Sarah Lacy and Brazil

September 6th, 2009 - 7 responses

We didn’t understand the fuzz in the first place.
On Thursday September 3d, Sarah Lacy writes this emotional post that she won’t be leaving to Brazil on Friday September 4th because she didn’t get (didn’t manage toget) her Visa into Brazil.  On Sunday September 6th she writes that she received her Visa.

If she really had the intention to come to Brazil, why the fuzz?
She had a plane ticket leaving on Friday 4th, which made she would land on Saturday 5 in Sao Paulo.   She got her Visa un Sunday 6th and… Monday September 7th is Independence Day in Brazil (no business which is open).  So, why didn’t Sarah just reschedule her flight to leave on Sunday 6th or Monday 7th?  She wouldn’t have missed a thing in Brazil (no meetings on Synday and monday – national holiday-).  Even if her plane ticket was a non-changeable one, buying a new ticket San Francisco – Sao Paulo can’t cost more than 1.000 US$; much less than the “thousands of dollars” of sunk cost Sarah now claims to have lost.

Which brings me to my core point: Sarah had second thoughts of coming to Brazil, mainly because of her husband trying to stop her from going.  So she needed an excused, a public one and she invented one where  she put the blame on the Brazilian flag.

Let’s go back in time: two weeks ago I posted on  Sarah Lacy of Techncrunch planning to go to Brazil, a first timer for the girl.
Good news, a US journalist really taking the effort to cover the Brazilian booming tech scene.
All was fine until…last Thursday she posted this.

A wave of protest came upon Sarah’s childish and selfish post, to such extent that it is already covered on Wikipedia.

Let’s sum things up:

