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NOTABLE! Fake It Until You Make It - Where Is The Integrity Line?

Discussion in 'General Mindset, Motivation, Beliefs' started by Vigilante, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. jon.a
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    jon.a Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I used to do the same thing, in my mind thinking it's okay I'm married.
     
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  2. WJK
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    Over the years, I've seen a lot of cheating, stealing schemes. Many times, the people involved in those situations, don't see, nor understand their role, and the results of their actions. Sometimes it all starts very small, and mushrooms from there.

    Where do I draw the line? When people's little white lies become big enough to hurt other people -- then that's where I believe that "faking it" crosses the line. The other point that crosses that line, is when the person telling or living their little lie, began to believe those falsehoods. They internalize those lies as the truth.

    Either of those two results, tell me to immediately make my exit stage left.
     
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  3. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Blurred Lines, part II.

    He allowed me to move my office into his office, and I was continue to operate my business while I worked on his. I shut down my small office, and set up shop within his corporate offices.

    I only received a couple of paychecks before his henchman called me in to tell me they wouldn't be paying me what they had agreed to pay me. It was never really explained why, but it didn't matter to me. I walked. He called me incensed that I would walk out on him. I owed it to him, he said, to have the discussion with him before I walked out... knowing full well he had approved the pulling out the rug from underneath me first. Didn't matter. That was the last time we had any substantive discussion.

    In hindsight, I equate it to sometimes when people have an affair. Part of the attraction is the pursuit itself, and when you finally win the conquest the thrill loses it's luster. I think that once I was on his payroll (for even that short time) I was just a line level expense on the payroll.

    I wasn't there long enough to really learn what was really happening behind the scenes. It would be several years before we spoke again.

    During the dark period when we didn't speak, he :
    • Bought uBid
    • Bought Fingerhut
    • Bought Polaroid and placed TV's under license at Circuit City
    • Bought Sun Country Airlines
    I was looking like a huge chump for walking away on the eve of this breakout success. He was traveling the country on his personal 747 that he had converted into a mobile board room, bed room and entertainment center. I was back to working on my own thing, but catching updates on his business as his face graced the covers of every regional business magazine, our hometown newspaper, and every large philinthropic event in Minnesota. He was an advertising sponsor to all of the local sports teams from the Vikings to the Timberwolves and Twins, and his empire was growing at an extremely rapid pace.

    In early 2008, we got back in touch. He was on top of the world, and I had a large client in Los Angeles that had some mutual business interests. I was in a perfect position to bring the two sides together. I can also tell you that the number of 000's attached to a check have a tendency to gloss over a lot of concerns. I began to court facilitating/brokering a deal that would benefit both parties on some mutual business interests, and I being in the middle served to benefit in a crazy way if the marriage of these two parties ever consummated.

    It's worthwhile to point out, even a decade removed from the implosion, that no money (to my knowledge) ever changed hands in-between the parties, and if it did I was not privy to knowledge about it.

    It all changed on September 24, 2008 when the music stopped.

    To be continued...
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  4. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Blurred Lines, part III.

    I remember the morning, but I had to google the date. September 24th, 2008. My phone started ringing off the hook, but my eyes were glued to the television.

    I will let this article tell the story better than I could (The Turnaround Men)

    Just after dawn on a cool morning in September 2008, two FBI agents and a police officer walked into the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas and took the security elevator up to the twenty-third floor, where they knocked on the door of a high-roller haven known as the Grand Lakeview Suite. A Minnesota businessman named Tom Petters answered wrapped in a bathrobe. After a moment’s hesitation, he invited them in. The officer searched the bedrooms and closets to make sure no one was listening, and the FBI agents began peppering Petters with questions.

    Then, suddenly, Petters’s Blackberry started ringing. At that moment, 1,700 miles away in the leafy suburb of Minnetonka, Minnesota, more than 50 government agents were swarming into the parking lot of Petters Company Incorporated (PCI). The agents entered the building, ordered everyone out, and began opening safes and rummaging through file drawers. Another team of agents descended on Petters’s mansion overlooking Lake Minnetonka, where they moved from room to room snapping photos and stuffing Petters’s belongings into cardboard boxes.


    I had several friends that worked for Petters, including several former Best Buy executives. None of them, to the last one, understood what was happening. How frightening it must have been to be in the office that day, figuratively chained to your desk with armed FBI agents swarming the building. Nobody really knew at the time that this was the beginning of the end.

    Back to the article :

    Within days of the raid, details of the investigation began to trickle out, and the staggering scale of the fraud came into focus. At the time, the Petters Ponzi scheme—which, all told, brought in more than $36 billion—was vastly larger than any known Ponzi scheme in U.S. history (although it was soon eclipsed by Bernie Madoff’s).

