageviews?
- She’s so poor a journalist—really none at all—she cobbles together unsourced data and uses it in the narrowest of contexts?
- Fox’s “Fringe” isn’t just TV it’s reality, and the Sarah writing this clueless post lives in an alternate universe where there is no economic crisis?
Or perhaps there’s another explanation—and it’s not pot smoking: Sarah isn’t clueless or out of touch at all. She’s smart, sassy, aggressive, relentless and knows her audience. Her post is all about how the economic downturn really didn’t turn down Silicon Valley investing, like it did during the dot-com crash and subsequent 2000-2001 recession. She writes:
From where I sit, it never felt much like a recession at all. Revenues tightened up and people didn’t get raises, but I don’t know any friends who lost apartments, few who lost jobs and few companies that went under, just because of the crash…This thing we just went through? From the Valley standpoint it was an excuse to trim fat and put some decisions off.
Sarah then presents—count `em—”six indicators for startup ‘health’.” She doesn’t adequately source those indicators, by the way.
TechCrunch critics argue that Michael Arrington and Co. is a house built on conflict of interest/questionable journalism ethics—that Michael sleeps with the people he reports about, so to speak; investments and other sultry relationships with venture capitalists and startups mire the reporting. I dunno. But Michael admitted to something in May 2007 post “Silicon Valley Could Use A Downturn Right About Now.” Hilarious, Michael pines for a downturn Sarah says never came. He confesses:
Entrepreneurs are no longer talking to us just to get our opinion and hope for a blog post and a little discussion. These guys need press to stand out from the scores of startups just like them. Saying no to them isn’t really an option. They show up at our front door with a bottle of wine or flowers. They instruct their PR firms to do anything necessary to get a story. More than once I’ve had a CEO break down and cry on the phone when we said we weren’t covering them. And more than once, I folded and wrote about them after those conversations.
Kara Swisher appropriately responded: “Message to Michael: Just Say, Well, No.”
Assuming Sarah isn’t dimwitted, that she actually knows what she is writing and whom it’s for, the “Other Shoe” post says much about TechCrunch’s audience, regardless whether those conflict-of-intersest accusations are true or not. That for all the blog’s larger readership, the target audience is no larger than Silicon Valley investors and the tech startups they fund. Why else should Sarah write such an alarming analysis for them—that contends they’re doing just fine?
For those startups ravaged by the economic tsunami hitting everywhere else—the one Sarah doesn’t see—she writes:
Stop whining. If you couldn’t raise money your company probably wasn’t working, which doesn’t mean it was bad, it just means you were a startup trying to do something risky that didn’t work. If no startups go under—in good times and bad times—entrepreneurs and investors likely aren’t taking enough risk. If you lost your job–and you work in tech—you likely either worked for a public company that had more systemic problems (cc: Yahoo, eBay) or the recession was an excuse to get rid of you. Either way, you likely have been rehired somewhere since. The verdict is in: It wasn’t just like 1999. It wasn’t bubble 2.0 and it certainly wasn’t dot-com crash 2.0.
For the record, I know plenty of people who lost their jobs during the recession and still can’t find work. They were productive but removed because of high salaries. Companies often replaced them with someone younger, less experienced and cheaper. Or, worse, they were brought back as freelancers or contractors to do the same or similar jobs for less pay and no benefits. Sarah Lacy is relatively young (not yet 35) and reasonably attractive. It will be interesting to see how she feels about the journalism job market in 15 years.
I worry that the New York Times is right: “For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again.” I’m now in that 50 bracket and trying to do my own thing after failing to find gainful reemployment elsewhere. But I’m not whining. The whiner here is Sarah Lacy, who either knows her audience well or, even after nearly 35 years of living, knows nothing at all.
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