1. Americans are known throughout the world for their, by whiles very annoying, attitude of supremacy.
Brazil is not a country which will easily accept this behavior.  Brazilians are known for their hospitality, just read this post of a San Francisco emigrant who know lives in Florianopolis, Brazil and compares life in Brazil with life in San Francisco.  The problem is that people like Sarah leave with the wrong attitude to Brazil.  It’s clear this was Sarah’s first visit to Brazil and that she was completely unprepared.  As Tom Jobim said: “Brazil is not for beginners”.
And let’s face it, the Techcrunch boys and girls are not really journalists, so it’s normal they struggle to get past the obvious thing as getting a Visa.  Compare that to Jenny Wortham, technology journalist of the New York Times (read: a real journalist) who was packing on Friday for Brazil.  So the “computer problems” at Brazilian embassies Sarah wants to point to can’t be all that bad if Jenny did manage to get her Visa !
The real issue of Sara is that she is blinded by her self-importance: it’s all me-me-me-me.
2. Brazil doesn’t accept a bullying attitude from foreigners wanting to explore and enjoy their country.  Remember this American pilot who tought he could stick out his middle finger to Brazilian immigration?  Or these two Briton girls who wanted to pull of a fraud trick in Brazil?
Bad idea.  Brazil and Brazilians have a very simple rule: the rule of reciprocity: “we treat you the way you treat us”; Brazilians even extend this to their Visa policies.  I love that attitude a a Belgian.  We don’t give Brazilians troubles at our borders (actually, the Belgian immigration officers had my wife’s Brazilian passport back to her with an, “obrigada”) and likewise Brazil treats me kind.
Brazil has more than 5 million tourists entering the country every year; 625.000 of them are Americans.  More than 1.700 Americans every day who get their Visa for a trip to Brazil without any problem.
But Sarah, naive and unprepared as she is didn’t manage to get it.  Why didn’t she want herself to the Brazilian consulate to hand it in and pick it up?  Brazilians who want a Visa to the US need an interview in the US embassy…
3. Sarah writesThe 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, what has your inability to get a Visa got to do with Brazil’s foreign investments?  Brazil’s foreign investments are doing just great and the United States can only dream of the Brazilian trade balance.
We perfectlty understand you are frustrated, but why can’t you just be frustated with yourself instead of being intolerant towards the nation you wished to visit and starting this personal rant?
Earlier in August you wrote “Why am I so angry these days?“.  Exactly, thousands of people wonder exactly that !
It would have been an interesting article of you had actually talked about the lost opportunities, or the state of the world in terms of labor mobility or did some research on how many people can’t travel for bureaucratic reasons. Or anything tangently related to this issue, but you completely missed it and wrote something completely unprofessional.
And people would have even give you a break if you would have let steam of on your personal blog, facebook wall or twitter. But Techcrunch was not the place to vent your frustration, which, again, you should have channeled in teh first place to yourself: you have simply not been able to get your Visa to Brazil; whereas 1.700 Americans every day do succeed in that task.
This could have been an excellent occasion for you to start your chapter on Brazil explaining what Jeitinho is, but again: you missed to dicover this essential skillset of Brazilian entrepeneurs.
4. Can you actually proof when you started the Visa application?  Every normal person knows you should calculate minimal 30 days to  get a Visa.  It is completely impossible for Brazilians to get a Visa to the US in 25 days.
5. “They’ve not only been screamed at by me, but loads of business travelers—and even a coach for a national soccer team who can’t get in the country.”  Which coach?  We are curious (actually: we don’t believe a word of it).
6. “In fact, it was the one place my husband had asked me not to visit, having heard many reports of kidnapping and violence. But I was resolutely convinced there was a world of exciting companies and stories and had been looking forward to the trip for months. In fact, I’d spent about four months studying Portuguese and planning the trip.”
Here it gets interesting:
Firstly: I don’t believe you actually studied Portuguese. Give me 60 seconds on Skype to test 10 very basic words…
Second: your husband seems ill-informed. He does realize that 10 United States cities have higher crime rates than Sao Paulo where you would spend most of your trime as you wrote? Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit, Newark, Oakland, St Louis, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland,…
Sarah, your husband does allow you to travel to those cities in the US, does he?
Actually, last week the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world were published: Cape Town features next to Baltimore and New Orleans (on number 2!).  No Brazilian city in the list.
Maybe a first crack in your marriage: the jealous husband not allowing his wife to travel to sexy Brazil?
7. And then you had to call upon your friend Paul Carr to help you out.  But it didn’t really work, did it?  This comment summed it up pretty well.
8. And then on Sunday evening Sarah had to write another post.  But again she couldn’t utter sorry and again it was all me-me-me:
“Loads of South American entrepreneurs I’ve never met were excited about some Valley coverage.”
Really?  The first lesson you should learn about Brazil is it’s self-suffiency.  What could Brazilian entrepeneurs possible need from The Valley?
Users?  They’d rather/better look elsewhere for international expansion?  Money?  No thanks for the US debts.  Private Equity funds?  Enough wealth in Sao Paulo, look to the financing of Monashees and the many boutique investment shops in Brazil?  Expertise from the Valley?  Don’t make them laugh.
“and even spent several months learning Portuguese”
Proof it Sarah, that you can speak and understand 10 basic words of Portuguese.
“Indeed, I said at the end of the post, I was going to come later in the year, and had started re-arranging my schedule to come in December.”
Comon Sarah, everyone knows that you will never go to Brazil.  You lack the proper open-mind to cover a country like Brazil.  And, like you wrote yourself: youyr husband doesn’t allow you to leave to Brazil.
“Yeah, I spent thousands of dollars and wasted countless hours for months planning a trip that I never wanted to take all along. How’d you figure it out!
Seriously now, what did you actually spend thousands of dollars on?  The Portuguese Assimil CD-rom and plane ticket can’t have costed more than 1.000 US$.
“Not only that, but I don’t know any US business reporter who spends thousand of dollars of his or her own money to travel to other countries and give amazing entrepreneurs the exposure they deserve.
Check out Jenny Wortham, technology journalist of the New York Times (read that Sarah: a real journalist) who was packing on Friday for Brazil.
“This whole thing worries me that maybe the premise for this new book is wrong. Not the core premise– that the greatest opportunity to build the next wave of multi-billion companies is outside the US. I still believe that opportunity is there. And I’ve traveled enough to see that the talent is there. But when people’s families are threatened over a post about burocratic ineptitude, a lot of potential investors, business partners or acquirers will decide maybe that opportunity just isn’t worth it. There’s a real risk that that opportunity never gets fully realized and that’s bad for everyone.”
Sarah, you don’t get it.  Brazil is not asking you to come. You were visiting them, because you needed to write your book to earn your money.  A book on Emerging countries that no Brazilian is interested in, they are the emerging part, remember?  It is the IMF who needs the Brazilian money, the United States who yearns for its oil, China who drools over its steel, Europe who needs its chicken, Turkey who flies their Embraer planes,….
The investors are already in Brazil and they are doing just fine.  Google, Facebook, etc… are all flying up and down US-Brazil with no issues.  It is just you who didn’t get beyond the first obvious step: getting a Visa.
“Will I still go to Brazil in December? I don’t know. I want to. I have my visa now. But would you go to a country where people were threatening to spit in your face and rape you as soon as you arrive in exchange for, um, you wanting to help their businesses?
Mind the word exchange !  Sarah, again, there is no exchange.  You were visiting Brazil to write your book and write you desperately need to finnish and write some columns on Techcrunch you were hoping to score with.  Brazil doesn’t need a Sarah Lacy “helping their business”.  What does Sarah Lacy can bring to Brazilian entrepeneurs that they haven’t already have.

