The Future of Advertising

Part of my degree was in marketing so I tend to see advertising through a different lens than most.  The other part of my degree was in psychology so I can’t help but see the psychological component as well.  One dynamic which I find particularly interesting is in how we actively tune out the noise for traditional advertising, but when we see someone we respect engaging positively with a brand, we take note.  The Starbucks cup or the Lululemon tote bag may be a bit played out today, but both are great examples of how this works.

Years ago, I was watching TV and noticed how the characters on the show had to avoid mentioning specific brands – likely because they didn’t have approval and seeking approval would’ve required legal paperwork and perhaps a fee.  In certain instances, it actually made for rather awkward speech.  In reality, we actually reference brands and products on a regular basis, in our regular speech, for the sake of accuracy.  Which means that not being able to use brand names in certain areas of media actually hurts the dialogue.  Wouldn’t it make sense to write the dialogue as you would naturally, and then approach the brands mentioned in a positive manner for ad revenue?

There are certainly some complexities to this strategy, but I doubt they’re beyond our ability to solve.  Based on how I’ve seen things progress, I think this is actually being done now to some extent.  What a concept, letting a character talk about their Mercedes or BMW, let them talk about their iPhone or Android, let them talk about their favorite restaurant or coffee shop.  Script writers would have to maintain integrity so that it didn’t come off as a plug or mini-infomercial, but I don’t think that would be too difficult.  The idea isn’t about sneaking an advertisement into something we’re already paying attention to, it’s about letting a brand impression exist where a brand impression would already naturally exist.

 

So maybe we’re starting to turn that corner, but where does it go from here?  I have an idea.

Right now, AI and computer vision allow YouTube to recognize most copy-written material and then defers action to the original owner.  As AI and computer division develop further, they won’t just be able to recognize the content, they’ll be able to recognize what’s in the content.  Watching a movie, and see a sweet car that you’ve never seen before?  No problem, hit pause, hover your mouse over the car and see a few quick details.  Super interested?  Click on the details and you’ll head straight to the website.  Now imagine being able to do that with clothes, foods, toys, and everything else.

If we approach this correctly, I can’t help but think it would be a massive win-win for everyone.  No more advertisements.  No more commercials.  No more jingles.  And especially no more manipulation of public perception in the hopes of earning a sale from someone who doesn’t actually need or want your product.  If this done correctly though, I think the biggest winners may actually be the businesses.

Rather than guessing at where to advertise, how to advertise, and how much to spend on advertising, just paying per click.  Every time someone sees a piece of media that includes your product and someone wants to know more about it, there’s your point of monetization.  Next-level pay-per-click advertising.  Effectively, you’re only paying to connect people to your product, when they’ve shown an interest in your product.  Not only is that a more streamlined approach, it builds trust rather than degrades it.

Efficiency is my North Star.  When someone sees something they’re interested in, they want to know more about it.  If they learn more about it and they want to buy it, they want a quick and easy way to complete that transaction.  Businesses want to provide those details and the option of that transaction to potential customers, however, they would prefer to only spend their advertising budget on people who are interested.  This strikes me as a remarkably efficient approach compared to what’s out there now.

Thinking it through a little further, I know there are bound to be a few hiccups.  What happens if someone you don’t like is wearing or using your product?  What if you’re just getting started and you need to get your product out there to begin with?  I could come up with a few other issues that would exist in today’s unspoken rules of advertising but I can’t help but think that it’s just not that complicated.  If you’re on the alt-left and someone on the alt-right is wearing one of your products?  Grow up.  Appreciate the extra revenue, and appreciate that if they’re wearing your stuff, you may have more in common with them than you might think.  Just getting started?  Send free products out to influencers who would appreciate them.  If you have solid product, they’ll show it off and you should end up with a cascading effect.  If you send your product out to the people who would appreciate it, and they don’t?  Maybe you picked the wrong influencers, or perhaps your product just isn’t very good.  Regardless of what obstacles I come up with, the solutions don’t seem very far away.

