On death threats, responsibility, and making it clear

[Edit: Hello lovelies. Yes, since I wrote this article we’re up to five – or is it six? – extra layers of claim and counter-claim and revelation and events. I have absolutely no possibility of keeping up with it, and am no longer trying to. Whatever happened or did not happen, the point I wrote this article to make is still 100% valid. Thanks.]

A wee bit of background, for people not in the loop:

Naomi Dunford runs a site called Ittybiz.

Recently, Naomi wrote a post that said that she had received death threats.

These are facts.

There are also plenty of opinions and rumours flying around. Let’s get a few key ones on the table.

Rumours like:

Late last year Naomi left her husband Jamie and shortly thereafter ran away with Dave Navarro – the launch guy, not the guitarist.

Naomi ran her yearly sale for her husband’s birthday after they’d split up.

Opinions like:

Naomi heavily promoted Dave’s work, announcing she was a completely disinterested party giving advice, and that was… disingenous, to say the least.

Naomi has been manipulative/skeezy/dishonest/unethical/counter-brand in the last year.

The rumours may or may not be true. The opinions are of course entirely subjective.

But let’s, for the sake of me having a useful discussion without qualifying every single sentence, make a few assumptions.

Let’s assume that Naomi did leave her husband, then have a sale for him, then run away to Europe with Non-Guitarist Dave, then promote Non-Guitarist Dave’s work as if she had no stake in it, then continue running her business while talking about none of these events.

Let’s also assume that she received death threats exactly in the manner she said.

These are two completely separate issues.

Let me say this again:

Naomi’s actions and the actions of the people who sent her death threats are completely separate issues.

Naomi is responsible for her actions.

The death-threat-senders – let us call them the Murderous Assholes for short – are responsible for their actions.

We tend to forget this.

We say, “Well, death threats are clearly Not Cool, but she did run away with another woman’s husband…”

No.

NO.

Naomi Dunford is not in any way responsible for the Murderous Assholes sending her death threats. Naomi is responsible for what Naomi has said and done, and nothing else.

The only people who are responsible for sending death threats are the mysognistic fuckheads who send them.

They own that. Only them.

When we are talking about this issue, or anything else like it, we MUST delineate responsibility.

I own my actions.

You own yours.

And there is not one single “but so-and-so did this” that alters our responsibility.

If you punch someone, it doesn’t matter what they said beforehand. You own that punch.

If you deceive someone, it doesn’t matter how much you needed the money. You own that deceit.

If you send a death threat, it doesn’t matter what that person did or did not do. You own that threat.

We are at all times reponsible for our own actions. And when we talk about situations where actions have followed after each other, we have to be careful to remember that the previous action doesn’t own the one that comes after.

Only the person who did it owns the action.

It doesn’t matter what Naomi did or did not do. Someone sent her a death threat, and they own it.

I want to keep this very, very clear.

Because then I can separate out the controversial and rebellious and gossipalicious aspects of Naomi being… Naomi and get right to the point.

There are people who send threats to women if they become visibly powerful.

There are people who will persist in ugliness and grow more dangerous over time in order to get those women to shut up, hide, and go away.

This is entirely their own responsibility.

There is nothing about the woman that is relevant. Whether she was nice. Whether she was a bitch. Whether she slept with six hundred people. Whether she is thin or fat. Whether she acted ethically or unethically.

Is your “Yeah, but…” turning up? Turn it off.

The personality and actions of any woman being subjected to these kinds of threats is irrelevant. She might murder kittens on her front lawn, it doesn’t matter.

There are people who send threats to women if they become visibly powerful.

Any kind of woman.

When we are responding to it, we must, MUST address the situation without any of the “Yeah, but…”.

Do not muddy the waters, and allow the Murderous Assholes to think that what they are doing is acceptable if only the woman in question is outspoken/unconventional/adulterous/whatever enough.

There is no justification that is acceptable for sending death threats. None.

There are people who send threats to women if they become visibly powerful.

And that will continue being acceptable for as long as we allow it to be.

