Category Archives: How Shit Actually Fucking Works

The Charge: Change

The Charge now goes on to the question of change.

This is probably the crux of the whole “comfortable” lifestyle; step one of moving from comfortable to charged (or from surviving to succeeding) is to change things. And there are some very good tools here. One of the most useful ones in this chapter is the notion of chaining habits – “when I do this, I will do that.” I use that technique frequently.

Basically, the way this works is to take an existing habit and hook the next habit onto the back of it. Like if you want to go to the gym, he suggests you set things up with “I will take the kids to school (an existing habit), and then I will go to the gym (the desired new habit).” This is a powerful technique, and can easily add new habits into your existing routine.

Another useful technique he covers is focus – instead of thinking about what might go wrong with your new habit (what if I don’t lose the weight?), he recommends focusing on the good things about the habit – envisioning yourself having success, instead of failure.

There is, of course, the question of reality. You can’t just pretend everything will be great; one of the biggest problems people hit in their efforts to change is risk management.

I think that’s something we haven’t covered very well in our change management instruction over the years – inevitably, no matter what you do, things will go wrong. In project management (and pretty much nowhere else), we actively study the question of risk mitigation, which is where you essentially make a list of “this is what could go wrong, and this is what I am going to do about it.”

If you do this properly, you don’t have “I am going to write a book.” You have “I am going to write a book. Because I may not find a publisher, I will self-publish it on Amazon. Because the book may not be very good, I will have people I trust review it before I publish. Because the book may not sell at all, I will conduct a marketing campaign to generate interest. Because the book may not sell well at this price point, I will make a contingency plan to release at a lower price on the Kindle. Because the book may not be of any interest to Amazon customers, I will make an additional contingency plan to release it in PDF format as a WSO on the Warrior Forum.”

Now, if the book doesn’t sell, you don’t have a crushing defeat that leaves you without options. You have a next step. What could go wrong, and what will you do? If you map that out far enough, and well enough, you never end up with crushing defeat.

In my recent product release debacle, I didn’t do proper risk assessment or mitigation, because I was assured the major risk was not a risk by people who had legitimate control over the risk. Specifically, when I said “affiliates may choose not to promote the product,” several high-profile and influential marketers said “I will absolutely promote your product.” I never did a risk mitigation strategy for “what if my friends are lying to me.”

The Charge: Forward Drives

Next in our continuing examination of The Charge, we come to the forward drives, or f-drives. The fundamental idea here is that you live a caged life when your baseline drives are not being met – control, competence, congruence, caring, and connection – and then you live a comfortable life until your forward drives are met.

This is a reasonably sensible thing to say. I like the division of the world into three camps; I tend to use five, myself, where the bottom of the scale is “poverty” and the top of the scale is “wealth.” But in between, I have three categories that map almost directly to Burchard’s:

Succeeding is when you have all the things you need, and many of the things you want.

Surviving is when you have enough  of the things you need, but everything you want requires a sacrifice.

Struggling is when you do not have enough of the things you need.

Wealth is basically having enough of the things you want, while poverty is when you don’t have any of one or more things you need.

Burchard’s drives map pretty well to need and want. The baseline drives, which we’ve already covered, are things you need – not from a material standpoint, but from a neurological and existential one. And there, I can get behind the notion of his baseline drive for “caring” – I don’t believe it’s a natural drive we all have to care for others, but I believe we need to care for others. I believe the failure to care for others leads to what I call a “poverty of the soul,” just as the failure to achieve control, competence, congruence, or connection will lead to other poverties which are detrimental to your health and well-being.

But where a lot of this falls over is in the delineation of what we need and what we want. Somewhere in between those is the notion of what we or others should have. I believe every human being on the planet should have access to cheap, reliable, high-speed internet without monitoring or censorship. I do not, however, confuse this with a basic human need.

