Scoble Sucks

Whoa, the hate mail has been flowing fast and furious tonight.

Pat Phelan, founder of MaxRoam, says that today my shine came off.

Loic Le Meur, founder of Seesmic, says that it’s easy to knock startups when I’ve never started one. I’ve never been the top dog, but the store I helped manage in the 1980s was a startup. Fawcette Technical Publications was only eight when I was hired and grew to about 200. Winnov was a startup when I joined in the mid 90s. UserLand was small and launched a new product while I was there. PodTech was a startup and I saw close up how startups work (or don’t work). And I’ve interviewed hundreds of startups.

Timothy Ritchey, who works for RedRomeLogic, said on Twitter “I guess scoble missed that big f’n orange “Watch Demo Now” button on our home page. ass.”

UPDATE: YCombinator has even more “Scoble Sucks” kinds of comments.

Marshall Kirkpatrick (who works for Demo partner Read/Write Web) said on Twitter: “My take: scoble is being an unfair jerk in saying the DEMO companies suck but is right in his critiques of their marketing.”

Dan Hau, who works for TicketStumbler, said on Twitter: “I love how people think Robert Scoble is famous. He’s not – he’s just a talentless, fat, annoying, douche bag.”

Conner McCall said on Twitter: “Reminded me once again why I quit following anything related to Scoble.”

Mel Webster said on Twitter: “Honestly, the best thing that could ever happen was if everyone ignored @scoble. He would quietly go away!”

Finally, Chris Shipley, who now runs the Demo Conference, wrote a very long post saying basically that I suck. I’ll answer that in a future post.

And this is only some of the “Scoble Sucks” kind of stuff I’ve seen tonight. More later…

149 thoughts on “Scoble Sucks

  1. Well, fwiw, I wrote a post about your complaints regarding the startup sites, because I saw a lot of value in your critical remarks, at http://www.design-for-users.com/ A startup company, especially a tech company, does not have the luxury of not knowing how to market themselves if they want to survive and best at least some of the competition. I don’t know your relationships with the people who are outraged, but in my little corner of the world, this was a valid discussion.

  2. I have to strongly agree with Robert’s post.

    Let’s look at this this way, if you had a product you’ve worked on and believed in 100%, would you prefer your sales team to go out presenting it in their best suite and tie, clean shaven, smelling like hugo boss or would you let them stumble out of bed, mumble a few words or a lot of words to the crowd and hope for the best?

    I take it that if your like me, you’ll prefer leaving that lasting 1st impression. That’s what most of these startups just aren’t leaving. Within seconds of hitting their website which is really the face and salesman for their service, they should have me hooked… Or have me at Hello :)

    http://www.seovice.com

  3. I have to strongly agree with Robert’s post.

    Let’s look at this this way, if you had a product you’ve worked on and believed in 100%, would you prefer your sales team to go out presenting it in their best suite and tie, clean shaven, smelling like hugo boss or would you let them stumble out of bed, mumble a few words or a lot of words to the crowd and hope for the best?

    I take it that if your like me, you’ll prefer leaving that lasting 1st impression. That’s what most of these startups just aren’t leaving. Within seconds of hitting their website which is really the face and salesman for their service, they should have me hooked… Or have me at Hello :)

    http://www.seovice.com

  4. I can almost guarantee most of these ‘haters” would never bash Scoble nearly as harshly in person. Instead they hide behind twitter of friendfeed to criticize him. It is really sad to see how malicious people can be.

  5. I can almost guarantee most of these ‘haters” would never bash Scoble nearly as harshly in person. Instead they hide behind twitter of friendfeed to criticize him. It is really sad to see how malicious people can be.

  6. Hey Robert,

    I don’t necessarily agree with all the blatant “Scoble sucks” comments that are being pandered about, it seems to be a polarised knee jerk reactions to your polarised viewpoint.

    I doubt many of the people crucifying you bothered to look past the home page on a lot of these sites to see what you were talking about.

    You did have a point, some of these sites did not align well with the markets they were targeting (some were plain awful) but I think the point is that you could have perhaps handled it more professionally. Especially considering you are one of the TC50 judges, some might say there is a conflict of interest there.

    Anyway, perhaps you could take screenshots of all the scoble sucks comments, combine them into a large collage and make a poster (or a tshirt?). Turn the negatives into a moneymaking positive!

  7. Hey Robert,

    I don’t necessarily agree with all the blatant “Scoble sucks” comments that are being pandered about, it seems to be a polarised knee jerk reactions to your polarised viewpoint.

    I doubt many of the people crucifying you bothered to look past the home page on a lot of these sites to see what you were talking about.

    You did have a point, some of these sites did not align well with the markets they were targeting (some were plain awful) but I think the point is that you could have perhaps handled it more professionally. Especially considering you are one of the TC50 judges, some might say there is a conflict of interest there.

    Anyway, perhaps you could take screenshots of all the scoble sucks comments, combine them into a large collage and make a poster (or a tshirt?). Turn the negatives into a moneymaking positive!

