I’ll miss Sam Sethi’s TechCrunch UK

The blogosphere is awash with posts about Michael Arrington ‘sacking’ Sam Sethi from TechCrunch UK and putting the blog on hold. My take on it is that Sam comes out of it smelling of roses. His stance throughout has been moral and ethical.

Poor Loic Le Meur comes out of it bruised, but not too badly damaged. He tried to put on a good show and came a bit of a cropper. He made a silly mistake when he was tired. He accepts it was a mistake and apologised. No harm done, in fact everyone has learnt something. Although I say that as someone who didn’t fork out money for tickets, travel and hotels. That said I’d have really enjoyed hearing the French politicians, although I’ll admit that I’m probably not typical of the LeWeb3 audience.

Michael Arrington on the other hand comes out of it stinking to high heaven. The most charitable view of Arrington’s actions is that he appears to be a poor manager and a poor journalist.

The critical fact for me is that Arrington claims he sacked Sam Sethi for unilaterally announcing some TechCrunch UK events:

The actions that finally resulted in his dismissal were additional comments he wrote on that second post, announcing ‘that TechCrunch UK will be doing a series of seminars and a conference next year as well as a series of smaller meetings in conjunction with friends & partners which have been in the planning for sometime now.’

The only problem with this explanation is that news of the TechCrunch UK events had been circulating on UK blogs and TechCrunch UK posts for some weeks.

DISCLAIMER: I know because I added “Contact Sam Sethi about possible TechCrunch UK events’ to my task list on November 24. And I promise I’m not psychic, my only special ability is being able to read and remember simple facts. I only got round to sending Sam an email on December 13 when the above post reminded me I still hadn’t done it.

It is logical therefore to presume one of the following possibilities:

  1. Michael Arrington is such a poor manager and cares so little for his company’s brand that he can’t even be bothered to read it, let alone monitor what is being said on other blogs. It’s not as if there was a massive volume of posts on TechCrunch UK.
  2. The explanation that the sacking was to do with the announcement of the events isn’t true.

Below is a post that I wrote on the evening of the original post, but saved in my drafts as it was written after a few glasses of wine. On sober reflection there is nothing in it that I don’t stand by.

For one of the most measured and thoughtful posts written on this saga read what Ian Delaney has to say.

I hope we soon see a new UK and Ireland tech start-up and VC blog, without the heavy hand of a censorious media mogul from across the Atlantic.

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Elsewhere you can read all about the hits and misses of LeWeb3, but the bit that has caught my attention is what’s happened at TechCrunch UK.

Now first up I don’t ‘know’ either Sam Sethi or Michael Arrington and I have no way of knowing whose version of events to believe. I’ve also exchanged private emails with Sam, but not Michael.

However, I think the one who comes worst out of this, by a long way, is Michael Arrington. His posts and TechCrunch Admim’s comments just sound rude, arrogant and overbearing. He might well be right and Sam’s original post wasn’t true, but deleting it and coming across as an arrogant bully isn’t the way of persuading people. Rather reminds me of the arrogance of old world publishers such as Robert Maxwell or the megalomania of Citizen Kane.

Personally I’ve never been a fan of TechCrunch as it’s always reminded me of one of those noisy drunks at a party, desperate to get their point across without the risk of letting facts get in the way.

TechCrunch UK on the other hand had a very weak and shaky start, commenting on stories that were past their sell by date. But, in recent weeks it has improved considerably and has made its way into my Must Read folder. In fact in the weeks before it closed TechCrunch UK was brilliant.

The original TechCrunch sits in a folder called ‘So Called A-list Bloggers – Yawn’. It very rarely gets read.

If you want to follow Sam Sethi you can visit www.vecosys.com

 


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://profile.typekey.com/davidtebbutt/ David Tebbutt

    I'm guessing here, but I think nothing in Michael Arrington's life has prepared him for the monster he is currently riding.

    We do weird things when we're at full stretch. I know how weird I was when editing Personal Computer World in the early days of the personal computer boom ('79 – '81). And I was probably a similar age at the time.

    But, in today's transparent world, there's no hiding place. We are on view, and truth-bending is not an option.

  • http://greengathering.blogspot.com/ IanJGreen

    Hi Stuart,

    As someone who was there and witnessed the blogswarm that developed on the last day – there in the conference hall with people tapping away on their laptops – I can say that Sam is the only one who has emerged from this with his head held high.
    Nor was his the most damning post (check the blogs) – his only sin was that he did it on TechCrunch where the cigar chomping US-based proprietor was more worried about his own reputation as a corporate sponsor rather than the honesty of Sam.
    I'm with you on this – let's be open, honest and willing to engage in the conversation.
    Ian