Why? Horrendous LinkedIn 'Vulnerable Post': The Crying CEO

Why? Horrendous LinkedIn 'Vulnerable Post': The Crying CEO

Trusted Marketing Messages

The Crying CEO shows us why it's time to say goodbye to the 'vulnerable post' once and for all.

Table of contents

Updated: August 15, 2022
There's a difference between authentic vulnerability and a 'vulnerable post' created to center yourself and make yourself the hero. That's straight-up manipulation.

The Problem with the 'Vulnerable Post'

This week's topic was supposed to be bro marketing.  

And then the 'Crying CEO' stepped in.

But before we talk about the 'Crying CEO' specifically, let's talk about what he did — the 'vulnerable post.'

Vulnerable posts started circulating in 2017 or 2018.

With each passing year, 'vulnerable posts' become more cringeworthy and gross.

There's a distinct structure, and once you know it, you'll realize manipulation is the goal (which is why it's a must-avoid).

It goes something like this:

  1. Create intrigue
  2. Position yourself (e.g., I'm a successful CEO...)
  3. Share a vulnerability (e.g., a recent failure)
  4. Show why you care
  5. End with a call-to-action

You can't unsee that, can ya? 😳 So gross.

Vulnerable posts aren't about authentic vulnerability or empathy. They're rooted in the belief that customers are stupid and easily bent to your will.

Before you say all marketing is manipulative, let's stop right there. 🛑

Marketing is getting the word out.

The method you choose is entirely up to you.

Your customers are smart.

Stay honest and true.

Crocodile Tears for the Meme 🙌

Warren isn't the Crying CEO, but he made a killer meme using the photo from the post:

The first of undoubtedly many memes featuring the Crying CEO.

Warren is awesome and has a great book about SEO.

Evidence of Intent

Before we talk about the post itself, let's talk intent.

It would be easy to ask, 'are you sure this qualifies as a 'vulnerable post'?'


  1. He runs a B2B LinkedIn leads company (all those 'possibly a robot' sales emails in your LinkedIn DMs)
  2. His LinkedIn posts are all quasi-sleazy, cringey sales posts
  3. The humility is gone from his replies ...
  4. For example, this comment:
So you're saying it's all about sales.... You can slide into the Crying CEO's DMs and learn why what he did was so awesome.

Definitely not a good look.

Vulnerable Post Gone Wild

If the goal is to go viral at any cost, then this post is a success.

(Some) marketers believe in getting press at all costs, and that all press is good press. (It's not.)

The Crying CEO chose to use laying off employees as an opportunity to get attention for himself and his company.

It's not about the suddenly jobless employees.

It's not about the actual mistake that cost people's jobs (that would be true vulnerability people could learn from).

It's about taking a bad situation and making it fit a social media post template for his own gain.

This person has already received a lot of backlinks and press (most of it negative).

I will not give him that level of attention.

I'm sharing this because it's a tactic people are still teaching AND a tactic that's losing effectiveness BECAUSE most people are wise that it's yet another vulnerable post 🙄 aimed (ultimately) at making a sale.
The Crying CEO used the 'vulnerable post' structure to garner attention.
The Crying CEO used the 'vulnerable post' structure to garner attention.

... But What About the Attention?


That's between you and your conscience.

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Jen McFarland

Founder, Women Conquer Business. Marketing pro. Leadership nerd. Project strategy innovator. Obsessed with creating solutions that help women-led businesses lead, strategize, and market confidently.


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