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. Pingback: Scoble goes down
  2. I’ve had similar distain for people dissing a site that is not completed yet…although we didn’t do a PR on it either(http://www.dailydooh.com/archives/2273 and http://natenead.com/youll-shove-the-lawyer-where/ ). However, any publicity is often good publicity, in my mind, and you just have to learn not to take it personal. It should give these startups incentive to improve. Although I thought your criticism did seem a bit over the top and mean spirited, they need to get over it. It’s not going to change anything. Better just to take the advice, chalk it up to experience and move on.

  3. I’ve had similar distain for people dissing a site that is not completed yet…although we didn’t do a PR on it either(http://www.dailydooh.com/archives/2273 and http://natenead.com/youll-shove-the-lawyer-where/ ). However, any publicity is often good publicity, in my mind, and you just have to learn not to take it personal. It should give these startups incentive to improve. Although I thought your criticism did seem a bit over the top and mean spirited, they need to get over it. It’s not going to change anything. Better just to take the advice, chalk it up to experience and move on.

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  5. Seems like you deserve it. There are a lot of people working hard to put this together. Whether you like it or not, you didn’t have to belittle their efforts so scathingly. I don’t think you helped anyone here – you certainly didn’t help these fledgling companies – and you certainly didn’t help your readers. You should have bit your tongue and said nothing.

    Although you say that you don’t want to be like mainstream media just trying to make a headline, your articles of late certainly don’t seem that way. Disparaging remarks about someone else’s work is not news by itself.

    Robert – the sad part of this is that you could become a great media source if you want. But when you post articles like this, you look like an amateur. I suspect your career suffered a big setback this week. I hope you get it back together.

  6. Seems like you deserve it. There are a lot of people working hard to put this together. Whether you like it or not, you didn’t have to belittle their efforts so scathingly. I don’t think you helped anyone here – you certainly didn’t help these fledgling companies – and you certainly didn’t help your readers. You should have bit your tongue and said nothing.

    Although you say that you don’t want to be like mainstream media just trying to make a headline, your articles of late certainly don’t seem that way. Disparaging remarks about someone else’s work is not news by itself.

    Robert – the sad part of this is that you could become a great media source if you want. But when you post articles like this, you look like an amateur. I suspect your career suffered a big setback this week. I hope you get it back together.

  7. salut robert,
    maybe i’m too much european, but i’m much more interested in product’s than website’s.
    all the best for you france and take care,
    martin

  8. salut robert,
    maybe i’m too much european, but i’m much more interested in product’s than website’s.
    all the best for you france and take care,
    martin

  9. First I’m going to say that I have no vested interest in Robert – for or against. He’s not a Twitter or FB bud, and I don’t tune into Scobleizer regularly. What I will say is that in reading the original post, a lot of his comments are very blunt and on the mark. I’m a brand consultant who’s worked with tech start-ups since the 1990′s. What I took away from his post is that these start-ups that are granted at the demo stage don’t have their act together on the brand and (sometimes) user experience side. It doesn’t take rocket science to do this – doesn’t take million dollar budgets (and yes can even be for less than $18k). That basic, stripped down messaging/positioning/user ease should be a part of the demo experience as well. The start-ups who are willing to look at that as carefully as the coding will do a lot better out there.

  10. First I’m going to say that I have no vested interest in Robert – for or against. He’s not a Twitter or FB bud, and I don’t tune into Scobleizer regularly. What I will say is that in reading the original post, a lot of his comments are very blunt and on the mark. I’m a brand consultant who’s worked with tech start-ups since the 1990′s. What I took away from his post is that these start-ups that are granted at the demo stage don’t have their act together on the brand and (sometimes) user experience side. It doesn’t take rocket science to do this – doesn’t take million dollar budgets (and yes can even be for less than $18k). That basic, stripped down messaging/positioning/user ease should be a part of the demo experience as well. The start-ups who are willing to look at that as carefully as the coding will do a lot better out there.

