Sethi: Is Hate Mail 2.0 the best response?

First of all, let me just say that I don’t know Sam Sethi of Blognation — never met him, wouldn’t know him if I tripped over him, and haven’t heard anything pro or con about him since Mike Arrington sacked him (or he resigned) at TechCrunch UK last year. Even then, I had no opinion on the man. For all I know, he could be a prince of a guy, or he could be a complete jackass and liar who routinely slaughters kittens.

Even if the latter is the case, however, I’m not sure that writing the kind of hate letter Oliver Starr just wrote makes a lot of sense. According to the former Blognation writer, Sethi is a lying scumbag who continually promised money from some fictional venture-capital outfit and then failed to deliver on several occasions. And it’s not just Starr who feels that way — there are corroborating comments from two other former Blognation writers, Nicole Simon and Debi Jones.

For those who are interested, Sethi has responded that Starr left Blognation months ago, and therefore he’s not up to date with what’s going on — the imminent arrival of said VC funds being just around the corner — and there’s an implication that some money was paid out to staff, but Starr just didn’t happen to be one of them. Tom Raftery has more.

All that aside, I have to wonder what Oliver gains by writing a 3,000-word screed against Sam Sethi — and then not only posting it on Blognation (where it was quickly removed) but also on his own blog, and entreating readers to take screenshots, mirror the content on their own blogs, and otherwise maximize the public humiliation that Sethi is likely to encounter. Send ’em home in bodybags, in other words.

From the sounds of it — and Mike Arrington notes that he and Sethi didn’t part on friendly terms, so it’s not surprising he would post an unflattering email — Sam Sethi is more than capable of sabotaging his own relationships with VCs, rather than having Oliver jumping in to help. In any case, why play all this out in public? I’m not sure Oliver is doing himself any favours by taking the scorched-earth approach.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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