Sethi: Everyone is to blame except me

by Mathew on December 13, 2007 · 14 comments

Soap Opera 2.0, starring Blognation founder Sam Sethi, ended with a blockbuster today: Sam lays all the blame for the failure of the British blog network at the feet of TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington, who split with Sethi in a nasty and public way exactly a year ago, an irony that Sam notes in his post on the end of his dream. Like Techfold, I have to say this is one of the most mealy-mouthed and insincere posts I’ve seen from an alleged business person since Conrad Black stopped blogging.

I’m not sure which is my favourite part — the part where Sethi admits that he lied to his own staff about funding being imminent (which ex-staffer Oliver Starr described in an earlier installment of this saga), but blames that lying on Mike Arrington? Or the part where he says he has called in Scotland Yard to investigate the term sheet that was leaked to Mike, the one that allegedly caused the VC to panic and pull the funding?

I just can’t decide. It’s like deciding which part of the train wreck is the best, or which accident victim is worse off. The only thing that’s clear is that Sam doesn’t bear any of the blame for what happened — anything wrong he did was something he was forced to do by Mike Arrington (Mike has posted a response here). What a graceless and insipid way to end something. If Sam was trying to win any support or respect with his post, he has failed completely.

  • Deepak

    Talk about not taking responsibility. I don't know who is to blame and don't really care, but that was a complete copout

  • mathewi

    I agree, Deepak. Pretty shameless, really.

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  • Jeremy Pepper

    You know what really bothers me on his “mea culpa” – not anywhere did he address the fact that people that worked for him are out of paychecks, or owed back pay.

    It's ME ME ME, and shows no remorse, concern or empathy for his employees.

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  • Ivan Pope

    Well, I was there at the start, but didn't hang around very long, for reasons that will seem obvious in retrospect. I even kept Sam's previous blog, Vecosys, going while Sam was setting up Blognation. Never saw a bean. Never saw a contract. What I never understood was a)why Sam offered such unrealistic amounts of money to bloggers, when there were no other buyers to compete with. Most bloggers would have come on board for peanuts or future value, we did think it was a good project and b)how Sam thought he could manage such a complex project, when he never actually showed any ability to play the role of publisher or even editor to his rapidly multiplying blogosphere. I guess there was an assumption it would all pan out in the end while he raised money by force majeure. The worst thing he did was not simply lie to people about funding, but let them spend their own money on expenses, turn down jobs and put themselves out on a limb on the back of his promises – promises which he now admits were total lies. So Sam bears responsibility for potentially screwing up people's lives bigtime, but he casts all the blame off onto Mike Arrington. I mean, Mike's no saint, but really, phew, words fail me.

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  • mathewi

    Thanks for the comment, Ivan. It does seem like a bit of a train
    wreck from beginning to end.

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  • Triona

    I had a minor play with Blognation at the start. I was assured before my involvement that the project was fully funded. I was surprised by that and by the fact that I was invited to participate. My blogging days were long over at that point. But I believed in the idea. Some social time around Sam made it perfectly clear that he was a user and scam artist. What Ivan says about expenses and people giving up other opportunities is so true. What astounds me is how so many writers remained loyal given the evidence and the dwindling bank accounts.

    Before we met as a team for the first time at Essential Web in London at end of June, Sam gave us a pep talk about the art of war and the strategy of divide and rule he intended us to employ against Tech Crunch. As an Irish woman, the notion of divide and rule arouses almost primordial fear. I pointed out to Sam at the time that art of war is dependent on mustering your resources. Sam responded by luring his resources, a group of talented individuals, to London for Essential Web in London (Europe's most expensive city) at their own expense, pending repayment.

    No expenses were paid.

    Sethi “resigned” in the same vile manner that he “ran” the operation – with no respect for the people who carried the can.

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  • Spiritual Info

    Hey thanks for this. It's nice to know this kind of stuff!

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