Loud, brash, bold – it’s the sort of thing that can dazzle you. Whether it’s a client, a boss, a colleague, or a competitor, the pure speed and amount of activity is intimidating. Fast-talking conversations, two phones ringing at all times, sending hundreds of emails per day, until you feel like you’re in a live-action retelling of Uncut Gems.
Wild claims and bold predictions, impressive titles and big promises. You’ve met these sorts of people.
Some of them are the bros – the sorts of people that spend too much money on watches.
These people are more common than you think. They are the sole reason that pop-luxury brands like Gucci exist. When your definition is expense rather than taste, that says a lot about priorities. Unless you’re truly worth tens of millions of dollars, wearing a $900 belt or $400 socks tells me that your priority is your public image rather than practical success.
At first glance, it’s hard to discount these people for what they are, especially if you try to give everyone a chance. So what if they are driving a brand new Infiniti? So what if they’re sporting a Rolex? That means they’re really that successful, right?
It’s hard, because they spend their time in an endless stream of manipulation. They are manipulating public opinion in order to get things done – but it’s a churn. They’re using and abusing people all the way down, identifying easy take-downs along the way.
I recently dealt with three of these sorts of people.
One was the blustering, blow-hard sort that wears blue suits and slicks their hair back with grease. The type that rings you up a few times a day, talks about “deals”, and casually drop factoids designed to impress you. “Yeah we’re in a billion dollar market”. “Yeah I played ball at UCLA.” “Yeah sorry I was picking up a new car yesterday.”
Did I mention this fellow stood me up on three separate meetings – that he initially scheduled?
The other was the arrogant sort of business woman who was entirely too self-assured. She’d drop references to awards she’d won, she’d open phone calls with what sounded like cocaine-fueled elevator pitches, she’d turn phone calls into conference calls by patching random colleagues into the conversation for no discernible reason. In the end, though, there was no meat. No reason to even work on a project.
Did I mention that three weeks later, she called asking about progress…and I reminded her that she’d never paid the invoice and we’d never started anything?
The other was a fellow who knew it all. He was CEO. No employees, no board, no company, but still a CEO. That’s always a danger sign. If you don’t have a CFO, or at least a CTO, or maybe a COO, you can’t have the chief executive. He was dropping big names, talking about his accomplishments, and ultimately revealing that he was just a freelancer needing help to deliver some digital services.
Don’t be hoodwinked by the promises.
These folks have no budgets. They never pay their bills. They never become long-term clients. The problem when you’re faking it is that you can never deliver on those promises.
Fakers treat the world like Lysol wipes. Everyone in their path is a disposable wipe to be pulled out of the box, used, and then thrown out the window.
Eventually, there are no more wipes in the box, and you’re left high and dry.