I’d estimate we’ll have the tools to do this within about 10 years.  Whether or not major industry players are interested in challenging the status quo is a different story though.  But this is why ‘revolutionary’ has become the holy grail of doing business.  Whoever breaks that mold, I’m rooting for you.

Dragon Ball Super Theory: Jiren

I’m a nerd.

Sketchy territory as a kid but I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out.  Dragon Ball Super has been a highly entertaining return of the Dragon Ball franchise and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.  I only started watching a few months ago but I’m fully caught up and I probably have YouTube to thank for that.  I didn’t know how big the DBZ community was.  The amount of content that’s put out on a weekly basis is impressive, with all kinds of reviews, predictions and breakdowns.  So I’ve been inspired to make one of my own.

Jiren is a fusion between a Supreme Kai and a God of Destruction from the 13th universe. 

This crossed my mind during last week’s episode, with Jiren had some dialogue with Goku and Vegeta.  He kinda spoke like a Kai, but a touch of destroyer.  Kinda like wise advice from a jerk.  There was also a moment where Goku asked Jiren what motivated him, and he said he wanted to know what was beyond strength.  If you were a destroyer or a supreme kai who wanted nothing more than to know what was beyond strength, a fusion with your divine counter-part would probably be a good place to start.  Then I took a look at all the destroyers and supreme kais to see if anyone had purple skin – check.  The kais all looked the same, but the destroyers were all pretty unique.  Jiren’s ears and all-black eyes would probably have to come from the destroyer so that still holds up.  The fact that fusion was pretty central to the plot line for the Goku Black story line and was then brought back for this season with Kefla, it makes me think that it’ll pop up at least a couple more times before the season is over.  Finally, there’s a lot of talk about a new god of destruction.  Whis asked Goku, I think Vegeta was asked at some point, and I think there was something about Toppo or Jiren being in the discussion.

Nothing more than a hunch.. but it’s nice to put a hunch out there and see what happens.

The Bias of Success

I’m rather grateful for the time I’ve spent playing Texas Hold’em.  It’s a brilliant game for teaching people about life.  In this case, about what it takes to be successful.

 

Many if not most would define a successful hand as one which you’ve won.  I would argue that a successful hand is one which you’ve played to the best of your ability.  I think this highlights a dynamic which we see throughout society.  Perhaps far too frequently right now.

In Texas Hold’em, each player is dealt two cards.  They then must play those two cards as best as they can with the 5 community cards dealt to the middle of the table.  If more than one player makes it to the end, the best hand wins.  When you’re talking about playing the hand that you’re dealt, whether in life or in poker, what you’re really saying is do best with what you’ve been given.

When you’re playing against experienced players who understand the mechanics of poker, you’ll often see them lose hands which they played exceptionally well.  Sometimes they run into someone else who also played their hand exceptionally well, but more often than not, it’s someone who was dealt a more advantageous hand, or someone who benefited from the community cards more than anyone else.  Typically, this is called a bad beat.  Even at the highest levels of poker, we see this happen from time to time.  In most cases, the undeserving winner of that hand will apologize with a smile as they’re collecting their chips.

So why is it that most of the world assumes that a win means they did good?

I suspect that evolutionary biology plays a role here.  Positive reinforcement encourages you to connect your actions to your outcomes.  If something good happened, figure out what you did so that you can make it happen again.  Action = Outcome.  The problem with this mindset though, is that it ignores other important variables.  A more realistic equation might be: Nature + Nurture + Circumstance + Action = Outcome.  In the case of poker, that might look like: The cards you’re dealt plus your knowledge of the game plus the community cards plus how well you play that hand, equals a win or a loss.  Assuming that your actions were solely responsible for your outcome is just as erroneous as assuming that your actions had nothing to do with your outcome.

I think another influence here might be the places we work at.  I spent the better part of the last 10 years at two of the largest companies in the world.  I can’t tell you how many times I was told, “at the end of the day, the score board is the only thing that matters.”  In both cases, they were talking about sales.  I’ve also spent plenty of time serving on boards for non-profit organizations where people loved to talk about how unfair the world was.  I’m not sure which side of this coin is more frustrating.