    ...Petters was found guilty on 20 counts of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy, and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

    ...The fallout from the scam moved through the Twin Cities like a slow-motion tsunami. Businesses went bankrupt. Charities slashed staff and walked away from half-built offices. Among them was Minnesota Teen Challenge, which lost $5.7 million and had to lay off 22 employees. Countless people also lost their homes or watched their retirement savings dry up. The tight-knit evangelical circles in which Vennes moved were among the most devastated. “If only a few had gotten hit, the faith community could have stepped in to help them,” explains Carolyn Anderson, the attorney representing evangelical investors. “But everybody got hit. The safety net was ripped out.”

    I will post one more update to this saga, my analysis of what happened and how it fits here. It didn't start this way for him. Remember when your Mom used to tell you not to lie, as that lie begets another lie? When you compromise your integrity over $500, then $5,000 is just another zero. Exponential human toll got caught up in this moral failure, but it started with little decisions. Little compromises. This collapse of judgment, integrity and fraud didn't happen in a day. It snowballed from the little decisions early on that compounded as more zeros got added and more lives got dragged in to the undertow.

    He was faking it and never thought about the fact that he wouldn't make it.

    To be continued...for one final installment. - Dave

     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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  5. HackVenture
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    HackVenture Digital Marketer, Crypto Guy Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Wow thanks for the mind-boggling story @Vigilante

    But to me the line is pretty clear, as long as no outright lie is told, the line is not crossed.

    I think the ambiguity comes when one "pretends" to be something he is not, like @ZCP describes:

    ^ Depends on how you define "pretend" but in majority of cases there's a name for it and it's called "marketing".

    If you're "pretending" to be a big company by providing mind-blowing customer service by answering all your emails promptly like you had a full customer service team, "pretending" to be well-established by making sure your website is professional and well-maintained, "pretending" to have a large team and by using "we" when only you and your brother are working in the company, that's legit IMO.

    But if you say you have a MBA from Harvard and you simply don't, it doesn't matter what your intention is or how "white" the lie is, the line is crossed.
     
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  6. Hyrum
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    I think to say that there is a metaphorical line that you would refuse to cross is a very dangerous assumption. People will respond to extraordinary situations in extraordinary ways, for good and bad. I saw a documentary called "Push" where a scenario was crafted to see if they could produce a situation that would result in an unsuspecting subject pushing someone off a roof. And while murdering another human might be one of those lines we tell ourselves we wouldn't cross, 3 out of the 4 people crossed that line.

    I'm certain Bernie Madoff didn't wake up one morning and say to himself, "You know, I'm going to start a Ponzi scheme, because history has shown these to be good businesses and the math just works out." In his sentencing, he said the scheme started because he was trying to live us to his customers expectations of consistent returns, and when he had a bad month, fudged the numbers while telling himself that next month would more than make up for the difference. And then it turned from a snowball rolling down a mountain to an avalanche that buried him and wiped out billions of dollars.

    I think it's also important to point out the "Bro-marketing" aspect of faking it until you make it. We've all seen the You-tube videos of the guys driving flashy cars and showing off their mansions. But how many actually own these assets, as opposed to leasing them or just renting them for the video shoot? Is that "just marketing", or something less ethical? (hint: it's not marketing).
     
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  7. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Blurred Lines, Summary.

    It didn't start with fraud. It started with embellishment. When you score a touchdown, acting like you've been there before. It started with some hard money loans at egregious lending rates. If you could sit down with him today, he'd tell you he never intended for the thousands of people he left in his wake to get hurt. He was a gambler, and he always thought he would cover the bet.

    At some point, the game changed. At some point, he made an intentional, conscious decision to transition from small lies to big ones. Remember that I said that the difference between $500 and $5,000 is a zero. If you will compromise your integrity in small ways, it becomes easier for the line to be nudged further and further.

    Along the way, Tom lost his son. His son was murdered in Italy. I saw this as a pivotal moment for him. That was in 2004. I think he likely was already deep into the fraud at that point, but I think he decided to go for the gold. He was fully immersed in the deception when the FBI raid took place.

    My point, and MJ's point for the concept of this thread was... it starts with a decision. High road or low road. Easy money or sweat and value. Integrity. The lust for more in the cases of Petters, Madoff, and small time frauds becomes the driving factor. You can't pray your way out of a Ponzai scheme. How many people got hurt? He didn't set out to hurt people, but operating the ultimate fake it until you make it... betting you can cover your tracks or your bets... cost way more than just him. It cost a little old lady her life savings. It costs employees their security. It costs businesses their futures. It cost thousands of people.

    And that's why he sits in a 10x10 cell in Leavenworth for close to the rest of his life.

    Where you draw the line is important, because money through deception is a slippery slope. Is it ok to cheat just a little bit? Lie just a little bit? Gamble just a little bit? Deceive just a little bit? How many drinks before you become an alcoholic? I know people who lie reflexively. They don't even know any more the difference between reality and their lies. It falls off their tongues so easily, that at some point in the past they started believing their own bullshit.