  8. all he said, some websites suck … and people attack like he maligned jesus or allah ..

    the cult of the holy startup has some problems i think

  9. all he said, some websites suck … and people attack like he maligned jesus or allah ..

    the cult of the holy startup has some problems i think

  10. It’s funny how people respond. Know what I did with the post in question? I bookmarked it, shared it, and then started looking at the startups you mentioned. I get the complaints people are leveling, but I read most of their negatives as just being part of your voice, your opinion.

    Me? I just started learning about the startups.

    I’m working in the events business. I’m not into competing negatively. Heck, I’m speaking Monday at an event that competes in some ways with one of my other events. Call me the Rodney King of social media, but I like it when people get along.

    Can you / should you criticize things going on in our space? Sure! I learned from the post.

  11. It’s funny how people respond. Know what I did with the post in question? I bookmarked it, shared it, and then started looking at the startups you mentioned. I get the complaints people are leveling, but I read most of their negatives as just being part of your voice, your opinion.

    Me? I just started learning about the startups.

    I’m working in the events business. I’m not into competing negatively. Heck, I’m speaking Monday at an event that competes in some ways with one of my other events. Call me the Rodney King of social media, but I like it when people get along.

    Can you / should you criticize things going on in our space? Sure! I learned from the post.

  12. Now THAT’S marketing!

    Scoble gets his ass chewed and then, turns it into a post, which probably gets more hits than some of the websites he slammed for having poor marketing.

    Why don’t someone pay Scoble to go and get their site some traffic?

    Jim

  13. Now THAT’S marketing!

    Scoble gets his ass chewed and then, turns it into a post, which probably gets more hits than some of the websites he slammed for having poor marketing.

    Why don’t someone pay Scoble to go and get their site some traffic?

    Jim

  14. What do you mean? My name is Peter (I go by Pete) and you have my email address. I’m not anonymous by any means. If I had a blog or site I would put it here.

  15. What do you mean? My name is Peter (I go by Pete) and you have my email address. I’m not anonymous by any means. If I had a blog or site I would put it here.

  16. I think this is all blown out of proportion. Look at what these guys write, it’s linkbait, I mean come on, I agree Robert would be better of if he lived a healthier life but what has that got to do with anything.

    Robert gave us a list, he invested time in it.
    That’s not what most of you guys did.

    He then told us his opinion about those company websites.
    That too got me interested.
    I read it, I didn’t think his comments were that bad.
    Sure, maybe he should have separated the website from the product but come one now, I woke up this morning and it’s all over the tech blogosphere!
    Which is good for Robert, but the comments indicate some bloggers have psychological problems.

    To me Robert is the kind of guy who knows how to spot something interesting.
    He looks at companies, websites, products and makes up his mind about them.
    He’s not always right, but when he’s wrong, his audience will tell him and he will turn around and tell you when he’s wrong.
    That saves me a lot of time because I didn’t look at all those websites.

    The main point Robert is trying to make is they should’ve invested some of that Demo money in their own website!
    But ok, let’s suppose some of those sites’ products do have the potential to become another Del.icio.us or craigslist, … Robert will tell you he was wrong before it hits mainstream.
    And he will probably do a video about it too giving those guys more publicity than they got by going to Demo.

  17. I think this is all blown out of proportion. Look at what these guys write, it’s linkbait, I mean come on, I agree Robert would be better of if he lived a healthier life but what has that got to do with anything.

    Robert gave us a list, he invested time in it.
    That’s not what most of you guys did.

    He then told us his opinion about those company websites.
    That too got me interested.
    I read it, I didn’t think his comments were that bad.
    Sure, maybe he should have separated the website from the product but come one now, I woke up this morning and it’s all over the tech blogosphere!
    Which is good for Robert, but the comments indicate some bloggers have psychological problems.

    To me Robert is the kind of guy who knows how to spot something interesting.
    He looks at companies, websites, products and makes up his mind about them.
    He’s not always right, but when he’s wrong, his audience will tell him and he will turn around and tell you when he’s wrong.
    That saves me a lot of time because I didn’t look at all those websites.

    The main point Robert is trying to make is they should’ve invested some of that Demo money in their own website!
    But ok, let’s suppose some of those sites’ products do have the potential to become another Del.icio.us or craigslist, … Robert will tell you he was wrong before it hits mainstream.
    And he will probably do a video about it too giving those guys more publicity than they got by going to Demo.

  18. Your job is to be a critic. Not an entrepreneur. A food critic isn’t a cook. A movie critic isn’t a producer or director. You’re to represent customers, not vendors. What’s your value to me if you’re only writing fluff pieces and kissing up to all vendors. If these guys want an infomercial, they should pay for one.

    Maybe you might want to give companies two chances (every n months?) First time you see them and they don’t impress, you tell them, and no one else. If they’d like, they could have you back for a second impression. Then you publish.

  19. Your job is to be a critic. Not an entrepreneur. A food critic isn’t a cook. A movie critic isn’t a producer or director. You’re to represent customers, not vendors. What’s your value to me if you’re only writing fluff pieces and kissing up to all vendors. If these guys want an infomercial, they should pay for one.

