Seagate’s CEO apologizes for porn comments

Disclaimer, Seagate is the founding sponsor of my show.

Anil Dash has the details (and his own thoughts) on the apology that Seagate’s CEO made yesterday¬† — he links to the details from the author of the article.

Me? I knew it would cause rumblings inside a big company. I, like Anil, hope that Bill doesn’t lose his sense of humor. I told one guy over at Seagate that there’s a silver lining to all this: everyone will want to come to the BlogHaus to meet Bill and see if he’s going to say anything else quotable.

The other thing is: business leadership is about taking risks. Sometimes those risks pay off, other times they don’t. But I’d rather have a leader in charge who is willing to take risks instead of always “playing it safe.”

Comments

  1. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with his comment. If honesty and humour like that was more prevalent, it would make big business a lot better. What a shame that the sad PC world of today has made him feel like he needs to say sorry. Sigh ……

  2. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with his comment. If honesty and humour like that was more prevalent, it would make big business a lot better. What a shame that the sad PC world of today has made him feel like he needs to say sorry. Sigh ……

  3. @4 I agree with you, but unfortunately its a world we live in. So, knowing that I would think a CEO would be a bit more pragmatic.

    @3 I Scoble, I wholeheartedly agree that taking risks, when appropriate is a good thing. I see this not as risk taking, but being tone deaf and speaking without thinking. Being talked about is not always a good thing. Hell, at one time everyone was talking about Enron.

  4. @4 I agree with you, but unfortunately its a world we live in. So, knowing that I would think a CEO would be a bit more pragmatic.

    @3 I Scoble, I wholeheartedly agree that taking risks, when appropriate is a good thing. I see this not as risk taking, but being tone deaf and speaking without thinking. Being talked about is not always a good thing. Hell, at one time everyone was talking about Enron.

  5. @Layz

    For Heaven’s sake – the man doesn’t deserve sanctimonious criticism. He was making a joke. It was a joke based on fact, and one that wasn’t even offensive. Do people that work in hard drive companies somehow think that large numbers of people don’t store porn videos on their hard-drives?

    I simply don’t believe that anyone can have been genuinely offended by the Seagate CEO’s comments. And those that would claim offence should see if they can explain publically what their problems are with his comments.

    I don’t know if Bill Watkins is a good CEO or not. However, I suggest that in general, we need to stand up and support people that make the business world less bland. Corporate cultures have gone too far in the direction of appeasing those who are quick to claim offence at the slightest of incidents.

  6. @Layz

    For Heaven’s sake – the man doesn’t deserve sanctimonious criticism. He was making a joke. It was a joke based on fact, and one that wasn’t even offensive. Do people that work in hard drive companies somehow think that large numbers of people don’t store porn videos on their hard-drives?

    I simply don’t believe that anyone can have been genuinely offended by the Seagate CEO’s comments. And those that would claim offence should see if they can explain publically what their problems are with his comments.

    I don’t know if Bill Watkins is a good CEO or not. However, I suggest that in general, we need to stand up and support people that make the business world less bland. Corporate cultures have gone too far in the direction of appeasing those who are quick to claim offence at the slightest of incidents.

  7. I agree with most of you here, especially you, Simon. It is ridiculous that we live in a society where people have to apologize for making a joke, and a mostly harmless one, at that.

    LayZ-
    Knock it off, man. Bill Watkins made this comment at a corporate dinner, not at a shareholders meeting or anything public. And it is a lighthearted joke. It isn’t like he said that all Seagate’s customers are greedy scoundrels and porn addicts. Please, for your own good, get a sense of humor.

  8. I agree with most of you here, especially you, Simon. It is ridiculous that we live in a society where people have to apologize for making a joke, and a mostly harmless one, at that.

    LayZ-
    Knock it off, man. Bill Watkins made this comment at a corporate dinner, not at a shareholders meeting or anything public. And it is a lighthearted joke. It isn’t like he said that all Seagate’s customers are greedy scoundrels and porn addicts. Please, for your own good, get a sense of humor.

  9. There is no way Bill should be required to make a public apology over what was obviously a lighthearted joke.

    Society, as a whole, needs to ask Santa for a sense of humor this Christmas…

    Oh! I’m sorry, I meant to say, “this Holiday Season,” and please forgive me for mentioning Santa. I hope no-one makes me apologize for trampling his right to religious freedom.

    I’m tired of living in a nation of overemotional pansies. Seriously, people, laugh a little. It was funny!

  10. There is no way Bill should be required to make a public apology over what was obviously a lighthearted joke.

    Society, as a whole, needs to ask Santa for a sense of humor this Christmas…

    Oh! I’m sorry, I meant to say, “this Holiday Season,” and please forgive me for mentioning Santa. I hope no-one makes me apologize for trampling his right to religious freedom.

    I’m tired of living in a nation of overemotional pansies. Seriously, people, laugh a little. It was funny!

  11. Ha, well you ever work in the retail tech biz? Ask someone browsing the HD aisle how big of a hard drive they need (BIG, HUGE), then ask them, ‘is this for video or images?’ and watch the nervous mumbled explanation about yes, they use it for all sorts of stuff.

    “Stuff” /smirk

    I’m so buying Seagate now.

