Don’t Make Me Think… of Ways To Ignore You.

In October I was all gush and good feelings about Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” seminar that I attended in Chicago. I even wrote about it, I had so many good things to say, and try to remember.

A fantastic offer Mr. Krug made at the seminar was, “If I don’t cover your website at the seminar, then I’ll make myself available to you for a phone call to go over it afterward.” That’s quite an unbelievable offer; an expert, looking at your stuff, giving you pointers!

No, really. Unbelievable. As in, “Did not happen”.

After I got back home, I emailed Steve to work out a time we could get on the phone and discuss the website I was working on: EQ – The Environmental Quality Company. A few days went by without answer.

I thought “Hmm, busy guy. I’ll try again.” No answer.

“Alright, maybe he’s having email issues. I’ll try that other email address he used to contact me – maybe that will work better.” Again, no answer.

“Well, okay – I’ll give it a while.” Weeks, in fact, before I tried again. And then? No answer. Are you seeing a pattern here?

I thought up some possible explanations:

  • Maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that a spam filter caught my email… but I doubt it: for prior to the seminar, I replied to a message Steve sent me, and he got the reply. Evidence of this? He needed a special url/username/password to see my website at the time. I saw a screen shot of my site at the seminar, though it went without comment from him. He had definitely received my email.
  • Another possibility: Maybe Steve took umbrage at me for having posted a pretty lengthy review of his seminar on this website. I did not ask specific permission to do it – I didn’t know that I was going to, at the time. He didn’t ask anyone not to, that I recall. No NDA, no kind mention from the lectern, nothing in his emails, announcements, website. Nothing at all. He hasn’t contacted me about removing the content from my website, either.
  • Perhaps Mr. Krug fell deathly ill after the seminar and has been in intensive care these past months. Er, oops. His website was updated with another seminar date and registration information. In Florida. That doesn’t seem compatible with life in an ICU.
  • On the positive side, maybe he looked at my website, said aloud, “Damn, this guy knows his stuff – I wish he’d share his insights with me, instead of me trying to offer him things he already knows”. Fat chance.
  • On the negative side, maybe I flat out annoyed the hell out of him at the seminar. Maybe he made a mental note: “That guy’s a black hole. He won’t ‘get it’. Don’t waste time on him, it won’t be profitable for either of us.” I generally have a better opinion of myself than that, but to be fair, I guess it’s possible.

In any case, being ignored has annoyed me long enough. Mr. Krug, if the offer was real, honor it. I’ll be happy to tell the whole world how responsive you are to feedback. If you’ve made the decision not to honor it – at least tell me so, and I’ll say, right here: “Steve rescinded his offer, as was his right to do, and I feel slighted, but your own mileage, fair reader, may vary.”

And Steve, if you just plain didn’t get my email, 4 times, well then your follow up methodology needs improvement (I’m tempted to say, “it sucks”). You ask after the seminar for feedback, but you’d probably get better-assembled thoughts and comments if you sent a follow up email a week or so later, asking if anyone who attended has come up with further questions that ought to be covered more at the seminar, examples, or ideas. Even better, invite us to a community online that you observe, so community-refined ideas can flourish in discussion. It would probably drive sales of future editions of your books that are helped along by reader and seminar-attendee feedback.

In any case, I’m amending my glowing review of Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” seminar, to a somewhat dimmer setting: Steve’s an nice guy. He has good information to share, and still makes an exciting offer… but get the offer in writing, folks.