  11. I’m too lazy to go through all the comments, but … WHAT? I don’t get it!

    What exactly did you write or say that so many people are pissed off? I think your work is great, I can still remember the great Davos coverage when QIK was new and all the famous people passing by ;)

    I hope this stuff doesn’t get you. Now I know why you don’t like twitter so much anymore :)

    Best regards from Germany

    Markus

  12. I’m too lazy to go through all the comments, but … WHAT? I don’t get it!

    What exactly did you write or say that so many people are pissed off? I think your work is great, I can still remember the great Davos coverage when QIK was new and all the famous people passing by ;)

    I hope this stuff doesn’t get you. Now I know why you don’t like twitter so much anymore :)

    Best regards from Germany

    Markus

  13. What really struck home for me was the comment at the bottom of the post where you asked if I would Report or write about any of the sites.

    That was where I realized the impact of the marketing techniques of the sites I visited. There was no impact. And I think thats the point.

  14. What really struck home for me was the comment at the bottom of the post where you asked if I would Report or write about any of the sites.

    That was where I realized the impact of the marketing techniques of the sites I visited. There was no impact. And I think thats the point.

  15. the 80′s?????? You are putting that on your resume? The 80′s???? hilarious.

    BTW, by your standards Google’s web site sucks, too. Consequently I guess they must suck.

  16. the 80′s?????? You are putting that on your resume? The 80′s???? hilarious.

    BTW, by your standards Google’s web site sucks, too. Consequently I guess they must suck.

  17. Robert,

    I haven’t been following you all that long, but you’ve really earned my respect with this entire situation.

    1) You’re absolutely right – most of those sites suck. Good for you for having the balls to tell the truth. The fact that some people slammed you really amazes me. This post actually PUSHES those startups to be better instead of just saying “wow, there’s some interesting companies going to DEMO”.

    Yeah, we know it’s freakin’ hard to get to the startup phase … but if they want to get BEYOND the start up phase, they better re-read your post and thank their lucky stars that you just gave them the free advice you did.

    2) Love the way you’re handling the haters. Brilliant really. You definitely know how to keep a conversation going. I’m taking notes.

  18. Robert,

    I haven’t been following you all that long, but you’ve really earned my respect with this entire situation.

    1) You’re absolutely right – most of those sites suck. Good for you for having the balls to tell the truth. The fact that some people slammed you really amazes me. This post actually PUSHES those startups to be better instead of just saying “wow, there’s some interesting companies going to DEMO”.

    Yeah, we know it’s freakin’ hard to get to the startup phase … but if they want to get BEYOND the start up phase, they better re-read your post and thank their lucky stars that you just gave them the free advice you did.

    2) Love the way you’re handling the haters. Brilliant really. You definitely know how to keep a conversation going. I’m taking notes.

  19. People bitching about the poor startups? They just got 10x more press than they might have gotten if he hadn’t touched it like this!

    Each startup is now going to try a little bit harder on their web presence, user interface, and the overall reason they should exist. Making them…better?

    Nobody is going to cast these companies into space based solely on Scoble’s post.

    This is a huge opportunity to have some great conversations (Seth?) about their brands!

  20. People bitching about the poor startups? They just got 10x more press than they might have gotten if he hadn’t touched it like this!

    Each startup is now going to try a little bit harder on their web presence, user interface, and the overall reason they should exist. Making them…better?

    Nobody is going to cast these companies into space based solely on Scoble’s post.

    This is a huge opportunity to have some great conversations (Seth?) about their brands!

  21. I’ve been trying to figure out who has a bigger ego: You or Jason Calacanis. I’m undecided. But, I can tell you this. Your post and previous posts on this subject show a lack of hubris. No one likes someone who lacks the basics of humility.

    By saying that a website’s quality was indicative of a company’s quality you’ve essentially said sites like Amazon suck. Amazon.com has been lauded for it’s ancient and difficult to use design. But, shockingly they do quite well.

    Perhaps focusing on facts, less on opinions, and dialing back the attempt to be polarizing would help you come off as someone with more integrity. Remember, it’s quality that got you where you are, not volume.

  22. I’ve been trying to figure out who has a bigger ego: You or Jason Calacanis. I’m undecided. But, I can tell you this. Your post and previous posts on this subject show a lack of hubris. No one likes someone who lacks the basics of humility.

