Update – things here have gotten really out of hand with commenters threatening violence against Sarah for what she wrote. Let me clarify – while I disagree with what Sarah said, I absolutely find the threats abhorent and an insult to not only Sarah and the TC crew, but also the freedom of the media to have opinions, regardless of what people think of them. Healthy, robust debate is a good thing. Physical or verbal abuse is not.

TechCrunch reporter and ultimate Valley insider Sarah Lacy posted today, bemoaning the fact that her “research trip” to Brazil may not happen as planned due to a delayed entry visa. The post is an uber-emotive piece with a Brazilian flag with the text “Epic-est [sic] fail ever” written on it. It seems Lacy booked her travel and then applied for a visa which, apparently due to some technology changes by the Brazilian government at its embassies and consulates, did not turn up in time.

Bear in mind that this is the same Lacy who was nearly heckled off-stage for an arguably sycophantic “interview” of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a couple of years ago – an interview that left watchers with the impression that she’d spent the previous few years as number one confidante and adviser to Zuckerberg.

Lacy had the good grace to not shoot the messenger in this case (she didn’t refrain however from shouting at them);

I paid an expediting service hundreds of dollars to ensure I’d be getting this visa, and clearly they’ve been getting an earful from me over the last week. If not for a phone call from the owner this morning finally agreeing to waive the fees I paid them, this post would largely be skewering them.

Oh Sarah, how gracious of you…

It seems Lacy is growing accustomed to being a superstar wherever she travels (and invariably it seems she travels to locations that aim to become the new Silicon Valley) and having red carpet treatment to facilitate her journeys. Lacy has caused something of a storm if the comments to her post are anything to go by – she’s been labeled self-centered, vapid, and stupid.

It’s also a poor piece of journalism. The new Brazilian policy has apparently been implemented as a response to the US’s huge tightening of immigration for non US citizens entering the country. It seems when it comes to international relations, Ms Lacy is a proponent of the US imperialist attitude that seems to advocate a double standard for all the “dirty foreigners” (who, one assumes, Lacy thinks are either terrorists or peasants). As an obviously irate commenter wrote;

This shows the arrogance of some American citizens, thinking that they can walk into any country without a hitch. You don’t see the problem with your system because you are a citizen but for the rest of us who legally enter the country it is always a pain in the butt. I am in the US trying to help your society by bringing my knowledge and experience as a contribution. Despite that, it is not always easy to make it through customs. Yes, your rules are as bureaucratic as the third world; try walking a mile on an US immigrant shoes before you judge.

Lacy closes of the post in yet another show of egoism, saying;

The country should be embarrassed, and its businesses should be furious. I’m going to aim to try this whole Brazil thing again in December or January. It’s not the entrepreneurs’ or our readers’ fault this happened, and I still believe there are great stories in Brazil that I want to report. But when you’re harder to get into than China, it doesn’t bode well for foreign investment, Brazil.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah – you may be one of the biggest names is Silicon Valley but you’re just another hack on the world scale, no more deserving of special treatment than any of the rest of us. If you really want to write a piece about the reality for web start-ups, then walk in the shoes of those same start-ups, not in those of your superstar friends… believe me, your writing would be better for some humility.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

2 Comments
  • It's not like the U.S. offers the best and welcoming immigration services in the world.

    I have both a New Zealand and a Brazilian passport. I wasl ucky to be able to get long H1 visas for the U.S. on my Brazilian passport so I didn't have to endure the face-to-face meetings with officials asking what are your intentions when taking your kids to visit Disney World Miami. Many Brazilians had to endure those long queues to meet officials that would simply deny a visa to a family wishing to visit Disney with the kids.

    Of course with the New Zealand passport things are a bit easier – visa waiver and all, but you still need to apply for a permission to travel to the U.S. (online, but still a huge invasion of privacy).

    No, she's not connected to her own country. If she only knew it…

  • She´s totally amateur. Doesn´t know a country like Brazil is capable of huge tasks, like organizing the first total electronic voting of the galaxy,all over the nation, about same size as the US:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_Brazil

    As an IT editor, she should show some experience related to IT issues, IT people should not behave like "Oprah Princess" when it comes to understand tech changes.

    And nobody cares about little Sarah(who?) in Brazil, we treat any US citizen well, as long as they show some respect to us.
    Sarah is not wellcome in Brazil anymore, I´m sure there are many other IT pros better then her, as less arrogant in the US.

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