THE INC. LIFE

Sure, Greta Van Susteren’s New App Might Be a Disaster. But the Haters Owe Her an Apology

This is America. Reinvention is what we do. And when we fail, we get up and try again.

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BY Bill Murphy Jr. - 09 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Not long ago, Greta Van Susteren was rated one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

But earlier this year, she lost her television show on MSNBC after low ratings. And like a lot of people who've been swallowed up by technological change and time, she's trying to reinvent herself. She has a book deal--and yesterday she said that she's launching a smartphone app called "Sorry."

Now, she's being roundly mocked for the effort.

Upfront, we have to acknowledge that there are some potentially serious problems with "Sorry," which rolls out Nov. 14, and which was announced in a Facebook post yesterday.

It's apparently designed to let people send apologies to each other, and to let people rate whether they're satisfied with the apologies offered by public figures. That description prompts important questions about its usefulness. Can't people already apologize in person or over other apps or email? Do public figures really have difficulty figuring out whether their public apologies fall flat?

And there's also the fact that van Susteren's announcement itself seems endearingly naive--like when she announces that her app will mean that "SNAPCHAT AND INSTAGRAM are about to get some competition!" and when she refers to her app throughout the announcement in ALL CAPS, as an "APP," and when she freely acknowledges she has absolutely no background in app development:

"Yes, this is the APP I have been working on for more than a year," she wrote. "It is an exciting project for me - mostly because it is a completely new field, app development. It is neither law nor news/media. I came up with this APP idea and I started working on it when I left Fox last September 1, 2016 and I never dreamed that I could actually make it a reality..me, an APP?"

So yeah, maybe a bit of mockery is justified. The Internet ain't beanbag, as somebody once said. And yes, even her 1.2 million diehard Facebook fans seem to have reacted a bit tepidly to it. Scrolling through her Facebook page, the app announcement has some supportive posts, and a few negative ones--but overall has less engagement or reactions than most of the unrelated news stories she often posts.

But you know what Greta? Forget the haters. What have most of them ever accomplished or tried to accomplish?

We're talking here about a Baby Boomer who has been super successful, and who has lost her television show, and who now faces the same kind of ageist discrimination that almost everyone will wind up facing--that is, if they're lucky enough to live and work long enough.

Rather than go gently into the dark night, she's trying something new.

Maybe she'll fail. Maybe "Sorry" will wind up being the most-mocked app of all time.

Maybe she'll learn and try something else. Maybe she'll wind up teaming up with someone else who sees her effort her and trying something new.

Regardless, I say she deserves some credit.

Forget the haters. Nobody will remember them years from now. And instead, remember these words that have endured long after the person who spoke them passed on--and take the message to heart. (Just replace "man" with "man or woman" to make it a bit more modern:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

--Theodore Roosevelt.

See you on November 14, Greta, when I'll download your "APP." Maybe it will be a dud. But congrats for giving it a shot.