Brendon’s five baseline drives are, in my opinion, basic human needs. And the five forward drives we’ll be covering over the rest of the week are similarly not basic human needs – they are things we want. To sit between them is to be surviving, but you need at least some of the forward drives to succeed. I’m tempted to say “three or more,” but that isn’t altogether accurate.

Finally, wealth is a matter of having all the drives satisfied, baseline and forward. And what I really like about The Charge is how Brendon recognises and accepts that people both want and need unique balances of these drives – that satisfaction is personal, and your balance may differ from his. Or mine.

(EDIT: forgot to hit “Update” when I was done. Sorry. Gah, three hours late)

The Charge: Connection

Rounding out Brendon Burchard’s five baseline drives in The Charge, we now come to connection.

This one’s been difficult for me to write about, which is why I sort of dropped the ball on getting it out by 10 AM like I try to do with all my blog posts.

If you’ll recall, yesterday I covered caring, and took a diametrically opposed position from Brendon’s – that we don’t have a drive to care for others.

But he’s spot-on with this one, because we most definitely have a drive to be cared for by others. This is one of the most difficult parts of my life, because I’m constantly surrounded by people who simply don’t give a shit.

This is primarily because I don’t normally have people in my life who do the things I do or enjoy the things I enjoy. Because, you know, those things are fucking weird. And people lie to you. They pretend they’re into the stuff you’re into, but when the relationship gets serious, you discover that they were kind of never into that and just wanted to hang out with you.

So when you wanted to sit around watching horror movies all day, they sat there with you even though they hate horror movies. And when you spent days playing Fallout 3, they simply didn’t say anything about all the blood and violence because they figured it was just a phase you’d get over.

But then you get serious, and suddenly it’s an issue. You watch too many horror movies and most of them suck and why don’t we watch more romantic comedies or children’s movies? And those violent video games have got to go because they simply do not belong in a house where children are going to be raised.

So Burchard’s right. We all want to feel connected to the people in our lives, and we always want those connections to be deeper and more meaningful. But this is a private, intimate kind of thing. Brendon recommends four to twelve “growth friends,” people that are really, truly important to you. He also recommends that you define your ideal relationships and deliberately pursue them.

But what I do have to take issue with is the notion of “positive projection,” which is a form of self-delusion. This is what bites me in the arse every time. The disintegration of my marriage came about explicitly because my wife was a lying, cheating, thieving bitch who simply played stupid every time I caught her fucking everything up. And “positive projection” says that you forgive people their faults and have patience.

When your wife spends all your money on bullshit so you’ve got no savings and the end of your contract leaves you dead broke and you have to scramble like hell to make the rent, and you say “what the FUCK happened?” only to be told that she “had no choice” because of collections agencies and bills and traffic tickets and whatever, you’re supposed to say “well, that was a mistake, and you should have done this, but it’s okay and we’ll be fine and PARDON ME WHILE I GO GIVE MYSELF A FUCKING ULCER RACING TO FIND A NEW CONTRACT.”

And then, in September of 2009, she finally admitted that she did this explicitly to prevent me from ever having the money or the time to start my own business again. If we had the ten thousand dollars in the bank I wanted to have by the end of my contract, I was just going to spend most of it trying to build something that nobody could ever build because it’s stupid. So instead, she spent all of it on nothing trying to force me into giving up those ambitions.

And “positive projection” is why this went on for over five years. I made excuses for her, and told her it was okay, and gave her all the time in the world to completely destroy everything. But it wasn’t until she went batshit insane in June of 2009 that I finally said “okay, we had the rent money when it was due, but three days later there’s an eviction notice on our window and the bank account is overdrawn and the bills still haven’t been paid and what the fuck.”

Because in May of 2009, I told her outright: I am not going back to work. I have put off building my business for five years, and I will not do it any more. I had my own business when we met, I have never been happier or more successful than when I was running my own business, and I absolutely detest not being able to watch my children grow up because I am out of the house 12 to 14 hours a day. If you absolutely cannot accept my own business being our primary source of income, then you can go get a job, because I will not do it.

