Chris Johnson | Simplifilm Co-Founder

On Ferguson: First They Came For The Blacks

I went to a man’s house the other day.

“How are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine.” he says.   “An apparent saint was martyred the other day. However shall we live?”

I knew he was referring to Ferguson, Michael Brown. And he’d bought into the normal pattern. He’d done his part.

Encounter, Execute, Assassinate.

Encounter: Someone in authority encounters someone, usually black. It could be a routine traffic stop, or a normal situation, like waiting for your kids in a mall.

Execute:  You kill them.  (Treyvon, Eric Gardner)  Or you arrest them for something that a white person would get off for, putting a sentence on them that effectively ruins their lives.

Riddle me this: ~15% of whites and blacks use MJ.

~41 million black people and ~221 million white people. (Census.Gov)

NewImage

Yet our arrest rate is 3-4x for blacks.  This means that in absolute terms, more blacks are arrested than whites although though blacks make 16% of the population.  Not cool.

Assassinate: After the deed is done and the disproportionate consequences are administered, the victim is killed a second time.

Every case – Treyvon – Michael Brown – features a posthumous character assassination.  It’s not enough for the police to murder someone, they also want to be thanked for it. We don’t get justice, we get victim blaming.

We’re told things like:

  • He shouldn’t have been in that neighborhood…
  • He should have obeyed the cops (though Michael Brown was apparently surrendering when he was shot at close range in the head – what’s the incentive to obey?)
  • He had a checkered past so he must have said something.
  • He had thug-like text messages on his phone
  • If the races were reversed it would never have been news (orly?)

Each time the victim that is killed is then blamed. It’s not enough to kill, we also must feel like the Police have provided us with a service. We have to thank them for getting that element out of our society.

They are, after all, the heroes of 9/11.

The major disappointment of Ferguson is that some sort of libertarian dystopian fantasy played out.  And the tea party was absent. Fleeing at the sight of real power.

And despite calls from Rand Paul on the matter, the “police state” hasn’t yet gained traction.  Part of it is partisanship: people are unwilling to credit Rand Paul with anything. We’re hearing mild scoffing about police powers, but this is exactly the problem with police powers.  This is an inevitable response; to divide us and conquer.

It’s not a far bridge to cross to go from “it’s OK to shoot black people” to “it’s OK to shoot anyone.”

We all ought to fight. We all ought to be concerned.

Our land must have liberty and justice for all.

First, they came for the blacks…

Post Mortems.

Someday I’ll wake up to find something written about me. A horrible post on Medium or Huffington Post that decries what a terrible boss I am, what bad customer service I offered or something like that.  I’ll be the anonymous cautionary tale.

It’ll happen. I”ll deserve it. I’ve skated this long.

And that’ll be fine. It’ll sting but I’ll live.

Nobody actually deserves it, but that sort of thing is inevitable.

About This Place!

Hey, I’m Christopher Patrick Johnson. That’s me on the sidebar.

This is my ‘personal’ blog.

  • I will post anything from:
  • Family stuff.
  • Thoughts I don’t yet think.
  • Product type reviews
  • Frustrations.
  • Semi-Political stuff.

This is sort of practice.  I keep it up because inertia. I keep it up because it’s a place to say what I can’t really say elsewhere, and because I want to have a place to talk to my kids or something.

Happy to get in touch:

Simplifilm.com – main gig

Hustleandclose.com – coaching/consulting

Clarity.Fm/cpjpdx – One off advice.

Lessons You Must Learn The Hard Way

There are certain things in life that you can’t read from a book and know.  The book can prepare you, but the lesson has to be felt and experienced, some (many) lessons only come this way.

A few I’ve learned:

  • Firing fast. The moment you get an inkling that someone isn’t going to work out, pull the plug.  Better for everyone, and letting it go will infect your culture and damage you far worse than keeping people around.
  • It always seems darker than it is: Tough times end. You’ll make it. Replaying the same loop over and over won’t help.
  • People that claim integrity as a primary selling point never have it. There overcompensating and will always screw you over on some technicality that they have rehearsed, rationalized and internalized. People with integrity lead quietly, and by example or inference.
  • The process always wins: Having and improving a process is the best thing you can do in a tough situation.

There’s no “hail mary” or quick fix for tough times. You have to keep your head up, stay confident, and be resilient.  My company – Simplifilm – is pulling out of a tough situation. We let a few things go, and we tried to outsource things a little too soon.  That meant bad things for us.

These lessons were easy enough to solve, in hindsight, but you can’t run your business from the rear view. You can only do what you can do.

 

On Social Media

I have a lot of what I have because of social media.

Since about 2001- when I closed a mortgage due to my old LiveJournal account, I have sold online.

I never took it seriously enough. That is to say, I never approached mastery, it was just something I did off and on.

Right now, there is a lot of noise, but for people that are willing to be serious and really see it through, the opportunities are superior now then they were 2- or 5 – years ago. It’s the norm.

Everyone posts, everyone shares.

That’s a good thing because it normalizes and provides a ton of leads for us to get to. And when we do the work – like humans – in the way that we do, boom.

It’s a great thing.

Tactical Hell is Other People

I have been in something resembling a slump.

I know – broadly – what I want. But what do I do next? What do I fight for? Where do I apply myself?  What do I address, what do I let ride?

Maybe slump is right, maybe it’s wrong. It might be plateau.

It feels like Tactical Hell.  And it’s a terrible way to spend time. “If I do this, then I can do that, then I can do that, and then I can do that.”  We don’t make our business strategy.

Problem #1:  Serving Other People’s Customers

When I have a customer that wants to buy, generally, I sell him. It’s not always the correct decision, and sometimes I come down on price too much.

More often it’s that I take someone that is a known nightmare because I feel like I need the money.  These aren’t the people that appreciate the lunatic depths that we go, and when they whittle our price down – even a little – it shows that they aren’t a fit.

But I need the money, the money, the money, so I take it. And it’s always a mistake. Petty revisions, lectures and other nonsense ensues. And all of this shit is my fault.

These aren’t Simplifilm customers, these are best served in the legions of lower end companies.

Problem #2: Serving Other People’s Egos

We know how to engineer outcomes in our videos. We know what works, what a good look is. And yet, we get sucked into dramaland when someone doesn’t know how to give feedback professionally.

Why should they? They don’t make videos every day, they have a job to do. And yes, people will be bummers, it’s the human condition.  So why get into that fight which means it goes from a shared goal to a contest of egos.

Problem #3: Guilt Service

I am lucky that I work hard.  My partner does as well. But sometimes I feel like I need to be “always available” and that produces lower quality results than being “intensely present for a short time.”  When I make the time to:

  • Be outside
  • Run/Workout
  • Write
  • Read

I perform at a high level. When I don’t, I don’t. It’s pretty simple. Those things need to be in my life for me to organize the rest of it.  Like my friend Brad Feld, I write to think.

So what fills the time is guilt service. I am here, because my partner is at this moment.  Nevermind the fact that we do different jobs…I spend time that has low/negative value when I don’t have the energy.

So this will put you in tactical hell. Each decision makes the escape a little harder.

But you can escape and fight through it.  We will, watch us.