Those who have had success tend to take credit for their success, thinking it was a result of their actions.  Those who have not had success tend to credit their circumstances, thinking there was nothing they could’ve done.  They’re both wrong.  The reality exists somewhere in the middle and the sooner we get there, the better off we’ll all be.

Perhaps my favorite example is that of Warren Buffet’s ‘Ovarian Lottery’.  As most people know, he’s one of history’s most accomplished investors.  What some may not know is that he’s been able to maintain a level of modesty and humility rarely seen in that tax bracket.  When asked about this, he says he got lucky.  Lucky doesn’t refer to the work ethic or business acumen he developed as a kid.  It doesn’t speak to the education he earned or the Dale Carnegie course he took to deal with his fear of public speaking.  It doesn’t refer to the level of integrity he maintained throughout his career.  And it certainly doesn’t reference the sheer amount of hours he spent honing his craft.  Those were things he could control, and he did them to the best of his ability.  Where he got luck, as he tells it, is with where he was born.  He was born a male when women weren’t expected to do much more than be married off.  He was born white when a minority in a senior role was rare.  He was born into a family that knew plenty about investments.  And he was born in a country that absolutely valued the capitalistic skill set he would eventually develop.  As he tells it, had he been born into a village in Africa, he probably wouldn’t have fared so well.

I’ve always looked up to the guy.  When I heard him say that, I couldn’t help but agree.  It was a shift in my perspective.  I was humbled and now tend to be more grateful for what I’ve been given.  We control much less than we think we do, but it’s important to recognize that what we do control, matters tremendously.

The decisions that we make, ultimately shape our lives.  But perhaps not the way we expect.  In poker, it’s said that luck favors the backbone, not the wishbone.  Beyond poker, it’s said that luck favors the prepared.  Both reference the same dynamic.  True success is is not a matter of luck, but rather the cumulative effect of many good decisions.  The decisions of how we choose to spend our time, who we choose to surround ourselves with and what we choose to learn about.   Over time, these kinds of decisions will have a more of an impact on the opportunities we’re presented than just about anything else.  It’ll also ensure that we’re ready for them.

And if that’s true, perhaps a win is a moment of good fortune, while success is a journey of good decisions.

 

How Many Innocent Lives is a Police Officer Worth?

This is a very real question that we’ll have to try to answer in the near future.

Growing up, I had assumed zero.  I guess I was wrong.

I don’t like quoting stats because highlighting a single data point within a pattern can be misleading.  But 66 unarmed people were killed by the US police last year.  Up from 48 the year before.  I don’t know all of their stories.  I haven’t seen all the body cam footage.  But from what I have seen, something desperately needs to change.

I’ve known about the darker places of the internet for a long time.  I’ve watched the Yakuza chop fingers off, I’ve watched public beheadings in the middle east, I’ve seen military executions, and I even watched a Boeing exec get fucked to death by a horse.  I know what’s out there, but I don’t gravitate towards it.  When I watch, I see moments of weakness.  Moments of confusion.  Moments of darkness.  They inform, but they don’t inspire.  This year, I watched more footage of people being killed than any other year, and most of that was body cam footage from police officers.

I don’t watch them expecting to make excuses for the police or the people they’re pointing guns at.  I recognize that for all parties involved, it’s probably the most stressful moment of their entire lives and  people don’t always perform well under pressure.  What I try to do is understand what exactly is happening and how we could’ve avoided the loss of an innocent life.

In each video that I’ve seen, the person who was shot ‘reached’ for something.  Sometimes it was the waistband, sometimes the back pocket, but in every case, there was a motion that suggested to the police officer that they were drawing a concealed weapon.  That’s the moment where the officer went from pointing a weapon to taking an innocent life.  I think that’s a moment worth exploring.