What I’m going to do about it

I was playing around with my first website when Kathy Sierra shut down her site due to persistent and alarming death threats. I loved her site, and I was distraught both at the loss of her wisdom and what it meant for me as a budding online entrepreneur.

I knew that it might be a part of what was coming for me, and I decided then what I would do about it.

NOT ONE DAMN THING.

I would live my life and run my business the way I wanted to, and I would display my address and my phone number and anything else I wanted to, and fuck those assholes who might come at me.

My address is 354 Nursery Road, Holland Park, Queensland. If you’re coming from the city you’ll probably want to take the expressway and get off at the Marshall Road exit.

I completely and utterly refuse to hide.

I completely and utterly refuse to be less than myself because there are people around who may threaten me.

I own my actions, and my choice is to shine as bright as I can.

I feel compassion for the people who find that threatening. But I will still break their kneecaps if they come at me.

Here I am.

 

Consistent magnificence: the golden ticket

Tena at range
Feliks loved Sarah.

Sarah loved guns.

The old story.

It all begins at the local rifle range.

Feliks is there for the first time, with two boxes of .22 cartridges and his friend Dave. Dave has told him that he’s going to love the shooting, and Dave was right.

Feliks and Dave spend an hour target shooting paper targets with Dave’s Winchester bolt-action. When the boxes of rounds ran out, Feliks says, “I’ll buy some more.”

Dave says, “Are you sure, mate? I mean, they’re not super-pricy, but I figure your shoulder’s getting sore.”

It is, but Feliks says, “I’m having a blast. One more box.” Dave shrugs, and Feliks heads to the store.

And there is Sarah.

She’s chatting with the woman behind the counter as she checks a box of ammunition. She’s… arresting, with a pleasant, regular face lit up by fierce determination and intelligence.

Feliks is flat-out instantly mamapajama smitten. He says, “Hey. Buying some rounds for your handgun?”

She turns and with no expert superciliousness says, “Actually, these are for my shotgun.”

“But they’re tiny!” says Feliks, ready to say any number of inane things to keep the conversation with this bright fierce woman going. “I thought shotgun shells were… you know… big!”

Sarah smiles and tells him about how the rounds are actually .410 bore, and they’re used in skeet shooting competitions. Sarah competes, and she comes here every Tuesday to practice, and she’ll see Feliks around, maybe?

At least, that’s what Feliks reassembles later on about the conversation with the help of the woman behind the counter. It was a bit hard to concentrate at the time, you see.

So Feliks goes home and tells his family that he’s joining a rifle club.

His grandfather, Polish and scarred and romantic, threatens to disown him.

His grandmother, Polish and scarred and practical, tells him that she’s proud of him and bakes him lamingtons.

His Dad suspects a romance, and his mother says, “Why not?”

And so Feliks starts learning how to shoot. He stays on the targets, mastering the fundamentals, completely focussed except for the occasional break to wave nonchalantly at Sarah. (She’s around, but usually too busy to talk much. Feliks can remember every single, “Hey. Howareya?” she smiles at him.)

He shoots the paper targets, but his dream is to shoot the skeet.

He daydreams about it, imagines the clay disk shattering into twenty zillion pieces and Sarah running over to high-five him. Then, he suggests getting… an ice-cream! A coffee! A movie! A trip to Fiji! to celebrate, and in his dreams she always says Yes.

Feliks learns fast.

Feliks possesses natural talent, piles of determination, and regular lessons from his grandmother. (This last was a surprise: he had never been told that she was a freedom fighter in Poland during World War Two. Away from her glowering husband she tells Feliks astonishing stories about her work for the Armia Krajowa in between correcting his aim.)

(She also gives Sarah the once-over and decides she approves.)

With all these blessings, Feliks’ progress is astonishingly fast. In only two months, his grandmother says that he’s probably ready to try the skeet.

Sensibly, for despite the pangs of love Feliks is still a sensible lad, he starts on a day where Sarah isn’t present. The clay disk is flung into the air, and again and again and again he misses it.

He practices again next week and misses over and over, but his misses are closer. More practice and he feels that he wouldn’t be world-endingly embarassed to have Sarah see him.

