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Business Ethics- Kak vs Dragon

Anything related to matters of the mind

MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
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Doesn't @Kak have a podcast? It would be really cool to see them debate this on it, points would be way easier to understand between all of the noise of the thread.


YESSSSSSS!!!!!!
 
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thechosen1

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Doesn't @Kak have a podcast? It would be really cool to see them debate this on it, points would be way easier to understand between all of the noise of the thread.
This is an EPIC idea!!! (My bad for using the forum guys lol)

Edit: a forum doesn't really work as a place for two users to have a 1-1 conversation for all to read and not reply to, unless mods lock it for other users. If replies are allowed, replies will be made. That's my philosophical contribution to this philosophical thread... haha
 
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mikecarlooch

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Doesn't @Kak have a podcast? It would be really cool to see them debate this on it, points would be way easier to understand between all of the noise of the thread.
Screw star wars, THIS would be entertainment. lol
 

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I'm definitely not here for the debate, but this is some wild timing.

I've never been one for television as I've always found it boring... Until I encountered a show on Netflix called "The Food That Built America."

Interestingly enough, I learned about a cereal creator by the name of "C.W. Post." Wanna know how he got his start in the cereal business? As an employee of what would eventually become Kellogg's, he simply walked into their little office one night, and stole their OG recipe. He then created a cereal by the name of "Grape Nuts." What's even crazier is you can still buy that shit to this day.

While I won't debate the ethics of it (that's for y'all to decide as individuals), it does make one ask a couple of questions. Despite the fact he delivered a solid product to a hungry market, knowing he got his start via crime, should his legacy still be worth billions? Should he still be considered one of the "founding fathers of breakfast/cereal," when in all reality, he founded neither breakfast nor cereal? After-all, it was Kellogg's that created the original recipe, and it was the government that would eventually make a deal with Kellogg's to push the very idea/concept of "breakfast."

Personally, I do hold myself to rather high personal standards, but I also very much believe in the idea of almost everything in life is a gray area.

Humans truly are a special type of creature.
 
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techvx

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It's always hard to add any significant substance to a topic of discussion that's been so thoroughly and beautifully debated, yet a few points seem not to have been fully addressed, and a part of my mind now feels quite compelled to do just that.

Disclaimer: I have no intention of "calling anyone out" or doubting whether (and how) sincere, authentic, and otherwise well-meaning any particular individual is - the following merely represent my observations, thoughts, and personal flow of logic, based on a (n extremely limited) perspective I have from a point of a view of a third-party to this wondrous discussion.

First things first, however: for the sake of utmost clarity, let's be clear about the terms brought up so far. @Kak 's original point clearly raises the point of contention regarding (purely subjective notions of) morality, and ethics - not so much about "criminality" in the legal sense of the word, as defined (differently) in each and every law jurisdiction of a particular country.

From this point of view, the following does seem to have quite a strong resemblance to a classical "appeal to purity", also commonly known as the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, which does tend to discredit the argument itself somewhat:

• A true criminal and dishonest person would never discuss what I am about to discuss with you publically. Because, a true criminal knows that crimes are committed in the shadows, and never in the light. In the light it is exactly as you say @Kak in the message below. Therefore, a true criminal would be saying that you should always be honest & ethical.

Even if were to go into the trouble of defining the "true" criminal by the dictionary definition of the word, one of the meanings of which clearly stands for "senseless or deplorable" in the context of the point, raised originally by @Kak - to claim to have an authority to what a "true" kind of any person is or is not, as well as to attempt to draw legitimate conclusions as to what they (whomever they might be) might decide to say or not to say, is - generally - not the best position to take out there.

Not to mention that I can't see anyone even bringing up the point of outright criminal behaviour in any posts preceding your reply. Was it a conscious strategy of charging up the context with a bit more negativity in order to make that kind of an appeal and "defuse" any negative connotation associated with it? Interesting move, albeit questionable.

• Second @biophase says that nobody here would lend me even $1,000. I certainly hope that that's not the case, because over the years I have paid you guys way more than $1,000 whether to MJ/the forum, people I've hired from here, people I've paid for their advice, etc. Perhaps more than $10,000 if we add all of it up. So if that were true, I think that wouldn't speak very good things about you.

For a party that strongly argues against the notion of "good", moral, and ethical behaviour in business (and success in general, if I understood you well), it certainly seems somewhat strange to see you bring this one up. If one is to be as merciless, ruthless, cunning, deceitful, arrogant, selfish, and egocentric, as they'd need to be, according to your own arguments and the position you've taken throughout your recent threads - why would they bother thinking twice about whether you (or anyone else, for that matter) would speak well of them or not? Or am I missing something here?

Sure, if we were to consider it as a potential reverse psychology trick in which you were trying to indirectly teach people about just how impractical it is to concern themselves with such trifle matters as basic human reciprocity - I could see your point. But weren't you trying to establish some "preliminary" ground to reinforce your next arguments to follow?

@biophase was (although while relying on his personal life's evidence, that could be considered "anecdotal" in a more rigorous context), essentially, pointing out that your insistence on there only being the "one", most "effective" and completely void of most what other people here would consider "right" way of doing business, itself, could (and quite likely, would, as well) preclude you from receiving much help on your own, if the push came to shove.

Not so much because they'd be going along the "MJ's will" or the "consensus of the crowd", nor necessarily because they'd want to prove you wrong (although they quite might be in the mood for that, actually) - but because the driving force behind you seems to be solely centered on one and only you. And you don't address that argument in any way by drawing people's attention to how (unnecessarily?) "good" you were to them, yourself, not so long ago.

• Third - I don't expect likes and agreement, because exactly as you say @Kak most people are too afraid to cover their behinds and reputations rather than investigate the truth, regardless of what it may cost them in terms of personal reputation. Not to mention that now the social dynamics, due to the message from MJ are entirely against me, and most people prefer to be on the side of the winners, regardless of whether they are right or not.

And instead of addressing their point of view heads-on, you prefer to "call them out" right away on their own bandwagon tendencies, which may or may not be there? That's quite a thin layer of ice to tread on. What makes you perfectly certain about the set of the people in this forum matching the exact profile of the "most people" out there who absolutely do have the tendency to blend in with the crowd to avoid stirring up the waters? That's a lot of generalizations to throw around, my friend. For someone who explicitly mentions the need to investigate the truth, down to its deepest roots.

As for your arguments themselves, I believe I see quite a strong common thread there - so instead of addressing them one by one, I'll try to sum the "core" message behind each and every one of them (in my mind) and tackle it all together.

1) If it were true that worldly success and ethics go hand-in-hand, then we wouldn't need morality or religion, it would simply be a matter of intelligence. If you are intelligent, you behave ethically, because you don't want to be cutting the branch of the tree that you're sitting on. We wouldn't need to teach our kids about the importance of ethics, since it would be most obvious -- it would be aligned with their existing, natural, selfish tendencies. But that's not the case is it? We need to teach our children ethics, and we need religion and laws precisely because without them a lot more people would be taking liberties that may be beneficial to them, but would be harmful for the rest of us.

Therefore, ethics don't lead to success - as proven by our need for religion, moral guidance, ethical principles, and laws.

2) Who are the most admired & successful people in history? The Buddhas, Jesuses, and Socrateses of the world, or the Alexanders, the Napoleons, the Tamerlanes, the Caesars? And who are the most successful of the bunch? Is it not the second group, every single time?

So, success is correlated with admiration, and more than anything it's correlated with "winning" - getting the upper hand, "destroying" the opposition, "enforcing" your will, getting the historians talking about you. It's not about the net impact of your legacy, it's about the magnitude of it all. A person with an impact of +10 is infinitely less successful, by your definition, than a person with an overall magnitude of their actualized ambitions of 10'000 - regardless of whether those 10'000 are +10'000, on top of which the whole field of medicine, physics, and technology is built, or -10'000, with millions of lives ruined (war/weapon traders), tons of people addicted to their creation (drug dealers), or anything else t might be.

3) Who are the most successful people in business? It is people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Phil Knight of Nike. What did these guys do?

Once again, that entire section seems to strongly suggest that the only measure of success that counts is cash and market share. Anything that can you more revenue and "domination" is success. Anything else is utterly insignificant.

4) The argument is made that being unethical destroys your reputation, and clearly your reputation impacts your success. I will argue that it is not being unethical that destroys your reputation. It is failure that destroys it. We spank the failures and ruin them, but we elevate the successes into gods.

So, people don't care about what got you to your goal. Got to crush a few skulls? Good boy. Had to cheat, coerce, and lie your way to the top? Awesome. Found a way to crush your business partner? He had it coming. And you're the man.

6) Good people are usually NOT drawn to success and power. Because good people don't need success and power to manifest what they need. They do it through their friends. Through their network. Through their honest work. And they're happy to provide for their family, help a few other people, and live a decent life. They do not aspire to be the richest people in the world. Most often they don't, of course, there are a few exceptions.

... . A bit confused here, actually. Are we talking about the same "good" people in the same definition of "good" that was implied when you were going over the "good" things you've previously done for the different people out here? (And I do realize that this sounds cheeky and provocative, but that's not my intent: just want to make sure we're clear on the terms).

Because here you seem equate goodness with general lack of ambition and modesty, in way or another. That's either an extremely broad generalization, which definitely wouldn't apply to everyone's definition of who a "good person" is - or just an attempt to cut out anyone's personal definition of what's morally or ethically right out of the picture for the sake of society's own internal pressure mechanisms for shaping people into conforming, obedient, "good" and useless bums.

Again, terms matter. In the best light possible, I could restate your argument as: to live a "good" and happy (meaning: comfortable and convenient) life means rejecting success and power completely, which is what most "good" people do.

7) Credibility & respectability is manufactured. A smart criminal will manufacture them in a legal way. Dr. John Brinkley was at one point the richest doctor in America. He had privates jets, huge mansions his own radio stations. You know what made him rich? Goat testicle replacement surgery. He would cut your ball sack open if you struggled to have kids, and put a goat testicle in there.

So, we have no accurate way of determining who to actually trust; we are bound to "fall" for those who have invested a bunch of time and money into crafting whatever image they wanted us to have of them and their business; and to succeed, you have to be prepared to invest even more into doing whatever it takes to manufacture even better, even more elaborate lie of who you are, of what your company stands for, of why you are in business - or you'll perish.

So I rest my case. The most successful and the richest people in the world are usually unethical, and even more, they MUST be unethical to rise to the very top in most cases.

Slight correction, to make a bit more accurate with the arguments you've laid out so far: the history has shown us that to succeed (grab the market share and the cash comes along with it) you have to be willing to go to any length to get where you intend to go. Therefore, to make it the top, you'll either need to "dominate" by any means; or you'll be "dominated".

-

I won't be going over the points and counter-arguments that others have already crafted so well previously. But I'd like to point out a few details that I haven't seen you elaborate on that much; a few quite important details, in my mind.

1. Your notion of success doesn't seem to imply anything beyond market share and cash.

2. Your arguments all circle around either grand historical figures, or the ways people have gotten away so far.

3. Your perspective keeps assuming that people on the client/consumer/receiving/retail side of the spectrum will always continue to be as dumb, gullible, short-sighted, unaware, lazy, and grandeur-inspired as they've always been.

The core disagreement between @Kak 's and @Black_Dragon43 's perspective lies in these three axiomatic beliefs. And aside from purely subjective notions of "good" and "bad", morally "right" or "wrong", ethically "correct" or "horrid", this is where, in my own take on this - and perhaps of a few other people over here - oh boy. The fall from the glorious sky of the DOS ("Domination-Obsessed Success" - flows quite nicely with the legacy of Bill, somehow), for those with your kind an approach, will be excruciatingly painful and horribly awakening. That much I have no doubt about, whatsoever.

People are sick of being treated like cattle. They are fed up with those who have read a few too lines of Machiavelli too many and now believe they're entitled to do "whatever it takes" to make it to "the top", regardless of how many victims have to fall prey to their blind obsession with their wondrous bank accounts. Holmes didn't "lose" because the chance went against her. She "lost" because she tried to play the game you're now encouraging everyone else here to play, despite it being the game our clueless ancestors have been playing for millions of years, back before Internet was ever invented: the game of "status", the game of the glorious "domination", the game of the criminal "market conquest".

You have all the rights in the world to appeal to the authority of those who came before you, in this regard - no doubt about it. And it's precisely because you're so focused on telling people they should aim to be the next Alexander the Great that you seem to be completely oblivious to the changes going on around you - even when you're part of them.

If you're so focused on "heavy hitters" - what are you doing on this forum? What drew you in to MJ and the other guys over here, if there are so many wondrous places run by other DOS-driven "criminals" sleeping and dreaming about getting to "the top" of their own little bubble by doing "whatever it takes" to get your attention, time, and trust?

People here are only "moderately" successful, in your own terms, are they not? They bother with such petty manners as morals and ethics, which are utterly useless, as we've established. Why even bring up how "good" it would be for them to treat you one way or another, after all the exchanges you've had with them? How should they treat you if they were to follow your own instructions to the letter? Why should you not become the next skull they crush on their way forward?

I know why I keep coming back to this place: because the first rule I saw here during the sign-up process was "no ****** self promotion". Either get in to help others, or take a walk elsewhere. This "good", anti-DOS driven approach told me that the person behind it has more than his own wallet growth trajectory in mind for it. The moment I pick up on the fact that he is simply trying to extract as much as he can from me to get to whatever "success" you have in mind, I disappear.

Keep doing what you're doing if you truly believe that the Internet has not changed the "game" in any way. If you actually think that the speed of propagation of information will let you play the Machiavellian power cards without anyone taking a notice. If you truly believe you can hit the next Guinness World Record by blatantly, arrogantly, proudly deceiving the people that came to you for guidance in your sales process, in today's world out of all periods in history. Gosh, good luck.

The funny thing, you might get away with it at first, and that will most definitely only reinforce the neural circuitry that makes you think this is the "only true way". But what is on the other side will most certainly be one hell of a ride.

-

P.S. Gotten a bit carried away through the last few paragraphs: don't take it personally, there was no intent to personally attack or "dominate" anyone there. I'm sure you are a most wonderful human being, just like anyone else around here. I just think your DOS perspective is one hell of a joke, at least in the way that was stated and elaborated so far. Take care.