So she got us evicted. At which point I said “this is unacceptable and you shall not control our finances anymore.” That’s when she delivered the ultimatum that if I would just give up this “run my own business” bullshit, she would stop deliberately spending all our money to stop me from doing it. At which point I said “that is even more unacceptable, and you shall not have any access to our finances whatsoever – give me the cheque book and all your bank cards, and when you need money you will ask me for it and I will get you cash.”

So she left me and took the children, then went and lied to the government about what happened so they’d take all my money and give it to her for child support. She literally gave them a figure for my monthly income which resulted in a child support payment that exceeded my unemployment cheques, so they’d take all my money. Except they can’t take more than half of it. Meanwhile, in the “did not think that one through” department, she claimed that she wasn’t getting any of the money and didn’t understand why they were taking it… because, you know, it’s not like the government keeps records or anything. Or like there would eventually be a hearing with full accounting for who got paid what when and by whom.

Or like this was, you know, evil.

All of that happened because I was with someone I loved – and still love, no matter how evil she may have become; the woman I fell in love with is still in there, and still my best friend, and sometimes I can spend entire hours not seeing the evil bitch that has grown around her – and I practiced “positive projection.” Whenever she was less than perfect, I insistently maintained that she was a wonderful person who had simply made a little mistake.

For three years after that, I practiced the same “positive projection” on my girlfriend and my parents and my colleagues and my friends. But you know what? They’re all arseholes. Not one of them gives a leaping shit in a glass Buick about me. All they care about is the mental image in their heads of who I am supposed to be, and when I pursue a different path, they quite deliberately fuck it up to try and make me follow the path they want me to follow.

Oh, but they mean well, because… wait, no they fucking don’t. They are trying to control other people’s lives through violence. Seriously, lying and cheating and stealing are forms of violence. When your friend lies to you, or cheats you, or steals from you, how many times have you said “it was like being punched in the gut” or something similar? That’s because it is. Deep down, you know that these things are violence. And the people who use them to try and control you are just bullies and terrorists.

So “positive projection” is the shittiest fucking advice on the planet. It’s pie in the sky bullshit that only works if you set the line properly and don’t let people fuck you over. But Burchard’s only failure in this is that he’s too fucking young to know how bad it can get, and that’s a good problem to have.

The Charge: Caring

Next in The Charge from Brendon Burchard, he mentions caring.

It’s here that I feel like Brendon has this strange idea about basic human drives. It seems that Brendon expects people to naturally and normally want not to be SLIM. This isn’t really my experience at all.

I actually had a conversation just a couple minutes ago with someone on Facebook who told me that it’s basically my fault that nobody promoted my last product, because when I asked them to promote it and they said “yes” they were actually lying.

Wait, how the fuck is that my fault?

This is the kind of garbage that I see all day long. People saying crap like “if someone lies to you and you believe them, then you are the one with the problem because people are liars and that is just fine because fuck you.”

But Brendon says that we all have this drive to care about other people. That our brains are designed in a way that makes it easy for us to care about others and to understand how they’re feeling. And I believe this is absolute bullshit.

Our brains are designed like every other animal’s – in a way that makes it easy for us to hunt our prey. You can tell humans are predators, because our eyes are on the front of our heads. That’s something only predators have. Prey have eyes on the sides of their head. Wolves and lions are predators, with eyes on the front of their head so they can identify and focus on their prey. Horses and cattle are prey, with eyes on the sides of their head so they can see predators coming from more directions.

It just so happens that our natural prey is, well, each other.

We’re not designed to understand other human beings because we’re supposed to comfort and support one another, but because we’re supposed to outwit and outsmart one another. We are all just natural fuckwads who only care about ourselves.

And what Brendon is doing here is confusing the idea that humans can be more than this… with the idea that we are naturally more than this. He takes this weird, counterintuitive position that makes no fucking sense: left to their own devices, people will act like dicks because nobody is there to show them their natural and normal capacity to not be dicks.

