You Can't Please Everyone

I get a lot of feedback on this blog.

I appreciate all of it.

Even the harsh stuff (you are an idiot, etc).

One of the things I have learned from writing here is that the same words will generate very different reactions from people.

Last week I wrote about the value of bluffing.

It triggered a ton of inbound email.

I received two emails within seconds of each other.

One said “that is the best advice you have ever shared”

The other said “people will go to jail because of you”

I just shook my head and smiled.

That’s how it goes when you put your thoughts and ideas out there.

But there is also a lesson for leaders in here.

You will not be able to please everyone in your company and you can’t try to do that.

You must be true to yourself, you must be authentic. You can’t pander.

It is useful to get the feedback, to listen to it, to try to understand it.

But you can’t let it jerk you around.

You have to have the courage of your convictions and you need to be consistent with them.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Oh, so it was about “bluffing”? I didn’t see that word in your original post. All is now forgiven.’Freddy Fortran and the Art of the Bluff’. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. kenberger

      I would indeed expect some of the complainers to point to today’s word as revisionist.

      1. jason wright

        That word crossed my mind before i wrote my comment, but game theory kicked in.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      He’s trying to cope it seems by downplaying in his mind what he was actually saying – to reduce the importance of what he was suggesting people do, sharing his role modelling behaviour.Bluffing is deception is lying.This line of posts from Fred feels similar to the path to how the Narcissist’s Prayer evolves:That didn’t happen.And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.And if it was, that’s not a big deal.And if it is, that’s not my fault.And if it was, I didn’t mean it.And if I did…You deserved it.

      1. Girish Mehta

        The latter part of your comment is unnecessarily harsh.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Not at all. It’s merely pattern recognition. If you disagree there isn’t a beginning or similar to a match, then please do your best to try to explain why.I didn’t call Fred a narcissist – however if he’s not wanting to hold himself accountable to the consequences of what his words, actions, his influence may have on others – whether he wants or acknowledges that power or not, he has it – is that more on the side of selfishness or selflessness – having empathy and caring about the consequences? If you think I did call Fred a narcissist – and you think that’s harsh, then maybe you do see a bit of a pattern match.If people are triggered enough to email him saying “you’re going to lead people to jail” – and Fred’s response is relatively “meh” – along with “it’s just a bluff” – when reality it’s deception, lying and he just in previous told a story of deception – I mean come on, that’s following a pattern of avoiding accountability and avoiding integrity with language. He’s downplaying instead of owning up, taking responsibility.If holding people accountable feels harsh – then feel my roar.I’m especially open to responses where people are dismantling how there isn’t a pattern match with the Narcissist’s Prayer. The responses here are the shallow kind of response a prude would have regarding talking about anal sex – shock but no substance or reason. Or someone being shocked by hearing the word fuck.It’s also highly unlikely Fred will 1) even see the comment, or 2) take anything from it or engage to learn – to perhaps instead of downplay to admit and acknowledge and use language that realigns him more with integrity; it’s more likely someone ineloquently share the meaning of what I said to him, which then would equate to gossip, and be overall bad because whatever inferences Fred takes from what I say – he wouldn’t have the opportunity to get clarification or guidance for what I mean.

      2. cavepainting

        You are over reaching quite a bit here Matt.It is his blog and he can say what he wants. Some of it is of course controversial and debatable.You can disagree with his comments but language that is harsh and judgmental beyond a threshold sours the conversation.

        1. Matt A. Myers

…Trump can say what he wants too – do you think he’s good for society, aside from waking up people to rally to counter his insanity?If Fred wants to ban me from commenting here – that’ll be a great insert in the book I’ll eventually include in this part of my life story. I prefer he engages with people though – and prefer he strengthens himself and the boundaries of the meanings of words, give them the integrity that is important. He avoids however instead of being open and integrating other’s perspective, to try to increase his knowledge – instead of stays indoctrinated in his ways. It’s common behaviour – so as shocking as it’s been, it’s not surprising, and I’m getting less shocked each time something like this happens.All I did was pattern match – that there was a similarity with the Narcissist’s Prayer, I didn’t call him a narcissist – it’s up to people to decide for themselves. It’s interesting however that no one in the 3 replies to my comment claiming my observation of a pattern match to the Narcissist’s Prayer was wrong – just that it was harsh.I wasn’t aware there was a boundary set for AVC – preventing/limiting the level of nuance and depth of conversation – where there’s a limit to critical thinking allowed, which you call judgement – which is discernment, observation of patterns.