She is only metres away when he successfully explodes his first clay skeet.

He turns to her, face alight, ready for the high-five-ice-cream-three-children daydream. She looks up, nods once, and goes back to cleaning her shotgun.

Feliks takes his grandmother out for ice-cream instead, and tries not to cry into his sundae.

It takes one scoop of time for Babcia Irena to realise that her grandson is less than perfectly elated by his success, and another half scoop to find out why.

Babcia Irena then laughs that wise and slightly malicious old lady cackle that all beings rightly fear.

“Fool boy! One success is not enough to impress her. You’ve missed hundreds of those things, and you could have hit that one by accident. Shoot ten in a row, then she’ll be impressed.”

Feliks nods judiciously, finishes his sundae, and readjusts his daydream.

Feliks keeps shooting at the skeets.

It’s a drizzly ordinary sort of day and he’s feeling a bit tired and not quite in the flow as a sequence of ten are flung.

He misses the first three, and then suddenly Feliks is in the zone.

One sharp crack as a clay disk shatters. Two. Threefour. Five. He misses the last one, and stares bemused at the pile of crockery.

And he turns, to find a beaming Sarah behind him.

You know how the rest of the story goes.

Everyone is magnificent sometimes.

Everyone.

And those occasional moments of magnificence get our attention, briefly.

What holds our attention is consistent magnificence.

Let me say that again:

Magnificence gets our attention. Consistent magnificence KEEPS our attention.

Not one amazing article: a series of amazing articles.

Not one mind-blowing testimonial: a flood of mind-blowing testimonials.

Not one engaging exchange on Twitter: a pattern of engaging exchanges on Twitter.

This is why I am so damn adamant about you only doing your best work.

It’s not because I don’t believe you are capable of producing magnificence from anything you put your mind to. You are. We both know it.

But consistent magnificence? That’s harder.

It means you have to deliver, and keep on delivering, remarkable results… no matter what is going on around you.

When it’s your best work, you can deliver consistent magnificence despite adverse conditions. You know: tech hiccups. Inadequate supplies. Pounding headache. Sick dog.

You’ll find a way to transcend these problems, or even create better work because of your limitations.

When it’s not your best work… magnificence becomes hit and miss. Damn good is likely, but magnificence will never be dependably delivered by your less-than-best work.

And that matters, big-time.

You will never develop the same powerful relationships and reputation with hit-and-miss magnificence that you will through consistent magnificence.

If we trust you to deliver magnificence, you have our attention – and our money. We will be riveted to see what you do next, whether you can possibly keep the amazingness flowing.

With your best work, the odds are excellent that the answer is yes.

Best work = consistent magnificence = squoodles of cash and joy.

I wonder if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Is your goal to knock it out of the park once?

Or is it to knock it out of the park every single day?

The first requires a surge of magnificence, of the creative genius that lives inside us all.

The second requires consistent magnificence, and creative discipline.

Which are you currently using? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

And if you’re ready to clarify what work is your absolute best, then Goddamn Radiant and I are here to help. Because this is MY bestest work.

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley

 

An unreserved apology to urgency in launches

Going up...
For the last decade, I have lived in various houses near Mount Gravatt.

Mount Gravatt is an oversized hill with a repeater dish on top. It is utterly lacking in mystery, intrigue and romance.

I still like it. I’ve been meaning to go eat my lunch at the top of that place for the entire decade that it’s been in my vicinity.

But I’ve never done it.

For many years there were reasons that was difficult: Day Job, no car, yadda yadda. Nowadays, I have no reason that’s stopping me from going. None at all.

Yet here I am, still eating lunch at my house, while Mount Gravatt lurks just a kilometre or two away. I want to go. There’s no reason at all for me NOT to go.

But there’s been no pressing reason for me to go, either: to bother putting on my shoes, packing up my lunch, backing the car out of my horrible driveway, etc etc etc… it feels pathetic to say it, but that’s a meaningful amount of effort.

It’s just easier to sit here and eat my lunch on the couch.

Welcome back to high school science lab.

