Who Killed Scott Monty?

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Image by coltera on Flickr

Last week, Scott Monty, a friend I have known dating back to his Boston days, announced he was leaving his position at Ford Motors, where he ran digital communications, i.e. social media (or at least including social media).

The reaction? Well, Scott is popular and well-known in the social media community, and had a visible role in one of the world’s most famous companies, so I guess you could say people noticed. What was ridiculous, however, was the hand-wringing over what it meant for social media in corporations. Surely, it must be dead, as professionals with high-profiles have left Dell (Richard Binhammer) and Comcast (Frank Eliason) over the last year or two. Three makes a trend, right? One of the more picked-over posts has been Shel Israel’s “Will Big Brands Kill Social Media?

What nonsense. First off, we don’t know why Scott left Ford until he says so (as I write he has not announced what he is doing next, or if he even knows). What we do know is that he was at Ford for six years. In an industry where three years in one job is an eternity, Scott may have been growing moss at his feet, being in one place so long. It is natural to look for a new challenge if the current challenges have been exhausted, no matter how much we think landing a dream job will be the “forever job” where we grow and retire after many decades of service. Again, I don’t know why Scott left, but he stayed a lot longer than what is surely the industry average.

The idea that high profile people leaving their positions means the death of social media? Again, complete nonsense. See the landscape clearly, and you will note that the Fords, Dells and Comcasts of the world adopted social, at least to some scale, early. Other companies have too. But many others have not, or adopted much later. Perhaps these early adopters have reached a certain maturity stage where they change how they organize around social. Maybe not. But if we take Scott Monty’s example and add a rash assumption that there is change in Ford’s program, then companies starting now won’t get around to this “change” until 2020. I admit it’s ridiculous to apply that hard number to all companies, but that’s the point; there is still plenty of opportunity for strategists and tacticians to get their hands dirty helping companies navigate social media, content marketing, brand publishing, or whatever buzzword gains momentum between now and then.

There is a fine line between discussion and overreaction. I prefer to see a bigger picture.

P.S. Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson of the For immediate Release Podcast did an interview with Scott on the topic here.




  1. I admire what Ford did in social (along with other major brands that countered the belief big orgs couldn’t be nimble). Yet, as I mentioned over on Facebook, and as you state so well here, one person doesn’t an organization make. Scott had great support from various agencies in his time at Ford that helped strategize the successes enjoyed as will his replacement. At the end of the day, that’s how large orgs work in social. So, the “death of social media” and such as is a little hyperbole.

    Best to Scott on his next move.

  2. Completely agree, Doug. Thank you for writing this. The collective hyperventilating was a little unseemly, and I didn’t expect that degree of sensationalism to creep into things. As I told Shel & Neville, I’m just one guy and I’m changing jobs.

    I was particularly amused by the Social Media Today article: “Scott Monty Leaves Ford: Is It a Trend?” No, I can only leave Ford once.

  3. Doug Haslam

    I may have been a few days late to the party on this, but that’s the point. People were having a raging bonfire kegger to bemoan the death of an industry that isn’t even sick (well, not in ill health).

    Thanks for adding your “trend” line there, Scott. I thought about putting it in the post.

  4. Can I like this post and Scott’s comment a zillion times over? Scott – congrats on what you’ve achieved. I feel like I’m witnessing the ‘Elvis has left the building’ syndrome…

  5. Scott,

    Please let me know what field that you are going to trail blaze next since Social Media is dead! All the best man!

    Mike Pascucci

  6. Well said, Doug, but I’m sure Scott and the rest of your readers would have been more intrigued if you turned this into a murder mystery requiring an English detective and his trusty sidekick to solve.

  7. Overreaction indeed… by a very small group talking in a vacuum. Most of the industry (which is now an ecosystem exponentially larger than it was 5+ years ago) is used to seeing churn, which I believe is actually good as it keep brands and pros on their feet.

  8. Doug Haslam

    I don’t mind the vacuum at times- we are peers in an industry. I just don’t get the hand-wringing.

