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“Brett Tabke Hates Me”

“I had people come up to me at Pubcon and ask me why I was not a speaker. I told them its cause Brett Tabke hates me.” – Jeremy Shoemoney on his blog.

Wow. I loved that comment! It’s classic for SEO world. Looking past the obvious “come on Brett, can’t we make nice” aspect of the public statement, Jeremy is expressing a common experience around PubCon and webmasterworld. But it might not be hate. I think it’s partly due to geekiness. It’s partly due to ego (on all sides?) but also partly due to the self-conscious independence that Internet entrepreneurialism allows.

When geeks are in charge, they behave differently than regular people in charge. And I don’t mean modern day geeks (those raised in a world where Geek is fashionable). I mean pre- South Park days, when Geek humor was restricted to sysadmin caves, Popular Mechanics was Make and no one laughed genuinely with an unrestrained open-mouth smile except salesmen and Geeks (and the salesmen were smart enough to shower daily and wear clashing plaid outfits for the distracting comedic value). Back in the day of Brett’s rise to tech geek status, Geeks were ugly. Remember “Revenge of the Nerds?” It was actually funny when it came out. Really!

Today I suspect it’s like Brett brought the only baseball and he’ll take it home if you don’t want to play by his rules, even if he wants to change them in the top of the ninth. Does he hate the players who disagree with him? Nah… but maybe he thinks he just doesn’t have to let them play with his ball. Maybe it’s just Brett’s own rendition of Revenge of the Nerds. Maybe PubCon doesn’t need to be as excellent as some say it could be. Maybe PubCon is good enough for Brett.

Why did I write this? In ’02 I had a less than pleasant experience with Mr. Tabke, and the experience has colored the Pubcon/WMW landscape for me ever since. It might be me realizing my expectations for Brett, but with every new encounter I seem to re-confirm for myself that Mr. Tabkey and I simply don’t speak the same language. It’s like the guy at The Whatever Club you simply can’t stand. You’re both members, you share common friends, you have the same interests, you pursue many of the same goals, and it looks like it would be so cool to hang out and do Whatever together but it simply will never work. But that’s not hate. 

Now will Shoemoney be speaking at PubCon anytime soon? My bet is yes, eventually, but not because he and Brett make up. It’ll be because Shoemoney continues to do what the market appreciates, the market continues to demand speakers who can cover the important topics with authority and in an entertaining way, and Brett is forced to for-go certain personal preferences for economic reasons. And that’s my personal interest in seeing Jeremy speak at PubCon — as soon as I see that, I’ll know that substance finally matters more than personal connections at PubCon, and then maybe the quality of the sessions will improve!




  1. shoemoney wrote:

    Thanks for the ping but I will never speak at pubcon…. seriously.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 12:39 am | Permalink
  2. IncrediBILL wrote:

    Good grief John, why did you feed the beast?

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 11:15 am | Permalink