    Maybe you might want to give companies two chances (every n months?) First time you see them and they don’t impress, you tell them, and no one else. If they’d like, they could have you back for a second impression. Then you publish.

  20. Eric: I like Gary’s site because it has personality and isn’t written in marketese. But I’ll get you some other great examples. Many of which were actually launched at Demo over the past few years.

  21. Eric: I like Gary’s site because it has personality and isn’t written in marketese. But I’ll get you some other great examples. Many of which were actually launched at Demo over the past few years.

  22. My issue is that you wrote that with this assumed ‘don’t they learn anything from garyvee’s site?’ (like it’s assumed everyone knows who that is) and didn’t illustrate key areas why you believe his site to be good. I’m always on the lookout for exact causes of echo behavior and this is it.

    I’ve noticed also how much the geek set is locked-on to design aesthetic… look at all the random comments about why the Android HTC sucks… because it doesn’t look like an iPhone. Damn, we’ve become quite superficial… and to think we were geeks once.

  23. My issue is that you wrote that with this assumed ‘don’t they learn anything from garyvee’s site?’ (like it’s assumed everyone knows who that is) and didn’t illustrate key areas why you believe his site to be good. I’m always on the lookout for exact causes of echo behavior and this is it.

    I’ve noticed also how much the geek set is locked-on to design aesthetic… look at all the random comments about why the Android HTC sucks… because it doesn’t look like an iPhone. Damn, we’ve become quite superficial… and to think we were geeks once.

  24. Mo: fair enough. I’ll redo my look at the Websites later this week after they get to turn on their new websites. Personally that is a problem with the Demo Conference. They should have held their list until all the startups were ready to unveil their new stuff.

  25. Mo: fair enough. I’ll redo my look at the Websites later this week after they get to turn on their new websites. Personally that is a problem with the Demo Conference. They should have held their list until all the startups were ready to unveil their new stuff.

  26. You know, you and I don’t always agree on everything Robert – but you always make me think, analyze, and learn… so you won’t hear any “Scoble Sucks” posts from me – even if I ever got a “GeekMommy Sucks” post/twitter/whathaveyou from you.

    That said, even if you didn’t hit the nail on the head 100% with that post? You stirred up the anthill and got people talking… and that’s *huge*. Getting people talking is the best way to get them thinking and fixing what is wrong or pointing out what is right.

  27. You know, you and I don’t always agree on everything Robert – but you always make me think, analyze, and learn… so you won’t hear any “Scoble Sucks” posts from me – even if I ever got a “GeekMommy Sucks” post/twitter/whathaveyou from you.

    That said, even if you didn’t hit the nail on the head 100% with that post? You stirred up the anthill and got people talking… and that’s *huge*. Getting people talking is the best way to get them thinking and fixing what is wrong or pointing out what is right.

  28. Honestly, I agree with Robert. My company’s site looks absolutely horrible, I acknowledge that, but we’re working with some really skilled designers to try and rectify that. Another thing that immediately sprung into my mind was “How did some of these projects get funded?” It sort of makes me feel more at ease when it comes to seeking funding for my company’s yet-unannounced big project. If some of these projects can get funded, surely we can.

    P.S. Robert, your comment form breaks for me when I’m actually logged into my wordpress.com account. It errors with “enter required fields (name, email)”.

  29. Honestly, I agree with Robert. My company’s site looks absolutely horrible, I acknowledge that, but we’re working with some really skilled designers to try and rectify that. Another thing that immediately sprung into my mind was “How did some of these projects get funded?” It sort of makes me feel more at ease when it comes to seeking funding for my company’s yet-unannounced big project. If some of these projects can get funded, surely we can.

    P.S. Robert, your comment form breaks for me when I’m actually logged into my wordpress.com account. It errors with “enter required fields (name, email)”.

  30. Unfortunate events, looking forward to your next post on this. Even an investigation in the topic could be done as it’d disseminate facts from the parties as it seems the situation is somewhat doing a ricochet by bringing up old stories, I think that storyline will effectively be settled in a definite and decisive way. To the best thinker -Zu

  31. Unfortunate events, looking forward to your next post on this. Even an investigation in the topic could be done as it’d disseminate facts from the parties as it seems the situation is somewhat doing a ricochet by bringing up old stories, I think that storyline will effectively be settled in a definite and decisive way. To the best thinker -Zu

  32. I don’t agree with your post for the following reasons which I thought you’d understand:

    1. You’re looking at pre DEMO sites where the creators of the sites might be scrambling to get things together and working.
    2. With all the work required in getting things running sometimes PR is pushed back for technology or infrastructure.
    3. Video doesn’t work for everyone. They can be long and boring. For websites a pictoral display of a site might be much better then video. Video also takes time to edit and produce. Time that might need to be spent on programming or infrastructure for the actual product.

    Regardless I do find there is something to learn with the way you handle backlash by reposting all the comments made about you. As a blogger/Journalist you’re a success online because you stir conversation even when it’s harsh to you. And that’s pretty cool. Thanks for the PR lesson.

    What would be interesting is if the companies that you bashed reply on their company blogs addressing the issues. I know to do that now if a blogger takes a shot at my startup.

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