+

Almost forgot to mention the last point the skeptic side of me couldn't help but pick up upon. You have that very interesting link to Scale Your Agency to $50K+/mo with A.I. Driven Lead Generation - TANDA Digital in your signature. Wouldn't be surprised if the whole provocative talk is just another example of the "court attention at all costs", straight from the 48 Laws - more than any genuine attempt to make people reflect and search for the truth. The more people see you "going against the grain", the more will notice you - the more will notice you, the more will check in. But that's just the worst hunch in me talking. Surely, that's not it?
 
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Vigilante

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Doesn't @Kak have a podcast? It would be really cool to see them debate this on it, points would be way easier to understand between all of the noise of the thread.
Podcast or INSIDERS call.
 

Kak

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I will argue that being unethical & dishonest is more financially rewarding in the long term, and that the most successful people in the world are usually also the biggest criminals. In fact not only will I argue that, but I'll also argue that this has been the case all through human history.

What I will NOT argue is that it's preferable to be a criminal so long as you can get away with it. And the reason I won't argue that is because it presumes that the good life is a life where success is maximized regardless of the sacrifices that have to be made OR the risks that have to be assumed. That success is the only criteria by which to judge a life. And if one succeeds, then all is well. In other words, the health of your soul, sleeping well at night, doesn't matter at all. And that's not a claim I'm willing to make.

So my argument is about the facts -- criminals are the most successful people in the world. It's not about what SHOULD be the case, an idealism, but about what actually IS the case.

Now what do I mean by criminal? Someone who breaks all laws? A psychopath? Someone who has no moral values and who parks in the spot for handicapped people? Someone who screws over 80-year old grandmas?

No.

What I mean is this: someone who will do whatever it takes to succeed in the long run, even if succeeding involves hurting other people, cheating, lying, stealing or breaking other ethical norms. In other words, someone who chooses worldly success over his own soul and integrity. That person is a criminal, even if they may have committed no crimes yet.

Let me start by quoting a speech quoted by Machiavelli in Florentine Histories:

With that as an introduction, here's the first easy argument. I call this the argument from morality.
You start by drawing a comparison to criminality, which I think is totally off topic right off the bat. We are talking about the spectrum between what is prohibited by law and being, by the world's standard, "a saint." I am sure the audience here can at least name a couple of people in their lives they think are just awful people, that are also, not currently incarcerated or at risk of being imminently incarcerated.

Criminality, as @Antifragile said earlier, is a governmental construct. Maybe you do or maybe you don't realize that you are debating probably the most outspoken libertarian voice on the forum. I generally abhor political power and have very little respect for some "sacred" institution of political process. I view it as theater for the masses.

Now, I will set the foundations of who I am before I continue. In a lot of ways I hold myself to MUCH higher standards than the law. Obviously, I would have to in order to be discussing the aforementioned spectrum between irredeemable, yet legal, a**hole and a saint. If the law was the only bar everyone held themselves to, we would all be the irredeemable assholes. I don't consider either of us to be there.

In other ways, I follow some laws only because of the ultimate threat to my life for disobeying. Not to get too off track, if there was an outstanding parking fine of $20, non-payment will go unnoticed until likely the next traffic stop. It may be escalated at that point, or you may just end up with another fine. Eventually there will be a moment where authorities will attempt to arrest you. If you don't go willingly, they will beat you. If you defend yourself, they will kill you. Every law, at its logical eventuality is a threat to your life by someone bigger, or more violently capable, than you.

This said, criminality, for the sake of this discussion is irrelevant. A risk of incarceration or death is objectively bad for your long term business prospects. I am sure you can agree.

As a sidebar, and a weird technicality we won't fully consider, there are unenforced laws that make nearly everyone "criminal," which is just another despicable trait of political theater. You aren't free, you will be free until they don't want you to be any longer... L. Gordon Crovitz: You Commit Three Felonies a Day


1) If it were true that worldly success and ethics go hand-in-hand, then we wouldn't need morality or religion, it would simply be a matter of intelligence. If you are intelligent, you behave ethically, because you don't want to be cutting the branch of the tree that you're sitting on. We wouldn't need to teach our kids about the importance of ethics, since it would be most obvious -- it would be aligned with their existing, natural, selfish tendencies. But that's not the case is it? We need to teach our children ethics, and we need religion and laws precisely because without them a lot more people would be taking liberties that may be beneficial to them, but would be harmful for the rest of us.

Ask yourself... why do people need the threat of hell to behave? Not you, but the masses of mankind? Why not just tell them you'll be punished in this life? Why have the Eastern faiths introduced the concept of reincarnation? Why not just tell people that karma will come and bite you in the a$$ in this life?

Because we know that many times that doesn't happen, and karma never bites you in the a$$ (at least not in a worldly sense... in a spiritual sense, anything unethical that you do WILL affect you).

Now, the second argument.

Despite being a churchgoing and practicing Christian, I will take the side that it is, in-fact, a matter of intelligence. I believe it to be so. Faith is also more than a fear of hell, but that's not the point.

The existence of trustworthy and honorable, yet secular, people puts a pin in this point. They don't need a threat of hell to be an upstanding person, they did it why? I would argue that secular, self-regulated behavior is absolutely a matter of intelligence.

Some of you may recognize some of the following from my radio show. It is a completely secular point.

In a business world, I believe win-win, mutually beneficial transactions are at the heart of anything sustainable. I am not talking about sustainability in the ecological sense, but the ability to continue doing what you are doing without the fear of the music stopping. I believe building businesses to be a high-calling and an honorable pursuit.

Capitalism, not in the dark and deranged sense that the political theater has painted it, but at its core... Is this system of free exchange between willing parties that engage only by choice and consideration of opportunity cost.

Every time an exchange takes place, both parties go home improved. A customer likes their new product or service better than they liked their money. An employee likes their new job (even if they hate it) more than every alternative they had available to them. An investor likes their stock in your company better than other investments they had available to them.

It is also assumed that you, being the entrepreneur, and offering such things are going home happier too. As you value the money earned at a higher level than the inventory you sold. You value the resource of the employee more than the money you spend on them. You value the capitalization to your business at a higher level than the stock you may have traded for it.

Essentially, as an entrepreneur operating under a free market system, you are a MASSIVE force for good. You are improving selections and efficiency to customers, you are providing a livelihood to some, you are providing opportunity to others. They are choosing you over all other alternatives because your value, in each of these transactions, reigns supreme.

Ludwig Von Mises' thesis on Human Action propounds that at the core of every human's decision to act upon anything is a profit motive, which he defines, not in the financial sense, but as an improvement of their condition. Improvements are in the eyes of the beholders.

A decision to eat something satisfies hunger. A decision to do laundry gets you some of your clothes back in your rotation. A decision to spend money on a fancy car, perceived investment in their enjoyment. A decision to hire an HVAC technician and spend money you didn't want to spend on a pricey repair, again is still chosen as an improvement to the alternative, not having air conditioning.

There are also negatives... An addict believes they are improving their condition by purchasing drugs or alcohol. We know it isn't improving their health. But the condition they desire is in the eye of the beholder.

This brings me to perceptions.

I perceive that it is an improvement to my condition to be an upstanding, man-of-my-word, businessman of sterling reputation.

You perceive that it is an improvement on your condition to not hold yourself to a higher standard.

I believe there are great yet difficult to quantify consequences of that decision, that when weighed against your perceived benefits, erodes the profitability of being a low-bar businessman.

2) Who are the most admired & successful people in history? The Buddhas, Jesuses, and Socrateses of the world, or the Alexanders, the Napoleons, the Tamerlanes, the Caesars? And who are the most successful of the bunch? Is it not the second group, every single time?

Aren't we human beings very twisted? We've put the biggest criminals in history into our history books. We accord them the highest respects. Their statues don the surface of the earth. Mass murderers who have killed millions of people to satisfy their desire for power. And far from considering them psychologically sick, we accord the highest praise to them. It is almost a fact that to enter the history books, you have to do something very very nasty. Because if you don't, you're not remembered. More people know today of Adolf Hitler than of Charles de Gaule. Think about that. In India they even respect Hitler. They have Hitler clothing, Hitler ice-cream, Hitler stores and so on.

On the other hand, what happened to the Buddhas, Jesuses, Socrates and our saints? We either killed them, or they lived in poverty and little renown during their lives. Only for the guilt to overwhelm us after they were dead, and for us to make them saints, as a way to wash over our sins, to make up for our crimes, to forget that it was us who ignored them or worse who persecuted and killed them.

Do you think Putin is a criminal @Kak? And do you think being a criminal is precisely what allowed him to rise to the most powerful position in Russia AND to hold it for 20+ years? Do you think by being ruthless Putin nuked his future prospects, OR do you think that he only held on to power for 20+ years PRECISELY because he was ruthless? That if he were a bit more decent, if he were less cold-blooded, he would never have reached the top and if he had, he would never have remained there for long?

We are back to political theater. Conquerors and kingship was largely luck mixed with ego. You are putting the cart before the horse. Their position could have made them drunk on power and instilled feelings of human immortality. It probably drove them to be the irredeemable pricks they all were, look to Hollywood for a relevant modern example.

Rarely are these dictators self-made. The entire concept of self-made is relatively new anyway. If you look up the concept of The Great Enrichment, coined by Dr. Deirdre McClusky you will understand the relatively recent embrace of bottom up solutions to problems. Prior to that, everything operated in a top down way.

This is why standards of living, and technological advancement, throughout most of human history were pretty much stagnant. The average guy born in 300 BC probably had a similarly awful life to a guy born in 1500. What changed? The printing press was a catalyst to an embrace of the bottom up... Or "self made." Once humanity learned that kings and dictators weren't the only ones with good ideas, things started to change.

Technically speaking, Hitler's heinous actions were law and therefore legal, so he wasn't criminal. Putin is a criminal in Ukraine, but not in Russia. This is nonsensical and has little if anything to do with business ethics. The irony of your Jesus example is that he was tried and convicted of "crimes," he was "a criminal" in the eyes of Rome and whatever political power held by the Sanhedrin Jews. This alternative definition of criminal thing totally muddies the waters.

How does one define success in these historical terms? A meek and wimpy minimum wage Home Depot checker has a higher standard of living than everyone you listed. History is not as relevant to this discussion as you think it is.


3) Who are the most successful people in business? It is people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Phil Knight of Nike. What did these guys do?

Steve Jobs lied to Woz about one of their first sales, and took most of the money for himself. When Woz found out 10 years later, he broke down in tears. He refused to acknowledge responsibility for his daughter and never recognized her, because she intervened between him and his ambition. He treated his suppliers and partners like crap and made sure to always twist their arms to get a good deal.

Bill Gates monopolized software, stole from Xerox, IBM and others without any qualms.

Phil Knight LIED to the Japanese at Onitsuka that he had an existing business to get them to sign him, a no-name, as a distributor of Tiger shoes. When he feared Onitsuka would turn against him, he called their representative in his office, had someone distract him, and then lunged for his bag to search through his papers and personal items to find out if his hunch was right. In other words, he did whatever it took. I don't see you @Kak lunging for someone's bag to search through their personal belongings because you fear they may replace your company. You're too decent and well-behaved to do that.

But these guys are not. These guys are willing to do WHATEVER it takes. Regardless of how morally awful it is. And these are just the things we know about. Often the things that they reminisce about, probably with some pleasure, that they are happy to share. Just imagine how many we don't know about.

Next.

This is a sample size of three. Three.

According to Forbes there are 2,668 billionaires in the world and there are nearly a quarter million people globally that are worth $100m+.

4) The argument is made that being unethical destroys your reputation, and clearly your reputation impacts your success. I will argue that it is not being unethical that destroys your reputation. It is failure that destroys it. We spank the failures and ruin them, but we elevate the successes into gods.

Elizabeth Holmes's only crime, in the eyes of the world, is that in the end, her machine didn't work. Just imagine just one small difference. Somehow, or other, the machine worked. Then we would be celebrating Elizabeth. Today she would be in the top 10 richest people on the planet. Even though she clawed her way there by lying, cheating and stealing, none of it matters in the eyes of the world, because she's a success. You wouldn't even hear about that in fact.

Imagine that Elon Musk went bankrupt with Tesla and SpaceX. He would've been taken to court and hanged, the same way we have hanged Elizabeth. The only difference between him and Elizabeth is that in the end, the product worked out for him - something that he could never have known from the beginning, but he had to convince people to bet on it.
I do see your point here. You feel as though they ultimately get a pass on screwing people if they became successful.

I am going to turn this on its head for you. I have, more than once, argued the Elizabeth Holmes example from a much different angle. I LOVED the book Bad Blood and I would suggest it to anyone on a guide of what NOT to do.

Here was highly dynamic and sought after young entrepreneur taking over the silicon valley scene. She attracted top dollar from top investors, and top talent to work for her. She was a prodigy and her leadership in the seed stages of Theranos was epic. She, on an idea alone, built quite a company and aimed it at being able to test blood with one drop. She was, rightfully, an inspiration to many!

Cool, there was nothing wrong with this... Until...

Things just weren't working out for her. She hit roadblock after roadblock in her testing tech and instead of staying ahead of it, and eating a slice of well deserved humble pie, admitting that work is behind schedule and in need of deeper research, she lied. She, in that moment, set course for what I like to, mostly privately call, F*cksville. Instead of building her business, she started the foundation on her house of cards.

As Elizabeth Holmes currently rots in prison for what's left of her 11 years, it's hard not to wonder what could have been different.

My thoughts... If she had instead been honest with her investors, and continued to work on her machines she would probably still have a capitalized Silicon Valley company and we may have even been on the cusp of some medical breakthroughs. She would probably still be a multi-millionaire, well respected CEO taking on one of the biggest challenges in healthcare. She would still be inspiring to many.

5) Your reputation is most often a function of your success. Again, all that matters is that you succeed. If you succeed, you'll have a great reputation. And if you fail, you'll have a terrible reputation. We still admire Jordan Belfort today, because he's a success. He screwed people out of millions if not billions, so what? He's paying the victims something like $4000 per year or whatever, so what? Right? That's how the world thinks. We don't care. The only real thing we care about, is is he successful?

Same for Elon Musk. If Elon Musk lost all his money tomorrow, 70%+ of his connections would no longer know him. They'd cross on the other side of the street if they saw him. They wouldn't answer his calls. This is how people are. Doesn't mean there aren't some decent people who would be loyal and still appreciate him. But not the vast majority, who are just self-interested.

I had my own business failure. I have talked about this on my radio show.