    By saying that a website’s quality was indicative of a company’s quality you’ve essentially said sites like Amazon suck. Amazon.com has been lauded for it’s ancient and difficult to use design. But, shockingly they do quite well.

    Perhaps focusing on facts, less on opinions, and dialing back the attempt to be polarizing would help you come off as someone with more integrity. Remember, it’s quality that got you where you are, not volume.

  23. I think people are just pissed that you made such a blanket statement about that many startups. They are obviously all very different. Startups are used to getting torn up by blogs (if need be) but they are usually given the reasons why.

    You should either go back and explain why each of them suck (individually), or say sorry and take it back until you’ve had time to sit and analyze each startup. Most of these companies are brand new and probably haven’t gotten written up in a blog yet, and so far you haven’t been inspiring much hope.

  24. I think people are just pissed that you made such a blanket statement about that many startups. They are obviously all very different. Startups are used to getting torn up by blogs (if need be) but they are usually given the reasons why.

    You should either go back and explain why each of them suck (individually), or say sorry and take it back until you’ve had time to sit and analyze each startup. Most of these companies are brand new and probably haven’t gotten written up in a blog yet, and so far you haven’t been inspiring much hope.

  25. I thought you made some excellent good points. Can’t understand the uproar, unless people are finding that truth hurts.

  26. I thought you made some excellent good points. Can’t understand the uproar, unless people are finding that truth hurts.

  27. Robert,

    To respond to the Gary V. angle sprinkled into the comment thread earlier:

    I want away from your previous post with the vibe that you had mentioned Gary V. as a “style of presentation”… not just his website, but his interactivity with the community, his openness and sense of humor, his all around attention to detail on every face of his product/presentation (not about marketing, about having one’s finger on the pulse, so to speak)… not just something as one dimensional as his website. I felt that if the presenters who are readying to go onstage (for which they paid close to $20k to do) in the next few days were 1/2 as “in tune” with the-way-it-is as Gary V. was then their websites would A.) Exist and B.) Not look like that. Period.

    And I agree. These places paid eighteen thousand fucking dollars to stand on a stage for a matter of minutes and say something to a few thousand people. (ok ok, say something to the world blah blah blah).. the point is, they paid all that money to do that and they couldn’t find $2000 (or a person or two on the team) to have a really nice placeholder or mini-site put together for all the pre-press of the big event??? It’s a testament to how misaligned these places priorities are and could very well be a harbinger of their unsuccessful ventures.

    Anyway, Robert… I still think you shine.. why? Cus in these past 3 posts/threads I can’t recall seeing a single link to the “conversation at friendfeed” … hehehhe. j/k (i slammed you hard in the past for that stuff, so it seemed relevant to remind you [if you ever even saw before] of that alongside my backing you up for the voice you chose to write your posts in this weekend. I enjoyed them, I respect them, and I think you bring up very valid talking points that could really inspire some constructive debate if people were willing to just suck it up and deal with the fact that not everything is sugar coated… call a spade a spade sometimes, people. I had thought about you and TC50 and all that jazz…. but really truly… you are right… had SOME, not all, of these companies with sites like this applied to be onstage at TC50 i doubt they would have ever made it past the first interview… just a hunch.

  28. Robert,

    To respond to the Gary V. angle sprinkled into the comment thread earlier:

    I want away from your previous post with the vibe that you had mentioned Gary V. as a “style of presentation”… not just his website, but his interactivity with the community, his openness and sense of humor, his all around attention to detail on every face of his product/presentation (not about marketing, about having one’s finger on the pulse, so to speak)… not just something as one dimensional as his website. I felt that if the presenters who are readying to go onstage (for which they paid close to $20k to do) in the next few days were 1/2 as “in tune” with the-way-it-is as Gary V. was then their websites would A.) Exist and B.) Not look like that. Period.

