Posted by Mark Abrams
This is an open letter to: Constantin Basturea, Richard Becker, Todd Defren, Mike Driehorst, Eric Eggertson, Rick Murray, Robert French, Susan Getgood, Chris Heuer, Peter Himler, Neville Hobson, Kami Huyse, Shel Israel, Joe Jaffe, Jeff Livingston, Brian Oberkirch, B.L. Ochman, Jeremy Pepper, Steve Rubel, Robert Scoble, and least but not last, Phil Gomes.
On behalf of everyone here, we’d like to say we’re sorry. We’ve been AWFULLY hard on you folks. For over a year now we’ve characterized you as a band of self-important nincompoops and, well, snake-oil salesmen. Turns out, our negative characterization may have been misguided. Certain information has been brought to our attention that now throws our conclusions into question.
First, for the record, here's what we were thinking: Throughout the 19th century salesmen/showmen roamed the U.S., going from town to town, peddling “cures to what ailed ya.” As depicted in Western folklore, a hawker would set up stage and boast the efficacy of his particular elixir. This was typically aided by a shill in the audience who would, at the appropriate moment, call out that it had cured his particular ailments. Later, after the unsuspecting public had purchased all the con artists' product, both would quickly "light out" of the area before the townspeople discovered the worthlessness of their claims. This is how “snake oil” became synonymous with fraud. Today, as you are aware, it still refers to something worthless and fake.
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