Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Digging Through Horseshit to Find A Horse

There once was a little boy who was a hopeless optimist. This young boy would find something good in every circumstance that life threw his way. No matter what happened, this boy would never lose his spirit of optimism and he would always find a "silver lining in every cloud." He was so optimistic, that his parents began to worry. They thought, "Life can be tough and it can present challenges that our son will have to learn how to accept."
Now this boy wanted a horse more than anything else in life. He would pray every night that he would wake up the next morning and find his "horse" waiting for him in the yard. His parents thought that perhaps they could teach their boy a valuable lesson. So, they ordered a truck load of horse manure and had it piled up in their front yard one evening.
The next morning, when the little boy woke up, he went outside and saw the pile of horse manure. He ran out to the pile, scrambled up to the top, and began digging with his bare hands! When his parents saw what he was doing, they rushed outside and yelled at him, "Boy, what are you doing?"
Grinning ear to ear, he replied: "With all this horse manure, there just has to be a pony in here somewhere!"
Well, this week, and it's only Tuesday, has been like that.  We have had a rough go the past few days. Mean things said, silly things done.  And for whatever reason, I've forgotten to be optimistic and find that grain of benefit in this. At 12:42 this morning, it hit me like a freight train. It was so astounding, it is going to completely revamp our company and create a whole new damn profit model.  I could not believe it. Now just have to plan it all out...
So thank you, Jennifer McInnis, for dumping a huge pile of horseshit on my lawn. Because I found the fucking horse buried in it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not an Asshole, Just a Bastard...

A situation has recently presented itself where a new author applied first to Smoke Alarm Media, and then to me personally, to sign them as an author. To cut to the punch line, I didn’t sign them. And this pissed them off, royally.

Understand, now that I find myself entering the dreaded midlife years, I am being treated as Old School, whatever the hell that means. Basically, I run a benevolent dictatorship here, and when some fucks up, I let them know, in no uncertain terms, and how to correct it.  Basically, it makes me a bastard, but not an asshole. And in that belief of valuable and immediate feedback, I do something that I wish others did for me; I tell them the truth. 

So this author appealed to me, stating credentials like a Master of Fine Arts, and awards for Bright New Wunderkind (I was a wunderkind, too, once), et al, etc.  These are also fine accomplishments, to be sure. Perhaps yawning did not help his impression of me (no nap that day, so I am excused). He asked me to read portions of his manuscript. I declined. Which made him even more irate, which seems to be a recurring theme these days.

In our world, we are in business to sell books. Nothing. Else. Matters. I asked him his plans for it. Not once in the series of conversations that I had with this gentleman, did he mention how he was going to market and sell his books. He didn’t have a compelling story; he had no identified markets; no plan to take it to the masses. He had a well-written story. That’s it.

I asked his permission to be frank. He gave it, and no doubt regretted it. I told him I didn’t give a damn how smart he was. I didn’t care how well written the book was. All I cared about was his ability to sell it.  I could see the obvious pain my words were causing. So I observed that if he could not handle 5 minutes of honesty, he did not have enough “hide” to be successful when the going got tough. And we did not need that liability in our company.  And in doing so, I saved him months of disappointments, and gave him a MBA for free, or at least an introductory course.

He called me an asshole. I smiled, and told him again, the truth…”Not an Asshole, just a Bastard.”