Ten years ago I had THE idea of the decade. At 23ish years old, it was a government technology solution to a problem the government claimed they were desperate to solve. I had the easy button, totally fixed, solution. They couldn't even debate that it wouldn't solve the problem. I made partnerships with two multi-billion dollar companies, took on some very large seed investors, and retained a major league lobbying team that also had done work for the likes of Google, FedEx, and some other VERY major names.

The numbers we were discussing on this business were astronomical. If I got the legislative movement, as it was written in committee offices, it would have meant revenues over $700 million dollars per year, just in the state of Texas.

We had a wide majority of the committee agreeing that this was THE solution and something they would work on for sure. Obviously they can't quid pro quo anything, and nor did I expect it, but I built what I thought was a solid relationship of trust with most of them and personally supported their election campaigns.

Eventually the rug got pulled out. What we expected was not the case. We went back twice over six years and ultimately ran out of money.

Throughout this process, I was nothing but completely honest with my investors, some even insisting to double down their investment with me and continue pressing. I even once told an investor that I wouldn't invest in my company if I was him, which made him write an even bigger check. Ultimately it was a failure. Of course this was a venture of unusually long odds and I made that pretty clear in the beginnings, but my evidence that this could work was never a lie or even a stretch of the truth.

Would you believe me if I told you that despite this failure rocking my personal confidence level for the better part of the last 10 years of my life, I have a good relationship with every single person that was involved in that venture? The politicians not so much.

My point is, I actually have a uniquely large and totally contrarian example to your claims. I am the parallel example to what would have happened if Elizabeth Holmes was just honest. I am what happened when Kyle Keegan was honest.

I don't admire Jordan Belfort and don't agree about Elon. My VERY REAL experiences run contrary to this.

6) Good people are usually NOT drawn to success and power. Because good people don't need success and power to manifest what they need. They do it through their friends. Through their network. Through their honest work. And they're happy to provide for their family, help a few other people, and live a decent life. They do not aspire to be the richest people in the world. Most often they don't, of course, there are a few exceptions.

So by and large who is drawn to success and power? Those who want to dominate others. They are most attracted to it, because without success and power, how can you dominate? They want to rise to the top. They want to become your Presidents, your CEOs, your Prime Ministers and so on.

Therefore the higher you go, the more criminals you'll meet, just because they're the only ones who want to be there. Imagine how hard it is to be President. You can't go with your woman anywhere because everyone is following you. You can't take a walk through the park. You can't take a day off. Why would you put yourself through that pain and suffering? Because you love the world? Maybe, but very unlikely. Most of the time, you do it because you want to dominate others.

Don't conflate dominance and and strong leadership with unethical behavior.

Creative destruction is not unethical. For those of you that don't know what this is, look up economist Joseph Schumpter.

Challenging the status quo is not unethical. Per @thechosen1 continued use of the George Bernard Shaw quote about unreasonable people.

I am 100% all in on unreasonable. Literally one of my most recent shows I recorded was making the case that it is unreasonable to be reasonable as an entrepreneur. ;)

Unreasonable isn't unethical.

Unagreeable isn't unethical.

Ambition isn't unethical.

Hard hitting people that don't mince words aren't unethical.

Screwing people is and a reputation for screwing people is not good for your long term business prospects. I intend to ultimately prove it to the forum.

7) Credibility & respectability is manufactured. A smart criminal will manufacture them in a legal way. Dr. John Brinkley was at one point the richest doctor in America. He had privates jets, huge mansions his own radio stations. You know what made him rich? Goat testicle replacement surgery. He would cut your ball sack open if you struggled to have kids, and put a goat testicle in there.

Here's what you guys think "Ohh but it doesn't work right?! Word will go out that it doesn't work!!"

And that's where you're wrong. Because a smart criminal will collect evidence that it works even if it doesn't. Because the whole process is engineered. In Dr. John's case the rumor has it that it was just cherry picking the success stories, and having the balls to operate on famous people. The successes are presented, every failure is hidden. Maybe for some of the huge successes like politicians and so on... their wives maybe got pregnant with someone else even. Doesn't matter to John, because his surgery is now a success. That's how dumb the world is. Success is all they see... like flies to shit, they to blind towards success.

That's one way. But there are other ways. Udemy collects feedback as soon as you buy a course almost. That makes no sense, you'll say... you have no way to know if it's good that early. Right. And that's the point. How do we get people great feedback? Collect it early. Almost everyone is ecstatic after a purchase and will speak about how amazed and happy they are.

A trading operation I knew about... what they did was simple. Have 10 accounts. Place 10 trades. One of them will be a winner, just show that one, and hide the rest in their marketing. Boom, you made them believe. And of course, a percentage of your clients will be mega successful millionaires... get them on a stage, get them to show their earnings, don't show the masses who failed.

Right?

I was speaking with one of these big hitters at one point, just having a conversation. And I asked him, how would you build credibility if you started from nothing? And he looked at me weirdly, and asked "Are you an altruist? Credibility is bought". This is how they think.

Another case, another business owner I know of. He had 100 clients in a new business, e-commerce. "I got us into a magazine for veterans. I'm sure we have some veterans amongst our clients, but there's no time to search for them. Let's create something representative". And lo and behold, the story got published with fake veterans.

This is the other thing you guys think... that these criminals would tell you "we're here to screw people over and take their money"... no they won't. They'll be like Elon Musk "we want to save the world!!!" That's what they'll say. And you don't need to know about the dirty stuff if you work for them. That's their business. You just do your job.
The following is a quote about Brinkley from Wikipedia: "At the height of his career he had amassed millions of dollars, but he died nearly penniless as a result of the large number of malpractice, wrongful death and fraud suits brought against him."

Dying penniless doesn't prove your point. It proves mine.

Buying credibility amounts to lying, it's nothing more than building that house of cards.

And final comment.

Joe Girard, still in the World's Guiness Book of Records as the world's best salesman. He wrote a book. It's called "How to Sell Anything to Anyone". Great book.

In that book you'll find a very interesting chapter.

It's called: "HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY"

And irony of ironies is that the chapter is actually about how to lie effectively. Of course we can't title a chapter in a book how to lie effectively. What would they say about us right?! So we title it with something that most skim-readers will agree with right?

And it starts by saying honesty is the best policy. But it's not a law. In other words, you need to know when to break it.

And Joe then tells you how if the customer asked for a Blue car, and he had no blue car, he told him he has it ready come and take it. And then he'd make something up and apologise and sell him a Black one instead once he was on the premises. Because, how big is that lie right? I mean he wants a car, and he still gets a car, does it really matter it's not blue? Most of his desire is satisfied! Very tiny lie, right?

Or if your aunt was from Missouri, then his uncle was from Missouri. If you liked fishing... he liked fishing. And he became the most successful salesman in the world.

And of course you should never lie about stuff like the engine of a car. Can't tell a customer it has 8 cylinders when it has only 4 right? Any intelligent person would figure that one out. So honesty is the best policy.

So I rest my case. The most successful and the richest people in the world are usually unethical, and even more, they MUST be unethical to rise to the very top in most cases.
I have at the end of my show details a message for listeners. It says: DISCLAIMER! I am NOT your financial advisor or business consultant. Do YOUR OWN research. I advocate heavily that you should make intelligent and informed decisions based on YOUR OWN understanding or hire someone that does this for you. Don’t take me out of context and make dumb decisions. Always consider YOUR OWN SITUATION before implementing strategies shared on KKRS. When in doubt, remember Kyle is conservative and will always choose to live another day over imprudent “YOLO” decisions.

The bold above is exactly what this amounts to. Choosing to live another day rather than take an imprudent, all or nothing, risky "lunge."

I don't have a wake of pissed off people in my past. Do you? It isn't too late to nock down your house of cards and start building your personal influence and reputation on something more solid. How you are talking about operating continuously puts you form of debt. The longer this goes on the more of this “debt” you accumulate. You are robbing your future self for a temporary gain today.

Adam Grant's book "Give and Take" (one of @Andy Black favorites) describes three types of people: givers, takers, and traders. Givers are people who prioritize helping others and contribute to the success of their colleagues without expecting anything in return. Takers are people who prioritize their own interests and seek to gain as much as possible from others while contributing as little as possible, you. Traders live out quid-pro-quo everything.

I'm not perfectly aligned with Grant on a lot of his ideas, as I think a true capitalist naturally embodies a high level of ethics and also holds value creating for others as foundation to his efforts.

Grant does however have endless examples of "givers" ironically taking the majority of the Forbes list. I believe a good entrepreneur is basically always a giver and that's why this notion of "giving back" rubs me wrong. Giving back implies the entrepreneur took from society. An entrepreneur gives value and made the world a better place before he strokes a single check to a charity.

So should you be meek? Hell no. Call people out in a public forum if you feel like it! :rofl:;)

Dynamically lead. Inspire others with your boldness and action and uphold the importance of your name and reputation to everyone you do business with. Finally give... What is this thread and the participation in an important discussion like this if it isn't giving?

I only have two questions for you…

True or False: The market ultimately decides who is and isn’t wildly successful?

True or False: The market is comprised of people who have opinions and perceptions of you?
 
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Kak

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Doesn't @Kak have a podcast? It would be really cool to see them debate this on it, points would be way easier to understand between all of the noise of the thread.

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!

This is an EPIC idea!!! (My bad for using the forum guys lol)

Edit: a forum doesn't really work as a place for two users to have a 1-1 conversation for all to read and not reply to, unless mods lock it for other users. If replies are allowed, replies will be made. That's my philosophical contribution to this philosophical thread... haha

Screw star wars, THIS would be entertainment. lol

Podcast or INSIDERS call.

I’m fully open to it, and will probably go that route on my next episode with or without @Black_Dragon43 but check out my rebuttal to him first.

I don’t have a lot of these giant a$$ posts in me folks. I have a life to live, but we will settle this. No matter how this thread matures, we won’t be going in circles.
 
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BizyDad

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Almost forgot to mention the last point the skeptic side of me couldn't help but pick up upon. You have that very interesting link to Scale Your Agency to $50K+/mo with A.I. Driven Lead Generation - TANDA Digital in your signature. Wouldn't be surprised if the whole provocative talk is just another example of the "court attention at all costs", straight from the 48 Laws - more than any genuine attempt to make people reflect and search for the truth. The more people see you "going against the grain", the more will notice you - the more will notice you, the more will check in. But that's just the worst hunch in me talking. Surely, that's not it?

You know, 3+ years ago I said the same thing. BD denied it profusely. Of course he wants sales, but that isn't his goal for being on the forum.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he compared himself as the "next Walter Hay" of the forum.

I said I'd be watching to see. It's funny to me that he even recently bragged about "winning" that argument.

The conclusion is that Black Dragon always wins while Dad is always too Bizy playing politics :innocent: :halo:

I think at this point, it is safe to say the prophecy has not come true :innocent: :halo:, Walter remains a one of a kind treasure.

But we don't know the future. Maybe BD still will become so.

I've defended him in private and public, over the years and in the last month, even sent him potential students over the past few years. I think he could be that.

The more people see you "going against the grain", the more will notice you - the more will notice you, the more will check in. But that's just the worst hunch in me talking. Surely, that's not it?

Since you opened this door, Techvx, I'll just leave this here.

1680294085577.png

I'll leave it to you to decide the truth of it. I am still undecided myself. As someone who is relatively new here, I thought I would simply provide you some context/subtext of what is going on here.

I’m fully open to it, and will probably go that route on my next episode with or without @Black_Dragon43 but check out my rebuttal to him first.

FWIW, my vote is to keep this on the forum where you each have time to think about your responses. This debate has been going on a long time on the forum.

I think the forum is a better forum for this type of engagement. (Pun intended) In small doses, of course. Mine is the minority view.

Please fellow lovers of truth, continue your discussion about whether ethics and honesty and authenticity matter in business. This has been quite interesting.
 

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It takes self control

This.

We all have these mechanisms and life puts our faith in truth to the test. You win if you have faith in truth.

In a lot of ways business is about alleviating certain scarcities in how resources are in equilibrium. It isn’t always “The art of War” by Sun Tzu or “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli.

Just how relevant is “competition” if you know the truth of utility?

I’ve seen the damage that dishonesty, half-truths or tricks do to human interaction and commerce.
 
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Kung Fu Steve

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I’m fully open to it, and will probably go that route on my next episode with or without @Black_Dragon43 but check out my rebuttal to him first.

I don’t have a lot of these giant a$$ posts in me folks. I have a life to live, but we will settle this. No matter how this thread matures, we won’t be going in circles.

I always say I have unlimited patience for people.

I stand corrected. I found my limit.

But YOU, my friend, are impressive.

I salute your attempt at being a voice of reason and I'll definitely buy you dinner when you/me are in town.
 

mikecarlooch

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BizyDad

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Isn't MJ's whole philosophy is that if you want to achieve 1% results, you have to do 1% things?
I don't wish to derail the thread, but I saw this comment never got addressed. No. I don't believe that that is MJ's whole philosophy.

This forum, the books, all of it is geared towards helping even the average or below average person achieve a 1% life. You don't have to begin as a 1% person, and you don't actually have to do 1% things.

There are certain principles to live by. A certain mindset that is helpful to adopt. But I believe MJ's point is that a 1% life is attainable by the vast majority, dare I say, virtually anybody...
 
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You start by drawing a comparison to criminality, which I think is totally off topic right off the bat. We are talking about the spectrum between what is prohibited by law and being, by the world's standard, "a saint." I am sure the audience here can at least name a couple of people in their lives they think are just awful people, that are also, not currently incarcerated or at risk of being imminently incarcerated.

Criminality, as @Antifragile said earlier, is a governmental construct. Maybe you do or maybe you don't realize that you are debating probably the most outspoken libertarian voice on the forum. I generally abhor political power and have very little respect for some "sacred" institution of political process. I view it as theater for the masses.

Now, I will set the foundations of who I am before I continue. In a lot of ways I hold myself to MUCH higher standards than the law. Obviously, I would have to in order to be discussing the aforementioned spectrum between irredeemable, yet legal, a**hole and a saint. If the law was the only bar everyone held themselves to, we would all be the irredeemable assholes. I don't consider either of us to be there.

In other ways, I follow some laws only because of the ultimate threat to my life for disobeying. Not to get too off track, if there was an outstanding parking fine of $20, non-payment will go unnoticed until likely the next traffic stop. It may be escalated at that point, or you may just end up with another fine. Eventually there will be a moment where authorities will attempt to arrest you. If you don't go willingly, they will beat you. If you defend yourself, they will kill you. Every law, at its logical eventuality is a threat to your life by someone bigger, or more violently capable, than you.