  2. kenberger

    It’s interesting that it generated so much inbound *email*, as opposed to having the conversations happen here in the comments section. There really were only a relatively few such comments on that one (which surprised me, because it was indeed eyebrow raising).I guess that says a lot about many people’s desire to debate in public even if they have the ability to obfuscate their identities.

    1. awaldstein

      The trend has definitely been for less comments over time.Be interesting to chart that.The days of hundreds of comments are long gone.

      1. kenberger

        yeah this place is so crowded that no one comes here anymore 😉

        1. awaldstein

          I think the data would show that the amount of comments has shrunk and that a very small handful of people amount to the vast majority of comments.And that a very small group bluster the comments with long, self serving tirades on everything.The why of it I don’t know, but that is the reality.Neither good nor bad, just what it is.

          1. Susan Rubinsky

            Over time you just know which ones to skip.

          2. JLM

            .You have to wonder whether it’s the “long, self serving tirades on everything” or the predictable, sycophantic, uninspiring laments. Who really knows?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. jason wright

        2020 may reverse this trend.

        1. awaldstein

          Why?It was the 2016 election which caused the shrinkage.

          1. jason wright

            I sensed ‘2016’ was because Fred didn’t want to discuss the spectrum of political ideas that inevitably go with plural democracy, and that discouraged participation because it may have felt to some people that AVC wasn’t an open platform at that time.2020 could be an opportunity to try a different approach.

          2. awaldstein

            I have honestly no idea what this means:”spectrum of political ideas that inevitably go with plural democracy”The issue in my opinion was a small band of blustering, bullying, neo Trumpers attacking people and scaring them away.

          3. jason wright

            That’s another way of putting it Arnold, but Trump was just one point on the spectrum. The principle of openness should apply to all political thought, and be examined, and be challenged if it fails to pass scrutiny.Rene Girard goes on to talk about scapegoating in his interview i linked you to in yesterday’s AVC post (NFTs and desire?). These are powerful human behaviours, and we see them everywhere, including here.

          4. awaldstein

            No disagree.This is a political movement in our country and he is the problem, the enemy and the polarizing focus of it all.

          5. jason wright

            He’s the scapegoat, and the proxy used to scapegoat others. His ‘sacrifice’ brings together people who do not necessarily share similar opinions, but together as if they do share similar opinions.He’s been used to scapegoat a number of people here at AVC since 2016.It’s the classical behaviour Girard describes.

          6. awaldstein

            all good not worthwhile to engage further on apologies for initiating. won’t again.

          7. JLM

            .Actually, it was the outcome of the 2016 election — nobody thought Candidate Donald J Trump would ever become President Donald J Trump. That evening when the polls closed, nobody even considered it possible.When he did, those whose expectations were shattered — the losers — turned out to be unable and unwilling to accept the will of the people. Their disappointment was a multiple of their arrogant certainty that Candidate Trump would never, could never win.Let’s be fair, shall we? The vast majority of this blog, its blog master were not particularly open minded or welcoming to the debate, no?They were simply inferior prognosticators who could not see the impact of the 2014 election being expanded to 2016. It was bad soothsaying. It was weak political analysis.The sacred American tradition of accepting the outcome of elections and the peaceful passage of power was struck a low blow by folks who were just sore losers in the most infantile T ball nature of that condition.To justify their disappointment they had to resort to angst-driven protest, the assertion of false charges, the invention of excuses, and to reject the outcome of the election for a simple reason — they could not and would not accept the notion that they were wrong.Those fragile egos began to use words like “hate” — that they hated their countrymen who simply picked the winning candidate when they picked the loser. People on this blog have repeatedly said they “hate” people who cast a differing ballot.They did not have the intellectual humility or space to consider they might be wrong. Or that their countrymen simply had a different view.It was the quintessential case of bad losers in the history of American politics.And that, dear friend, is how the cow ate the cabbage.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. RJ Johnston

            Love this

      3. Matt A. Myers

        I’d love to see that too. My theory is that it started around the time Fred and USV went heavy into crypto-“currencies.” Would be interesting to see the amount of comments, replies, the quality of them too – for those specific posts – from Fred in particular. Who he engaged with, who he stopped or reduced engagement with, etc..