As long as Americans like Sarah don’t start realizing that they are the demanding party and that they are demanding help to Brazil (investment opportunities, worthy stories, growth, natural resources,…) they are bound to fail and continue the track of American implosion.

Two predictions:
1. Sarah Lacy will never go to Brazil, not this year, not next year, no ever.
2. It won’t take more than 12 months before Sarah gets the boot at Techcrunch.  It’s always the same with the girl.

Techcrunch and Brazil?  Who cares.
The real busienssmen, who are responsible for the real foreign investments in Brazil and made the real 70% jump of the Bovespa since January, all read the New York Times with reporters like Jenny Wortham and have never heared of Techcrunch or Sarah Lacy.

The world knows what Sarah is missing and Rio de janeiro remains the happiest city in the world (as Forbes just published).

The real interesting dimension of this faiot-divers is the increasing frustrating of Americans and their attitude.  Last Friday, Forbes published this article on the “most happy cities” in the world.  The ranking was based on the 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper City Brand Index, released last June.  The research was compiled through online interviews with 10.000 respondents in 20 countries.  Rio de Janeiro came as number 1 in the ranking.  No surprise, if you have lived in Rio you’ll understand this “joie de vivre” of Cariocas.  But read then  the comments of the angry, frustrated Americans.
Sign of the times.  President Sarkozy is leaving today to Brazil where he will attend the Brazilian Indepence Day and sign major defence deals with Brazil.  France and Brazil have become increasingly strong allies and left the US completely out of the game.   France doesn’t put restrictions on its technology, whereas Boeing is subject to US congressional oversight for defense technology exports.  Bolovia in its turn then looks to China and Brazil for its planes, because the US blocked the sales of Czech planes.

Today Sarkozy announced in Brasilia that the G8 will open its doors for Brazil and 5 other emerging countries.  Also a new fact of life which is extremely hard to swallow for the United Statest.

Conclusion: under Obama the US foreign policy didn’t reallly change that much.

And again, the real big battle that is currently ongoing between the US and Brazil is for the 2016 Olympics.   Brazil deserves to be nominated on October 2, but I fear that once again the US supremacy and egoism will prevail.  To show to which extent the US are cowards: the latest news is that Obama himself wouldn’t even go to the nomination ceremony in Copenhagen on October 2nd; “his advisors are suggesting he should not go to the Danish capital as he could return home to the US as a loser”.
Personally I believe the US is using all threats and manipulation possible to win the 2016 games on their name.

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7 Responses to 'Sarah Lacy and Brazil'

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  1. Ani posted on September 6th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Sarah Lacy epitomized all American stupidity: Palin, miss South Carolina, Bush, Madeline Albright and so forth. Shame on her. She needs to apologize!

