- Canterbury Tales Woodcut 148
- To telle yow al the condicioun,
- Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
- And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
- And eek in what array that they were inne,
- And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.
- Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – Prelude
It has been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. For this reason, it’s time to reveal the menacing germ at the center of Blognation, Sam Sethi’s deceptions. Oliver Starr provides the sordid details behind this, The Blogger’s Prelude and Tale, with all the dangers of courtly love, treachery and greed that Chaucer could have imagined. I’d recommend you follow his post for the facts and time lines. Here you will find a short story – my story.
Yes, the story begins with a knight, Sam Sethi, whose noble quest along with fellow bloggers was to create a global perspective on technology news and analysis. This trek was noble though the knight was neither virtuous nor pious as is the recounting of some knight’s tales. Au contraire! This knight is a faker and liar of unbounded proportion. Having been ousted from his realm one year ago, his single-minded desire for vengeful legitimacy and avarice drove him to beguile, tempt and seduce the bloggers to undertake the doomed trek that has been Blognation to date.
A worthy group was assembled and promises of shared success with rewards for hard work and positive attitudes was the motto and standard. There was much excitement and dedication at the trail head. The group’s core produced and shared individual resources in an effort to help build a solid and successful company. One-for-all and all-for-one sort of commitment was the norm.
For my part, I was pleased to be asked to join with a group of professionals providing technology news and analysis with a global perspective. Some of my fellow travelers were already known by me at varying levels. Ewan – I work with at Mobile Messaging 2.0. Oliver – I knew by his success at Mobile Crunch, our meeting in Monte Carlo for Mobile Messaging 2.0 and subsequent communications. Nicole – I had worked with on the early Blogher site and a podcast called Media Slaves. We met in person at the first Los Angeles Bar Camp. Knowing that my colleagues were involved made the trek seem all the more pleasurable in prospect.
What none of us were prepared for was the pathological nature of Sam Sethi’s deceit. The transcripts to be revealed by Oliver tell a story that is common to those of us offered contracts by Sam. The many promises to reimburse travel expenses that went unattended. The statements of email-in-progress to address questions or promised phone calls which mostly were simple prevarications by Sam. The two months of declaration that Blognation’s funding was delivered and “in the bank.” It’s difficult to understand such irrational behavior with a rational mind.
As far back as October, we were all told that the money was “in the bank.” No one could imagine that anyone would make such claims were they not true. And then Sam’s delays, stalls and explanations began. Sam continued and continued long past our collective credulity. In the final analysis he is, in fact, not the chivalrous knight, but instead, “the monk,” corrupted by previous good fortune and a smooth flattery.
I’m one of the lucky ones joining the group late on Sam’s reckless trek toward blog stardom. Sam’s debt to me is minor compared to most which is due, in part, to fate. It’s difficult for me to excuse myself from all blame as due diligence is required of us all whether joining a new employer, hiring someone or making decisions about contracts. My hope and redemption is that others will fare better and heed this cautionary tale. I have no expectation that I’ll recover monetary losses at the end of this sordid journey. Could be a moral will present itself through the eventual infamy of Sam Sethi.
Bloggers be aware and as with Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest Tale:
“truste on flaterye,” ending with an “Amen!” And so it is with Sam Sethi.