If someone has to show you, then it’s not natural.

Natural just happens. That’s the thing about nature; it just happens, whether you show anybody anything or not. And all the evidence is that people are naturally dicks. We don’t care about one another. It is, in fact, natural for us to regard the rest of humanity as defective versions of ourselves. We judge the value of others based on how alike we are. This is how we’ve behaved for centuries, and the self-help movement hasn’t changed doodly squat about it.

Yeah, we’re designed to understand how others are feeling. But it’s not so we can commiserate with them. It’s so we know when to fuck them, when to kill them, and when they’re not looking so we can take their shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s right. I’m saying that’s natural. We’re animals, basically, and we have animal drives for animal things. What makes us different than the animals is that we’re aware of these drives and can defy them.

Some would say this makes us better than the animals, but it’s just another case of “everyone else is a defective version of me” if you regard animals as defective humans – or, biblically, as defective women. There’s no objective good or bad and right or wrong, any more than there’s objective virtue or sin. Even the seven deadlies – greed, wrath, sloth, gluttony, vanity, pride, and lust… are only sins once you cross a certain line.

Because they’re not just natural. They’re actually unavoidable. We’re hard-wired for those behaviours.

The Charge: Congruence

Continuing through Brendon Burchard’s latest book, The Charge, he moves on to cover the notion of congruence in a pretty odd fashion.

He never really talks about what it is, which I think is kind of important.

Congruence is a notion most of us encounter in geometry, where two shapes are said to be congruent if all the angles and proportions match.

This is actually a rather convenient shorthand for practicing what you preach, if we take “angle” as its slang meaning for an intention or goal. If you claim to be doing something for a particular reason, and that is in fact the reason you’re doing it, then that “angle” matches – so if all your reasons are accurately disclosed, that’s congruent.

There is, of course, the “proportions” thing. In geometry, it means the lengths of the sides have the same relation. With triangles, for example, you’ve got three angles and three sides. You can’t alter any side’s length without altering something else. So if all three angles match, then all the sides have the same proportions – the Pythagorean theorem covers this for right triangles, identifying the ratio of the hypotenuse to the other two sides.

In a personality context, what we’re really discussing is focus. To use a marketing example, every product vendor on the planet tells you to join a mailing list for product news and updates, which they never send. However, if they told you to join a mailing list for an interminable stream of shitty affiliate links for more crap you can buy, you wouldn’t join it.

Sometimes all the angles match. They’ll admit that their mailing list will receive frequent mailings, and that those mailing will include other offers along with useful information, but that it is also the sole channel for updates to the product. Except the product is never updated, so it doesn’t matter what channel the updates are in because there’s nothing on that channel but static anyway.

What’s lacking in that case is the proportions. They act as though the primary purpose of the list is to send updates to the product – and that those updates will (a) happen, and (b) have some useful function. In truth, the primary purpose of their list is delivering affiliate links to as many people as possible, and the ability to send updates is just a nebulous idea that may never see actual use.

Even the “useful” information sent out to these lists is generally just positioning you to receive an affiliate link later; remember yesterday, when I pointed out how Brendon’s “competence” chapter makes sure to include getting a coach? No marketer worth his salt would suggest that the job could be done just as well without him. There has to be self-interest in the process.

Indeed, the SLIM tetrad – Selfish, Lazy, Ignorant, and Mean – is a good way to check congruence. When people offer you something, there’s usually a SLIM motivation or two in there. Look for it. If you can’t find one, chances are pretty good that someone’s blowing smoke up your arse.

 

The Charge: Competence

Next in Brendon Burchard’s list of “10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive” in The Charge is the idea of competence – how good you are at what you do.

It’s surprising how much detail he goes into with this; the psychological drives, the economic foundations, it’s quite refreshing to see someone dive straight into something that advanced without embarrassment or apology.