    If you have to lie, you're doing something wrong. If you have to cheat, you're doing something wrong. If you have to steal, you're doing something wrong. If you prefer to lie, cheat and steal you're really doing something wrong. There are absolutes. There are clear lines. There are points of no return.

    The opposite is to build. Value. Improve people's lives. Leave a legacy. Do something that fills a Need, in Scale. Make a difference. Make an impact. Help people. Take the high road. Do the right thing. Take a harder road that at the end of it, you can look back and be proud of the ground you covered. There is a better way. There is a right way. There is a higher way. Be a blessing to people. You can win it all and win it all with integrity. With purpose. You can leave a legacy that will be bigger than you. This thread is about finding the line, and being intentional about how you move from today forward. It's about things you decide not to compromise on in pursuit of wealth, fame and success. Find it. Make things happen for all the right reasons.




     
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  8. ShadyDave
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    Fake it until you make it - Try to be successful until you are

    Pure Deception - Try to convince others your successful even though you know you aren't
     
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  9. The Irish Guy
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    I have a personal example from this forum where a small lie, which some people in this thread would consider marketing, lead to a lot of my time and money being wasted.

    I was following a progress thread and the author got in some financial trouble and needed investment. I had cash to invest and my doorway pullup bar business was very similar in terms of both being physical products, both patented, both cost and sold for about the same and had similar distribution channels so I felt I'd understand and be able to add value.

    In the progress thread the number of units sold on Black Friday was mentioned and it was about 2x what I had sold that day so I used that as a point of reference to estimate that the demand or opportunity was roughly 2x my business. I based my initial number crunching on that before I started the proper due diligence.

    Unfortunately the sales figure listed was inaccurate to a factor of about 5x or 6x if I remember correctly. It wasn't until I had flown 3000 miles to visit the owner of the business and dove in deep into the other numbers that it became apparent, by that stage I was $3k-$4k in the hole in hard costs and down 2 weeks of my time.

    The point is that a seemingly innocuous white lie by an excited entrepreneur exaggerating sales figures can have knock on effects no one would foresee.

    Another side to this might have been that even if the other numbers did line up and I noticed that the owner had been making small little false statements on the forum I would have had serious second thoughts about investing, what other bigger lies might be hiding, can I trust this person with my money when they have the majority stake in the business...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
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  10. RobD88
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    I'm with @NateKruse on this one. Without integrity I have nothing. A man is only as good as his word. I learned a long time ago that if you always tell the truth you won't have to remember what stories you told people in an effort to impress them or cover the truth.

    Though I think the "fake it until you make it" mantra has a different meaning. At least for me, it means to be strong and confident even when you are not really feeling that way. There is so much about the world of being an entrepreneur I do not know. Yet, I am boldly going where I have not gone before, learning as much as I can as fast as I can because the fear of not doing so is more devastating than any failures I may encounter. Thus, I am "faking it" past my apprehension and anxieties.

    I am also not vane enough to ignore the fact that I don't know everything, humble enough to know I'm not better than anyone, and wise enough to know I do have my strengths that others may not have.

    I feel that in the long run being true to who you are and what your abilities are will return way more reward than trying to pretend to be something greater. For me it's a marathon...not a sprint.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  11. MJ DeMarco
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    Admin Post
    Looks like "fake it until you make it" might be landing a lot of people in jail.

    Elizabeth Holmes, Shrekli, the Fyre guy, it's raining bro-marketers!
     
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  13. MJ DeMarco
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    @Vigilante - holy sh*t Dave I had no idea you worked with Tom Petters, and you cut bait early.

    Legendary story ... thread moved to NOTABLE.
     
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  14. Vigilante
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    You deserve to rot in a jail cell!

    I'm in exactly the same situation. I run a B2B online beauty business and have no interest in putting my face or name out there. Until 2 weeks ago I ran everything myself but would often use 'we' on the website and even when emailing customers. Technically my wife does test products and make recommendations on what to stock so that's my weak justification.
     
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  16. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Love your profile pic.
     
  17. G-Man
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    @Vigilante Thanks for your story. It's helpful to know other people have had brushes with that kind of person. I was actually relatively high up in an organization that did things they shouldn't have done with millions of dollars of bank money. My role was one of unwitting useful idiot. I saw red flags, but those were glossed over by the money we seemed to be making, and the personal charisma of the company owners. There ended up being no criminal trial, and fortunately, I had been recording my conversations and copying my emails to a thumb drive for a couple months before things blew up.

    The owner of the company tried to pin it on me by publicly accusing me in front of the other employees of stealing. Fortunately, he had been so blatantly lavish with company money, and I'm such a miser, that his accusation wasn't even remotely credible.