    2. Matt A. Myers

      1) People thought it important enough that Fred hear from them directly, and perhaps privately or seriously hear from them “you’re going to cause people to end up in jail” – re: trying to hold Fred to accountability, and 2) people were too afraid to admit publicly that they loved the advice to lie to people.It’s shocking but not surprising that Fred wouldn’t interpret that “a ton of inbound email” didn’t lead to Fred reflecting differently. It clearly caused a strong enough response in him that lead to him feeling the need to write about it.I’m starting to think Fred needs to stop doing a daily blog, start doing 10-day long silent meditation retreats, and get into a much deeper self-awareness development practice. He’s clearly been developing an avoidant pattern, disengaging from vs. integrating understanding.

      1. kenberger

        strong disagree on your last paragraph.AVC is STILL one of the most valuable business resources out there, I continue to be in awe and amazement at how the heck he continues to chug out top content so consistently.I for one couldn’t absorb it all if such top content happened every single day, but I believe the args that him putting out something daily is key to having consistent winners.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Sure, if your leading metric is Fred as a “valuable business resource.”I was thinking of Fred’s wellbeing and personal development however, not his business value.It’s a common mantra that entrepreneurs need to take care of their health – especially when there’s suicide of a well-known in a tech community – that health-wellness mantra should be sung for VCs as well; and not merely to cope so you can continue to perform or perform even harder, but to hopefully do personal, deep work, that will allow you to grow and expand in many areas – more than just say the shallow layer of business value you can provide.

        2. awaldstein

          I agree completely and get a ton from this. And am equally in awe.The quality of the information from the community goes through cycles I agree.

      2. RichardF

        Not quite sure what’s prompted the outpouring today Matt but I’d say you need to practice what you are preaching here

    3. RichardF

      The problem Ken is that approx 2 years ago the comment section became completely dominated by less than 10 individuals. Fred doesn’t have time to moderate and rather than just outright ban (which obviously goes against Fred’s values) some of the people who have completely wrecked the conversation that was an integral part of avc they have been allowed to turn the comments section from a welcoming bar to a dingy old fashioned “pub” (English).

      1. kenberger

        yeah- now get off my lawn 🙂

      2. JLM

        .A fair reading of that is that Freddie picked subjects that held a bit of emotion behind them. You can either introduce subjects and follow the path they go or you can avoid those subjects.Freddie wanted it both ways, didn’t he?Some days, he would throw red meat into the bar and close the comments. That is cowardly. It is echo chamber behavior.Still, it is Freddie’s Place and he can play the game any way he wants to play it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. RichardF

          Honestly I think Fred has always just posted what is on his mind, as you know in the early days he used to get pretty involved with the comments and that in itself was enough to keep most people honest. That’s been missing for a good while and consequently the signal to noise ratio has degraded to the point where there is no signal.AVC was all about the comments, not any more unfortunately.

          1. JLM

            .Like all things, the voice of Freddie has evolved.The posts I like the best are those that come from his wheelhouse — as I noted above, he speaks with near Papal infallibility on all matters VC.I could live forever without being exposed to his latest Kickstarter wet dream or the boring Saturday video that feels like homework. Just not interesting to me and not something that he adds any real color to.Just feels like it’s being dialed in, which is his prerogative.What has happened is that AVC has become nearly “all crypto — all the time.”This, of course, reflects Freddie’s interest. So be it. It is not my job to critique his editorial focus.There is an undercurrent of folks who cannot be made happy and do not have the depth or breadth of intellect to discuss things. They resort to knee jerk “hate” speech. Bit harsh. There is still a crackerjack readership who can rise to a world class discuss, but those days are fewer and fewer.Peak may have come and gone. Still, it is a good read, but if everyone is prickly about some real or imagined sling or arrow, if one cannot say anything other than #HateTrump, it just becomes work.Nothing stays constant.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    4. Andrew Cashion

      Very true.It’s amazing what we tell our friends at work about childhood stories. and the actions we take when we are young.Everyone here has thrown a snowball in some manner but what inspires us to achieve is something? Small or large it doesn’t matter.Maybe it does.His little cheat was a fun story.I sometimes think about how his father influenced his life, after all he is an interesting guy I’m sure, and a lot to learn from possibly.All interesting though.

    5. Adam Sher

      It could also be a sign of respect to deliver praise or criticism in private. Perhaps they want to support his statement but not seem like a cheerleader. Conversely, they may find his anecdote to be antisocial but do not want to create a permanent public record or come across as a signalling troll.

