When TechCrunch Sarah Lacy Goes ‘Blind’ in Lagos – She Gets The Myopic Syndrome Bug (Part 1)

First, thank you Sarah Lacy for visiting Lagos. At least, TechCrunch readers will know that humans still visit Lagos and return alive. With the onslaught CNN unleashes in its negative coverage of Nigeria, only those whom the gods love can make it alive from Nigeria. So we are excited that you are back, safely.


Sarah is an eminently talented professional and has achieved many things. We know her largely on her contents in the very popular TechCrunch. A little about her, courtesy of her site:


Sarah Lacy knows great entrepreneurs. After more than a decade covering business in Silicon Valley, Lacy decided to follow the flow of capital into the developing world. She bootstrapped a two-year, 40 week journey through the Middle East, South America, Africa, India, China and Southeast Asia looking for the best entrepreneurs Silicon Valley had never heard of. The result is her second book Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos, which is being published by John Wiley & Sons in January 2011.


She was recently in Nigeria in a program called Tech Open Day with Sarah Lacy. She drew young minds because we all love her writings and perspectives.  Tekedia covered this gathering and participated. She delivered and it was very successful. The energy was intense, the insight was deep and many of us went home with deeper commitments to salvage destines through entrepreneurship, hard work and innovation. Thank you Sarah for coming!


Yet, her very first post, she did not even find it worthwhile to mention or even link the very program she attended. In her first post, in TechCrunch, after the trip, titled Strolling through “Nigeria’s Best Buy” (A Photo Essay), she began thus


I’m in Lagos to speak at an event and decided to come a week early to check out the country’s tech and entrepreneurship scene.


Of course, she must have been aware of the link to the event. The guys would have appreciated that little publicity. Anyway, that is her decision to give a little credit to the organizers. Did you notice, ‘an event’? She forgot the name of the event!


Apparently, we have read the good post as she has noted and the bad ones will be coming.


More on the good and the bad in a future post. A lot more. One story includes guys with machetes. But let’s talk about Nigeria’s tech appetite first. Like anyone else they lust for that new, new thing, and many of them go to a place called “Computer Village” to find it.


Of course what do you expect from these foreign experts? They come into Africa, spend a week, and immediately they become African experts. She will write a story of “guys with machetes” as though she has exhausted her ink on the tech firms that invited her. We cannot wait for that one – it could be a history lesson of elite tech blogger writing about machetes.


Why not? It is common to see US professors who spend less than one week in Africa yearly to become experts on African agriculture or economics or whatever. They write the books everyone uses because the African professors are very lazy. In our tradition of talking and not writing, we never exist in the horizon.


You will see a Kenyan professor of agricultural economics with 30 years experience collaborating with a young assistant professor in a US school and because the funding is coming from US, the real expert is the two year assistant professor. He shapes the discussion and the intervention strategy. And the World Bank will try all the ideas and for decades, nothing positive has happened. No one will even hear the local professor! Never.  The most difficult thing in life is to ask any African professor to write. But he will be ready to talk all-day. Oh yes, for people that existed for centuries without developing indigenous way of writing, you cannot force them to write because there are universities now. It is in the gene – talking, but it must change.


to be continued….here

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