I’ve never faced a situation like that before.  Perhaps it’s like pointing a rifle at a bear that’s getting closer and closer.  You don’t want to kill the bear, but you know that if the bear notices you, it’ll likely charge, and you’re unlikely to survive.  I always warn against making decisions out of fear.  It tends to use the least intelligent parts of the brain.  And I don’t think that analogy holds up anyways.  You can’t have a dialogue with a bear.  You don’t already have the bear in a position of submission.  You don’t have the other tools necessary to de-escalate the situation.  If that’s your state of mind in these situations, then they never should’ve let you out of basic training.  But that’s not what I’m seeing when I’m watching these videos.

I’m seeing people who lack the emotional stability to carry firearms.  I’m seeing people who have yet to grasp the value of a human life.  I’m seeing people grappling with their own issues while pointing a gun at another human being.  I’m seeing the fear that comes with a society who thinks everyone should be armed with deadly force.  I’m seeing a bad problem made worse with military grade weaponry.  I’m seeing a failure of training.  I see a corrupt organizational culture.  Worst of all, I see a problem that could be easily solved and that the police don’t seem motivated to fix.

All officers should be supported with an extensive psychological health program.  That starts with a screening process designed to keep the trigger-happy cosplay-commandos out.  Then it continues with ongoing evaluations and therapy.  We need to accept that the damage officers take out there isn’t just physical.  Rather than putting them through the shit and expecting them to sort things out on their own, we need to give them the tools and support necessary for them to stay healthy, inside and out.  If an officer watches his partner get lit up, or is first on the scene to something you think you’d only see in a Rob Zombie movie, we need to be there for them.  If that’s not something they can come back from, help them find something else.  And this all needs to be done by a third party which doesn’t have to answer to the politics of law enforcement.

The failure of training seems to be the one that everyone agrees on, including the police.  But it doesn’t seem to be working.  Perhaps I can make a few suggestions.  Don’t escalate the situation to the point where the person is so scared that they lose the ability to think rationally.  Don’t ask them to do something that might make them reach for something, when you’re going to assume that what they’re reaching for is a weapon.  I’d like to put that all under humanity 101 but here’s the real change I’d like to see:  If there are multiple officers targeting the same suspect, all with weapons-hot, wait until you can see an actual weapon.  You’re right, it’s only a split second between seeing the weapon and being shot at, but you should be trained to make that split second decision properly.

Mistakes will still be made.  Waiting until you see the weapon might mean a few extra dead officers.  But it’ll also mean that just about every single unarmed civilian who was murdered by a police officer this year would still be alive.  That’s the trade off.  A few brave souls who put their lives on the line so that the innocent may live in peace.  That’s what you signed up for.  That is your glory.  That is your honor.  Own it.  That is the proud and noble history of law enforcement.  What we’re seeing now is gang violence.

But that’s not going to change anytime soon.  Especially with the commander and chief excited about deploying more military grade equipment into local municipalities.  I can’t help but think that the general anxiety that the country is experiencing plays into this as well.  Protests, riots, terrorism, political instability, cultural divisions… maybe everyone is a little on edge.  There’s gotta be something else we can do.

I often say that if both people are looking for something reasonable, compromise is just a lack of imagination.  I think this qualifies.  Police officers would like to not be shot by a suspect who may or may not have a concealed weapon.  Suspects who are trying to comply, would like to not be shot whether or not they have a concealed weapon on them.  Police officers would like to not be at risk of being assaulted by a weapon as they try to place a suspect into custody.  Suspects who are trying to comply would like to not be shot by an officer while being placed into custody.  There’s always that risk that as soon as an officer takes his finger off the trigger, things go sideways.  There’s always a chance that when the suspect makes an unexpected movement, things go sideways.  So we need a way for officers to subdue suspects, without having to close the distance or take the finger off the trigger.  Tranquilizer darts.

I’m not going to bother looking up what’s on the market right now that might work because I think that if this was going to be deployed, it would have to be a custom job.  You’d need a compound that worked quickly, effectively, and left no side-effects.  When you approach the scene, and you can’t determine whether or not the person has a weapon?  Tell them that.  Tell them to go belly down with their arms where you can see them, and that you’re gonna shoot them with a tranquilizer dart.  When they wake up, they’ll be in cuffs in the back of a squad car and everyone can figure out what happened.  Crazy junkie on bath salts?  Tranq dart.  Guy pulls a knife from 20 feet away?  Tranq dart.  In just about every scenario short of someone firing live rounds at you, tranq dart.

