T Nation

About Manliness and Entrepreneurs

I read all these things about Manliness and the Entrepreneurial spirit and there I some things I just don`t get.

Here are my premises.

Most of the time, Manliness is equated with:

  • not caring for what others think;
  • going against the tide;
  • doing what one damn thinks is good for himself and by his own standards;
  • having the balls to create something new;
  • having the guts of asking for the order or asking a girl out;
  • etc.

Sounds awfully alot like the salesman profile.

Call it professional bias, but here`s my view of it. I must point out I have seen both sides of the fence, whether sales assistant or compliance/pursuit.

I think most salesmen are borderline tornados, Catch-me-if-you-can style.

Theyre good at what they do (selling), but most of them are coincidentally very good to rake in commissions and cheques AND they leave a path of chaos behind them (let others work out the paper (good or bad) and sue them). Specially the top dogs - some of them earn more in a year than youll probably earn in 10 or a lifetime.

I think they are not accountable enough. Yes, they are vital, they activate the business cycle (i.e. until a sale is done, nothing happens).

But once the commission cheque is cashed in, chances are youll never see that money back if you sue the rep (its most probably immediately spent in lifestyle expenses). Thats the corresponding risk part of the big paycheck equation.

That being said, there usually exists some type of insurance for malpractice. But its a real joke, IMHO. It just gives the burden of pursuit to the insurer. But, once again, if you try to sue a guy for a big commission cheque thats already been spent in vacation/drinks/touring, youll never see the money back. Throw him in jail, you wont see your money back either, and hell cost even more to the general public (hes now a public liability whereas before he was a producer and returned some money back in the system).

That lack of responsibility having not changed in the last century, they should be paid less and the chunk taken away from their previous salary should go in an actuary managed defense fund. That way everybody would be happy. I have no idea how the chunk would amount to (1%, 5%, whatever?).

I have nothing against salesmen. They are vital in the economy. I just point out the other/less known part of the sales cycle. And how sometimes a few rotten apples costs big money to everybody. And, maybe, how to change the culture.

I dont blame them for doing so. Heck, if the system is gentle, why should they change? You could also say Caveat Emptor. If Joe Buyer is a dumbass, thats his problem and hell learn something. But isnt that encouraging status quo?

Now that my premises have been detailed, let`s get back to the original question:

Bottom line, is the equation Manliness = Salesmanship = Borderline criminal?

(I expect flak back, by the way.)

True. Refer to Michael Douglas’ character in Wall Street.

Not true… Micheal Douglas was a movie character. He was meant to portray exactly that… the evil that can be created by a capital society if left unchecked.

A true hands off capitalist society must always have checks in power, just as open society does. We don’t allow everyone to live together without police do we…no. So, we cannot allow businesses to exist without policing them. In Utopia, everyone would exist without anyone using force (ie, coersion or deceit). We don’t live in Utopia. So, the government must exist to create a framework for our society.

This is the only reason for government… to provide a framework for us to exist as a society and to police the use of force by people, both internal and external.

This is why when capitalism is incorrectly identified with caveat emptor, it is done so by the uneducated. The reason why buyer beware came into vogue was because our government was not fulfilling its duty…period. It was allowing business to deceive the market by offering goods which were not what they were conveyed to be… they were being deceitful.

Imagine our government not living up to its duties… how strange… how novel… couldn’t imagine it ever happening.

The entrepreneur or leader is to go against the tide when the tide is wrong… when the tide (the ignorant masses) are being lead by short-sited, unprincipled, and plain destructive propagandists. Remember, the average Joe in America is a dumb-ass who wants to point fingers and receive something they did not earn. It used to be different, but now, the population has shifted… our values are being eroded away, and are being watered by other “equal” cultures and values.

So, was Michael Douglas evil… or morally wrong… yes. He was trying to cheat the system. Are the majority of leaders like this… I would say not. If they are, then let’s rise up, kill our politicians, and start over. Their first order of business is to create a fair and safe market for all of us. But, I do not believe this to be the case.

A true salesman does not sell anything… the product or service sells itself, and the salesman just makes you aware of differences or advantages offered.

A true leader does have thick skin, he does make the hard decisions. It is why Curious George is a leader, and Slick Willy was not. George isn’t a great leader, necessarily, but he is a leader none the less. He certainly isn’t following polled opinions, but instead, he is serving his duty as an elected official to make tough decisions. He is leading. He just happens to be not-so-bright… hehe.

If we wanted our country to be run by polling, we wouldn’t need a president, congress, and HOR. We could just poll, and use the results to make decisions.

A leader has the ability to be unpopular at times…

It sounds to me like you got shafted by a salesman… sucks for you.

Try having your identity stolen… my wife had that a number of years back.

Try getting the system to correct the injustice… not gonna happen…they are busy being the worst managed, worst run biggest business in the world. And yes, they are the biggest business in the world, and yes, they suck…but hey, “we” elected them.

So, I know a few guys from the trailer parks who would go to work on this guy with a tire iron and a wrench for a few hundred bucks and a sixer of Bud.

Don’t be so quick to think big businesses is out to screw you… most of them aren’t. By focusing only on the bad ones in the media, we never see the literally thousands of companies doing truly great things…

Just my .02

Wow Silverback. Excellent reply.

I am with you all the way on tougher regulation. That guy Elliott Spitzer in New York is making some people shit in their pants in the finance industry. Excellent. We need more guys like him. A lot more. In all domains.

If it help to keep Gecko (Douglas) guys out of the game, so be it.

I havent been screwed. And I certainly do not hope to. I try to be as responsible as I can, thus not falling in theeasy dream, easy money` dreamboat. But I frequently see people filing complaints who do.

Tougher regulation weeds out the bottom feeders. Like you said, excellent salesmen won`t be bothered by tougher regulation. It could even give them more business, the bottom feeders being out of the game…

Yup, I have all of the following:

Most of the time, Manliness is equated with:

  • not caring for what others think;
  • going against the tide;
  • doing what one damn thinks is good for himself and by his own standards;
  • having the balls to create something new;
  • having the guts of asking for the order or asking a girl out;

So I agree with the above :wink:

I was in sales for many years and did well there. I worked up to a Director OF BD with an internet company and did well there as well. Problem is, I hated the work and started my strength training business in 2002.

I had a great year in 2003 and 2004 is already off to a great start.

My sales experience has a lot to do with why my business has grown rapidly. In sales, you have to be aggressive. discplined, and self-motivated. These are qualities that you need in any arena to be successful. Especially, started your own business.

Mike Mahler

Mike Mahler hit the nail on the head. I, too, share most of the charachteristics listed in this post and, I am in sales. I am a sales manager for one of the largest industrial supply companies in the world. That being said, the focus of myself and my team is repeat business and word of mouth. While we may be a bit unorthodox, we believe that customer satisfaction is the highest priority. We want to see the same people buying from us every month. We also want the exceptional way we treat our customers to halp bring in more customers. We are definitely motivated by the big check but we want them consistantly big. We have to make tough decisions every day all with the benifit of the customer in mind. This is definitely not true of all sales people. The broad generalization dictates otherwise but some of us are trying to work through the stereotype.