    Here's a few things I learned:
    • It didn't start out as a lie. It started out as a couple guys who hit a bump in their business, had a bunch of opportunities ahead, and knew if they could just get capital, they could gloss over the previous losses. This took the form of "exaggerations" and "over-simplifications" when closing a massive loan. Again, one of the guys I don't think to this day is a "bad" guy. But, even "good" guys have to have a barometer for their own bullshit.
    • Don't expect people's lifestyle to indicate the health of the business you work for. In fact, people that run schemes like that will often get more lavish as things are getting worse, because they know it's reassuring to their employees.
    • No one is your friend. There is no honor amongst thieves. The boss that lavished you with praise and bonuses will threaten to have you locked up. The coworkers that you hang out with on the weekends and know your family, they'll suddenly get amnesia. They'll toe the company line just to keep their paltry paychecks coming for a while. When the court day comes, you'll be sitting outside on a bench all alone, and possibly terrified.
    I don't have any philosophical thoughts on fake it till you make it, but I have pragmatic ones, as a 32 year with prematurely grey hair. Radical honesty. I try to tell absolute truth, and I try to work with people that appreciate it. I avoid people when the reality doesn't match the talk. For me, there's just no other way to be. Again, not for philosophical or moral reasons. For grey hair at 32 reasons.
     
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    You should always use "we" when writing as the company.

    Only use "I" when writing from a personal perspective.

    Acme, Inc. (a 1 man company) won't write, "I, Acme, Inc., am happy to release this new dynamite."

    It just sounds weird.
     
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  19. Vigilante
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    Agreed. A company is an entity, not an individual.
     
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    Damn! And just today over university accounting tutorials, we were discussing the separation of a company from the owner in terms of taxation and legal lashings. What a coincidence!
     
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    I faked it until I made it. I am not a bad person. Am I bad for doing it? Dunno.. but it depends on your own moral compass.
    Too many circumstantial variables.. too many for a simple answer. Good read ^
     
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    @Vigilante incredible story - thank you for this post.
    It just goes to show how slippery a slope telling white lies are.

    This will stick for a long time...

    ...and this is an incredible litmus test for authenticity.

    Maybe it's been covered in this thread, but one thing I'm curious about is
    Embellishing Stories for the Sake of Simplicity, Not necessarily evil intent.

    As an example:
    When people ask how the business started, I often reference my first client.

    "A Theology Professor at XYZ Ivy League School."

    Well, that's not exactly the full story.
    I was actually a subcontractor under someone else,
    who had said Theology Professor as a client.

    Another Example:
    When people ask how the business is going.

    "It's Great! I have 4 people working for me now."

    Well, that's true. But not exactly the full story.
    Those 4 people are all subcontractors that work WAY less than part-time with me.
    In both cases, it's a bit of an embellishment to make me look good. But it's the only way I've known to convey the health of my business in casual conversation.

    The question is: how do you make your presentations simple enough for others to grasp, without subconsciously embellishing stories and making yourself look bigger than you actually are?

    You run the risk of Embellishment on one hand, but giving the full story is long-winded and you'll lose people's attention.

    (p.s. Originally posted here, missing this thread entirely.)
     
    ZF Lee, Kingmaker, NFT and 2 others like this.
  24. Maxboost
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    Maxboost Bronze Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I had this exact same conversation with a friend who is not really a member of this forum and I shared with him about what a scam Tai Lopez is and the amount of fake gurus out there. We agreed that the worse offenders were University/College professors and that most of their knowledge in business is purely hypothetical. We agreed that people were making fortunes pretending to be rich.

    We agreed that faking it till you make it was unethical BUT the conversation took a weird turn which we started to question that belief.

    Phil Jackson, Freddie Roach, and Scotty Bowman are one of the greatest coaches of all time in their respective sports, HOWEVER, they SUCKED or had ZERO experience playing their sport professionally (Bowman). They were able to lead their teams to several championships and world titles because they were able to diagnose problems and find solutions.

    On the other hand, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, coached unsuccessfully. Even though they were great at playing, they were probably missing some elements of being a great coach.

    I had some interesting business ideas that I wanted to move forward with but chose not to because I am not an "expert" but I truly believe that I could add value by adding simple steps with a plan of action and removing the confusion associated with the idea.

    Question for everyone:Is it unethical to provide information/advice if you are not an "expert" and profit from it? For example, should you start a bodybuilding E-Book/website/app even though you are not a bodybuilder but know how its done?
     
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  25. WJK
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    WJK Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    You can -- and maybe you will be temporarily successful... BUT, you'll be like the childless person telling parents how to raise their kids. Until you've walked a mile in their shoes, you don't know what and/or how you would do it. Every trade, discipline and skill set have its own secrets and shortcuts. You don't really know that inside knowledge until you become an "expert." It's not something that you can learn out of a book or video.
    www.wjkbusinessbuzz.com
     

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