Are You Vice Neutral?

Although the former Vice President uses more energy at home in a month than the average American household uses in a year — and more than the average village in the developing world uses in a year, his handlers want us to know that he “walks the walk” and “practices what he preaches” about energy conservation.

If you want to be a lion of righteousness like he, here is how you do it.  First, identify something you have done which reduced energy consumption.  Ignore anything that increased energy consumption; only talk about your virtuous actions.  You can proclaim “We all do our part!  My energy use would be much worse if I had not moved a smaller TV into the poker room!”

Next, buy virtue from someone else.  Spend just as much money as you need to “offset” your carbon usage.  It’s like one of those wonderful old Catholic indulgences.  When you are “cabon neutral”, you can run around preaching to the 99.99% of the world who use less energy than you.


Maybe the point isn’t about being virtuous, after all.  The American economy has some serious problems, not least of which is the fact that our national debt is underwritten by the Chinese.  When the growth slows, it’s going to hurt to have all of those American dollars sitting in Chinese banks. 

But all is not lost.  China is now the biggest carbon source on the planet, and the carbon debt equation between our two countries is quickly changing.  We are working hard to make sure that Chinese people can get beef and milk domestically, rather than import it.  Cows generate a lot of carbon, and we would rather have that carbon count against their debt.  Same with cars, heavy industry, and power generation.  I bet that by the time we figure out the proper formula for “carbon credits”, it will magically work out so that all of the money they lent us was just a down payment on their carbon debt.  They are very fortunate there is a cleansy nation like us around to help erase the putrid pollution.


But why stop at “carbon neutral”?  The idea of indulgences is profound.  No more hiding the right hand from the left — let the right hand wash the left, and the left wash the right!

I propose that we strive to be “vice neutral”.  If you beat your wife, just contribute to the abused children fund.  The guy who beats his kids will contribute to the battered wives fund, and it all balances out!  Do you use bookies who murder people?  No problem!  Just donate some money to build a playground in your neighborhood!

The more the money flows, the more washing is going on, and the better off we all are.  In fact, we could have whole markets to hedge and speculate on major moves in the vice-cleansing indices.  You could make a career simply managing the flows of cleansing cash between the left and the right.  The leaders of the nations could monitor the indices to ensure that all of the vices stayed truly balanced in harmony.

And, of course, such a system inherently favors the virtuous west.  It may be true that Seattle is the world’s biggest port for human trafficking, and Europe and America are great purveyors of depravity.  But they have slave labor and beat their women.  By the time their women make it over here in a shipping container, it’s almost like the streets are paved with gold compared to where they came from.  Yes, vice-neutrality will work out very well for us.

Putting Anti-Evangelists On Notice

Our team just hired another famous person, and now the evangelist haters are getting cranky.

In TechCrunch’s post on the topic, an anonymous poster says “Evangelists for Fortune 1000 companies ( not startups ) are highly paid windbags whose job is to catapult the propaganda and apply ‘lipstick on pigs’”

Someone on Scoble’s blog is less subtle: “DPE in general is a complete waste of money … The whole org (and their VP) need to just be blown up. … Michael should be in CMO and not sucking on the teat of a useless org”

At first, I though, WWBOD (What Would Bill O’Reilly Do)?  He would be a real man.  He would call for Scoble and Arrington to censor those offensive comments.  He would put Jimmy Wales on notice to make sure no such scurrilous comments make it to Wikipedia.  He would ask his audience to mount a campaign against the haters.

Then I wondered, what would RIAA do?  RIAA would set up a honey pot and lure people to make comments, then sue them for slander and libel.  Or use PATRIOT act (they said “blow up”!!!) to put them in prison.

But I realized, that’s not what evangelists do.  Evangelism is about telling the truth and shining the light.  Ethical evangelists only occasionally use seduction or manipulation, and then only to get you to see the light.  If we’re telling the truth, we shouldn’t be afraid of what other people say.  If they are simply bringing “ruckus, straight from the sideline” everyone can figure that out on their own.

Therefore, I suggest that the MIX organizers schedule a panel discussion.  Something like “DPE and Their Numerous Junkets: Good for Us or Good for Them?” (for the record, my last company-paid junket was when I was a product group PM; I paid my own travel expenses last time), or “Famous People: Better as Shills in Secret or Critics in Employ?”.  Even better, How to Sell Pork Without Wasting Lipstick.

Seriously, though, it’s a bit silly.  Here is the truth:

  • We don’t hire people because of their fame.  We hire people who have independent minds and are good at bridging to independent communities.  We have tons of people like this in our organization.  It’s a great place to be.
  • People like Michael Gartenberg, Jon Udell, etc. are independent thinkers.  They never did and never will say things that they don’t believe.
  • I’ve been around the company more than most, and never heard a bad comment about evangelism except in anonymous comment on Scoble, Mini, or TC.  Everyone loves us.  And if they don’t, I hope they stick to anonymous comments on mini because I have a very sensitive personality and might not be able to handle the hurt.
  • CMO vs. DPE vs. PG is silly.  Nobody is fighting wars like that.  Everyone knows that it’s everyone against the French.

