ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

That Guy —

I love that guy. He changes his name all the time and he comes in from all different e-mails, but I just assume that’s because he’s busy. I know, in my heart of hearts, it’s just one guy.

That guy is always very concerned about my projects. He’s not so much concerned that I’m the one doing them, or that I don’t have the energy to put into them, or that I’m spread around doing many of them. But he does think I could use some improvement, that I’ve perhaps been clouded (by my incredible talent, he hastens to add) from the true potential of my work.

He has lots of great ideas, and wants me to have them, free of charge, and with just some sort of acknowledgement that he helped me see the light.

One of them is that I should coat everything with a sticky layer of advertising, ad-clicks. Another is that I should focus my documentary-making on subjects more “mainstream”. Another is to take my already-made documentary and run, naked and wearing a sign, into the nearest cable channel office begging for them to play my works on their lineup, for whatever pittance they wish to provide and in whatever way they want to chop it up. That guy thinks, with just a small tweak to my grand plans, that I will finally “make it” and be a “true success”. That guy then explains how he does this charitable bit of advice because he believes in me and thinks it could be beneficial to “all concerned”. I usually surmise this includes that guy.

Sometimes I forget this is all one guy, so I respond negatively. That guy doesn’t like that.

When I respond in one of my creative ways that shuffles down to “no”, he lectures me. He lectures me a lot on how I “don’t get it”. He gets very angry, very quickly. He begins postulating about my sex life, the methodologies my parents implemented to raise me. He is quite stern, and very annoyed both that I can’t see the light and that I’m walking away, literally walking away from the golden path that guy has beaten from my door to assured, incredible success. Sometimes, when I sleep, I can hear that guy sobbing at my foolishness.

I wonder if that guy is just for me, or if other people get visits from that guy. Maybe anyone who does “stuff” has that guy contact them, also willing to give them advice on how to make their accomplishments “better” and reach their “true potential”. I wonder if they take that advice, or if they also say no and get that guy writing them.

I feel for that guy. It’s tough work, wandering into someone else’s efforts, hat in hand, and trying to choose just the right phrases to tell this person that what they’ve really created is an incomplete puzzle. A puzzle, coincidentally, that that guy has the final piece to. That guy must end up on his ass, puddle soaking through his pants, on the outside of a lot of big projects. There must be almost nobody who really understands how important that guy is to their success.

What gets me the most is the boundless energy – that guy just keeps coming back to me, from a new address, calling himself somebody else, and is ready to tell me how he found the secret potential he could hook me up with. He never gives up.

I guess as long as I’m doing stuff, that guy will be around. And I wish that guy well, but no means no. Sorry, guy.

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  1. Krisjohn says:

    I still say that your BBS documentary is a story that should be told on a mainstream network.

  2. Carnildo says:

    I don’t get that. What I run into is the complexifier. Say you’ve got an idea for a better mousetrap. You lay out your plan, and ask for advice with implementing this one tricky bit. Next thing you know, you’ve got a response of “But if you incorporate technologies X, Y, and Z, plus a bit of this, that, and the other, and spend six months building it, we’ll have the last word in mouse-catching devices!”

    And here all I want is to catch that bugger who keeps getting into my peanut stash.

  3. Flack says:

    I think there are actually two guys.

    The first guy is the one who believes in you. He’s excited about what you’re doing that he wants to share your message with other people. That’s great. It’s just the way he wants to do it that sometimes isn’t so great. I’m always interested in hearing marketing ideas from people, as long as they’re worded as friendly suggestions and not in the form of, “you’re an idiot if you don’t do this.”

    The second guy is the one who has seen your rising star and wishes to attach his wagon to it. You’ve got a product that’s selling and a website that’s getting a lot of hits, and boy howdy how can you refuse putting his ads on your site? You’re the idea guy — he’s the leech.

    I’m still new to the whole “public” thing, having only written one book and a handfull of magazine articles. Right now, I’m just flattered whenever “that guy” takes the time to write me.

  4. RedWolf says:

    That guy sounds a little creepy.

  5. Chris Orcutt says:

    “That guy” does more than make random, non-sequitir comments about people’s projects. He can be seen in many forms in your daily life:

    1. He’s one of “those guys” who wait outside the Holland Tunnel and ambush your car to “wash” it for a dollar.

    2. He fakes choking in restaurants to get free meals.

    3. He believes the government is stockpiling guillotines.

    4. He writes anonymous emails to HARDBALL.

    5. He has spent an inordinate amount of time in bus stations.