This said, criminality, for the sake of this discussion is irrelevant. A risk of incarceration or death is objectively bad for your long term business prospects. I am sure you can agree.

As a sidebar, and a weird technicality we won't fully consider, there are unenforced laws that make nearly everyone "criminal," which is just another despicable trait of political theater. You aren't free, you will be free until they don't want you to be any longer... L. Gordon Crovitz: You Commit Three Felonies a Day




Despite being a churchgoing and practicing Christian, I will take the side that it is, in-fact, a matter of intelligence. I believe it to be so. Faith is also more than a fear of hell, but that's not the point.

The existence of trustworthy and honorable, yet secular, people puts a pin in this point. They don't need a threat of hell to be an upstanding person, they did it why? I would argue that secular, self-regulated behavior is absolutely a matter of intelligence.

Some of you may recognize some of the following from my radio show. It is a completely secular point.

In a business world, I believe win-win, mutually beneficial transactions are at the heart of anything sustainable. I am not talking about sustainability in the ecological sense, but the ability to continue doing what you are doing without the fear of the music stopping. I believe building businesses to be a high-calling and an honorable pursuit.

Capitalism, not in the dark and deranged sense that the political theater has painted it, but at its core... Is this system of free exchange between willing parties that engage only by choice and consideration of opportunity cost.

Every time an exchange takes place, both parties go home improved. A customer likes their new product or service better than they liked their money. An employee likes their new job (even if they hate it) more than every alternative they had available to them. An investor likes their stock in your company better than other investments they had available to them.

It is also assumed that you, being the entrepreneur, and offering such things are going home happier too. As you value the money earned at a higher level than the inventory you sold. You value the resource of the employee more than the money you spend on them. You value the capitalization to your business at a higher level than the stock you may have traded for it.

Essentially, as an entrepreneur operating under a free market system, you are a MASSIVE force for good. You are improving selections and efficiency to customers, you are providing a livelihood to some, you are providing opportunity to others. They are choosing you over all other alternatives because your value, in each of these transactions, reigns supreme.

Ludwig Von Mises' thesis on Human Action propounds that at the core of every human's decision to act upon anything is a profit motive, which he defines, not in the financial sense, but as an improvement of their condition. Improvements are in the eyes of the beholders.

A decision to eat something satisfies hunger. A decision to do laundry gets you some of your clothes back in your rotation. A decision to spend money on a fancy car, perceived investment in their enjoyment. A decision to hire an HVAC technician and spend money you didn't want to spend on a pricey repair, again is still chosen as an improvement to the alternative, not having air conditioning.

There are also negatives... An addict believes they are improving their condition by purchasing drugs or alcohol. We know it isn't improving their health. But the condition they desire is in the eye of the beholder.

This brings me to perceptions.

I perceive that it is an improvement to my condition to be an upstanding, man-of-my-word, businessman of sterling reputation.

You perceive that it is an improvement on your condition to not hold yourself to a higher standard.

I believe there are great yet difficult to quantify consequences of that decision, that when weighed against your perceived benefits, erodes the profitability of being a low-bar businessman.



We are back to political theater. Conquerors and kingship was largely luck mixed with ego. You are putting the cart before the horse. Their position could have made them drunk on power and instilled feelings of human immortality. It probably drove them to be the irredeemable pricks they all were, look to Hollywood for a relevant modern example.

Rarely are these dictators self-made. The entire concept of self-made is relatively new anyway. If you look up the concept of The Great Enrichment, coined by Dr. Deirdre McClusky you will understand the relatively recent embrace of bottom up solutions to problems. Prior to that, everything operated in a top down way.

This is why standards of living, and technological advancement, throughout most of human history were pretty much stagnant. The average guy born in 300 BC probably had a similarly awful life to a guy born in 1500. What changed? The printing press was a catalyst to an embrace of the bottom up... Or "self made." Once humanity learned that kings and dictators weren't the only ones with good ideas, things started to change.

Technically speaking, Hitler's heinous actions were law and therefore legal, so he wasn't criminal. Putin is a criminal in Ukraine, but not in Russia. This is nonsensical and has little if anything to do with business ethics. The irony of your Jesus example is that he was tried and convicted of "crimes," he was "a criminal" in the eyes of Rome and whatever political power held by the Sanhedrin Jews. This alternative definition of criminal thing totally muddies the waters.

How does one define success in these historical terms? A meek and wimpy minimum wage Home Depot checker has a higher standard of living than everyone you listed. History is not as relevant to this discussion as you think it is.




This is a sample size of three. Three.

According to Forbes there are 2,668 billionaires in the world and there are nearly a quarter million people globally that are worth $100m+.


I do see your point here. You feel as though they ultimately get a pass on screwing people if they became successful.

I am going to turn this on its head for you. I have, more than once, argued the Elizabeth Holmes example from a much different angle. I LOVED the book Bad Blood and I would suggest it to anyone on a guide of what NOT to do.

Here was highly dynamic and sought after young entrepreneur taking over the silicon valley scene. She attracted top dollar from top investors, and top talent to work for her. She was a prodigy and her leadership in the seed stages of Theranos was epic. She, on an idea alone, built quite a company and aimed it at being able to test blood with one drop. She was, rightfully, an inspiration to many!

Cool, there was nothing wrong with this... Until...

Things just weren't working out for her. She hit roadblock after roadblock in her testing tech and instead of staying ahead of it, and eating a slice of well deserved humble pie, admitting that work is behind schedule and in need of deeper research, she lied. She, in that moment, set course for what I like to, mostly privately call, F*cksville. Instead of building her business, she started the foundation on her house of cards.

As Elizabeth Holmes currently rots in prison for what's left of her 11 years, it's hard not to wonder what could have been different.

My thoughts... If she had instead been honest with her investors, and continued to work on her machines she would probably still have a capitalized Silicon Valley company and we may have even been on the cusp of some medical breakthroughs. She would probably still be a multi-millionaire, well respected CEO taking on one of the biggest challenges in healthcare. She would still be inspiring to many.



I had my own business failure. I have talked about this on my radio show.

Ten years ago I had THE idea of the decade. At 23ish years old, it was a government technology solution to a problem the government claimed they were desperate to solve. I had the easy button, totally fixed, solution. They couldn't even debate that it wouldn't solve the problem. I made partnerships with two multi-billion dollar companies, took on some very large seed investors, and retained a major league lobbying team that also had done work for the likes of Google, FedEx, and some other VERY major names.

The numbers we were discussing on this business were astronomical. If I got the legislative movement, as it was written in committee offices, it would have meant revenues over $700 million dollars per year, just in the state of Texas.

We had a wide majority of the committee agreeing that this was THE solution and something they would work on for sure. Obviously they can't quid pro quo anything, and nor did I expect it, but I built what I thought was a solid relationship of trust with most of them and personally supported their election campaigns.

Eventually the rug got pulled out. What we expected was not the case. We went back twice over six years and ultimately ran out of money.

Throughout this process, I was nothing but completely honest with my investors, some even insisting to double down their investment with me and continue pressing. I even once told an investor that I wouldn't invest in my company if I was him, which made him write an even bigger check. Ultimately it was a failure. Of course this was a venture of unusually long odds and I made that pretty clear in the beginnings, but my evidence that this could work was never a lie or even a stretch of the truth.

Would you believe me if I told you that despite this failure rocking my personal confidence level for the better part of the last 10 years of my life, I have a good relationship with every single person that was involved in that venture? The politicians not so much.

My point is, I actually have a uniquely large and totally contrarian example to your claims. I am the parallel example to what would have happened if Elizabeth Holmes was just honest. I am what happened when Kyle Keegan was honest.

I don't admire Jordan Belfort and don't agree about Elon. My VERY REAL experiences run contrary to this.



Don't conflate dominance and and strong leadership with unethical behavior.

Creative destruction is not unethical. For those of you that don't know what this is, look up economist Joseph Schumpter.

Challenging the status quo is not unethical. Per @thechosen1 continued use of the George Bernard Shaw quote about unreasonable people.

I am 100% all in on unreasonable. Literally one of my most recent shows I recorded was making the case that it is unreasonable to be reasonable as an entrepreneur. ;)

Unreasonable isn't unethical.

Unagreeable isn't unethical.

Ambition isn't unethical.

Hard hitting people that don't mince words aren't unethical.

Screwing people is and a reputation for screwing people is not good for your long term business prospects. I intend to ultimately prove it to the forum.


The following is a quote about Brinkley from Wikipedia: "At the height of his career he had amassed millions of dollars, but he died nearly penniless as a result of the large number of malpractice, wrongful death and fraud suits brought against him."

Dying penniless doesn't prove your point. It proves mine.

Buying credibility amounts to lying, it's nothing more than building that house of cards.


I have at the end of my show details a message for listeners. It says: DISCLAIMER! I am NOT your financial advisor or business consultant. Do YOUR OWN research. I advocate heavily that you should make intelligent and informed decisions based on YOUR OWN understanding or hire someone that does this for you. Don’t take me out of context and make dumb decisions. Always consider YOUR OWN SITUATION before implementing strategies shared on KKRS. When in doubt, remember Kyle is conservative and will always choose to live another day over imprudent “YOLO” decisions.

The bold above is exactly what this amounts to. Choosing to live another day rather than take an imprudent, all or nothing, risky "lunge."

I don't have a wake of pissed off people in my past. Do you? It isn't too late to nock down your house of cards and start building your personal influence and reputation on something more solid. How you are talking about operating continuously puts you form of debt. The longer this goes on the more of this “debt” you accumulate. You are robbing your future self for a temporary gain today.

Adam Grant's book "Give and Take" (one of @Andy Black favorites) describes three types of people: givers, takers, and traders. Givers are people who prioritize helping others and contribute to the success of their colleagues without expecting anything in return. Takers are people who prioritize their own interests and seek to gain as much as possible from others while contributing as little as possible, you. Traders live out quid-pro-quo everything.

I'm not perfectly aligned with Grant on a lot of his ideas, as I think a true capitalist naturally embodies a high level of ethics and also holds value creating for others as foundation to his efforts.

Grant does however have endless examples of "givers" ironically taking the majority of the Forbes list. I believe a good entrepreneur is basically always a giver and that's why this notion of "giving back" rubs me wrong. Giving back implies the entrepreneur took from society. An entrepreneur gives value and made the world a better place before he strokes a single check to a charity.

So should you be meek? Hell no. Call people out in a public forum if you feel like it! :rofl:;)

Dynamically lead. Inspire others with your boldness and action and uphold the importance of your name and reputation to everyone you do business with. Finally give... What is this thread and the participation in an important discussion like this if it isn't giving?

I only have two questions for you…

True or False: The market ultimately decides who is and isn’t wildly successful?

True or False: The market is comprised of people who have opinions and perceptions of you?
From the word go of this thread, I knew @Kak had something huge and indispensable to say in rebuttal to these claims by BD, despite @Kak initially seeming aversive on it.

Thanks for this @Kak.

Now the debate is taking place.
 

Johnny boy

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Everyone that feels negative thoughts towards @Black_Dragon43 and saying they would not do business with him..

It’s because you do not want to do business with conscious, intelligent, selfish and savage people.

You actually don’t. It’s not smart for you.

It’s better for everyone else to be simple, not that ambitious, gullible, a pushover, etc. The same way I WANT simple minded and not selfish employees.

You want everyone else to be incapable of lying, but would you include yourself to be made incapable? Or would you say “well, let me keep it, just in case, but don’t let anyone else be able to”.

I would argue he is not Machiavellian.

He is in the middle of being redpilled. Where he understands but is not implementing it yet.

A true one would be saying socially acceptable, “be a good person” BS that virtue signals.

Imagine bill gates, a politician, or any other bastard got on this forum and wrote posts…

They would say the most inoffensive and polite things, meanwhile doing unspeakably evil shit.

@Black_Dragon43 will realize this someday. You will start to see that he is a “changed man”. He will be polite and say socially acceptable things. He will be loved and that’s when he would actually be evil. When he cares more about getting a result than telling you the truth.

I am infinitely more scared of people who artfully virtue signal. They are the true evil people. You can be a good person, but when it’s too perfect…you know it’s designed. And you can only smell it when you have figured it out for yourself a bit too.

I think he is just going through a phase where he is red pilled and sharing his realizations.

When he is someone you would put on your board of directors, someone you would give your life savings to, someone you would vote for…

That’s who you should be afraid of.

That is the great irony of morality and public opinion.

@Kak seems to say that it’s important to be seen as a good person as if actually being a good person is the same thing. I think they are absolutely not the same.

In my heart, I want good things.

But maybe I said that to trick you. Maybe I don’t mean that at all.

Maybe I know that if I say “it is only important to be seen as a good person” I will look evil, so I add the little qualifying intro to it saying ‘I want good things’ to exclude myself and not admit anything.

There is no good way to see what is in an intelligent man’s heart, only a stupid man. Because the intelligent man can appear to be anything, but the stupid man can only be what he is. But if the intelligent man can also artfully appear to be the stupid man, then you have no idea of anything.

Perhaps @Kak is actually tricking you because he wants people to trust him. If that’s the case he is tricking me too because he seems like a good guy. But entertain that concept for a bit. I agree with him as well that people do not want to do business with people that throw caution to the wind and burn bridges and that relationships are valuable, I absolutely agree. I just think there are ironic hidden layers to being a good person vs being seen as one, and that often the people who you trust are the most Machiavellian as can be.
 
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Kevin88660

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Everyone that feels negative thoughts towards @Black_Dragon43 and saying they would not do business with him..

It’s because you do not want to do business with conscious, intelligent, selfish and savage people.

You actually don’t. It’s not smart for you.

It’s better for everyone else to be simple, not that ambitious, gullible, a pushover, etc. The same way I WANT simple minded and not selfish employees.

I would argue he is not Machiavellian.

He is in the middle of being redpilled. Where he understands but is not implementing it yet.

A true one would be saying socially acceptable, “be a good person” BS that virtue signals.

Imagine bill gates, a politician, or any other bastard got on this forum and wrote posts…

They would say the most inoffensive and polite things, meanwhile doing unspeakably evil shit.

@Black_Dragon43 will realize this someday. You will start to see that he is a “changed man”. He will be polite and say socially acceptable things. He will be loved and that’s when he would actually be evil. When he cares more about getting a result than telling you the truth.

