Planet Earth: land of the delusional truth stretchers

This email is part of my secret newsletter society.

Sep 7th, 2017


In my young adult life I have noticed something unfortunate.

The phenomenon is that people of all walks lie to themselves and others through truth stretching to convince others they and their ideas are something they are not.

Moving to San Francisco, I was quickly disgusted by the blatant manipulation of numbers and statistics by marketers and founders.

In marketing, one friend of mine proudly repped his identity as a college dropout, despite having a bachelor’s degree. After getting his bachelor’s, he had stayed in school to finish a minor, then chose to not finish it and ensuingly branded himself as a dropout to sound techie and risk averse.

I knew I shouldn’t care, but it bothered me.

In SF, I consistently consulted companies.

“We work with an audience of ONE MILLION people” they would tout to advertisers. But when I looked at their numbers, 100,000 were known recounts, another 100,000 were known fake accounts and the remaining was manipulation of the data.

Really, they averaged 250,000 people in their audience.

This blatant falsification in both branding and analytics is rampant across marketers everywhere.
Unfortunately, this falsery is far more prevalent than in marketing.

For the past few weeks I have been hanging out on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League University ranked as one of the top five best schools in the United States.

I assumed this was going to be the real deal. Nope. Quickly while visiting, my close friends began to show how many notable entrepreneurs from their University had made entire careers out of connections and truth stretching.

They shared how every 30 Under 30 ranking is mostly rigged and how the selection crew mostly just picks their friends.

How’d they know?

“I have a friend from Penn and he literally just picks people from Penn who aren’t doing anything above average”

They showed me the campus newspaper that photographed three students on their start up being acquired by an undisclosed purchaser for an undisclosed sum.

My friends told me they knew the kids. The company failed and it was purchased by the father of one of the founders for $5,000.

There are legitimately 20–30 first-hand stories I could share about this from my time in the Valley, in media and at Penn.

In none of the above are these people lying. But, in my perception, this is intentional manipulation to build a facade.

This is the pursuit of ego and the lazy pursuit of impact.

These are people who want to win for themselves and do not want to work for outsized impact. They might want to do good, but they don’t want to work for it because what they crave isn’t delivering a single solution to a single person but rather big cool solutions that immortalize their name.

My argument is that we, my lovely readers and, myself included, need to be better than this. The world needs people who do real things, solve real problems and deliver real solutions. 

It’s not my business to care, but then again, it is. My tribe is the human tribe. This entity we are a part of, the human collective, is just as much me as it is you. It is my role, and your role, to ensure entity operates with a sense of legitimacy.

It starts with one. You, me and the people we reach.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Hit reply and let me know!


My secret newsletter society which has become the hottest spot on the web.

I talk shop. I draw pictures. I give shit out. We look into hard sciences like biology and soft sciences like psychology and start smashing them together.

Throw in some art. Everything goes boom.

The people start going crazy. Mom is in the rafters. Confetti is falling. Apple sauce is on the wall. Champagne is pouring. Einstein is on drums.

This is your last chance to get in before we bring back da Vinci.

You don’t want to miss da Vinci.

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