    And I agree. These places paid eighteen thousand fucking dollars to stand on a stage for a matter of minutes and say something to a few thousand people. (ok ok, say something to the world blah blah blah).. the point is, they paid all that money to do that and they couldn’t find $2000 (or a person or two on the team) to have a really nice placeholder or mini-site put together for all the pre-press of the big event??? It’s a testament to how misaligned these places priorities are and could very well be a harbinger of their unsuccessful ventures.

    Anyway, Robert… I still think you shine.. why? Cus in these past 3 posts/threads I can’t recall seeing a single link to the “conversation at friendfeed” … hehehhe. j/k (i slammed you hard in the past for that stuff, so it seemed relevant to remind you [if you ever even saw before] of that alongside my backing you up for the voice you chose to write your posts in this weekend. I enjoyed them, I respect them, and I think you bring up very valid talking points that could really inspire some constructive debate if people were willing to just suck it up and deal with the fact that not everything is sugar coated… call a spade a spade sometimes, people. I had thought about you and TC50 and all that jazz…. but really truly… you are right… had SOME, not all, of these companies with sites like this applied to be onstage at TC50 i doubt they would have ever made it past the first interview… just a hunch.

  29. Pete, I believe Robert’s comment was an actual answer to your earlier post about using anonymous screen shots.

    He wasn’t saying that YOU are anonymous and that’s why he doesn’t answer you.

  30. Pete, I believe Robert’s comment was an actual answer to your earlier post about using anonymous screen shots.

    He wasn’t saying that YOU are anonymous and that’s why he doesn’t answer you.

  31. Message to entrepreneurs, your project is humbling, it’s a competitive space, it’s harder than you ever imagined and Robert probably just did you a huge favor so listen.

    We’re 3 guys, bootstrapped, delivering on a very ambitious product, no designer, no pr and we still made it right and so could have you.

    Proof is in a tweet from Robert this morning http://twitter.com/Scobleizer/statuses/912563851 “yours was more informative than many of the Demo ones”.

  32. Message to entrepreneurs, your project is humbling, it’s a competitive space, it’s harder than you ever imagined and Robert probably just did you a huge favor so listen.

    We’re 3 guys, bootstrapped, delivering on a very ambitious product, no designer, no pr and we still made it right and so could have you.

    Proof is in a tweet from Robert this morning http://twitter.com/Scobleizer/statuses/912563851 “yours was more informative than many of the Demo ones”.

  33. i appreciate your honesty and share your frustration. people should know that it takes a lot for you to say anything negative and it’s really not against the law to do so. Maybe if they took some of the time they’ve spent complaining about your opinion into listening and incorporating some of your suggestions into their web site the whole exercise would be more productive.

  34. i appreciate your honesty and share your frustration. people should know that it takes a lot for you to say anything negative and it’s really not against the law to do so. Maybe if they took some of the time they’ve spent complaining about your opinion into listening and incorporating some of your suggestions into their web site the whole exercise would be more productive.

  35. Why should Robert bear the burden of massaging delicate egos? In short, he shouldn’t. Robert has never made a secret of calling things as he sees them. If the sites sucked, they sucked and Robert shouldn’t be attacked for speaking his mind. Asking him not to do so is called censorship, and to have him say otherwise is called propaganda. These days a web site is a direct reflection of the company. I see a poorly designed site and I immediately start questioning the quality of said company and the service(s) it is offering. Besides, if any of these guys truly believed in their business they wouldn’t be worried about the Scoble effect on them. If you one negative comment from a tech blogger is going to illicit this kind of reaction, why would I, as an investor, want to get behind such a shaky business model?

  36. Why should Robert bear the burden of massaging delicate egos? In short, he shouldn’t. Robert has never made a secret of calling things as he sees them. If the sites sucked, they sucked and Robert shouldn’t be attacked for speaking his mind. Asking him not to do so is called censorship, and to have him say otherwise is called propaganda. These days a web site is a direct reflection of the company. I see a poorly designed site and I immediately start questioning the quality of said company and the service(s) it is offering. Besides, if any of these guys truly believed in their business they wouldn’t be worried about the Scoble effect on them. If you one negative comment from a tech blogger is going to illicit this kind of reaction, why would I, as an investor, want to get behind such a shaky business model?

  37. 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.

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