I sit on a lot of things that I want to post to this blog. I generally
keep them flagged in my feed reader so I can get to them easily, under the guise that I’ll actually get around to posting them. But, I never do. Sometimes, it gets to the point where I give up, and I just unflag it–sometimes I’ll bookmark it and the link will post in my weekly del.icio.us wrap-up that gets posted to the blog. However, this one required a posting since the source material I’m referring to is audio and I don’t expect everyone to sit and listen to it. So, I’ve finally sat down and transcribed it and now I’m posting it.
Back in the beginning of March 2006, Jason Calacanis was interviewed at BarCampLA for the Tech Conference Show podcast. If you do have the time, you can listen to it yourself: MP3 (24.5 MB, 35m 41s). I’ve gone and transcribed the portion of the podcast that really stuck with me, which was the segment between 28m 36s and 30m 35s:
We had a big philosophical rule at Weblogs, Inc., which was, anybody who was
negative, a downer, not a go-getter, not resilient, we got rid of immediately,
from bloggers, to programmers, to people in the management team, anybody
involved in the company. And we probably let go of, in the history of the 300
bloggers we have, might have turned off the accounts of 5 or 10 bloggers in the
history of it, I don’t know exactly. A very small number of people,
considering most of the bloggers we’ve signed up we’ve never met in person. I
think the overwhelming majority of the time, 90% of the time we turned somebody
off, was because they were just a negative, downer, complaining: why don’t we
have this yet, why don’t we have a wiki, why don’t we have enclosures? I find
that those–when you’re in management, the people who are–you spend more than
half your time on the people who are complainers, then what happens is over
time, you don’t pay attention to the good people, so the Peter Rojas’s of the
world, the Ryan Block’s of the world, the Judith’s of the world, the Barb’s or
Brad’s … those people just sit there and do it day-in and day-out–Brian
Alvey–and then you wind up paying attention to those people who are
complaining. As a manager, you are there for the service of the people
work–and you know, I’m making those quotes with my fingers–the people “under”
you, which I hate [that phrase]. Weblogs, Inc., is the flattest organization
I’ve ever been part of, and I don’t consider myself above anybody in the
company. I actually consider myself the servant of the people on my management
team, and I consider my management team the servants of the people who work
(Any inaccuracies in the transcription are mine. Before reacting strongly to what Jason has said, please listen to the audio for yourself. There is a lot of passion and cues that are lost in the transcription process.)
Ever since hearing this a month ago, I wholly agreed: you can easily spend all your time and energies dealing with the detractors while the folks who actually do the good work end up ignored. Those people, by all rights, should be fired, as Jason’s pointed out they’ve done at Weblogs, Inc. in the past.
I’m one of those people. I complain. I’m very negative. I always see the worst in a situation, in people, in life. I should be fired: from my job, from my family, from my life. The loving, hard-working, caring people all around me shouldn’t have to put up with a downer like me. Jason’s absolutely right, which is why he’s built and sold a company and I’m just floundering here, going nowhere fast.
I’ve let the AOLserver community down by not working harder on moving it forward. I’ve let my wife down by not being a better husband. I’ve let my kids down by not being a better father. I’ve let myself down by not having the motivation, courage and determination to become successful at anything. I’ve let my friends down by not being more appreciative of them and not being more supportive of them. It just goes on and on … and the kicker is, I’ve done nothing but complain about it (at least, inside my own head, if not out loud to others) the whole time. Whenever I have tried to do things to improve things instead of complaining, it felt like the whole world was set against me, struggling to maintain the status quo. I’m defeated.
I should be fired.