  3. JJ Donovan

    Thank you for your time and thoughts that you share. Your thoughts create a lively discussion. Your page is part of my Chrome startup pages and is something I look forward to daily as I know the topic will be educational and will encourage discussion.

  4. Tom Labus

    Part of the AVC community will oppose anything you have to say these days!

    1. jason wright

      With unity of presence, but not also with unity of thought. This is not North Korea.

      1. Tom Labus

        But those “beautiful letters”! Come on, lighten up it’s Monday morning.

        1. jason wright

          It is (was) Monday morning 🙂

    2. JLM

      .What an odd comment, Tom. I find complete unanimity of thought in everything I encounter today. The country has never been more cohesive and agreeable than today. You?JKJLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Matt A. Myers

        You’re in a jolly mood today..

  5. William Mougayar

    So true. I got a taste of that a few days ago when I tweeted some bold crypto predictions, and I received a ton of reaction from all sides, including the virulent type that thought I was crazy, stupid, smoking something, pulled it out of my rear end, etc.. Of course I might be wrong, but I said what I thought could happen.It emboldened me to be even more vocal on sharing thoughts, blog & tweet wise.

    1. kenberger

      Well done, Wm. All of that is a sign of success. Silence or apathy is the opposite.

    2. jason wright

      The tweetosphere is a war zone. If you go there you have to wear a tin hat and expect incoming.

  6. Brad Lindenberg

    I loved the Bluffing article. And this one too. Trust your compass and go for it, some will come along, others will drop off. Can’t please them all.

  7. Barry Houldsworth

    What people hear is incredibly tainted by their own worldview. Being aware of how you are affected by this is so important. You can’t necessarily stop it, but you can take a moment to pause and consider whether your reaction to something is because it is real…or because that is how you believe it should be. I wrote about that here: https://houldsworth.wordpre…I hope you don’t mind me sharing.

  8. David A. Frankel

    I guess you are doing something right if you have a community that takes action based on your thoughts and ideas being out there.And to paraphrase a commonly used line these days, this blog doesn’t put people in jail, people put people in jail.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      He has a history of success that people will want to role model, learn from – however not everyone is so good at discerning to understand what are keys to success and what are pitfalls. That’s why being clear with your word and feeling accountable, understanding the consequences you’re setting up for people based on your words, is important. Using rhetoric to justify to oneself or dismiss holding yourself accountable to the power and influence you have over people isn’t very respectable IMHO.

      1. David A. Frankel

        Matt, my comments on his original article show I do agree with you to a certain extent. I was not a fan on the message Fred was sending due to how it may be received by some of his audience.However, at the end of the day we should remember that this is simply a free blog highlighting the thoughts from a guy who puts his pants on like the rest of us. He’s not pushing an agenda or trying to influence people. This community is reasonably educated and intelligent. And he is not the leader of the free world.If Fred has to consider what actions people will be taking from his thoughts before every post, the value here will diminish quickly and the insights will come less frequently (if at all). I just think at some point the reader has to be accountable for how they use the information.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I’m not saying for him to not share his story – however the language he uses is important. I don’t think he also has reflected enough on the topic. Mostly he didn’t take a stand – a position – as to how he’d recommend people behave, in reality he suggested it’s okay to lie; I wonder if this behaviour of his has attracted liars or exaggerates to him as well through the universal rule of like attracts like.Yes, Fred’s a human who puts pants on – I’ll refer to JLM’s poetic comment to highlight the understanding that a person can have influence whether you want it or not, whether the person is careful with how they wield that influence – honing their skill, being sharp, or being careless and cutting where you don’t mean to;…Being careless is certainly something that many, if not most, people choose today because they haven’t figured out practices how to strengthen every area necessary to take a stand, or to heal old traumas that hasn’t allowed them to stand strong – to hold the line for accountability, truth, to accepting the power you have merely as a role model.

  9. Matt Zagaja

    I once got feedback at work that I was not incorporating feedback in some written work and my co-worker was not happy about it. They did not seem to understand that it was possible to receive feedback or criticism and then disagree with it. I have also learned that when you write software if you pro-actively solicit feedback or criticism people will invent feedback/criticism to try and satisfy your request even if they do not really believe it or feel strongly about it.

  10. Susan Rubinsky

    I think this comes back to grit which you have discussed before.

  11. pointsnfigures

    A little league baseball coach told me once, “Flattery will get you no where my boy”. Good advice.