The other solution that’s crossed my mind is gender equality.  The ratio of male to female officers in American law-enforcement is about 9:1.  I can’t help but wonder if the boys in blue would be a little less trigger happy if there were a few more girls around.  But women aren’t as big and strong as men, and etc., etc.  True, but are we so sure that size and strength are the most important qualities of a law enforcement officer?  Maybe thinking that size and strength are the most important qualities is an issue unto itself.  If we saw a 1:1 ratio of men to women in law-enforcement, I can’t help but think that the police would see a dramatic improvement across the board.  Reduced discrimination, reduced police brutality, and fewer shootings of unarmed civilians to start.  Right now, I see police walking the streets like the foot soldiers of law-enforcement.   In some of the uglier scenarios, they look like gang members protecting the turf of the police state.  I can’t help but think that if we encouraged gender equality within the police, they might just find their way back to protecting and serving.

There’s a Storm Coming

I tried to write an entry on reverse seniority last night.  I couldn’t do it.  I’m bugging out.

No cannabis.  That’s probably part of it.

I have a brain that doesn’t turn off, a large appetite for information, and an obsession for understanding things.  Something I’ve been doing since high school is recognizing patterns and using them to predict what comes next.  Nothing is concrete, just possibilities and probabilities.  Too many variables to keep track of, but sometimes you can see part of the picture and filling in the rest isn’t so tough.

Coming from an investment background, it’s difficult to ignore what I see in the markets.  Bonds are paying next to nothing.  The equity market hasn’t had a major correction in about 10 years.  The housing market is on tilt.  Even crypto is now detached from reality.  Besides my private equity investments, I’m now in 100% cash for the first time in my life.  It’s like being at a poker table with a bunch of drunk rookies.  I have chips, I know how to play, but when everyone else at the table is throwing money at shitty hands… you have to be patient.  Some days are easier than others.

My friends and I used to battle it out for who could be more generous.  We’d always enjoy trying to pay for one another.  Now we’re too poor to hang out with each other.  Half of them still live with their parents to avoid paying rent.  I look at my generation and I see an epidemic of drugs used to treat an epidemic of depression.  If it wasn’t for my drive and my lack of emotions, I’d probably be in the same boat.  Considering how much weed I was smoking, maybe I was in the same boat.  I’m surrounded by a generation of kids who were told that if they stayed in school and worked hard, they’d be able to land themselves a good career and that a good career would lead to a comfortable life.  I’m surrounded by a generation of the most educated kids we’ve ever produced, entering into a rapidly deteriorating job market, with the highest cost of living we’ve experienced in modern history.  We’re barely treading water.  Something’s gotta give.

Maybe it’s the birth rate.  Maybe this is how we cull the population.  I literally broke up with the first girl I thought I’d marry because she was fixated on having children in the immediate future.  I wasn’t willing to bring a family into this world without building a foundation first.  The biological clock is real.  And my heart goes out to the women struggling to understand what they should be doing at a time like this.

I saw Paul Ryan on TV the other night saying that the Republican tax reform was going to give the middle class the boost it needed to get back to having kids.  What a bold faced lie.  But that’s become the status quo for American politics.  Only a few of us will actually put the effort into understanding what’s going on.  The rest of us will just pick a team.  Red or Blue.  By picking a team, we think we’re taking a stand for what we believe in.  But we’re not.  Red or Blue, it’s the same song and dance.  The value of a politician isn’t a function of policies, their ability to inspire, or their ability to govern – it’s their ability to raise funds for their campaign.  Why?  Because the best campaign wins the seat.  But in the age of billion dollar campaigns, where is this funding coming from?  Big business and the top 1%.  So is an elected official’s loyalty to the people who voted for them?  Or to the people who paid for them?  If you’re not sure, I suggest you ask net neutrality.

