I hate to disappoint everyone, I know I have a reputation but if you’re thinking for even one minute that I’m gonna take on or bash Sarah Lacy you must be out of your friggin mind! Listen, I don’t mind taking on VC (who likes VC anyway?). Nor do I mind banter at Smitty from Koprol, he has a good sense of humor. Taking on Google, cape deh, too easy. I mean things like that are good for the visits and KPI’s of this struggling blog startup but taking on Sarah Lacy is like risking instant suicide. She can crush me within a heartbeat, instant banishment from the digital world. Facebook profile deactivated, kicked out of Twitter and eternal mailbombs. My VC will instantly pull the plug and I will probably be the most hated person in the global digital community. Rule #1: don’t touch Sarah! Get it? Capice?
No, this post is about self mockery. This is about another awkward moment during an introduction which I seem to have many lately, so bare with me for a minute.
For the few that don’t know Sarah Lacy, she’s an awarded journalist, writes books and knows everyone that means anything in Silicon Valley and beyond. Who do they call to do an interview with Mark “Facebook” Zuckerberg? Right, Sarah Lacy a.k.a. Valley Girl! Who do you call when you have a hot startup and you’re looking for VC? You get the point, one nice article or even a small reference and VC’s will be trampling at your doorstep.
Currently she’s a senior editor at TechCrunch, the most influential tech blog in the Valley, is travelling around the world visiting emerging markets and finding the next hot startups. Sarah travels days through the Sahara eating whatever the dessert has to offer for a new payment system that will rock the region. She will endure the freezing cold in Siberia just to talk to the guy behind the one local player Facebook can’t seem to beat. She’s tough, committed, eager and widely respected. And don’t anyone dare to backtalk me with the whole Mark Zuckerberg interview incident, that will result in a lifetime block from the most popular blog, sangapedas that is, in Indonesia (I was taught that claiming a title works so there you go).
November 5th 2010, start of the Sparxup event where Sarah would attend as a keynote speaker, would I get a chance to meet her? Would I get my 1 minute of fame? Well, in the morning I already got close. After her keynote speech she sat at the same table but didn’t pay much attention to me, after all, who in the Valley has heard of Tokobagus or let alone SangatPedas.com?
But, lucky me, later that day during the startup pitches Sarah showed up again and my luck is that a good friend of mine in the VC world, let’s call him Mi Hau, would introduce me to Sarah. Was he maybe bluffin’ like VC’s tend to do sometimes? Nope, this was the real deal. I was chatting with Mi Hau and Sarah came up to us and with a beautiful smile greeted Mi Hau, who then, unselfish as he is, straightly introduced me to her. “Ok, stay cool and don’t fuck up” was I thinking. So as usual I chose to follow protocol by saying my name, asking how she’s doing and in the meanwhile, in one smooth move, taking out a business card from my pocket (come prepared) and handing it over to Sarah. I mean what could go wrong here? Well, just about everything! She completely ignored my business card.
And remember guys, this was not long after my weird introduction to Smitty from Yahoo/Koprol which didn’t do my ego much good. So, I was standing there with my business card handed out thinking: “She must be thinking here’s another geek wanting to get his one minute of fame, if I just ignore him he’ll probably go away” or “is he trying to pick me up here?” or “is this guy for real??” or maybe she just didn’t see the card, who knows? Should I wave it in front of her eyes asking her if she’s blind? Think! Think! Think! But my brain failed me and all I could think was what the hell! I was breaking out in a cold sweat. Who’s watching this? Anyone? To be honest, if this would happen to anyone else I would probably seriously be laughing my ass off, so just as smoothly as I took out my business card I put it back and pretend it never happened.
So after this “incident” I told Mi Hau the story because apparently he also didn’t notice it (too much distraction maybe??). But there was still hope. Apparently there was an after party for the organizers, finalists and several influential people in the Industry. Wow! I’m an influential person in the industry? Must have been some kind of mixup here but thanks anyway. Chances were that Sarah would be there too. I mean how many chances can you get and screw up? And indeed she was there and I called in a favor from mr. Bacardi and miss Coke (that is the softdrink), normally a perfect combination for me. While joking with Mi Hau how I smoothly positioned myself next to her already three other probably more eager startup guys pushed themselves between me and Sarah.
Time to call it a quits! No chance! Mission Impossible! What the hell was I thinking? Sarah is a goddess, an unreachable rockstar in the digital world. This was like being 16 years old all over again, utter and clear rejection. No shortcut to fame and wealth. No instant recognition. Instead the prospect of years of hard labor trying to build the next hot Internet company. Ah well, farewell Sarah, good luck in Africa, Siberia or where ever you’re off to. I’ll be reading your blog, watching your videos in the hope that some day I will get my one minute of fame….