“Be a nice person…It’s so simple that it’s almost too obvious to notice. Look around at the people you like. Isn’t it a logical assumption that if you like traits in other people, then other people would like you if you developed those same traits?”
“You’re thinking that the investors, bankers, and regulators are the people you need to survive. Put them all aside, and give priority to talking to your people and your customers about what is wrong and what you have to do.”
“Our favorite holding period is forever.”
“Berkshire is my painting so it should look the way I want it to when it’s done.”
“You don’t need to play outside the lines. You can make a lot of money hitting the ball down the middle.”
Personals that poke fun
Taking the piss of yourself is a good way to disarm your audience, show you’re confident, and prove you can take a joke. Book Lovers Seek Lovers, Buttered or Plain talks about the personals column in the London Review of Books and how people there intentionally present themselves in a negative light.
The magazine’s lonely hearts have described themselves over the years as shallow, flatulent, obsessive, incontinent, hypertensive, hostile, older than 100, paranoid, pasty, plaid-festooned, sinister-looking, advantage-taking, amphetamine-fueled, and as residents of mental institutions. They have announced that they are suffering from liver disease, from drug addiction, from asthma, from compulsive gambling, from unclassified skin complaints and from reduced sperm counts. They have insulted prospective partners. As one ad starts, “I’ve divorced better men than you.”
Kate Fox, a cultural anthropologist and author of “Watching the English,” compared the London Review personals to an advertising campaign several years ago that showed people recoiling in revulsion from Marmite, the curiously popular gloppy-as-molasses yeast byproduct that functions as a sandwich spread, a snack or a base for soup (just add boiling water).
“An advertising campaign focusing exclusively on the disgust people feel for your product strikes a lot of people as perverse,” [Kate Fox, a cultural anthropologist] said in an interview. But when Britons exaggerate their faults, she said, they are really telegraphing their attributes. “It does speak of a certain arrogance, that you have the confidence and the sense of humor to say these things,” she said.
What kGTD did for summer vacation
It’s a common plight: Emails sit. Blog posts go unwritten. Audiences wonder what happened: “Anyone there?” Ethan at kGTD decided to spin a lengthy absence in a humorous way. His technique was a lot more friendly than, say, “Working on a new business, can’t talk now.”
I missed you. Honest. I meant to write, but, you know: one leaves for summer camp, young love blossoms on the pine tree lined shores of lake Menominee and I forget to write my hometown sweetie (that’d be you). Except in this case “summer camp” is code for “kick starting a new business” and “love blossoms” is code for “immediate need to generate cash flow to cover all those new expenses like insurance, beer, a fridge in the studio for the beer”. Despite this subtext, it’s still a timeless story of learning about life, love, getting to first base, stealing second, being tagged out and spending the rest of the summer alone on the archery range…
So this is mostly just a “hello again”. If you’ve dropped me an email and I owe you one, drop me another. My inbox is empty, but my backlog of kGTD emails is long and I may be declaring email bankruptcy on that folder.