It’s also good to see someone address competence as precisely what it is: education. This goes back to the question of control somewhat; it’s not necessary to control the outcome, so long as you have a mental awareness of what the outcome is likely to be.

That’s what competence is really all about. Anticipation. It’s the ability to go do something with a pretty good idea how it’s going to unfold, which in turn means that when things unfold in an undesirable fashion, you have a pretty good idea what you’re going to do about it.

This is really where control meets random chance. When you go out driving to the supermarket, it’s tremendously unlikely that an eighteen-wheeler will roll over on its way around a corner and put you in imminent danger. But what makes a driver competent is that if this happens, he knows what he should do, how to do it, and what the likely outcome is going to be.

The clearest sign of incompetence is panic – something has happened that you did not anticipate, you don’t know what to do or how to do it, and you’ve no clue how it’s all going to turn out.

Burchard does, of course, have the usual “get a coach” pitch. And it’s true, having someone to help you out is great, but you sort of have to take it with a hefty dose of salt when the professional coach says you should totally get yourself a professional coach.

There’s an exercise he has people do toward the end where you list all the little wins you’ve ever had, the ones you never really stopped to appreciate. Every new skill you learned, all the books you read, the courses you took, the (ahem) coaches you hired, and so on and so forth. It’s similar to the exercise I did a few weeks back about identifying major wins from various areas of your life, except Brendon’s suggestion is  writing at least a page for each year starting with last year and moving back one year at a time.

There’s a common thread in most of the things people like this do: they like to have you write things down. And they’re all the same general kinds of things, too. Even when it’s patently ridiculous like doing “affirmations,” just writing down what you want and then merrily going on about your business, writing things down matters. That’s worth considering, when you look at how to remodel your life into something that doesn’t suck quite as much shit.

 

 

The Charge: Control

One of the more interesting notions in The Charge is the one where how much of a given drive you have is simply up to you.

So the drive for control isn’t a drive to have more control, or to control this or that aspect of your life – but a drive to feel like you have the right amount of control. If you’re a big control freak, this drive will be for detailed control over all the minutia of your life. If you’re more of an anarchist, the drive will head in the opposite direction – to get rid of this detailed control, so you don’t have to deal with it.

Brendon also splits this up into three different types of control, which I found to be a reasonably productive idea.  These three types of control are basically yourself, your lifestyle, and your job. (He uses different terms.)

Controlling yourself is basically about feeling like you get to be part of the world you want to be a part of.  That may sound a little weird and touchy-feely, but look around; there are plenty of people stuck in a world they don’t want to be a part of. I myself was in that situation just a couple months ago; I was trying to manage my business in a way that was compatible with other people’s businesses, and those other people basically wanted nothing to do with it because “compatible” wasn’t enough. They wanted my business to look just like theirs, instead of just being compatible with it. So I walked away from that, because they were removing my control over myself by trying to control who I was.

Similarly, control over lifestyle is important. Simply put, this is the ability to control the work/life balance as well as the old/new balance. Instead of feeling trapped in the office or a routine, you have a certain drive to walk away from the office a certain amount of time, and to try new things at a certain frequency. These are what allow you to grow as a person and as a professional. Brendon goes so far as to recommend taking a short vacation (or “stay-cation,” where you don’t go anywhere, but just take time off) every ninety days… one to five days at a time. This isn’t a terrible idea.

The real productivity tip – and the one everyone seems to be focused on – is control over your job. He’s got a worksheet that goes along with that, which he tells coaching clients to fill out by hand every morning.

It’s basically Products – People – Priorities; you list your top three projects, and five big things you MUST do to move each project forward. Then you list the people you need to contact, and the people you need to contact you. Finally, you list the things you MUST get done today no matter what.

Once the worksheet is done, you go into your email inbox, and read ONLY the emails from people you listed on the sheet – then send emails to ONLY the people listed on the sheet, as necessary. No other email is dealt with until the end of the day.