I am infinitely more scared of people who artfully virtue signal. They are the true evil people. You can be a good person, but when it’s too perfect…you know it’s designed. And you can only smell it when you have figured it out for yourself a bit too.

I think he is just going through a phase where he is red pilled and sharing his realizations.

When he is someone you would put on your board of directors, someone you would give your life savings to, someone you would vote for…

That’s who you should be afraid of.

That is the great irony of morality and public opinion.
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

Adam Smith
 
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heavy_industry

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There is no good way to see what is in an intelligent man’s heart, only a stupid man. Because the intelligent man can appear to be anything
Maybe in the short term.

Try to lie your way to success your entire life and see what happens.

Plenty of geniuses have managed to pull it off for some time, but eventually everything has crumbled like a house of cards. The end results were not pretty.

It doesn't matter how fake of a smile you put on. It doesn't matter how well you craft your lies and persona. The truth will always come to light, sooner or later.

You can trick yourself (quite easily), you may be able to trick other people for a short while, but you cannot trick God. He knows exactly who you are.

It doesn't matter how smart you think you are, you cannot bend the fabric of reality.
 

Black_Dragon43

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That is a great response @Kak, and I will have to really push myself to be able to match you. And I certainly hope that I will be able to, because just as you said yourself, the matter we are discussing is very important to ourselves as individuals, but also to society. And it's important that all of us learn from each other and become better able to see the truth. I am certainly learning from your responses, and I hope you are also from mine.

I am happy to see that we agree on a few very important points: our stance on politics/politicians and the vast difference between what is legally right vs what is morally/ethically right.

I will make a few comments on these matters before getting to the meat of the argument.

In my previous post, I have used the word "criminal" extensively, and I made it a point to show that the richest and most successful people are usually criminals. As you and @Antifragile have observed, I haven't used this word the same way we use it in everyday language, or how it is defined in the dictionary. And I am not attempting to persuade you to change the everyday definition of that word.

But I do need a single word that I can use to mean:

someone who will do whatever it takes to succeed in the long run, even if succeeding involves hurting other people, cheating, lying, stealing or breaking other ethical norms. In other words, someone who chooses worldly success over his own soul and integrity. That person is a criminal, even if they may have committed no crimes yet.
I propose that for the sake of this discussion, you allow me to use the word "criminal" to refer to a person that matches the description above. If not, by all means feel free to propose a different word, but until then, bear in mind that when I write criminal, I refer to what is described above, NOT to our everyday dictionary definition of the word.

Therefore not all people who break the law are criminals in the understanding of the term used above. And furthermore, not all criminals break the law. This is a very important point, because we're using the word to refer to a person who has no regard for ethical norms beyond his self-interest (and I am aware that you being a libertarian quite possibly equate ethics with the pursuit of rational self-interest and we're going to come to that at some point).

In fact, I will say that the smartest criminals very rarely, if ever, will break the law, and that is precisely what makes them so efficient as criminals.

About this, @Antifragile tagged me in a different thread about a scam his company fell prey to. I don't view those people as great criminals. They are low-level scum. So for the purposes of this discussion, let's create an example of a great criminal, which is realistic, and shows the position at its peak strength.

Suppose you run a business that teaches people how to day-trade the stock market. You pay a marketing company to get you fake, but approved testimonials, that look indistinguishable from real ones. You focus on promoting the lifestyle and telling people they can live like millionaires, just from their laptops. And let's say 0.1% who join your training, actually do end up living like that. And you get them on camera, and to promote you. Your course and its content is great, you put a ton of effort to make it pretty much the best in the market but people don't get very big results. At least 99.9% don't. And you promise people a 30-day guarantee, if they do their best and work hard and don't get results in 30 days. But in practice, no one gets the guarantee, because you'll always claim they didn't work hard, and come up with some reason such as "you only started going through the training on day 20. We expect people to start from day 1, immediately"... a reason that in a court of law would hold. And you have customer service to placate customers and make them feel guilty when they fail, it's their fault... which probably isn't far from the truth. And you also request a written testimonials 5 days into the course right on the video platform... because you know that most people will fail to get results, but you can still extract great testimonials early on. People are excited, going through, so they leave glowing reviews. You get 5/5 feedbacks all the time. And every now and again you get a great testimonial that says "WOWW!! Made $10,000 yesterday from $500!". And maybe every now and again you do honor the guarantee, not to draw any suspicion if you're ever taken to court. And every week you place 10 trades from 10 different accounts, and you only show one of them in your marketing, which is successful. You're not making money by trading, in fact, you're losing money, but your customers see and think that you're winning. And you make $100M+/year doing that.

Now THAT is a real, smart criminal. Do you think that that guy will be "caught" for anything? I don't. He can always turn around and say that it's all real... he has a good alibi for everything. And he's maximising his rational self-interest, which is to keep as much money as possible. You'll almost never be able to demonstrate his intent. And if he's very smart, he'll even have invoices and contracts for completely different services, not fake testimonials for the providers he works with.

So what do you think @Kak? Do you think the guy we described above would be a criminal, in my definition of the term, or an honest businessman, providing value to the market?

---------

Also the point you made is very valuable. Our laws are made in such a way that if the Stooges want to get you, they don't even need to invent something... it is usually sufficient to put the state's magnifying glass on you. And we will come back to this later.

But suffice to say at this point that we both agree that the people who rule over us, the people who control the laws and have a monopoly over physical violence, these people aren't worthy of our respect, on average. And that they really are running a "theater for the masses" as you call it.

I will take the side that it is, in-fact, a matter of intelligence.
This will be a very interesting discussion. I will take the side that, for most people, being good is not a result of intelligence, but a result of upbringing, ultimately a matter of ingrained habit. And making this argument will serve another purpose as well... to discourage our readers from pursuing the criminal path, even though, as I will show, it is this path that the most successful, and also the wealthiest people have followed to attain their wealth & success.

In order to be a successful criminal (bear in mind the definition I'm using) you need two attributes:

1) Extremely high intelligence. By which I mean the ability to foresee far into the future what the consequences of certain actions will be, how other people may react, and how to engineer situations to be to your advantage, so that, as the saying goes, you always fall on your feet rather than on your face.

2) A hardened heart. By which I mean the ability to behave unethically with impunity, without having sentiments or emotions or compassion holding you back. Without experiencing guilt for what you have done, or the pangs of conscience. Notice that in the speech I quoted initially from Machiavelli's Florentine Histories, the soldiers to which the general was talking to were admonished for their conscience, for their guilt, because they did not want to be criminals anymore.

Most people will lack both. Perhaps 90%+ of the world's population lacks both. Now from the remaining 10%, perhaps 9%+ will lack the hardened heart. Some of our readers here may read that criminals are able to attain the highest peaks of success and undiscouraged by the moral arguments you and @Antifragile have put forward against that sort of life, want to launch into the endeavour of actually becoming these successful criminals.

Therefore I want to put forward some practical, non-moral arguments against this...

Look at someone like Andrew Tate. He has attained the peak of worldly success: ability to travel anywhere, own mansions and private jets, have millions of fans, a huge collection of the most expensive luxury items in the world, beautiful women and complete and utter fame, being the most Googled man on the planet, right? Yes, this was recently taken away from him, but the trial is ongoing, who knows, he may even be able to take it all back.

What did he have to do to attain this? He describes it himself. It all started when he called four of his girlfriends who did not know about each other to his place to show their bodies on the internet for money. Two left immediately, and two stayed. Out of those two, one left soon after and there was only one left.

And what happened is that Andrew would type, and the girl would act. And they would get men on camera, and get those men to send their money to them. Telling them that the girl is in love with them, or she wants to move in with them and so on. And like this, they were able to create from a single girl $50,000-$100,000/month.

They also soon learned that with this sort of money the girls did not want to work 8 hours per day. 1 hour was enough. They would buy the guccis that they wanted, and after they'd want to have fun, go on holidays, etc. And they would also want to do it themselves, take all the money. So some way had to be found to restrict the girls. To make sure they don't betray. Get them to tattoo their names on their body, take their passports, don't let them go out on their own, threats or even actual physical violence, there were many methods taken into consideration. Of course that the girls who were recruited would be girls who agreed with this. A great criminal is not an alchemist, but rather a sifter - he sifts for the marks, for the victims, and only invests his time into those, because manipulation is always to be preferred over force.

Now most ambitious young men may look at Andrew and want to replicate what he did. The problem is that they won't be able to. First of all, most simply lack the intelligence. As one guy said in this thread, when he lies, you can read it all over his face. He cannot do it. He simply lacks the ability.

And second of all, even if they do have the intelligence, they will not have the heart. Imagine taking your girlfriend and asking her to show her body on the internet for money. And maybe you get her to do it, because you're a smart guy. But a point will come when she no longer wants to do it. When she starts crying, and when she wants to kill herself because she feels tortured. Will you have the heart to keep going at that point? To lock her in the house, beat her, make her do it, day after day after day? Most people will not. They may have the ability, but they lack the will.

And this brings us to the heart of the matter. The reason why most people will NOT have the heart to do it isn't because they're more intelligent than others as you wish to argue. It is because of compassion, something that was bred into them through the way they were raised. Because intelligence may very well say go ahead and beat the girl, she will do it in the end, you know she won't really commit suicide.

Now intelligence and compassion are not always aligned. The Greeks did not understand compassion as a moral feeling. The story of the good samaritan is an ethical nonsense for the Greeks. If a stranger is dying right outside your house, lying on the floor, not moving, and you happen to see him, the Greeks would correctly argue that intellectually, it's not immoral to ignore him and let him die. It is only the Christian faith that introduced compassion into the ethical mix. Because the Christians say that you should help the man if you can. He is your brother or sister in Christ.

And Christians would actually argue that it is your DUTY to help the man out. I will not go that far, because I know libertarians often argue against this concept of duty. So out of respect for you, I will ignore duty for now. And say that I'm not interested in whether it's a duty or not. But what I am interested in @Kak is in what you would do in that situation. And my bet is that you would help the man more often than not.

And you're helping not to pursue your rational self-interest -- there literarily is nothing for you to gain. Maybe the man is a homeless guy, you'll never come across him again. But you're helping because you were raised to be compassionate. And that is what makes you a good man... you pursue your rational self-interest with compassion.

There are ways to pursue your rational self-interest without compassion, and that is what criminals have perfected. And this will maximise your rational self-interest even more, compassion is a break.

In a business world, I believe win-win, mutually beneficial transactions are at the heart of anything sustainable. I am not talking about sustainability in the ecological sense, but the ability to continue doing what you are doing without the fear of the music stopping. I believe building businesses to be a high-calling and an honorable pursuit.

Capitalism, not in the dark and deranged sense that the political theater has painted it, but at its core... Is this system of free exchange between willing parties that engage only by choice and consideration of opportunity cost.
In theory, this is how it is. But in practice, capitalism always gets political. Meaning that force, deception, threats, violence of one form or another is introduced into the equation. Otherwise just ask yourself one simple question: why do the Stooges, who are less able, less intelligent than us, why is it that they rule over us? And set our laws? And, just as you said, if they wanted to, they could accuse us tomorrow of breaking some law or other and put us in jail? Why isn't the "free market" taking over them?

And this is at the heart of my disagreement with libertarians. Principles and morality work if everyone follows them. But in the real world, people don't. It is exactly as Machiavelli has said: "Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good."

And it is not as simple as deciphering who are the matchers/takers/givers of the world to use Adam Grant's terminology. Because a great criminal will more often than not act as a giver, until he doesn't.

I perceive that it is an improvement to my condition to be an upstanding, man-of-my-word, businessman of sterling reputation.

You perceive that it is an improvement on your condition to not hold yourself to a higher standard.
Depends what the criteria is my friend. If the criteria is living an ethical life, your way is correct. If the criteria is landing on the cover of Forbes, it's probably not.

I believe there are great yet difficult to quantify consequences of that decision, that when weighed against your perceived benefits, erodes the profitability of being a low-bar businessman.
This is a point we disagree on. Since as I have illustrated before, the most successful people have generally been the most unethical. What I think you may be trying to say is that being good has less variance... meaning that if you are good and also able on average you'll do well. Whereas if you are a criminal, very often you'll get in trouble, but if you don't and you do well, then you'll do a whole lot better, from a worldly point of view, than the ethical man does on average.

So being unethical is a high risk, high reward strategy. While being ethical is a low risk, more certain reward kind of strategy. And if this latter is your point, then I agree with you.

We are back to political theater. Conquerors and kingship was largely luck mixed with ego. You are putting the cart before the horse. Their position could have made them drunk on power and instilled feelings of human immortality. It probably drove them to be the irredeemable pricks they all were, look to Hollywood for a relevant modern example.
Yes, indeed we are my friend. Because political theater is precisely why the good man is not as successful as the criminal. If there was no political theater, the good man would be more successful than the criminal.

The political theater is an essential part of business, that cannot be separated so that we create the "ideal" capitalism, where politics is removed from economics. And the wonderful example you shared of your own story illustrates this.

The Stooges in a certain sense won. Your invention did not see the light of day. The political theater won over the markets.

Of course, you also won. You're a respectable business leader. You're friends with many of the people involved. And we're now going to need, at some later point, to explore the differences between power, ambition and pride between the good man and the criminal. Because they both have them, but they're not the same thing. And most often we assume these to be the same.

The real heart of our disagreement is that you see ethics & success as aligned, such that what is ethical is also always the best move on the chessboard from a worldly point of view. And my point is that that's not true. And this is precisely why we have a political theater. After all, the political theater did not appear by itself. We are creating it as a society, and the reason we are creating it is because we see many more unethical but stronger moves than ethical ones.

Don't conflate dominance and and strong leadership with unethical behavior.

Creative destruction is not unethical. For those of you that don't know what this is, look up economist Joseph Schumpter.

Challenging the status quo is not unethical. Per @thechosen1 continued use of the George Bernard Shaw quote about unreasonable people.

I am 100% all in on unreasonable. Literally one of my most recent shows I recorded was making the case that it is unreasonable to be reasonable as an entrepreneur. ;)

Unreasonable isn't unethical.

Unagreeable isn't unethical.

Ambition isn't unethical.

Hard hitting people that don't mince words aren't unethical.

Screwing people is and a reputation for screwing people is not good for your long term business prospects. I intend to ultimately prove it to the forum.
These are very important points. So now I'm going to go into a lot of depth into the differences in the power, ambition and pride of the ethical man vs the same attributes of the criminal.

