Dear Timmy: San Francisco magazine, Sept. 4, 2015

Dear Timmy An open letter to Tim Lincecum on the occasion of his probable Giants farewell. By Dan Fost | September 4, 2015 It’s painful to think of this as a farewell letter,...

Dan Fost

SXSW 2008: Revenge of the nerds

Everyone kept asking for a take on the Sarah Lacy-Mark Zuckerberg keynote interview run awry at South by Southwest in Austin last week. Having weighed in on the subject in Fortune.com, I might as well offer my thoughts.

 My main thought was: I felt sorry for Sarah Lacy. Sure, I thought she could have done things differently, and I generally prefer a much more subdued style of interviewing. But the criticism was over the top and out of proportion to what happened. In addition, she had a notoriously tough subject on stage, one who was heavily coached as well as not particularly forthcoming.

I do also think the interview raised some age-old questions about the journalist-source relationship. Lacy was apparently Zuckerberg’s hand-picked choice, and she has become something of his Boswell. They clearly had some rapport on stage. That’s great for her, as a lot of journalists would love to have that kind of access. But it also comes with a price, as it’s in her interest to maintain that relationship, which sometimes can affect the tone of the questioning.

The geeks in the audience thought this would de-rail Lacy’s career. I don’t see it. She’s immensely talented, and I anticipate that her book coming out on Web 2.0 figures will be a great read and will sell well. And hey: A little controversy never really hurts. No publicity is bad, right?

About Dan Fost

Dan Fost is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area whose credits include Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today and San Francisco magazine. He specializes in technology, but branches out into baseball and other features. Dan’s books, "Giants Baseball Experience" and “Giants Past and Present,” about San Francisco's championship baseball team and its New York antecedents, were published by MVP Books in 2014 and 2010. As a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle for nine years, he had a front row seat at the rise and fall of the dotcoms, as well as their resurrection in the form of Web 2.0. In a lengthy career in newspapers, he has covered sports, social ventures, the environment, education, police, business, and politics. He is a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Boston University. He lives in Marin County, Calif., with his wife and son.
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