When you’ve finished these emails, you shut your email client, then proceed to work your way down all the things you MUST do today. After you’ve finished those, you work on the things you MUST do to move your projects forward; and when you’ve done all you can do there, you’re done for the day.

It’s reasonably simple, and a good idea. Planning your days is a pretty simple thing, but people who neglect it often have zero control over their work day.

Tomorrow we’ll go over the drive for competence.

Offline Marketing Sucks Shit

For the first 18 years of my business, I did everything in the offline world.

I got up and showered and shaved and put on a tie and picked up an attache case and pounded the pavement talking to small and medium business owners anywhere and everywhere I could. Because that was what you did.

And don’t get me wrong, I liked this. It was a good routine. I enjoyed the whole morning ritual of getting ready and going out so I could find the next client. To this day, I actually like wearing a dress shirt and tie, and ironing my trousers in the morning is a comfortable and relaxing part of my day. Because in some ways, that’s who I am – and who I always will be. You can’t spend most of your adult life doing something and not become that.

But then the switch got thrown, and everything started to be online. I met clients online. I found contractors online. I did work online. It was no longer necessary to find someone in the local area; the wide availability of broadband meant I could hire people in Kansas, Vermont, and Louisiana, then put them on a project for a client in Michigan.

And the quality of my clients and contractors and projects went wayyyyyyyy up.

See, here’s the problem with offline marketing: you can only physically go so many miles. If you go to a particular office park, there are twenty or thirty business owners there and only so many of them want what you provide in the first place.

It’s like a mailing list; you get about forty percent of them willing to listen to you (open rate), twenty percent of those interested enough in your service to get a quote (click thru rate), and ten percent of those actually willing to hire you (conversion). Which among 25 business owners is ten pitches, two presentations, and odds are five to one against actually getting a client.

So you’re going to hit up about five of those office parks per client, and just how many of them do you have around you anyway?

Which leads me to the point.

Some people think I don’t do 0ffline products because I disapprove of offline business. This is not the case. I believe that offline business is a perfectly good way to do business; I like it, I enjoy it, and I’d never suggest that it shouldn’t be done.

But the principles of online business are the same fundamental principles of offline business, and they’re cheaper and easier to apply online. Testing a new pitch on fifty new business owners takes a whole damn wek offline, but you can do it in a couple hours online.

Once you know what you’re doing, by all means, take it offline. Go to people’s doors. Look them in the eye and shake their hand and say things out loud. To, you know, another human being. But that takes a lot more time and a lot more energy and it’s a lot more risky.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother.

The Point Of Authenticity

I draw an interesting line between “honesty” and “dishonesty” which I call “authenticity.”

The difference is that whether one is honest or dishonest depends on what is actually true, while authenticity depends instead on what is generally accepted as true.

It may be honest to say that you made $45,000 in an hour. I’ve done this myself. I’ve made a thirty-minute presentation to a client, quoting a four-week turnaround on the project with three full-time developers at $96 an hour, and walked out ten minutes later with a cheque for the balance. (A quick run through on a calculator tells me this is $46,080.)

But whether this is authentic depends on your own perspective. When I say I’ve done this, that’s not hard to believe; but when I suggest you can do this, as I might do on a sales page, skepticism rears its head.

It may be honest to say that I have done a thing, or even to say that you could do it. Indeed, I believe anyone suitably self-confident with a well-prepared presentation could get a similar cheque; you don’t need technical expertise so much as you need a nice shirt and tie.

Of course, then you need to deliver three full-time developers for a month who complete the assigned project to the client’s satisfaction, which is rather less trivial… not to mention you need to get the appointment with the client in the first place, again not a trivial process.

But when I’m trying to sell you something, I’m not going to tell you that these things are hard. I’m going to be Rob Schneider.

Kick him in the balls!