  12. DJL

    Would it be fair to say that the truly great technical/industrialists ultimately had to ignore the “advice” of naysayers and push with their convictions? When the comments come from your Board or trusted advisers, it must be even more challenging not to get jerked around.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > When the comments come from your Board or trusted advisers, it must be even more challenging not to get jerked around.Yup. For an explanation:It appears that people who pay attention the big successes essentially everyone claims to want to see, e.g., Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Western Digital, Google, Facebook, Amazon, early on fall into one of just two categories: (1) They had no idea how big the success would be or (2) they did have some good understanding of the potential but that potential was so far above the 99 44/100% (Ivory soap) usual that no one else took the understanding seriously. E.g., for (1) supposedly early on Page and Brin were ready to sell Google for just a few $million; now they are worth, what, ~$20 billion each? For (2), early on Gates saw a PC on each desktop, which, of course would make a major company, but Gates could have had everyone else in the world who really agreed with him meet in an SUV.So, an entrepreneur pursuing a big success and has some good idea that he can be successful might just keep his thoughts and reasoning private since otherwise people will see his claims as so far from the normal as to be laughable. Yup, “jerked around”.

      1. DJL

        Exactly. I think the same with Apple (“That Mac is a waste of time”) and US Steel (Carnegie spending billions in today’s money to make a plant for a product that was still somewhat unproven). Certainly there must have been someone telling Zuck “Are you out of your mind?” when he was offered $10+ millions for FB after like 6 months at age 19. Where were his parents??

  13. Matt A. Myers

    If you appreciate people literally saying “you are an idiot” then I’d question a few things.You ultimately decide how you role model for society, for your children, and you can either 1) accept and take responsibility for the consequences your role modelling will likely lead to and behave accordingly, or 2) not care about people in general, not care if “people will end up in jail” and so on.Being stubborn with the wrong convictions, not being open to learning and growing, is certainly a path many take – and they stagnate where they are, become indoctrinated into their bubbles, and convince themselves with their mind – to avoid what their heart is trying to tell them, to have empathy and take responsibility of society – as if they were your own family, which they are.Joe Rogan recently said something on his podcast that was completely misinforming his audience about Andrew Yang, and I wrote in a tweet – he really pissed off #YangGang – that in short I tweeted to Joe saying for him to be as responsible as he needs to be with the power he wields – or stop podcasting.If you don’t understand the power or influence you have – then that is an issue as well, in part lacking self-awareness, and once again, accountability.

  14. gmalov

    One of the main reasons I enjoy reading your daily blog is that you are open to diverse thought, opinions and not afraid to tackle tough topics or offer your opinions . I can only imagine the type of emails you get but thanks for having thick skin and your commitment to the community.I love your advice on being authentic, I would simply add – you also have a great passion for the product (sharing knowledge).

  15. Mike

    For most people who read and participate in this blog I would think there is a general interest in a respectful exchange of ideas on business and other topics so that we can all benefit.

  16. JLM

    .Freddie, you’re not an idiot. Please join me in walking Freddie back from the ledge.When the Pope speaks his words are infallible, but only as it relates to matters of faith and dogma. If the Pope picks Notre Dame v the UGa (as he did on Saturday), he is not speaking with the infallibility of his office. [Georgia failed to cover the 14-point spread in beating Notre Dame, so there is that. Meaning Pope Fran did OK if he took ND and the points. I was right there with him.]Likewise, when you speak about VC, you speak with similar authority, the authority earned by your longevity, experience, and expertise. [Please blush in a coquettish manner. Ahhh.]The Pope never hears the opinion of Lucifer and thus his words go unchallenged. Lucifer, a very clever Devil, lives amongst us, but informs us through his deeds, not his words.You have the blessing of hearing from those who do not agree with you and those who do. Even in your most authoritative utterance, you are one side of a two-sided transaction and there are other opinions on the same body of facts.When you speak on matters that do not fall into your area of expertise — meh.Back when you were engaging in your Hamlet soliloquy about the comments, I remember asking myself if I would frequent these environs if they were commentless and the polling was trending toward NO. It is a duet — you and the commentariat. Together the notes are richer, stronger, broader, more insightful. Otherwise it’s just a lecture.I see you as leading a salon in which you introduce a topic and let the guests chew it until tender. It is only when our ideas bump into competitive ideas that we are forced to develop our arguments. When ideas wrestle, the result is better ideas.There is always the possibility that the view of a Manhattan liberal may not mirror that of a conservative from the heartland. That shit happens, sometimes.As to the “bluff,” bit of walking the cat backwards, which is fine. You listened, you learned.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Girish Mehta