With problems this obvious though, how are we not motivated towards change?  I’d argue that we are.  Trump was elected for exactly that reason.  As much as I liked Obama, he didn’t do enough to stop what was coming.  People were left behind.  All the pain and disillusion that we’re seeing in major cities today, the rural towns were ahead of the curve.  But they were team red.  They were loyal.  And someone on team red came along and said I have all the answers, here’s who you should blame, and if they ever say otherwise, they’re lying.  MAGA.  And half the country became complicit.

But maybe this is just what we needed.  When Trump was elected, I knew he didn’t have the character, integrity, or intelligence to be a great president, but I was open to the possibility of him being a good president.  As things started to play out, I knew that ship had sailed.  What did occur to me though is that he might still be valuable.  He might be so crooked, so corrupt, and so incompetent that the world couldn’t help but see that he had reached the most powerful seat in the world – not by merit – but through the abuse of American ignorance and a system which has been compromised beyond repair.  And maybe that would be our motivation.

You know what I wanted for Christmas this year?  Mueller.  I check my newsfeeds at least a dozen times a day.  Every time I do, I hope to see another piece of the puzzle.  Eventually, I hope to see justice.  And perhaps justice means that Trump is exonerated from crimes which he didn’t commit.  But I doubt it.  And I’m good at predicting these things.

So what happens when one of the most respected law enforcement officials of all time lifts the veil on the real Donald Trump?  What do those tax returns actually look like?  How much is he actually worth?  Who does he actually owe money to?  And what happens if there was collusion?  Will it be enough to shatter the image and faith placed in Trump?  I hope so.

I see the clouds on the horizon, and I can hear rumbles of thunder, but the storm is still too far away.  And I wanna dance in the rain.

I don’t know what that first crack of lightning will be.  Maybe it will be Trump going to jail.  Maybe it’ll be the Republicans refusing to impeach him.  Maybe it’ll be a loss of consumer confidence that triggers an overdue recession.  Maybe it’ll be the bond bubble that’s been growing since the last recession.  Maybe it’ll be China’s house of cards that finally topples.  Or maybe it’s on us.  Maybe we finally realize that you and I aren’t so different.  Maybe we realize that we aren’t the enemy.  Maybe we realize that we’re in this together…. and maybe we march together, up those stairs, and tell them that this does not belong to you.

And tear the whole. god. damn. thing. down.

Incest Porn

In my prime, I was probably just as interested in porn and masturbation as any other stereotypical male.  Perhaps one of my most embarrassing memories was being walked in on by a friend back in grade 11.  I still maintain he didn’t see anything, but holy shit was that awkward… then embarrassing when the rest of the school found out… and then a highly entertaining memory.

As the years have passed, it’s become more of a functional effort for me.  Sometimes it’s to help me get to sleep, sometimes it’s to de-stress, sometimes it’s because I saw boobies on TV and wasn’t sure what else to do with myself.  I’ve always enjoyed watching porn for a very different reason though – as a reflection of the human psyche.

If you were to ask 100,000 people what their sexual preferences or fantasies were, I don’t think you’d get an honest set of data.  I think most people would respond with some variation of vanilla + light bdsm.  If you were to take a look at the major porn sites right now, they’re dominated by incest porn.  Thanks Glasses Morty…

There’s an honesty to porn.  In the privacy of your own home (and incognito mode), you tend to care less about what people think and more about getting you to that mind-blowing orgasm.  For me, I’ve been through several phases but it’s always revolved around female pleasure.  Something about a girl looking like she’s experiencing levels of pleasure she’s never experienced before is totally my jam.  And when I think about who I am as a person, I see an alignment there.  One of my favorite states of mind is when I introduce someone to something they’ve never experienced before, and they have an awesome time.  I’m also super competitive and want to be the best at everything, including her body, haha.  So what does it say about the current state of the human condition when porn is being dominated by an incest fetish?