What is power for the criminal? It is the ability to dominate others and extract from them exactly what you want, whether through force or deception.

What is ambition for the criminal? It is the desire to be better than your fellow man.

What is pride for the criminal? It is the knowledge that they are more successful than their fellow man.

And I think @Kak that we will agree that these previous sentiments are fundamentally unethical and immoral, since they corrode the brotherhood of man, and pit one man against another, like to bulls in a cage, forced to fight each other to the death. And I do not think this is what you mean by power, ambition and pride.

Rather I think that what you mean is as follows:

Power for the good man: the ability to actualize himself and flower to his full potential. To become his own master, the master of his own destiny, to reach the peaks that only he can reach.

Ambition: The strong desire to reach his full potential. To discover what he is most capable of.

Pride: The knowledge that he has done his best to actualize his potential, pride in his work and the mastery he has attained.

I'd say it is these definitions that you are referring to. Are they not?

So the good man also has a form of power that he has access to. But notice, that it's not the power of dominance. It's not the power of great intelligence or great force.

It is rather the power of meekness. And before you jump to my throat, listen to what I mean by that word. I do not mean weakness and bowing your head. Rather I mean finding and fulfilling your role in the greater whole. The power of the good man comes from the whole that supports him, not from himself. It comes from the people who trust him, the people who are loyal to him, the people who love him.

The power of the criminal comes from his great intelligence and great force. It is the respect that we hold for an Alexander -- we are in awe of his great power, the ability to play the politcal theater and get what he wants. The ability to crush others that stand in his way.

Listen to this short clip, because it illustrates the difference between the two:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9MzFD9T-Q


(and the whole show is great at exploring the difference between good vs evil when it comes to worldly success. These differences are more easily seen in drama -- in human action.)

Dying penniless doesn't prove your point. It proves mine.
It proves that being ethical has less variance. You were ethical, you didn't end up a billionaire at any point, but you also didn't end up in the poor house. Dr. Brinkley and Elizabeth were unethical, they ended up wealthier than you, but they also ended up in the poor house.

As I was saying before... higher peaks, lower lows. So with both of them, we're seeing exactly what we're expecting to see.

I did look at 3 billionaires in particular, I am well aware this is a very small sample size. We can add a few more. Larry Ellison from Oracle (another ruthless guy), Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos. All have been extremely ruthless in their quest to acquire & maintain power and wealth. These are the people who rise to the pinnacles. None of them I'd describe as GIVERS, without laughing in the same sentence.

Of course that, statistically speaking, if what I was saying before is true, that criminals will have higher highs and lower lows, we expect to see a lot more of them both at the top and at the bottom.

I don't have a wake of pissed off people in my past. Do you? It isn't too late to nock down your house of cards and start building your personal influence and reputation on something more solid. How you are talking about operating continuously puts you form of debt. The longer this goes on the more of this “debt” you accumulate. You are robbing your future self for a temporary gain today.
I will use this clear up a few comments from both yourself but also other people.

First to answer your question: I don't. I don't think you can find a single person here or elsewhere who will say that I cheated them. I have gone out of my way for clients many times in the past, and that's actually one of the reasons why I'm not richer and I haven't made more money.

Some have said above that the world is changing. And being unethical worked until now, but not anymore. The internet is changing the game.

I call this the Daniel Pink argument, because he makes it in his To Sell is Human book.

And I think it's exactly the opposite.

We have gone from seeing maybe 1,000 advertising messages a day to 10,000+ today. The flow of information is too much for our brain. And you know what that means? Most informtion becomes invisible.

So I will argue that it's the exact opposite. It's a LOT easier to be a criminal today, than it was 100 years ago. 100 years ago, you were restricted to a small community with a relatively small flow of information, and if your reputation was destroyed there, you were pretty much F*cked. Nowadays, your reputation getting destroyed is masked in the barrage of information.

Nobody has time to even find out.

So that's one reason.

The other reason is that nobody apart from yourself has an interest to worry about your reputation. Not even your victims. They may post a few negative reviews or whatever... but you can control and work on your reputation every single day! You can even pay companies to get negative reviews removed. So which version of reality will win out through the noise? The version YOU craft, spending a lot more time doing it, or the version that your victims do?

Just look at Jordan Belfort. The narrative that comes out of his mouth is winning. He's as rich as ever today. You'd have expected his reputation to have destroyed him. It did the EXACT opposite. Reputation simply doesn't matter as much, because people take decisions much more quickly, and there is simply too much information for them to be as analytical about it as before.

And I will add another point. Far from moving away from the political theater, we are moving ever more fully into it. Too much information, and people are confused. They don't know what to do anymore. And this is what they want. My guess is that the metaverse will be the perfect "solution" for the struggling, poverty-striken areas in India and Bangladesh.

Hook them up to the Metaverse so they can escape their horrible reality, let them live a fantasy, while they're producing whatever they'll be producing for us in the West through their computing power.

Far from the political losing influence, it is gaining. All the technology means they have more data then ever on us. They can monitor us more than ever. They can control us more than ever. They can see how quickly messages propagate more easily then ever. They can deceive more easily than ever by creating the impression of fake social proof.

So far from the world becoming non-Machiavellian, it is becoming MORE Machiavellian than ever.

So this is my question for you @Kak. How do we fight back?

True or False: The market ultimately decides who is and isn’t wildly successful?
Yes.

True or False: The market is comprised of people who have opinions and perceptions of you?
Yes.

That is precisely why a criminal is busy at work crafting the perceptions and the opinions the market will have. Microsoft for example has been busy at crafting the perception the market will have about Windows PCs for decades. This is precisely where politics, deception and force come into play.


----------------------------------

I wanted to add one more thing. Someone above has mentioned Robert Greene. I detest Robert Greene and find his books too boring to read, though they have been recommended to me many times. But, I've never read any of his books except parts of one on seduction many many years ago.

To the accusation that I'm using this to gain attention, I have removed all links leading back to my website from my signature.

It's true that I've made money off the forum, but you guys are greatly exaggerating about it. Probably I've made $25,000 at most over 3 years from the forum. I've probably given back in monetary form alone to the forum or members of the forum around $10,000 of those. Plus whatever I've given back to all the people I've helped in a non-monetary way, of course.

So selling on the forum has been more of a hobby for me. The truth be told, there is no money to be made from the forum. And I have collected a lot of information on the audience, so I know.

I think @Fox 2 years ago was making around $100K/year from the forum. And I think that's the most you can reach if you do this full-time.

The forum is separated between those who are BROKE, which is 80%+... and when I say broke, I really do mean broke... I don't mean $75K/year income kinda broke. They can't pay $1K/mo to work with my company.

And those who aren't broke aren't usually running an agency. And even if they are, they usually are so successful that they wouldn't need my service (ie, @BizyDad ).

So the forum is a terrible place for me to advertise my main business on.

At the moment, out of 39 active clients, only 1 is from the forum, and I don't even know his username here actually, I've spoken with him for many months through LinkedIn before he joined, but I know he's a member here.
 
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BizyDad

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But I do need a single word that I can use to mean:
There is a good point that there is no word for this. Which in and of itself is a fascinating idea.

The closest I can think of is Faustian, one who trades their soul for worldly pleasures or gain. Faustian certainly is not the same thing as you say, but I also needed a word separate from criminal to say the next part.

So below, I use Faustian to replace BD's use of the word criminal and use the word criminal in its traditional sense.

So what do you think @Kak? Do you think the guy we described above would be a criminal, in my definition of the term, or an honest businessman, providing value to the market?

This person is Faustian and a criminal.

And based on laws in this country, he has exposed himself to potential future legal liability.

Now perhaps that's as far as he gets in life, and he never gets legally reprimanded. That person is rich. Fine.

But there are whispers. His course wasn't so great after all. And the whispers occasionally kill his chances at some future deals.

Is this a trade a Faustian would make? Probably. But in this example an honest business would like get farther because the story continues beyond your arbitrary stopping point.

You present your example as if there will be no consequences... But there are.

Anyways, just wanted to illustrate an alternate use case of a word in case you guys want to further distinguish between proper criminals and BD's version of proper criminals. (Puns definitely intended)

To the accusation that I'm using this to gain attention, I have removed all links leading back to my website from my signature.

@Johnny boy was right about you! It's happening before our very eyes! He is Machiavellian. Or is he? :eek:

Sorry. I thought we could use a little levity. Carry on lovers of truth.
 
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Kak

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That is a great response @Kak, and I will have to really push myself to be able to match you. And I certainly hope that I will be able to, because just as you said yourself, the matter we are discussing is very important to ourselves as individuals, but also to society. And it's important that all of us learn from each other and become better able to see the truth. I am certainly learning from your responses, and I hope you are also from mine.

I am happy to see that we agree on a few very important points: our stance on politics/politicians and the vast difference between what is legally right vs what is morally/ethically right.

I will make a few comments on these matters before getting to the meat of the argument.

In my previous post, I have used the word "criminal" extensively, and I made it a point to show that the richest and most successful people are usually criminals. As you and @Antifragile have observed, I haven't used this word the same way we use it in everyday language, or how it is defined in the dictionary. And I am not attempting to persuade you to change the everyday definition of that word.

But I do need a single word that I can use to mean:


I propose that for the sake of this discussion, you allow me to use the word "criminal" to refer to a person that matches the description above. If not, by all means feel free to propose a different word, but until then, bear in mind that when I write criminal, I refer to what is described above, NOT to our everyday dictionary definition of the word.

Therefore not all people who break the law are criminals in the understanding of the term used above. And furthermore, not all criminals break the law. This is a very important point, because we're using the word to refer to a person who has no regard for ethical norms beyond his self-interest (and I am aware that you being a libertarian quite possibly equate ethics with the pursuit of rational self-interest and we're going to come to that at some point).

In fact, I will say that the smartest criminals very rarely, if ever, will break the law, and that is precisely what makes them so efficient as criminals.

About this, @Antifragile tagged me in a different thread about a scam his company fell prey to. I don't view those people as great criminals. They are low-level scum. So for the purposes of this discussion, let's create an example of a great criminal, which is realistic, and shows the position at its peak strength.

Suppose you run a business that teaches people how to day-trade the stock market. You pay a marketing company to get you fake, but approved testimonials, that look indistinguishable from real ones. You focus on promoting the lifestyle and telling people they can live like millionaires, just from their laptops. And let's say 0.1% who join your training, actually do end up living like that. And you get them on camera, and to promote you. Your course and its content is great, you put a ton of effort to make it pretty much the best in the market but people don't get very big results. At least 99.9% don't. And you promise people a 30-day guarantee, if they do their best and work hard and don't get results in 30 days. But in practice, no one gets the guarantee, because you'll always claim they didn't work hard, and come up with some reason such as "you only started going through the training on day 20. We expect people to start from day 1, immediately"... a reason that in a court of law would hold. And you have customer service to placate customers and make them feel guilty when they fail, it's their fault... which probably isn't far from the truth. And you also request a written testimonials 5 days into the course right on the video platform... because you know that most people will fail to get results, but you can still extract great testimonials early on. People are excited, going through, so they leave glowing reviews. You get 5/5 feedbacks all the time. And every now and again you get a great testimonial that says "WOWW!! Made $10,000 yesterday from $500!". And maybe every now and again you do honor the guarantee, not to draw any suspicion if you're ever taken to court. And every week you place 10 trades from 10 different accounts, and you only show one of them in your marketing, which is successful. You're not making money by trading, in fact, you're losing money, but your customers see and think that you're winning. And you make $100M+/year doing that.

Now THAT is a real, smart criminal. Do you think that that guy will be "caught" for anything? I don't. He can always turn around and say that it's all real... he has a good alibi for everything. And he's maximising his rational self-interest, which is to keep as much money as possible. You'll almost never be able to demonstrate his intent. And if he's very smart, he'll even have invoices and contracts for completely different services, not fake testimonials for the providers he works with.

So what do you think @Kak? Do you think the guy we described above would be a criminal, in my definition of the term, or an honest businessman, providing value to the market?

---------

Also the point you made is very valuable. Our laws are made in such a way that if the Stooges want to get you, they don't even need to invent something... it is usually sufficient to put the state's magnifying glass on you. And we will come back to this later.

But suffice to say at this point that we both agree that the people who rule over us, the people who control the laws and have a monopoly over physical violence, these people aren't worthy of our respect, on average. And that they really are running a "theater for the masses" as you call it.


This will be a very interesting discussion. I will take the side that, for most people, being good is not a result of intelligence, but a result of upbringing, ultimately a matter of ingrained habit. And making this argument will serve another purpose as well... to discourage our readers from pursuing the criminal path, even though, as I will show, it is this path that the most successful, and also the wealthiest people have followed to attain their wealth & success.

In order to be a successful criminal (bear in mind the definition I'm using) you need two attributes:

1) Extremely high intelligence. By which I mean the ability to foresee far into the future what the consequences of certain actions will be, how other people may react, and how to engineer situations to be to your advantage, so that, as the saying goes, you always fall on your feet rather than on your face.

2) A hardened heart. By which I mean the ability to behave unethically with impunity, without having sentiments or emotions or compassion holding you back. Without experiencing guilt for what you have done, or the pangs of conscience. Notice that in the speech I quoted initially from Machiavelli's Florentine Histories, the soldiers to which the general was talking to were admonished for their conscience, for their guilt, because they did not want to be criminals anymore.

Most people will lack both. Perhaps 90%+ of the world's population lacks both. Now from the remaining 10%, perhaps 9%+ will lack the hardened heart. Some of our readers here may read that criminals are able to attain the highest peaks of success and undiscouraged by the moral arguments you and @Antifragile have put forward against that sort of life, want to launch into the endeavour of actually becoming these successful criminals.

Therefore I want to put forward some practical, non-moral arguments against this...

Look at someone like Andrew Tate. He has attained the peak of worldly success: ability to travel anywhere, own mansions and private jets, have millions of fans, a huge collection of the most expensive luxury items in the world, beautiful women and complete and utter fame, being the most Googled man on the planet, right? Yes, this was recently taken away from him, but the trial is ongoing, who knows, he may even be able to take it all back.

What did he have to do to attain this? He describes it himself. It all started when he called four of his girlfriends who did not know about each other to his place to show their bodies on the internet for money. Two left immediately, and two stayed. Out of those two, one left soon after and there was only one left.

And what happened is that Andrew would type, and the girl would act. And they would get men on camera, and get those men to send their money to them. Telling them that the girl is in love with them, or she wants to move in with them and so on. And like this, they were able to create from a single girl $50,000-$100,000/month.