      The title of the post was “Self-confidence” but the example in the post was not about self-confidence.Nobody would argue against self-confidence in the abstract. Thats why I had said in the comments – “Be careful when stuff that is true in the abstract does not line up with the action in the specific”.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Yes – agreed. This example is another proof point that Fred doesn’t seem to have a self-check process regarding the integrity of words or use of words. Fred says he “appreciates” someone calling him an idiot? Really? Main definition of appreciate is recognize the full worth of – to which someone simply calling you an idiot is only just above the value that the downvote mechanism provides.

        1. Girish Mehta

          Please give him a break.Its clear what Fred wants to say. He is saying that he appreciates all the feedback. Now, if you are an adult, you don’t say I only listen to the feedback that is glowing and positive about me. You say you listen to all the feedback, including the harsh feedback. That’s about it…thats all he is saying there. His main point is lower down in the post.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Fair enough – the point trying to be made and conclusions will be different depending on what depth of meaning the author’s taking into account.

          2. JLM

            .The author writes what he says.It is the reader’s job to figure out what he meant.They are often slightly different.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. JLM

        .There is a reason in the newspaper racket why the guy who writes the titles is different than the reporter and does it after the article is written.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. sigmaalgebra

          > newspaper racketCruel! HOW can you be so CRUEL????I’m reminded of, IIRC, “professional wrestling, journalism, and politics are all fake” — SUCH a CRUEL statement!!!!Sure, the crown jewel of US journalism is the Gray Lady, the highly revered NYT. As I’ve mentioned, I see two main things wrong with the crown jewel, Gray Lady, NYT: (1) On paper it can’t compete with Charmin, and (2) on the Internet it is useless for wrapping dead fish heads.

      3. CJ

        As a poker player, solo-preneur, and a guy from the hood – bluffing is a great tool in the tool belt.I’ve stood before teachers and bluffed my ass off based on 20 pages of a book – happened to be the right 20 pages.Being a good poker player is as much about knowing when to bluff as when not too – probably more the latter than the former.Coming from the hood, walking into a room full of folks who look nothing like me, don’t share my experience, speak differently, and view me as an outsider…and I them…bluffing helped me navigate that world until I learned enough about it to not have to.And as a solo-prenuer running a pretty successful consulting shop, selling a potential client on what I CAN do is a lot more important than IF I’ve actually done it before. If you know you can do it by the time the client needs it, then the truth is a lot closer to the bluff than you think.Anyway, sorry I missed that post, I have a lot of thoughts around the grey area between what you can do and what you have done and I think that’s what Fred was trying to imply. Bluffing, in a lot of cases, is doing what you say you can, even if you haven’t done it already.I wouldn’t be here without the bluff. Neither would a lot of folks.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      You’re such a poet at times JLM – now only will you trust me and that Andrew Yang will be next POTUS! :)Not sure Fred learned or if what he learned has much value? Feels like avoidance of understanding the power one wields – maybe a self-esteem, self-worth issue – maybe childhood trauma blocking emotions and therefore not being able to connect to empathy in the way that allows you to understand consequences, and therefore accountability and importance of your words – especially as you say, in a context that you’ve earned some reverence.