I mean, I’m not trying to be your fucking parent, I’m trying to sell you shit. I’ll still tell you all the stuff you need to know, but if you’re at all normal you don’t want to hear “this is hard and will take time.” You want to hear “any retard can do this right now.”

And somewhere between the honesty of “this is hard and will take time” and the bullshit of “any retard can do this right now,” there is authenticity: “with a little instruction, you can do this.”

With a little weasel-wording, obviously. When I say “this,” I mean “give a presentation and collect a cheque the same day.” It will probably not be a $45k cheque. It will probably not be for software development. It will probably not involve three other people working full-time for a month to make it happen.

But that’s authentic. You can easily believe that with a little training you can give a presentation and collect a cheque the same day.

And tomorrow I’m going to close out the month with why I don’t teach that sort of thing.

Guarantees and Refunds

When you look at a product’s sales page and can’t even tell what the fuck it is, you frequently have a conversation like this.

Customer: “I don’t understand. What is it?”

Dick Vendor: “It’s a secret! I can’t tell you!”

Customer: “Then how do I know I want it?”

Dick Vendor: “There’s no risk! Buy it, and if you don’t want it, I’ll refund your money.”

And if you go “well, that’s reasonable enough,” and hand over whatever this product costs… only to find it’s something fucking retarded, like how to get approved for a Clickbank account in less than 24 hours when you already have a Clickbank account and don’t use it anyway… then you get to have this conversation.

Customer: “Yeah, I don’t need this. I’d like my refund please.”

Dick Vendor: “You’ve only had it a few minutes. You can’t possibly have tried it.”

Customer: “I don’t need to try it. If I had known what it was I would not have bought it.”

Dick Vendor: “That’s why your business is a failure and you don’t make any money. You don’t even try to use what you buy. You’re just looking for a magic bullet.”

Customer: “Look, I don’t want this product. You told me you would refund my money if I didn’t want it.”

Dick Vendor: “You’re a faggot.”

If you run in the same circles as product creators, it gets worse. That conversation about the refund will get repeated, except it will get told like this.

Dick Vendor: “So I have this customer, he actually doesn’t want to spend $7 until I promise him he can have a refund… which I do, but I should have known better, because he gets his hands on the product and immediately wants his refund. Like within five minutes. And the product’s got, like, four hours of video and a 60 page guide to affiliate marketing. So I ask if he tried it and he says he doesn’t have to because he can just get a refund anyway.”

Other Vendors: “FUCKING SERIAL REFUNDERS! THEY’RE ALL THIEVES! BLACKLIST HIM! HE’S A PIGFUCKER! HE WILL BE A DORK AND NOT MAKE ANY MONEY!”

And you kind of get a good idea of how the industry polarises, because there are all these people who act like that, and then you have people who are more like this.

Cool Vendor: “Fuck, dude, it’s $7. I don’t give a shit. If he’s telling the truth, then he deserves his money back. And if he’s not, fuck it, that’s not my problem. I said he could have a refund, so he gets a refund. If I didn’t give refunds I wouldn’t make a guarantee.”

Basically, if you only want to give refunds under certain conditions… you have to state the conditions.

If you say “no questions asked,” you can’t ask any questions.

It’s perfectly reasonable to say “I personally guarantee that if you do what I say but don’t get what I promised, I’ll refund 100% of your money.”

Granted, you can skate close to the line on that by saying to do completely retarded shit that doesn’t matter.

Dick Vendor: “I don’t see any video of your left nostril posted on YouTube, so NO REFUND FOR YOU!”

Or you can play stupid word games with your promises.

Dick Vendor: “I promised you could make as much as fifty kajillion dollars. That means anything less than fifty kajillion dollars is still technically what I promised, and nothing is less than fifty kajillion so NO REFUND FOR YOU!”

I mean, if you want to be a dick, then you’re going to be a dick. I’m mostly after you to do shit in a way that you can eventually stop being a dick – either because you grew the fuck up, or because you got big enough that the FTC might give a shit about your complaint volume.