They also soon learned that with this sort of money the girls did not want to work 8 hours per day. 1 hour was enough. They would buy the guccis that they wanted, and after they'd want to have fun, go on holidays, etc. And they would also want to do it themselves, take all the money. So some way had to be found to restrict the girls. To make sure they don't betray. Get them to tattoo their names on their body, take their passports, don't let them go out on their own, threats or even actual physical violence, there were many methods taken into consideration. Of course that the girls who were recruited would be girls who agreed with this. A great criminal is not an alchemist, but rather a sifter - he sifts for the marks, for the victims, and only invests his time into those, because manipulation is always to be preferred over force.

Now most ambitious young men may look at Andrew and want to replicate what he did. The problem is that they won't be able to. First of all, most simply lack the intelligence. As one guy said in this thread, when he lies, you can read it all over his face. He cannot do it. He simply lacks the ability.

And second of all, even if they do have the intelligence, they will not have the heart. Imagine taking your girlfriend and asking her to show her body on the internet for money. And maybe you get her to do it, because you're a smart guy. But a point will come when she no longer wants to do it. When she starts crying, and when she wants to kill herself because she feels tortured. Will you have the heart to keep going at that point? To lock her in the house, beat her, make her do it, day after day after day? Most people will not. They may have the ability, but they lack the will.

And this brings us to the heart of the matter. The reason why most people will NOT have the heart to do it isn't because they're more intelligent than others as you wish to argue. It is because of compassion, something that was bred into them through the way they were raised. Because intelligence may very well say go ahead and beat the girl, she will do it in the end, you know she won't really commit suicide.

Now intelligence and compassion are not always aligned. The Greeks did not understand compassion as a moral feeling. The story of the good samaritan is an ethical nonsense for the Greeks. If a stranger is dying right outside your house, lying on the floor, not moving, and you happen to see him, the Greeks would correctly argue that intellectually, it's not immoral to ignore him and let him die. It is only the Christian faith that introduced compassion into the ethical mix. Because the Christians say that you should help the man if you can. He is your brother or sister in Christ.

And Christians would actually argue that it is your DUTY to help the man out. I will not go that far, because I know libertarians often argue against this concept of duty. So out of respect for you, I will ignore duty for now. And say that I'm not interested in whether it's a duty or not. But what I am interested in @Kak is in what you would do in that situation. And my bet is that you would help the man more often than not.

And you're helping not to pursue your rational self-interest -- there literarily is nothing for you to gain. Maybe the man is a homeless guy, you'll never come across him again. But you're helping because you were raised to be compassionate. And that is what makes you a good man... you pursue your rational self-interest with compassion.

There are ways to pursue your rational self-interest without compassion, and that is what criminals have perfected. And this will maximise your rational self-interest even more, compassion is a break.


In theory, this is how it is. But in practice, capitalism always gets political. Meaning that force, deception, threats, violence of one form or another is introduced into the equation. Otherwise just ask yourself one simple question: why do the Stooges, who are less able, less intelligent than us, why is it that they rule over us? And set our laws? And, just as you said, if they wanted to, they could accuse us tomorrow of breaking some law or other and put us in jail? Why isn't the "free market" taking over them?

And this is at the heart of my disagreement with libertarians. Principles and morality work if everyone follows them. But in the real world, people don't. It is exactly as Machiavelli has said: "Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good."

And it is not as simple as deciphering who are the matchers/takers/givers of the world to use Adam Grant's terminology. Because a great criminal will more often than not act as a giver, until he doesn't.


Depends what the criteria is my friend. If the criteria is living an ethical life, your way is correct. If the criteria is landing on the cover of Forbes, it's probably not.


This is a point we disagree on. Since as I have illustrated before, the most successful people have generally been the most unethical. What I think you may be trying to say is that being good has less variance... meaning that if you are good and also able on average you'll do well. Whereas if you are a criminal, very often you'll get in trouble, but if you don't and you do well, then you'll do a whole lot better, from a worldly point of view, than the ethical man does on average.

So being unethical is a high risk, high reward strategy. While being ethical is a low risk, more certain reward kind of strategy. And if this latter is your point, then I agree with you.


Yes, indeed we are my friend. Because political theater is precisely why the good man is not as successful as the criminal. If there was no political theater, the good man would be more successful than the criminal.

The political theater is an essential part of business, that cannot be separated so that we create the "ideal" capitalism, where politics is removed from economics. And the wonderful example you shared of your own story illustrates this.

The Stooges in a certain sense won. Your invention did not see the light of day. The political theater won over the markets.

Of course, you also won. You're a respectable business leader. You're friends with many of the people involved. And we're now going to need, at some later point, to explore the differences between power, ambition and pride between the good man and the criminal. Because they both have them, but they're not the same thing. And most often we assume these to be the same.

The real heart of our disagreement is that you see ethics & success as aligned, such that what is ethical is also always the best move on the chessboard from a worldly point of view. And my point is that that's not true. And this is precisely why we have a political theater. After all, the political theater did not appear by itself. We are creating it as a society, and the reason we are creating it is because we see many more unethical but stronger moves than ethical ones.


These are very important points. So now I'm going to go into a lot of depth into the differences in the power, ambition and pride of the ethical man vs the same attributes of the criminal.

What is power for the criminal? It is the ability to dominate others and extract from them exactly what you want, whether through force or deception.

What is ambition for the criminal? It is the desire to be better than your fellow man.

What is pride for the criminal? It is the knowledge that they are more successful than their fellow man.

And I think @Kak that we will agree that these previous sentiments are fundamentally unethical and immoral, since they corrode the brotherhood of man, and pit one man against another, like to bulls in a cage, forced to fight each other to the death. And I do not think this is what you mean by power, ambition and pride.

Rather I think that what you mean is as follows:

Power for the good man: the ability to actualize himself and flower to his full potential. To become his own master, the master of his own destiny, to reach the peaks that only he can reach.

Ambition: The strong desire to reach his full potential. To discover what he is most capable of.

Pride: The knowledge that he has done his best to actualize his potential, pride in his work and the mastery he has attained.

I'd say it is these definitions that you are referring to. Are they not?

So the good man also has a form of power that he has access to. But notice, that it's not the power of dominance. It's not the power of great intelligence or great force.

It is rather the power of meekness. And before you jump to my throat, listen to what I mean by that word. I do not mean weakness and bowing your head. Rather I mean finding and fulfilling your role in the greater whole. The power of the good man comes from the whole that supports him, not from himself. It comes from the people who trust him, the people who are loyal to him, the people who love him.

The power of the criminal comes from his great intelligence and great force. It is the respect that we hold for an Alexander -- we are in awe of his great power, the ability to play the politcal theater and get what he wants. The ability to crush others that stand in his way.

Listen to this short clip, because it illustrates the difference between the two:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9MzFD9T-Q


(and the whole show is great at exploring the difference between good vs evil when it comes to worldly success. These differences are more easily seen in drama -- in human action.)


It proves that being ethical has less variance. You were ethical, you didn't end up a billionaire at any point, but you also didn't end up in the poor house. Dr. Brinkley and Elizabeth were unethical, they ended up wealthier than you, but they also ended up in the poor house.

As I was saying before... higher peaks, lower lows. So with both of them, we're seeing exactly what we're expecting to see.

I did look at 3 billionaires in particular, I am well aware this is a very small sample size. We can add a few more. Larry Ellison from Oracle (another ruthless guy), Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos. All have been extremely ruthless in their quest to acquire & maintain power and wealth. These are the people who rise to the pinnacles. None of them I'd describe as GIVERS, without laughing in the same sentence.

Of course that, statistically speaking, if what I was saying before is true, that criminals will have higher highs and lower lows, we expect to see a lot more of them both at the top and at the bottom.


I will use this clear up a few comments from both yourself but also other people.

First to answer your question: I don't. I don't think you can find a single person here or elsewhere who will say that I cheated them. I have gone out of my way for clients many times in the past, and that's actually one of the reasons why I'm not richer and I haven't made more money.

Some have said above that the world is changing. And being unethical worked until now, but not anymore. The internet is changing the game.

I call this the Daniel Pink argument, because he makes it in his To Sell is Human book.

And I think it's exactly the opposite.

We have gone from seeing maybe 1,000 advertising messages a day to 10,000+ today. The flow of information is too much for our brain. And you know what that means? Most informtion becomes invisible.

So I will argue that it's the exact opposite. It's a LOT easier to be a criminal today, than it was 100 years ago. 100 years ago, you were restricted to a small community with a relatively small flow of information, and if your reputation was destroyed there, you were pretty much F*cked. Nowadays, your reputation getting destroyed is masked in the barrage of information.

Nobody has time to even find out.

So that's one reason.

The other reason is that nobody apart from yourself has an interest to worry about your reputation. Not even your victims. They may post a few negative reviews or whatever... but you can control and work on your reputation every single day! You can even pay companies to get negative reviews removed. So which version of reality will win out through the noise? The version YOU craft, spending a lot more time doing it, or the version that your victims do?

Just look at Jordan Belfort. The narrative that comes out of his mouth is winning. He's as rich as ever today. You'd have expected his reputation to have destroyed him. It did the EXACT opposite. Reputation simply doesn't matter as much, because people take decisions much more quickly, and there is simply too much information for them to be as analytical about it as before.

And I will add another point. Far from moving away from the political theater, we are moving ever more fully into it. Too much information, and people are confused. They don't know what to do anymore. And this is what they want. My guess is that the metaverse will be the perfect "solution" for the struggling, poverty-striken areas in India and Bangladesh.

Hook them up to the Metaverse so they can escape their horrible reality, let them live a fantasy, while they're producing whatever they'll be producing for us in the West through their computing power.

Far from the political losing influence, it is gaining. All the technology means they have more data then ever on us. They can monitor us more than ever. They can control us more than ever. They can see how quickly messages propagate more easily then ever. They can deceive more easily than ever by creating the impression of fake social proof.

So far from the world becoming non-Machiavellian, it is becoming MORE Machiavellian than ever.

So this is my question for you @Kak. How do we fight back?


Yes.


Yes.

That is precisely why a criminal is busy at work crafting the perceptions and the opinions the market will have. Microsoft for example has been busy at crafting the perception the market will have about Windows PCs for decades. This is precisely where politics, deception and force come into play.


----------------------------------

I wanted to add one more thing. Someone above has mentioned Robert Greene. I detest Robert Greene and find his books too boring to read, though they have been recommended to me many times. But, I've never read any of his books except parts of one on seduction many many years ago.

To the accusation that I'm using this to gain attention, I have removed all links leading back to my website from my signature.

It's true that I've made money off the forum, but you guys are greatly exaggerating about it. Probably I've made $25,000 at most over 3 years from the forum. I've probably given back in monetary form alone to the forum or members of the forum around $10,000 of those. Plus whatever I've given back to all the people I've helped in a non-monetary way, of course.

So selling on the forum has been more of a hobby for me. The truth be told, there is no money to be made from the forum. And I have collected a lot of information on the audience, so I know.

I think @Fox 2 years ago was making around $100K/year from the forum. And I think that's the most you can reach if you do this full-time.

The forum is separated between those who are BROKE, which is 80%+... and when I say broke, I really do mean broke... I don't mean $75K/year income kinda broke. They can't pay $1K/mo to work with my company.

And those who aren't broke aren't usually running an agency. And even if they are, they usually are so successful that they wouldn't need my service (ie, @BizyDad ).

So the forum is a terrible place for me to advertise my main business on.

At the moment, out of 39 active clients, only 1 is from the forum, and I don't even know his username here actually, I've spoken with him for many months through LinkedIn before he joined, but I know he's a member here.
For the sake of readability and interest from readers, we are going to boil this down to a few short points in the coming posts. I’m not going to spend two hours of my Saturday picking out every point.

Everyone that feels negative thoughts towards @Black_Dragon43 and saying they would not do business with him..

It’s because you do not want to do business with conscious, intelligent, selfish and savage people.

You actually don’t. It’s not smart for you.

It’s better for everyone else to be simple, not that ambitious, gullible, a pushover, etc. The same way I WANT simple minded and not selfish employees.

You want everyone else to be incapable of lying, but would you include yourself to be made incapable? Or would you say “well, let me keep it, just in case, but don’t let anyone else be able to”.

I would argue he is not Machiavellian.

He is in the middle of being redpilled. Where he understands but is not implementing it yet.

A true one would be saying socially acceptable, “be a good person” BS that virtue signals.

Imagine bill gates, a politician, or any other bastard got on this forum and wrote posts…

They would say the most inoffensive and polite things, meanwhile doing unspeakably evil shit.

@Black_Dragon43 will realize this someday. You will start to see that he is a “changed man”. He will be polite and say socially acceptable things. He will be loved and that’s when he would actually be evil. When he cares more about getting a result than telling you the truth.

I am infinitely more scared of people who artfully virtue signal. They are the true evil people. You can be a good person, but when it’s too perfect…you know it’s designed. And you can only smell it when you have figured it out for yourself a bit too.

I think he is just going through a phase where he is red pilled and sharing his realizations.

When he is someone you would put on your board of directors, someone you would give your life savings to, someone you would vote for…

That’s who you should be afraid of.

That is the great irony of morality and public opinion.

@Kak seems to say that it’s important to be seen as a good person as if actually being a good person is the same thing. I think they are absolutely not the same.

In my heart, I want good things.

But maybe I said that to trick you. Maybe I don’t mean that at all.

Maybe I know that if I say “it is only important to be seen as a good person” I will look evil, so I add the little qualifying intro to it saying ‘I want good things’ to exclude myself and not admit anything.

There is no good way to see what is in an intelligent man’s heart, only a stupid man. Because the intelligent man can appear to be anything, but the stupid man can only be what he is. But if the intelligent man can also artfully appear to be the stupid man, then you have no idea of anything.

Perhaps @Kak is actually tricking you because he wants people to trust him. If that’s the case he is tricking me too because he seems like a good guy. But entertain that concept for a bit. I agree with him as well that people do not want to do business with people that throw caution to the wind and burn bridges and that relationships are valuable, I absolutely agree. I just think there are ironic hidden layers to being a good person vs being seen as one, and that often the people who you trust are the most Machiavellian as can be.

I also think @Johnny boy had a great point about virtue signaling.

My quick answer to JB as we continue this…

When someone says the words “trust me” or “I’m a good person” or names their company “integrity services” you can almost be guaranteed that you are dealing with a virtue signaler. They’re not actually virtuous, they are just signaling. Often they are trying to make up for shortfalls elsewhere.

Does saying you are a person of integrity make you so? Absolutely not. In my opinion, a virtue signaler is trying to cut the curve of solid, brick by brick, reputation building.

They throw up a metaphorical billboard declaring to the world that “I’m a good person, you can trust me, I’ll never screw you over.”

How often would any of you who have known someone for just a few days trust someone just because they asked you to? In my opinion the ask itself at such an early stage is a red flag.

The reason @biophase was able to borrow a quick $100k is because he already earned a good reputation and the friends already trusted him, fully. They know that the culmination of their likely years knowing him, didn’t lead up to him taking them for $100k. Notice he wasn’t begging. Notice he didn’t ask for trust. He didn’t have to. The reputation is already built. I bet they didn’t even make a contract. They just talked about terms and did it.

Let’s focus on the need to ask vs having already earned someone’s trust. I don’t even have a need to ask. I don’t have a need for anyone here to trust me. My business exists totally off of the forum, and yet people do probably trust me because I have a long record of both contributions and saying whatever I want to say. I often take and stand on very unpopular stances.

Virtue signalers, by comparison sound like chat GPT, they publicly weigh the sides of everything and “it’s important to note there are examples to the contrary.” It’s a tiring way to say contribute nothing but a bunch of words to read. There are probably a few posts in this thread that fit that description. It may be innocent, like trying to get people to like them, but it’s still virtue signaling.

If a hypothetical business person was trying to raise money, and part of their pitch was on their own personal integrity, I would probably run. So how do you build credibility? In this case I would get evidence from people who undeniably matter to your company. If I was going to serve the big online retail giants for instance, I would get the opinions of Amazon and EBay executives to share.

You can trust me if you don’t have to trust me. It goes both ways. If you don’t put people in a position where they have to trust you, you don’t need virtue signaling.

Reputation excellence comes down to actions not words. Just like entrepreneurial success. A track record. Anyone can tell you they’re going to be or are a successful entrepreneur. Anyone can tell you they’re a good person. Reputation cuts the BS, it’s the reality of your situation.

Finally, notice that I’ve built my case for high-bar business as something that benefits me, my family, and my business prospects in the long run. It’s completely safe for anyone to “believe me” that I protect my reputation while I conduct business. I’ve made the case that I do it for my own good and that it is just a matter of intelligence before it even gets to a matter of morality.

Virtue signaling is all talk and no substance. Reputation is reality.
 
Last edited:

Vigilante

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For the sake of readability and interest from readers, we are going to boil this down to a few short points in the coming posts. I’m not going to spend two hours of my Saturday picking out every point.



I also think @Johnny boy had a great point about virtue signaling.

My quick answer to JB as we continue this…

When someone says the words “trust me” or “I’m a good person” or names their company “integrity services” you can almost be guaranteed that you are dealing with a virtue signaler. They’re not actually virtuous, they are just signaling. Often they are trying to make up for shortfalls elsewhere.

Does saying you are a person of integrity make you so? Absolutely not. In my opinion, a virtue signaler is trying to cut the curve of solid, brick by brick, reputation building.

They throw up a metaphorical billboard declaring to the world that “I’m a good person, you can trust me, I’ll never screw you over.”

How often would any of you who have known someone for just a few days trust someone just because they asked you to? In my opinion the ask itself at such an early stage is a red flag.

The reason @biophase was able to borrow a quick $100k is because he already earned a good reputation and the friends already trusted him, fully. They know that the culmination of their likely years knowing him, didn’t lead up to him taking them for $100k. Notice he wasn’t begging. Notice he didn’t ask for trust. He didn’t have to. The reputation is already built. I bet they didn’t even make a contract. They just talked about terms and did it.

Let’s focus on the need to ask vs having already earned someone’s trust. I don’t even have a need to ask. I don’t have a need for anyone here to trust me. My business exists totally off of the forum, and yet people do probably trust me because I have a long record of both contributions and saying whatever I want to say. I often take and stand on very unpopular stances.

Virtue signalers, by comparison sound like chat GPT, they publicly weigh the sides of everything and “it’s important to note there are examples to the contrary.” Its a tiring way to say contribute nothing but a bunch of words to read. There are probably a few posts in this thread that fit that description. It may be innocent, like trying to get people to like them, but it’s still virtue signaling.

If a hypothetical business person was trying to raise money, and part of their pitch was on their own personal integrity, I would probably run. So how do you build credibility? In this case I would get evidence from people who undeniably matter to your company. If I was going to serve the big online retail giants for instance, I would get the opinions of Amazon and EBay executives to share.

You can trust me if you don’t have to trust me. It goes both ways. If you don’t put people in a position where they have to trust you, you don’t need virtue signaling.

Reputation excellence comes down to actions not words. Just like entrepreneurial success. A track record. Anyone can tell you they’re going to be or are a successful entrepreneur. Anyone can tell you they’re a good person. Reputation cuts the BS, it’s the reality of your situation.

Finally, notice that I’ve built my case for high-bar business as something that benefits me, my family, and my business prospects in the long run. It’s completely safe for anyone to “believe me” that I protect my reputation while I conduct business. I do it for my own good.

Virtue signaling is all talk and no substance. Reputation is reality.

My takeaway : Reputation is reality.
 

Kevin88660

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The problem with making reference to Jordan Belfort is that many assumptions about him are wrong.

First of all he did many years of legitimate business selling blue chip stocks in the trading and wealth management business. Did a good job in honest way.

That’s how he gain a lot of trust of a lot of clients.

1) Rule number one: to able to “steal”
millions of dollar from many people you must work hard and honestly for years first.

2) Then the second misunderstanding is that he didn’t “steal” the money technically.

What he did was he recommend penny stocks to his clients. He did stock market manipulation through pump and dump.

A lot of crypto projects founders used to recently do this “legally” because crypto are not securities hence they don’t fall under the laws of securities and futures trading act.

Jordan was not the only one doing this. He was the one was chosen to be made as an example.
Jordan in interview said he regretted doing that and he could be richer if he has not chosen the get richer quick option.

In the movie it was portrayed that he didn’t quit after SEC investigation. In reality he quit, tried to run things behind the scene but was not let off.

3) Jordan belford was already rich before he got involved in stock market manipulation. He went greedy to make more money fast and it cost him dearly. He is currently in negative net wealth territory. Although it is common knowledge that he has control to some form of hidden assets overseas. He is still paying back the compensation but not in the pace that the victims wanted.

So if you a young man thinking that you can. Get rich doing things unethically you are very mistaken.
1) You have not worked hard enough to accumulate trust to rip people off yet.
2) Once you have completed step one, it is foolish to walk in Jordan’s Belford’s path. As he has told you.
3)Jordan Belford is a very competitive individual and that explains his earlier success. He is the short guy in the class and he feels the need to prove himself. His tennis coach said he will train repeatedly to get the motions right and he is insanely obsessed with training.
4) He also has earlier success and failure in selling ice creams. He has expanded a profitable business too fast and went bankrupt/almost bankrupt. That was before him going into security advisory. The earlier lesson taught him to take baby steps and not go all in too fast.

When you study the details, Jordan Belord’s story is not about lying your way into millions.
 
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Last edited:

Kevin88660

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That’s not how I know the story. They started doing well when they began selling penny stocks to wealthy investors. Investors usually lost money, but selling a bad asset isn’t a (legal) crime.

What happened next is that Jordan wanted to take it to the next level. Imagine if instead of these guys mostly losing money, you could actually deliver huge returns for them? Enter stock manipulation and pump and dump schemes.

This is what he got arrested for initially. Not for the selling penny stocks part. As for Jordan Belfort the “reformed”, I highly highly doubt it. He didn’t care about customers before, he doesn’t care about them now. The only difference is that he’s selling a service/product now that’s basically solid. I imagine most people buying it don’t get much results from it. They pay $5,000, but don’t make much back.

His stuff is solid. It’s great. But that doesn’t mean most people who buy it will make money from it. Just as in the example I discussed with @BizyDad above… the product can be the best on the market, and still you may know in advance that 99% of the market will fail, even with that product.
His strategy of selling focuses on getting the customer to commit to a low commitment offer, over delivers it, and then tries to up sell a higher ticket item. It might not applicable to all businesses.

Sales people generally sell in a way that is convincing to themselves. His high energy personal style is effective to other people who is receptive to getting influnced and inspired. It could backfire on other personality types.

Right out of prison he went on taking sale management roles specifically selling products with strong selling proposition. Selling home owners refinancing plans with lower interest packages and selling government sponsored training packages to farmers.
 

BizyDad

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His strategy of selling focuses on getting the customer to commit to a low commitment offer, over delivers it, and then tries to up sell a higher ticket item. It might not applicable to all businesses.

Sales people generally sell in a way that is convincing to themselves. His high energy personal style is effective to other people who is receptive to getting influnced and inspired. It could backfire on other personality types.

Right out of prison he went on taking sale management roles specifically selling products with strong selling proposition. Selling home owners refinancing plans with lower interest packages and selling government sponsored training packages to farmers.
I would like to point out that you are beginning to derail a good conversation about business ethics to discuss the merits of one person.

I refer you to my previous post.

If you gentlemen would like to continue this, perhaps do so on any number of Jordan threads probably already in existence on this forum.
 

Antifragile

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It’s official: I cannot keep up. I tried. I did my best. But I’d need to quit my life to keep up…

Final thoughts:
  • I’ll never do business with people I don’t trust
  • Trust is earned with actions, words mean little
  • I do due diligence on people, so if there was bad behaviour, there’s a chance I’ll learn about it
  • How do you define bad behaviour in business? Same as pornography: you’ll know it when you see it.
  • Friends matter more than a few bucks
  • Anyone skilled enough to get away with being shady as F*ck and still succeed, can succeed just as well (and better) being a good person too
  • Reputation has massive value
/end
 
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Vigilante

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It’s official: I cannot keep up. I tried. I did my best. But I’d need to quit my life to keep up…

Final thoughts:
  • I’ll never do business with people I don’t trust
  • Trust is earned with actions, words mean little
  • I do due diligence on people, so if there was bad behaviour, there’s a chance I’ll learn about it
  • How do you define bad behaviour in business? Same as pornography: you’ll know it when you see it.
  • Friends matter more than a few bucks
  • Anyone skilled enough to get away with being shady as F*ck and still succeed, can succeed just as well (and better) being a good person too
  • Reputation has massive value
/end
I think it takes just as long to be shady as it does to be ethical.

One of my mentors always said that the reason he never lied was because he wasn’t smart enough to keep track of the lies so he figured if he just told the truth, he would never trap himself.
 

BizyDad

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I think it takes just as long to be shady as it does to be ethical.

To me, this is the essence of the debate. I completely agree.

My dad would say it actually takes more energy to be shady.

My father always said a liar has to constantly remember every lie he ever told to cover up for the first lie. As a lie gets bigger, the liar gets more uncertain and easier to spot. Whereas an honest man can just think clearly and move forward.

Therefore, it is better to be honest than to lie.

Growing up, I didn't give that dude enough credit. When moments like these come up, and I share some of his wisdom with somebody else, I always call him and say...

Dad, you were right again.

And we have a good laugh. Enjoy your loved ones everybody.

I'll leave this as my final thought on the thread. This is one of my favorite all-time quotes I have read in this place.

"I don't worry about glass houses because I don't build them."
@Kak (2021 probably)

I've got a phone call to make... :peace:
 

Stargazer

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People buy products and services from companies and expect to receive those products and services as stated.

People also reasonably allow that things can go wrong and expect that the company will rectify the problem.

If they don't get what was promised, or the issue is not rectified satisfactorily, they feel done over and go elsewhere.

Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, have not screwed people over with their services. They said it would do xyz, the market wanted xyz and they broadly received xyz.

All this talk by BD of past warriors, Kings, eastern philosophies, Western Religions, empathy, compassion, kak possibly helping a homeless person who might be injured for crying out loud, is totally irrelevant.

We all know perfectly well what @Kak means and he is right. It's what 99.9% of people who start any business do, whether they want to scale up one day to a massive corporation or just be the local handyman.

They come up with an idea for a product or service and they aim to deliver it to the customer as described. They haven't got an agenda to screw people over.

Dan
 
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Primeperiwinkle

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Vote by likes!!!!

Who in here would really enjoy Kak getting SUPER annoyed with someone and just destroying them emotionally?!?

Come on. Be honest. That would be entertaining af.
I went too far with the whole “destroying them emotionally” thing but that’s fine.

And dude? @Kak We don’t want a podcast. We want a live stream. You have to have at least one person on who genuinely annoys you or it won’t work. But I think you could get away with having three people IF you make the third person someone quiet and really severe, like a well-dressed Spock type of guy. Basically Biophase. Or anyone exactly like him. So you plus a quiet guy plus your opponent. Yep, that would be cool.

Don’t invite fan boys. They’re just ew.
 

Isaac Odongo

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In fact, I will say that the smartest criminals very rarely, if ever, will break the law, and that is precisely what makes them so efficient as criminals.
This means they do break the law.

It also means they do act in a way unfairly towards. These others are not necessarily the general public to be screwed. These others may also be impressionable investors. Elizabeth Holmes is a good example.

The High Frequency Traders screwed investors by adding anthills in the playground of the stock market for other investors while creating smoother runways for themselves. Do these fit in the mold of criminals you describe?

Dr. Brinkley and Elizabeth were unethical, they ended up wealthier than you, but they also ended up in the poor house.

Are they still as wealthy as they were in those years they were messing up? Is Elizabeth Holmes in the same mold as Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and the like?

Or is Elizabeth Holmes not as smart as the Faustian criminal described here? Did she have the heart without compassion but lack the mind of great intelligence? In which case she isn't a fitting example for these points.

As I was saying before... higher peaks, lower lows. So with both of them, we're seeing exactly what we're expecting to see.
Is this an advantage over the other side? Doesn’t this sound like sports betting or day trading with leverage?

Larry Ellison from Oracle (another ruthless guy), Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos. All have been extremely ruthless in their quest to acquire & maintain power and wealth.
Are there absolutely no benefits for people from the companies by the above? Or do their hybrid criminology outweigh those benefits? Did this people make out to F*ck the world or to sell something and make some money? Do their adverts or methods nullify the fact that their products have given us some good? Is it right to call them criminals, whatever the meaning we give that word?

~Isaac~
 

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