      1. Girish Mehta

        Again Matt, this is just too harsh and personal. Please step back and take a look at all your comments about Fred just today.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Please break down specifically as best you can what is harsh and what is personal. All I asked was I wondered if Fred has learned anything from the “ton of emails” he got in response – from my perspective he hasn’t – and others are questioning him on it too, “Oh it’s ‘bluffing’ now” is one such comment. I assume a lot of what you think is harsh and personal you’re seeing them as attacks – aren’t directed at him. I’m merely stating my thoughts from what possibilities I believe there are, what paths may lead to this kind of behaviour – that don’t come specifically from any knowledge I have of Fred. These are just common pathways that I’ve seen through observation of everyone that can lead to the behaviour we’re seeing with Fred. I could completely wrong – and that’s fine.I’m perfectly calm, my tone is fine – I’m using critical thinking. Another take, using critical thinking – is perhaps you’re hypersensitive today or overprotective of Fred? Maybe it’s instead that you’re being personally being triggered by my words, something you could potentially work through if you wanted to do the work, something deeper inside of you that could heal – self-esteem, self-worth, trauma related; are you considering this now, me posing this as a theoretically possibility, as a personal attack against you? I surely hope not.I certainly understand how if people are framing this in a lens of being a personal attack – then it would feel harsh, for sure. I’m just chatting, writing out critical thought. If I knew Fred was reading or engaged or open to growing, improving, healing – then I’d expand into practices he could follow, but people don’t do work they aren’t ready for – usually it’s happenstance they stumble into practices on the path that leads them to an increasing development of self-awareness. Most just find tools, practices like yoga, to simply cope a bit better – but not actually go deep and work through many layers; all of these teachings are in the 8 branches of yoga, most only stick to two of the branches – asana, physical movement, and meditation – one part of mindfulness.I’m so calm and clear-minded today, heart open right now – with no fear of hurting someone’s feeling, certainly no fear for holding the line for truth, integrity, accountability. :)The difference between children and adults is emotional regulation, self-regulation capability – which ties into self-awareness development of course. Because some people are and will be less mature than oneself doesn’t dictate you should “tip toe” around to make sure you don’t potentially hurt someone’s feelings, so long as you’re not doing it with malicious intent and are careful with your words. I’m going to write on AVC in the state of being an adult as best I can, without fear of ridicule and so on – and I’m going to assume my audience are adults – including Fred.As I’m healing the physical pain in my body, with all of the previous healing work and clearing I have done, my nervous system is increasingly honing and evolving – and yes, I’m becoming sharper; sharpness will feel sharp if you choose to step in front of the blade. I’d prefer or appreciate a discussion over what specifically was harsh and why you disagree with say my pattern matching observation vs. shallow criticism of feeling something is harsh – however it’s certainly unfolded into a good beginning of a conversation if anyone engages with me.

          1. cavepainting

            As great as meditation and yogic practices are, we have to take care that it does not become its own trap. That is, the ego’s new identity is that of the “meditative man who can critically think with dispassion.”Unless we are spiritual masters who can truly help other people, some one else’s inner development or the lack thereof is truly none of our business. Most of the time it is just our ego and mind chattering away to glory.

    3. Richard

      Fred forgot the second line…”so you got to please yourself”.

  17. Chimpwithcans

    The idea that Fred will always perfectly explain his thoughts in his blog every single day whilst living a busy life is ridiculous.The idea that he has earned our trust with the sheer volume of great posts he has written demands slack for Fred, to be cut.Slack…somebody….cut him some slack.

  18. sigmaalgebra

    This post could use polishing, but I’m in the middle of carrying in groceries with half of them still in the SUV out back!This blog especially for Fred and to some extent for all of us has the value of the old, IIRC”O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” Without posting a translation to modern English, we are confronted by the juxtaposition of (i) the distant, old, even primitive nature of the English yet (ii) the truth of the statement, especially that that truth is so old, that is, that good lesson is an ancient one.An old British upper crust statement goes, IIRC:Anyone who always calls a spade a spade is fit only to use one.There’s the old carpenter saying that generalizes:Measure twice and saw once.Applied to people and conversation we have Thumper’sIf you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. There is the nearly trivialThink before speaking.somewhat similar to measure twice and saw once.And as I got beaten into my head by my wife’s astounding mastery of some REALLY intricate and severe US Midwestern Protestant church social socialization, (i) always monitor the other person or other people, (ii) continually estimate what they are thinking and feeling, and (iii) in real-time, on the fly, craft what to say or not say in view of that estimation. Yup, this means that have to do the brain work of not just (a) what you are trying to say but also (b) what everyone else is thinking and feeling. So, it can be a LOT of brain activity. E.g., in academics I’ve seen some bright people, but I have to say that my wife and her mother just in church social conversations routinely showed more fast brain activity than I ever saw in high end academics. What they did in “presentation of self” (E. Goffman) was astounding.A friend once summarized for me something he got from his financially very successful father:It (audience reaction) is ALWAYS nearly ALL about emotions. A lesson I formulated, no doubt I reinvented but was originally formulated somewhere back about the first campfire, is, whenever say something, even if it is well qualified and quite solidly true, other people can make applications, distortions, or extrapolations that you never intended and wouldn’t agree with and that they hate and for which they blame you. So, try explicitly to focus, limit, and circumscribe the intended point, lesson. Also, use some extra words, perhaps, (i) give them a little introduction that is easy to take and starts the context and focus, (ii) make the statement more than one way, and (iii) explicitly delimit the intended meaning, (iv) do some repetition for emphasis on the point of focus, and maybe make some of the intended applications. Also it can help in one communication to have just one main point, just one nut to crack, since otherwise half way through might have already burned up so much of the audience’s brain blood sugar that they are no longer thinking clearly.I’m concluding that can refine some of these lessons by listening to and attempting to analyze some successful public speakers. E.g., there was a claim that early in the Trump campaign Trump tried out word choice, wording, and ideas, noticed audience reactions, and then refined, filtered, etc.Maybe a good speaker can sell ice to Eskimos and a poor speaker can’t get agreement on motherhood and apple pie.My main point is that Fred had:You will not be able to please everyone in your company and you can’t try to do that. and related statements.Well, maybe if a leader wants to shock the audience and establish some norm ofI’m the CEO, and you are not.I sign the paychecks, and you cash them.I’m CEO not because I’m always right; instead I’m always right because I’m CEO.It’s my way or the highway. Otherwise and more realistically, sorry, my judgment is that some drops of my circumspection above are needed for the intended leadership lessons.