*white lab coat and safety goggles… on*

Remember inertia? It’s a basic principle of physics: bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.

Simple physics: in order to create motion, you must impart enough energy to overcome inertia.

If you don’t, then the object goes… nowhere.

You can try this right now, science fans.

  1. Put a pencil on a notepad.
  2. Remove all obstacles in its path.
  3. Raise the end of the notepad an inch so the pencil wants to roll downhill.

And what happens? Not a damn thing. Inertia holds that pencil in place like it was glued there.

It wants to move, and there’s nothing in its path stopping it. But it doesn’t move.

It’s the same with me and that mountain.

It’s the same with your people and the offerings you present to them.

It’s not enough to make something people want.

It’s not enough to remove the obstacles and objections.

You have to do more.

You have to help your people overcome inertia.

This doesn’t require force, except in the most technical scientific sense. It’s better to think about it as requiring energy.

Scarcity is a source of energy. It says, “Do it quick, before we miss out!”

Peer pressure is a source of energy. It says, “Do it now, so we can belong!”

Caring is a source of energy. It says, “Do it now, so [someone] can benefit!” (The [someone] might be the client, or you, or a charity, or someone else.)

All of these things create urgency. Urgency overcomes inertia. VoilĂ ! Movement.

Which is why all my launches in future will be closed, not open.

I refused, totally utterly refused, to use urgency for quite a long time. “It’s fake,” I said. “But I want to be available when my readers are ready,” I said. “Transformation takes time, and you have to be ready for it,” I said.

These are all true statements. But they don’t matter as much as inertia does.

My buy-it-whenever-you-like-seriously-it’s-all-good offerings did nothing to impart the motion toward buying it NOW instead of six months from now. And as the mountain and I both know, six months becomes a decade pretty damn quickly.

People wanted the offerings, the same way I want to eat overlooking the city. In most cases there was nothing stopping people from signing up that day. But they didn’t.

“It can wait. I’ll get it next week after that cheque comes in. I’ll get it after I buy that other thing I’ve had my eye on. I’m thirsty. I better go feed the cat. Where was I?”

Does it make that much difference?

Yes.

I admitted to my newsletter subscribers that my leave-every-offer-open,-forever-and-ever, launch style wasn’t really working for either of us. So I announced that access to the awesometacular Cash and Joy Foundations resource would be closing in one week.

I tripled my sales total in that week.

Tripled.

Nothing about the resource had changed except for two very small things:

  • I told people about the resource more often.
  • It had an end date.

I heard from people who have been reading this website for six months without ever making contact.

I heard from people who suddenly wanted to take action, rightthissecond, and wanted to ask more about the resource.

I heard from people who were wondering if they should sign up right now because they have these things coming up, and they don’t want to miss out, so…

That is a lot of overcome inertia.

But doesn’t it feel manipulative?

No. I thought it would, but it doesn’t.

Let’s be clear: urgency is manipulative. You are manipulating external conditions in order to produce a result.

But you’re not manipulating people.

It’s an important distinction.

My bestest people wanted this resource.

My bestest people could afford this resource.

I manipulated the conditions to say that NOW would be a good time to get started.

That’s all.

Some people don’t have the money now, or the free time, or the headspace, or whatever. Some of them emailed me to find out when it re-opens. (Later October-ish, by the way: you can pop your email into the box to find out exactly when.)

That’s only two months away. By that time they will have either figured out the answers for themselves – yay! – or be one zillion percent ready to rock it out when it does re-open.

In the meantime, there are twenty people rocking it out now who might never have signed up, ever, if I had stayed with the doors-don’t-close model.

No movement, no action.

Urgency works.

I am now a convert.

I unashamedly and unreservedly apologise to urgency. You were right, I was wrong. I’ll be seeing you a lot in future.

But first, I gotta go have lunch up this damn mountain.

You might be wondering how I’ve stayed in business this long without using urgency at all: it’s because I do a lot of other things very, very well. Want to learn more? Sign up for Mo’Cash, Mo’Joy and we can talk about how you can do the same in a free 30-minute Marketing Check-up!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar