This morning we bring you the five words Evan Spiegel needs to hear, via the 2008 Internet:
Dude. You’re doing it wrong.
Spiegel’s non-apology on the Snapchat data breach was lame enough, but last night we learned that he misled a Forbes interviewer about the nature of his relationship with Mark Zuckerberg.
It’s a pretty basic progression, really:
- Spiegel did an interview with Forbes in which he claimed that he played it cool with Zuck when the latter reached out, saying he’d be glad to meet and discuss a possible business relationship “if you come to me”
- Business Insider wrote that this comment made him look “arrogant”
- He “corrected” BI by posting a screenshot of an email conversation with Zuckerberg
- Forbes then released the interview transcript, revealing the fact that Siegel had not been 100% honest about the nature of the email exchange and calling him “a 23-year-old novice”. Ouch.
In other words, he was so ready to make himself look good that he made himself look worse.
It’s true that Spiegel didn’t technically make anything up and that he and Zuck did indeed have a sort of playfully adversarial relationship: when Facebook’s Snapchat clone Poke came out, Zuck emailed him to say “hope you enjoy it.”
Some have also come to Spiegel’s defense since the story broke by noting that Forbes paraphrased his words. But, as the follow-up reports, Spiegel only posted the second half of his exchange with Zuckerberg after the interviewer mentioned the fact that the first “reveal” made him look like a liar.
Simple conclusion: Spiegel created his own bad PR by playing “cute” (not our word). It’s easy to recognize his original quote as a classic case of self-serving spin, like “I was so cool that The Zuck wanted to take time out of his busy schedule to come meet me on my own turf”. But, as we now know courtesy of Spiegel himself, it didn’t really go down like that. Oh, and there’s really no way to make this quote look good:
“So Mark sends an email to my personal email. Like, how would he know that right? And it’s like, ‘Hey we’re interested in what you’re doing. Would love to meet you or whatever.'”
We’d like to ask the universe who happens to be advising the Snapchat organization at present, because it seems like their media relations strategy comes from a loosely affiliated group of post-beer bong frat bros. But we don’t stereotype.