No more (web) heroes anymore…

The web has been buzzing this week over the ill-fated, make-your-employees-redundant-then-blog-about-it-somewhat-insensitively, debacle over at Carsonified HQ.

What happened

If you’re unaware of the situation, here’s a short synopsis: Ryan Carson, of Carsonified, announces on twitter that it’s a sad day at the office. After some probing (also via twitter) Carson announces that his company has had to make some employees redundant. A little while later, Carson publishes a blog post about how small businesses can avoid the problems a recession brings and part of that post details what employees can do to avoid being made redundant.

The tone of the blog post seems to lay the blame of the employees redundancies upon their own shoulders as opposed to those of management and a lot of people commented on the post with comments to that effect.


A lot of the hullabaloo seems to permeate around the idea that Ryan Carson, is a god-like figure that should admired at all cost and that his observations on small internet businesses were once golden but now those same opinions are worthless – furthermore, he’s an insensitive prat.

Whereas in reality, all this situation has exposed is the fact that Carson is a human, as opposed to the web superhero some built him up to be. The bottom-line is this: yes, Carson has offered good advice in the past and no, the fact that his company has had to make some employees redundant does not mean that his previous advice was worthless and nor will be his future advice. In fact, having gone through this dreadful situation, I believe will make the Carsonified leader a better businessman.

For me, the commenter Pascal put it best when he said:

People seem hurt to find out that you are just human, that you weren’t writing the Gospel according to Ryan but are merely sharing your observations on business life for people to assimilate into their own approaches.

But was it insensitive to blog about the redundancies?

It would seem so, however, Carson has claimed that he had his employee’s permission to publish this article and I believe it has damaged Carson’s reputation far more than that of his former employees’. I’d be rather surprised if those three people had not received job offers already by now. I fully imagine, many an employer would see that fact that some Carsonified staff are now available as a golden opportunity to get some very good workers onboard.

It’s very difficult to say whether the decision to make people redundant was a good or a bad business decision, nobody except for those involved in running the business have all the facts to make that judgement call. At this stage, it’s also impossible to declare this as a PR disaster, after all, Carsonified’s early bird discounted tickets sold out as planned on Monday not long after the incident and I for one, bought a ticket. So, without trivialising the redundancies, it would seem on the surface that the only damage done is that of a bruised ego for Mr Carson.


Whether or not, it was morally justified to write the original post, it was certainly interesting and I definitely learnt a lot from it. Blunt articles of this nature, may make for upsetting reading for some but I think we should all be grateful that people like Ryan Carson are taking the time to blog about their businesses and the (harsh) lessons they’re constantly learning.

Did you follow the Carsonified carnage on the blogosphere? What’s your take on it all?

5 responses to “No more (web) heroes anymore…”

  1. I think the problem in part that some of it happened on Twitter and that content wasn’t reflected in the article. They’ve always been pretty open as a company so I guess you need to take the good and the bad with that policy.

    I’ve no doubt that the guys were asked first if it was OK to talk about it. Like you said, I’m sure it’ll promote them well as being on the market but I don’t think that Ryan should be judged harshly for it.

    I think if anyone has him on too high a pedestal then that’s beyond his control. Carsonified have done a lot of positive things but mistakes and how you deal with them is part of learning I guess.

    I actually think that the Twittered conversation with Ryan and the guys within the community made it seem pretty straightforward and that everyone knew what was happening in quite a negative situation…

  2. Hey Phil,

    Thanks for the interesting write-up.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 and if I could, I’d change the way I wrote that post. I was just trying to offer some value for Carsonified readers by saying “Hey, we learned something through this – hope it helps”. I can see how that come across as insensitive though.

    Thankfully, Elliott and Dom both pitched in and wrote kind comments.


  3. I believe that although the decision to publicise the redundancies may have seemed insane to some, as most businesses would see this as some admission of failure or embarrassment, Carson approached it in a way that almost created sympathy for the team. Whether this was his true intention or not is debatable but there’s no denying that it provided the opportunity to throw out a bit of (albeit mostly common sense) advice to join the pack of ‘dealing with the recession’ articles floating around the blogosphere at the moment.

    Unfortunately we’ve recently had to make some redundancies at Flame, and it’s awful for staff morale and we won’t be shouting about it, however it is a measure that has to be taken and will surely work out for the best in the long run.

    In both Carsonified’s case and our case, it’s tempting to put the blame on management. But regardless of whoever’s ‘fault’ it may be, chances are it’s the little people (ie production staff) who take the hit.

    Anyway, I too am going to FOWD next year, early tickets – yay!

  4. Good comments guys.

    @Ryan Carson: I had not read Elliott’s and Dom’s comments but they are really insightful and in my opinion, remove any unintentional insensitivity from your original post.

    In terms of finding those guys new work, the article (and surrounding fuss) was possibly one of the best things you could have done. The publicity created has highlighted their profiles and I’m sure it will lead to job offers for the guys.