  19. David Pethick

    C’mon people, lighten up. “Fake it till you make it” has long been a part of the American approach to life. I only skimmed the original post, but from memory Fred was also saying this is a technique to help you early in your career. Wise counsel.

  20. Andrew Cashion


  21. CJ

    Jack Palance once said “Confidence is very sexy”. It was in a commercial but still, so very truthful.Feedback is important but so is the confidence to ignore it when necessary. I just recently told my son that learning the rules is the second most important thing to know about life. The first? How to break them. It’s much more important but the lessons can’t be learned out of order. The conversation got started around grammar and turned into a life lesson.How does it relate to confidence? Have you ever seen a humble rule-breaker? I haven’t. If you’re successful, you’ve almost certainly broken a rule or two to get there. It takes confidence to do that.Humility is overrated. One of my favorite rap lines is almost a throw-away: “Brash. I didn’t get a thing when I was humble, and why should I be?” When you meet me you’ll instantly like me. You’ll find me competent, charming, and confident. You will not find me humble and it has not played against me yet.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Confident and humble are not mutually exclusive. 🙂

  22. harris497

    Fred, I appreciated both today’s post and the one you referenced. There is a fine line, but sometimes having a bit of optimism is what is needed in a world of harsh realities. And being an entrepreneur is filled with harsh realities that requires strategic bluster to navigate. Thank you!

  23. Donna Brewington White

    “You are an idiot” is not feedback.

  24. JLM

    .The Boss used to play at the high school dances at one of the high schools I went to — Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank, NJ.I always knew he was going to be something. He was much more raw in those days.The dances were in the basement and those Catholic school girls could really work up a sweat.I lived in Long Branch, NJ and used to go to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park — which was a tiny hole-in-the-wall in those days. Not like the big extravaganza it is today.Those were the days.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  25. JLM

    .”the pony” — too coolThere are no cheap seats in Deal. It is the greatest collection of “big” homes and shabby chic shingle beach mansions in the US. Hydrangeas!As a kid working construction, I used to put the Deal Casino Beach Club’s seawater pipe in the ocean in about late May, on a weekend. God that water was cold.It was an 18″ rusty pipe of about 30′ long — three sections. The construction company superintendent would have a crane hold a section of pipe up as I would bolt the sections together underwater.I would dive down with two spud wrenches — pointy tip on one end, wrench on the other — and marry the two sections by sticking the spud wrench pointy ends through the bolt holes, insert a couple of bolts by hand, and then tighten them to hand tight.You did not want to drop the spud wrenches or the bolts. We used to use fresh bolts every year and I would wire brush those bolt holes like crazy. I would grease those bolts.Then I would come up for air and dive down to do the next section. When I had all three sections — 90′ into the ocean — hand tight, I would dive down and tighten them with the wrench.You had to do it at low tide because you might be in 30′ of water at the end. If so, you had to have the crane suspend the pipe which was a pain in the ass because you couldn’t talk to the crane operator.I got paid an extra $1/hr to do the underwater work. Base pay was probably $2.50/hr.I would work fast as it was cold, still it took a couple of hours. When I got out I would make a fire on the beach to warm up.When I drive by even today, I feel a chill run up my spine.Deal was the real deal.BTW, Asbury Park is becoming quite gentrified. Somebody is building a big tower that Beyonce and Jay-Z bought a penthouse in. Asbury Park? Huh?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…