  2. Ronaldo Faria lima posted on September 7th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Very well written post, John. Congratulations. You definitely know how things work in Brazil, this lovely country below equator line. Sarah should apologize for her childish post, at minimum.

  3. Marcelo Carvalho posted on September 7th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Eu agradeço a sra. Sarah Lacy pelo artigo idiota e preconceituoso que ela escreveu. Preciso de exemplos como este para mostrar aos jovens a estupidez do povo americano que deixo acessível no meu webpage: ESTUPIDEZ NORTE-AMERICANA/

    I thank Sarah Lacy for her stupid article. I need texts like this to show to the brazilian youth how stupid some american people are

  4. C4ipp3r posted on September 8th, 2009 at 7:26 am


    What an excellent paper. Unfortunately this young lady (I will refrain to mention her name) forgot the most important rule when travelling. Inform yourself. You don’t go anywhere just by buying a plane, pick up your cell and make a call like the nice US TV series show them. Visa to certain countries is necessary and since our american friends make such “circus” for a Brazilian to get one well the old principle of reciprocity applies. Some countries that are open for visitors, Belgian, France, Germany and such have that no-visa policy respected as well by Brazil. This poor thing, with a half brain cell working, decided to expose her frustrations and stupidity and now deserves all the fuzz she’s getting. Quick Story to show the all mighty americans mentality : I lived in US for 9 years, moved to Canada and here for 10 years. US and Canada require visa from Brazilians (why Canada does – well they follow US policies) anyway mom , who is on her late 60’s, came visit the familly, got a visa to Canada and took a plane from Continental to Montreal. Well she asked if she needed a US visa since no direct flights from RIO to Montreal. Continental says no – you’re in transit. On her arrival in JFK, customs stop her 9despite the fact she was in transit, put her on detention, she lost her flight and spend 6 hrs on a holding room till the next flight. I know mom is a feisty lady but the picture of mom as a terrorist or an ilegal immigrant is too much. Anyway after all that fuzz and bitching we went to the US consulate in Quebec, spoke with a Visa oficer and got a 10 yr one (remember I’m a legal US resident), after that we got to the Canadian side and got another 10 yr visa (I’m a citizen – dual nationality). So moral of the story, US customs are pricks with the mentality that everybody are terrorists, no questions asked ( so much for a change on the foreign policies) and those poor american citzens that still think showing a US Passport or the flag entitles you to go anywhere in the world.. well might, might also entitle you to be the first victim….

  5. Henrin Bueno posted on September 8th, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Well done John Baeyens. Nice post. Sarah lacy got issues. She´s not well. May be she thinks that she is bigger than she is. She´s trying to help the poor natives how to do business. Damn natives. How dare the government of Brazil didn´t offered an unlimited visa to an important person like her? The queen of the world?…hehehe….Sarah lacy, brazilians can live very well without your presence for ever. Thanks.

  6. Jenna Wortham versus Sarah Lacy | John Baeyens posted on September 27th, 2009 at 3:38 am

    [...] Wortham is technology journalist bij de New York Times, Sarah Lacy is tech journalist (nu ja… journalist) bij Techcrunch. Beide dames wilden afgelopen week naar [...]

  7. Linda Fennell posted on September 2nd, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Sarah Lacey has made such stupid comments about Brazil before a visit that I doubt any person being of sound mind will take any notice of any article she may produce in the future.
    Brazil has many opportunities for investors.
    I have no doubt that Brazil has a wonderful future ahead.
    I feel blessed that I have been involved in this wonderful country for the past few years. The Brazilian way of life is fantastic. Brazilians
    lead a good healthy lifestyle.
    I have many Brazilian friends, I plan to retire there and I am happy to say that my British and
    American friends in Brazil are intergrated into
    the Brazilian way of life and do not lead expat
    living but are part of the community.
    I have a feeling Sarah would be better going to
    a man made pristine resort somewhere else in the world, whilst the likes of me enjoy natural beaches, low cost living, all year sunshine,
    unique charm of Brazilians and enjoy the benefits of living in a thriving economy, no spending cuts
    here, more a case of mass improvements – Brazil
    is really a great place to be.

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