Bloggers Other Cheek

Bill O’Reilly today is bragging that he forced John Edwards to fire two bloggers who said bad things about Christians.  The other reporters say that the bloggers resigned on their own, but O’Reilly seems intent on proving that he’s a powerful man and not to be messed with.  Apparently the notoriously lecherous and sexist O’Reilly has now coronated himself defender of the Virgin Mary.  I bet she’s overjoyed.

To prove his point, he baited a democratic party operative to say, “I would not have fired the Christian-bashers, but I would have fired anti-semites or gay-bashers”.

O’Reilly acts as if he has uncovered some great hypocrisy on the part of democrats, but he instead demonstrates an utter ignorance of Judeao-Christian philosophy — and sets a terribly dangerous precedent.  At least he doesn’t claim to be anything other than an apostate blowhard; he is certainly not in the mainstream.

It is true that the bloggers made crude, juvenile, and offensive comments in the past.  So what?  These are kids who were raised in a Christian milieu and are unhappy about the world they find themselves in.  Kids criticizing their Judeao-Christian upbringing is a stereotypical rite of passage, not aberrant.  Today as when I was a kid, teen angst groups like The Thermals and Death Cab for Cutie capitalize on these themes — not because Christians are an oppressed minority — but because these issues are top of mind for kids from Duluth to Calgary.  This is a far cry from isolated bigots making anti-semitic or gay-bashing comments.

And the admonitions of “judge not” and “nothing hidden shall remain hidden” are as deep as it gets in Judeao-Christian philosophy.  Silencing critics is part of Scientology’s playbook, not Christ’s.

Bill O’Reilly seems to think that voters would do better if the truth is hidden.  He would rather that the campaigns employ angst-ridden kids and keep it a secret.  This is mentality that leads to e-mail deletion (nee “retention”) policies.  The judgmentalists would rather that George W. Bush do sneaky things in smoke-filled rooms than in e-mail (where he can at least confess from the grave).  O’Reilly forgets completely “turn the other cheek”, an admonition which itself is misunderstood.  Cheek-turning has nothing to do with redeeming oneself, and nothing to do with heaping coals of earthly contempt upon an aggressor.  And it certainly has nothing to do with changing another’s heart through “setting a good example”.


Revenge of the Tidols

Titles of nobility were tools created by powerful families to keep wealth concentrated within a genetic line.  The precise mathematical formula for optimal inbreeding was embodied in the descending hierarchy of rank.  For a thousand or more years, wealth and genetic ambition have fed the golem of nobility, and at last the golem has broken free and is rampaging around the city.

It’s amazing to see that a man would undergo a sham adoption just to claim the title of “prince”.  Stranger yet that a woman who made a living selling false appearances to others would give this imposter half her wealth and enter a loveless marriage just to be called “princess”.  But utterly surreal is the woman who made a living pretending to be someone who pretended to be someone else.  Through her, wealth intended for genetic lineage took a life of its own and helped motivate her bizarre quest to be adopted by the sham nobles and called “princess”.  Her daughter might have been “princess”; both daugter and granddaughter of the same man; and her son a “prince”.

How senseless.  Michael Jackson, as wacky as his is, had more sense than this.  He simply named his son “prince”.  That artist with the big guitar named himself “prince”.  You can even mint yourself a URI and become King of San Francisco.

I think this was one lesson of the “pied piper” story.  The young mother at first claims she’s doing it “for the child”, no doubt with ample encouragment and “moral support” from opportunistic men.  But when it comes time to pay the piper and make good the bargain, she has a choice to make, between the lifestyle and the child.  Outliving the original child, a new child whose presumptive father would rather be cuckolded than risk the inheritance, and friends to whom adoptive nobility is more important than genetic right of succession.  The 50-year ambush becomes the 100 year ambush.  Soon the children are slaves to the ambush.

It’s Your Fault

Jack Handy — “When a child asks me why it rains, I tell her, ‘God is crying, and it’s your fault'”

The government wants you to know that something bad is happening to the weather, and it’s your fault.  That’s great news!  At first I was worried about the poor in my neigborhood.  But I realized that I should be worried about Katrina instead.  Then I realized I should be worried about the dot-com millionaires stealing body parts from the have-nots in China.

Now I realize that all of these things are naught if the ice caps melt.  I’m not sure why I need the ice caps, but Dawkins Kamen-Gore can’t be wrong.  Scientists are even holier than Tenzig Falun!  I trust everything a scientist says, as long as the scientist is annointed by Dawkins Kamen-Gore!  The only ethical thing to do in life is to chill out and try to reduce the global temperature, man!  Who needs the fountain of youth when all these humans are messing up the planet?  She’s your mother, dude!

What I Do

My title is “evangelist”.  I tell my Grandmother that I’m a preacher.

The title was invented by Guy Kawasaki (the guy who made it cool to have a name like Joi Ito) at Apple.  It’s long been a mainstay at Microsoft, and is becoming more popular in the industry.  But it’s still hard to explain what we do.

Here is a new document that attempts to explain it:


Sitting in the all-hands meeting for the evangelism team.  Sanjay is talking about taking a short term hit of pain, do the right thing long term.  That’s good.  Evangelists get to think about ethics.  We try to treat women well here; if you don’t like your team, join the team and come work with Beth!