  12. Ha, well you ever work in the retail tech biz? Ask someone browsing the HD aisle how big of a hard drive they need (BIG, HUGE), then ask them, ‘is this for video or images?’ and watch the nervous mumbled explanation about yes, they use it for all sorts of stuff.

    “Stuff” /smirk

    I’m so buying Seagate now.

  13. More a statement of fact than one of humour… it was obviously not meant to be lascivious, just a little piece of truth getting past the corporate PR Team. But sill, he really should have been thinking about all of the children who might come across his comment while surfing the web looking for cotton candy and wagging puppy dog tails… think about the children people, no more posting random references to pornography on the Internet.

  14. More a statement of fact than one of humour… it was obviously not meant to be lascivious, just a little piece of truth getting past the corporate PR Team. But sill, he really should have been thinking about all of the children who might come across his comment while surfing the web looking for cotton candy and wagging puppy dog tails… think about the children people, no more posting random references to pornography on the Internet.

  15. Made me laugh ffs its a joke

    back in the 80′s i worked at PRESTEl and we internaly joked that the way to make videotext work we need a way to do Porn, Gambeling and PPV.

  16. Made me laugh ffs its a joke

    back in the 80′s i worked at PRESTEl and we internaly joked that the way to make videotext work we need a way to do Porn, Gambeling and PPV.

  17. If you read the apology, it’s really an apology to the workers at Seagate who feel that the value of their work has been undermined. That’s understandable from a CEO perspective. If his workers felt offended by it, it’s his duty to make things right… however, I think that it’s in his company’s best interests to weed out these people and replace them with those who can laugh at jokes like this. If every single Seagate employee were going around joking with people that they make storage devices for porn, it would spread the perception that Seagate is a fun company full of fun people who don’t take anything too seriously. Instead, Seagate employees are now going to have to put people to sleep by telling them that they make storage devices for files of indeterminate nature. Aren’t there enough people in the world with boring job descriptions? I don’t ask people what they do for a living anymore because feigning interest in the reply is getting to be too hard for me.

  18. If you read the apology, it’s really an apology to the workers at Seagate who feel that the value of their work has been undermined. That’s understandable from a CEO perspective. If his workers felt offended by it, it’s his duty to make things right… however, I think that it’s in his company’s best interests to weed out these people and replace them with those who can laugh at jokes like this. If every single Seagate employee were going around joking with people that they make storage devices for porn, it would spread the perception that Seagate is a fun company full of fun people who don’t take anything too seriously. Instead, Seagate employees are now going to have to put people to sleep by telling them that they make storage devices for files of indeterminate nature. Aren’t there enough people in the world with boring job descriptions? I don’t ask people what they do for a living anymore because feigning interest in the reply is getting to be too hard for me.

  19. @6 Again, I find it hard to believe anyone took offense at it either. I sure didn’t. I thought it was funny. But, unfortunately, the country in which we live thinks people have a Constitutional right not to be offended. Alas, such is not that case. So, knowing what we know about the political/social climate in which we live, it was simply a moment of cluelessness. And you know this, Scoble. The higher up the chain of command you go, the more visibility and you have.

    So, it wasn’t taking a risk. Taking a risk would have been him saying Seagate is going to to produced disk solely for the purpose of storing porn. As for his statement, however, if it was taking a risk, one would have to conclude he planned to make the statement all along. I rather doubt that was the case. The guy is not that dumb.

  20. @6 Again, I find it hard to believe anyone took offense at it either. I sure didn’t. I thought it was funny. But, unfortunately, the country in which we live thinks people have a Constitutional right not to be offended. Alas, such is not that case. So, knowing what we know about the political/social climate in which we live, it was simply a moment of cluelessness. And you know this, Scoble. The higher up the chain of command you go, the more visibility and you have.

    So, it wasn’t taking a risk. Taking a risk would have been him saying Seagate is going to to produced disk solely for the purpose of storing porn. As for his statement, however, if it was taking a risk, one would have to conclude he planned to make the statement all along. I rather doubt that was the case. The guy is not that dumb.

  21. Okay… now that this committee has concluded that Seagate and its CEO are not responsible for the immediate causes of the moral downfall of the American Empire, just merely victims of The Decline in their own right, I move that this discussion be abandoned and that we all go here: http://traxiom.wordpress.com and learn vital survival tips for after the Neo-Luddist Revolution. All those in favour please raise your right hand… carried.

    Next item of business: Considering the attention given to the “porn” comment reported on Scoble’s Blog, how long until Microsoft buys Van Nuys?

  22. Okay… now that this committee has concluded that Seagate and its CEO are not responsible for the immediate causes of the moral downfall of the American Empire, just merely victims of The Decline in their own right, I move that this discussion be abandoned and that we all go here: http://traxiom.wordpress.com and learn vital survival tips for after the Neo-Luddist Revolution. All those in favour please raise your right hand… carried.

    Next item of business: Considering the attention given to the “porn” comment reported on Scoble’s Blog, how long until Microsoft buys Van Nuys?

  23. Hi you all,
    I cant see what the big deal about porn. Everyone seen it and joke about and I don’t see the reason they make such a big deal. I agree With Chris Sack!

  24. Hi you all,
    I cant see what the big deal about porn. Everyone seen it and joke about and I don’t see the reason they make such a big deal. I agree With Chris Sack!