  9. Howard Greenstein

    Well, Tesla doesn’t have a big social media department yet :)
    Good piece, Doug. I like our little echo chamber, and knowing many of the folks commenting…

  10. When Theo Epstein left the Boston Red Sox, I don’t recall there being a swarm of headlines:


    No. Theo left the Red Sox and went to the Cubs.

    He left one job, where he did something or other that was different, and went to another place where he is doing something or other that is different.

    Never mind that Billy Beane is still doing what he is doing in Oakland.
    Never mind that every other team has someone crunching numbers, looking for value.
    Never mind that the game has irrevocably changed.

    So it goes with the evolution of business, coming to terms with customers who are empowered with technology and expectations. The game is forever changed. The people playing the game will change, and no one is bigger than the game. Not even Scott friggin’ Monty.

    That is all this is about.

    (this whole comment was just an excuse to give Scott his new nickname. Sf’M.)

  11. Great post… who among us hasn’t looked at our lives/professions and said, “What’s next?” I’m eager to see what is next for Scott after following him on Twitter all these years.

  12. Well said. Six years is an eternity in this business – and many others. Shel (whom I admire, but who is off his goddamn rocker on this one) should have written a post called “what took Scott Monty so long to monetize his fame?”

  13. Doug Haslam

    Monetize? I think he’s priming to give back to the community. I bet $5 you’ll see him distributing sock garters and magnetic collar stays to underprivileged youth.

  14. Agreed. Not to mention that Frank went on to another big brand.
    I’d say that social media is hardly dead for brands since so few have adopted it, never mind understand how to use it.

  15. *slow clap*

    The hand-wringing was ridiculous. I think, Scott’s comment above says it all:

    “I was particularly amused by the Social Media Today article: “Scott Monty Leaves Ford: Is It a Trend?” No, I can only leave Ford once.”

  16. This whole thing just begs the obvious, but unasked, question: Is Ford Dead??? Because Scott is clearly still in the land of the living, and we’re commenting using social media, so if someone’s gottaa die, then we’re left with Ford…

  17. Hi to all my old friends in this thread! Love seeing you all in one place. Thanks, Doug.

    Dust-ups like this don’t spontaneously generate. Obviously some of us in the social media space of Communications have been frustrated with the slow adoption pace of major brands. Perhaps some of us gained hope by watching Scott Monty’s and my friend Frank Eliason’s old work (can’t say jobs here, as Frank was in customer service at Comcast, not online outreach).

    No worries, Mates. We are now in the last stages of futile resistance. Soon we will see job-hops like Scott’s as perfectly normal and expected. Just like the lone woman in a server room shouldn’t be expected to represent the entirety of females of the species, Scott and Scott’s jobs are not the sole representatives of past, present or future opportunities in the industry.

  18. I’ve been watching this whole thing blow up with some amusement. Scott’s done a stellar job at Ford, no question. Wherever he goes next he’ll rock it. But really, the sky is not falling.

  19. I was reintroduced to Ford thru their social efforts lead by Scott. Ford and Scott were so effective that I bought my first Ford in well lets just say decades. But thru social I also got to know a man with tremendous insight and love of social media. I watched him always posting volumes of insightful commentary while working a full time job at the same time. I have wondered how he had time to expand his family,but I digress. There is absolutely no one indispensable in an organisation but there are many that will be missed and I that I think Scott will be missed at Ford. But more selfishly I can’t wait to see what he is going to do next. Scott will never be left outstanding in a field but will always be outstanding in his field what ever one choses to play in. It is late and I ramble Good Luck Scott!

  20. Ironically, at the end of the day, Scott, (you can appreciate this), (and Doug you know this), your “decision” became good content: A social media story line, a conversation, a podcast a dozen blogposts, a thousand tweets, thousands of retweets, hundreds of comments, a few vlogs, numerous articles and tons of shares. And in typical social media fashion, we’re now focused on what can move the needle next until we hear…

    “Scott is going take his talents to…”

    Wait for it.


    Crazy but fun times..

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