The SXSW Debacle

Sarah shares her side of the disagreement with Hermione.

As the Butthole Surfers once sagely noted, “. . . you never know just how you look through other people’s eyes.”  But last week, when Bravo’s Start-Ups: Silicon Valley aired to 88 million homes, it was virtually guaranteed that I would know exactly how I looked through other people’s eyes.

Episode 1 of any reality show is dedicated to introducing each cast member and establishing their relationships.  This “packaged intro” is spliced together from hundreds of hours of interviews and footage and aims to give viewers a sense of each character’s traits, habits and flaws.

As anticipated, my character was received with a predicable combination of: 140-character psychological assessments by strangers, perfunctory “likes” from friends, enthusiastic “comments,” old school hatin’ from the haters, and some darnn good questions about what the heck I was thinking when I said:

1. "My tweets are worth $10k!" God, I wish -- I would do nothing but sit home and write haiku tweets! I was talking about my work for a large software company (hint: think Washington based tech titan who dominates the PC operating system market) who was doing a major promotion around their new search engine launch.  They approached me at a time when Vanity Fair had dubbed me “America's Tweetheart,” the Huffington Post named me one of the ten Hottest Girls @Twitter, I was writing for, and was occasionally touring with Lady Gaga as one of her backup “monsters.”  I misspoke to say a single tweet went for $10k -– it was actually a handful of tweets (5-7) and it was part of a larger body of work which included a video.

2. "It takes me 3, 4, sometimes 5 hours to get ready!" Most days I lack the time or inclination to do much more than slather on sunscreen and Chapstick. In this case we were talking about getting ready for big events, photo shoots, or other high profile outings. Yes, it’s dorky, but I love having my friends over so we can all get ready together. Three to five hours isn’t me in a room by myself spackling cake on my face –- it’s a group of us sipping wine and catching up on the latest while we slooowwwlyyy get ready. This is not to say I won’t dilly dally if I’m left alone -– but never more than an hour, I promise!3. "SXSW was such a sh-- show." The South by Southwest topic rears its ugly head again and again throughout the episodes.  It’s the crux of the Hermione v. Sarah breakdown, and truly I don’t get it.  Here’s the deal: Ben introduced me to a sponsor (a sponsor is someone who supports either short term or long term), purchased both our tickets using his credit card and, as promised, I paid him back. She did not “step up” and sponsor me -– perhaps she takes credit for the sponsor Ben facilitated. So there was tension before we arrived at SXSW and things got weird there as well, but whatever sh-- happens. For weeks after SXSW, I reached out to Hermione because I missed our friendship and wanted to work it out. She was unresponsive so I eventually gave up. The toga party at her house was our first encounter in several months, so naturally I was nervous. I hoped for decorum, but pretty much was greeted with sarcasm, disapproving once-overs, and back-handed compliments, always punctuated by the sycophantic giggling of some backup dancer. I did my best to ignore it, but it made the whole party AWKWARD. On my way out the door, Hermione cornered me and demanded we speak privately, and I’m thinking, “Uh, privately at a party?” I wasn’t feelin’ it. I really didn’t believe anything could be solved right then and I really didn’t feel her outreach was coming from an authentic place. She interpreted my hesitation as a lack of regard for the friendship. Whatever it was, I’m embarrassed. It was never my intention to represent business women in a catty and competitive light. I have phenomenal female friends and mentors who’ve helped me along the way- – I wish we could have gotten footage of that instead.

So what’s the take-away: it’s tough to look cool and awesome on TV! We were in a TV bubble trying to act normal and unaffected while also being entertaining. I’m pretty sure Hermione would never power nap under a VC’s desk in real life –- but we all got a little caught up in certain moments or went too far with the bravado. Heck it is Bravo! Live and learn.

Till Next Week,
xo Sarah

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet

Ending the Friendship with Sarah

David reacts to Sarah's accusations.

Building a product is hard enough, but launching it and putting a big event together to generate marketing buzz for it at the same time was almost enough to put me over the edge! But I've been working my butt off to get GoalSponsors out the door and launched, and after several months of effort, I was able to have a successful launch event and gain enough buzz to get a great set of beta users to test out the product! It's live in the app store if you'd like to give it a try:

I'm proud of myself, for sure, but I definitely didn't do it alone. There were several other companies that have helped me quite a bit, including NoXcuses Fitness and especially Appcelerator, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help me make my app and my launch a success. A good number of people showed up to the launch event -- not an AMAZING number, but a strong 100-150ish, and after all the beta signups, I've been able to test my product out on real people, get feedback, and launch something that's now helping people achieve their biggest goals in life! In fact, the total weight loss of our users is in the hundreds of pounds, and we've only been live for the past month or so! On the business side of things, life is going well.On the personal side of things, not everything is so great. It's really hard to see someone that you've been close to turn around and do something to hurt you. When Sarah asked me to meet with her that day, she sent a text asking if I had time to get together and when I asked what it was about, she alluded to it being about business, and then quickly changed the subject. Nevertheless, I showed up in generally good spirits, so I was caught completely off guard when she accused of "physically assaulting," even "tackling" her -- thank goodness the world was able to see the moment she was referring to, in which she tries to interrupt Hermione's presentation at my event and I come to her calmly and escort her away from the stage, smiling and being generally friendly, as I didn't want to create drama at my own event.

So that hurt me quite a bit. Also, she was upset that I didn't provide a booth for her, but she literally never asked me, and the truth is (and I told her this) that if she wanted a booth, all she had to do was tell me and I would have given it to her. Ben and Hermione asked, and that was why I gave them one. Sarah never did.

There's a lot more to that conversation at the Four Seasons, from accusing me of trying to keep her and Hermione apart to trying to take credit for someone else's work in helping put together my event, the list of things she threw at me that day was quite large, and to this day I don't understand why she did it, knowing that I was her confidant, that I was there when everyone else was against her... why me, of all people? Was it just to create drama? Just to establish herself as the queen bee or, dare I say it, the villain?Needless to say, that was the last conversation I had with Sarah. I'm all for second chances when people make mistakes that were unintentional, but the kind of cold calculation Sarah did that day made me realize that it is better for me to let the friendship end and not do anything further to try and continue it. For once I was a part of the drama, not just the instigator of it -- and boy was that a reminder that it's better to be on the sidelines when the poo hits the fan!

Thanks for watching Start-Ups: Silicon Valley! Feel free to check out my app, follow me (Facebook, Twitter), or book me for speaking engagements by emailing the address listed at the bottom of my website!


You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet