Business and Bullsh!t

Posted: February 12, 2012 by sirdiggy in career news, life, workplace, WTF
Tags: , , , ,

I was telling my brother earlier in the week that when you undertake a venture or project that there will always be risks involved.  The difference in mitigating these risks and overcoming the obstacles you’re sure to face comes down to two factors: knowledge and passion.

The knowledge part is actually a group effort; in the monthly RichDad meetings I attend, the moderator always says “you’ll never know all that you need to know.”  Instead, surround yourself with people that know more about certain things than you do.  Let’s say you’re in the mood for a good taco, but you’ve never made one before.  Sure, you could try to make it yourself, but the risk of failure is higher because like I said, you’ve never made one before.  So instead of knowing how to make one, all you truly need to know is someone – or someplace – that can make a good one.  Some people might say, “well what’s the fun in that?”  Well remember the objective is to enjoy a good taco, not learn how to make one.  If you cannot make a good one, then you find someone or someplace that does.

As far as passion, it was explained to me that the difference between being passionate about an endeavor versus just being in it for the money is that when shit happens (and the moderator, he himself a successful real estate investor, says that “sh*t” will happen), your passion will push you past the trials and tribulations.  If you’re in it for only the money, you’ll likely drop out at the first sign of trouble.  Put it this way: Magic Johnson, who made millions playing in the NBA and was one of the all-time greats, was once quoted as saying he loved basketball so much he would’ve played for free.  I write because I want to, because this is the best and most constructive way I can express myself and share my thoughts with whomever chooses to read.  Would I like to make a dollar someday off my writings? Of course – it’d be nice.  But I do this because it’s an extension of me, and I know Chuck Spears feels the same way.

Some people know I had been volunteering to be Editor-In-Chief for a start-up urban-based website.  I believed it was a great opportunity for me to manage a group of other potential writers, motivate them, and be able to shape the content that would help fuel this site.  The results, so far, have been inconsistent participation by people who volunteered to write but were not passionate about writing.  A few were able to understand what was being asked of them, but overall we might have overestimated people’s level of participation.  When you have something new and shiny, you ask for help to put it together, and you get a lot of “yeah/sure/I’m down” answers at the start.  But when it’s time to put in the real work, those that were so hyped start disappearing or end up having a bunch of “personal issues” that block them from doing what is asked.  It’s one thing if you’re used to commenting on articles and posts, but being asked to create an article or story to post is a completely different task.

Originally, when I first signed onto this project, I was under the impression I would be managing people who were tasked with pulling content/genre-appropriate content from other sites and reposting it.  The Media Director then asked for writers to create articles, and wanted a writing staff of six.  I recruited accordingly from the site’s forum posters because I wasn’t coming out of my own pocket to create ads on craigslist and such. In hindsight, maybe we should’ve stuck with the pulling-from-other-sites idea.  This though is correctable, but now there’s an even bigger problem: it looks as if everything has been blown to hell because of poor planning and a lack of trust between the lead admin and the other admin/staffers.

This past Thursday evening, the admins and myself had a lengthy phone conference about this lack of trust.  The person accused of such had been coined as someone who had been “power-tripping” (remember, we’re all volunteers).  After navigating through some harsh and childish rhetoric (with me letting them know that such talk was unproductive), we seemed to had found common ground and had begun to move the conversation onto ideas to retool the site and provide the type of content that could keep visitors coming back.  I had to excuse myself from the conference at around 11:30pm after being on the horn for three hours – but at least I left feeling good about all of us getting back to addressing the needs of the site, though no definite decisions were made.

Image my shock on Friday evening when the site’s homepage was gone and replaced with some generic bullshit.  Like umm, where the hell are the articles we posted?  Where’s our graphics and images?  What the fuck?

I was asked to give my input towards a petition for the site owner to step in and take control of the discord.  Here’s what I wrote (hash-tags replacing said person’s name for protection):

“We all had a phone conference on February 9th to discuss ### taking a more active role within the Media Departments.  It was slated to be a tinychat web conference, but there was a lot of disagreement over ### “requiring” all media staff (including writers and video editors) to be present.   We argued that such gathering was unnecessary; I added that it would have been impossible on such short notice.

The most telling thing I observed during the phone conference is when changes are needed, ### doesn’t appear to consult with the parties involved in the areas in question.  If there are problems within a department, the prudent thing to do is to talk to the managers in said dept to gather information on what’s going on, combine this with your own observations, compare and contrast what was seen and said, and then propose courses of action.  From what ### stated in the conference, he seems to base his decisions and proposals sorely on his own observations. In my humble opinion, he needs to observe and talk to his people – us – for the sake of him making a better, informed decision.”


With no home page, there’s no place for the remaining writers to post their articles.  If the writers aren’t active, they could easily say “screw this shit – we’re out”.  With no active writers and no home page to oversee for content, I honestly don’t have shit to do or a reason to do it.

Lastly – where the hell is the site owner?  The money he’s putting out for the project is at severe risk of being flushed down the crapper, and he’s “away”?  This is a startup project with not a heck of a lot of people involved.  As the owner, you need to be hands-on until the project becomes completely self-sustainable.  You need to make sure your vision is executed, and you need to make sure your people are on the same page and communicating effectively.

I hate to see something with a lot of potential get trashed before it truly gets started.  We’ll see what the end game to this nonsense transpires to.  That’s part of business and risk, I suppose.

  1. chuckspears says:

    You did mention passion if the owner isn’t hands on enough, I’m sad to say this is dead in the water. Unless he just trusted the guy in charge that much. You shouldn’t be more invested in the project that the people spear heading it. Especially as a volunteer. That’s needless stress diggy. If this was a romantic relationship would you keep pushing even though it’s an obvious one sided affair? Man do your thing, I guess stay connected to the people that who you see potional in. And k-i-m.

    • sirdiggy says:

      I shall indeed KIM… There is one guy I met that above all I’d like to stay connected to because he’s into investing and I will need to pick his brain sooner or later. My hope is that the owner straightens the bullshit out and revitalizes the project down the line. For now though – it is dead.

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