Slimy People & Boycotts

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

– Tennessee Williams

Note: Because of the subject matter, I’m cross-publishing this on my personal blog as well as my company blog. My apologies to subscribers of both.

Over the past few years I’ve become more and more rigid in how I live and do business. I’ve slowly adopted certain core values and have drawn a hard line when it comes to adhering to them.  By doing that, I’m making what I value, and don’t value, explicit. Sometimes it’s difficult to do and I miss out on certain things.  I understand that I may miss out one some good, but I also avoid what I consider bad.

People sometimes like to twist that around and make it seem like they have no choice.  It’s easy to forget that we have an abundance of choices in life, but almost all come with sacrifice. Often we take the presence of sacrifice as having no choice at all when, in fact, what we have have is a tough decision.  You could start a company, write a book or change careers.  Unfortunately,  that usually means watching less TV, getting a little less sleep or going out to the bars less.  It’s still a choice, just a difficult one.

One of my core values I have is ‘don’t interact with slimy people’.  What do I mean by slimy people?  I mean people who talk to you about ideas and, afterwards, you think to yourself ‘that’s just….slimy’.  Take these examples of things I’ve been told over the past 12 months:

“Once we get them on our platform, we make it so tough for them to get out that they’ll never leave.  We’ll get paid every month.”

“We’ll just package up our services on top of outsourced labor, tack on a healthy margin, and boom, we’ll be golden. The clients will never know.”

When it comes to friends and business relationships, it’s easy to avoid these types of people. You just avoid them.  Sounds simple, but as you’ll see, it’s not always easy to avoid these types of people without sacrifice.  When you’re honest with yourself, it’s easy to see who adds to your life and who subtracts from it.

However, ‘slimy people’ is not just limited actual people. It also applies to companies.  So, several months ago, I started to boycott companies . It all started with Fox News and the fallout from the Acorn footage. Since then, I’ve actively avoid any and all things Fox. That means no Family Guy & Simpsons. Do I miss those shows? Sure, but I feel better know that I’m not supporting Fox and it’s advertisers.

Next up is Gawker media. About 9 months ago, I stopped reading Deadspin. Their coverage evolved into glorified frat boy stories. Then, when the news of Gizmodo & the iPhone prototype broke, I thought it was sketchy, but didn’t really mind that much. Shady? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Also, I was already migrating towards Engadget for my gadget coverage anyway.

However, when they decided to publish the poor guys name who lost the phone, that was over the line. Not only that, but they published his photos, last name and Facebook snapshots. Now, there was simply no reason for this. If they wanted to throw someone under the bus, the could have named who sold them the phone. To go after the guy who did nothing wrong and who is probably freaking out was out of line. Slimy. Buh-bye Gawker Media and it’s sites. That includes Lifehacker, historically one of my favorite blogs.

Some other boycotts include:

Facebook – I’ve already written about how Facebook is rubbing me the wrong way.

Sea World – Read this article about their killer whales. Pay special attention to their “acquisition” strategies. Tell me if you would still pay money to see their show.

Nestle – An extremely old boycott, but still relevant.

This might all sound sanctimonious and pompous, but I assure you, it’s not.  Every person has to draw their own line.  The point isn’t to rally around me and boycott Gawker.  It’s to stimulate you to reflect on your own life.  Start to identify things that you almost speak out against, but you historically have not.  This could be friends, clients or companies.  Whatever.  The path to a happier, more fulfilling life is to remove any sort of waste or anything that doesn’t add to your life in a positive way. I’m challenging you to look at your life with a critical eye.  Start making tough decisions to sacrifice some small good-ness in favor of the greater good in your life and your business.

You’ll be much happier and more successful in the long run.