If I were to go onto any major free porn site, I’m saying close to half of the videos listed are either mother-son, brother-sister, or daddy-daughter.  Some aren’t even incest related, but they’ll toss it in the title for more clicks.  As someone who has a younger sister who lives in LA that has flirted with the idea of being a stripper, the last thing I want when watching porn is a reminder that the girl in the video could be my little sister.  As someone who has a complicated relationship with his mother, hearing ‘do you like that, son?’ is a quick way for me to lose all interest in what I’m doing.  The daddy-daughter stuff?  I’m not a fan of unbalanced power dynamics.

When I wanna watch porn, I now literally have to skip through the first 5-10 minutes of story line or risk it being ruined for me.  Kinda.  Because every once in a while, there’s one that I’m into.  In trying to understand what I was enjoying about it, a few things came to mind.

First and foremost, it was a step-sibling dynamic.  No incest, just pretend incest.  Second, there was no jacked up power dynamic where the brother was blackmailing his sister or something weird like that.  The stuff that I was into was when there were two good looking people, living under the same roof, not related, super attracted to one another, knowing that it’s taboo, and caving into their desires.  Hmm… that’s kinda hot isn’t it?

And when I think about the popularity of this genre and what it tells us about the people who are watching it, I see a few interesting elements.

First is the evolution of the blended family.  Blended families are becoming the norm which means step-siblings are more common than ever.  That means we’re putting a whole bunch of teenagers and young adults, who aren’t related to each other, under the same roof.  From time to time, at least one of them is going to be attractive.  And we’re expecting the other sibling not to be attracted?  But their parents have told them that they’re brother and sister and brothers and sisters don’t have those kinds of feelings or engage in those behaviors.  That’s like preaching abstinence to reduce pregnancies.

Next is the taboo element.  Remember when BDSM was taboo?  Anal?  Gay sex?  Even blow jobs were taboo at one point.  They all follow the same pattern of a bunch of people collectively deciding it’s wrong and trying to shame the rest of us into complying.  But then a few people explore those boundaries, find out it’s totally awesome, and the dynamic starts to shift.  Eventually the people who tried to impose limitations on sexual freedoms start to look silly.  In some cases, you feel sorry for them.  In others, you swear they’re doing all kinds of kinky shit when nobody’s looking.

Finally, and perhaps the most subtle.  Or maybe just something I see… is this dynamic of doing what you know makes sense even when others tell you that you’re wrong, or a bad person for doing it.  If you were gay, at a time where the world was telling you that you shouldn’t be gay, I would imagine that being with the person you wanted to be with was an incredibly liberating and joyful experience.  This dynamic of going against the grain when you know you’re right is something that exists well beyond sex.  It’s how great investors invest.  It’s how great love stories are told.  It’s how great leaders change the world.  It’s also why teenagers consistently push the boundaries which their parents impose on them.  Whether it’s staying out late, skipping class, studying less than you should… most kids aren’t doing these things because they’re trying to sabotage their future, it’s because they think that they’re more capable than the limitations being place on them.  In the case of incest porn, I think it just comes down to…. she’s hot, I think she’s into me, we’re not related as much as dad and his new wife would like me to think so – and there’s your fantasy.

The last piece I’ll mention is that if any of what I’ve written here has relevancy, the real story is appreciating the diversity of porn because it’s indicative of the diversity of sexual desire, which is indicative of the diversity of humanity.  Some people are into big, some people are into small, some people are into feet, some people are into dressing like stuffed animals.  If we could understand and accept that 99.9% of the time, sex is about pleasure and not procreation, we’re in a position to realize a sexual revolution.  As long as there’s consent, do what feels good.  The doors that will open, the marriages that will saved, the minds that will be blown… could be very exciting times ahead.

I had the most fucked up dream

I don’t dream much.  I’m pretty sure it’s the cannabis.  When I get stoned before bed, it helps me pass out but I’m doubtful it helps me enter REM sleep.  I took a break from cannabis a few weeks ago, lost a bunch of weight, got a ton done, and thought I’d enjoy a nice Saturday night on the couch with my vape pen.  It was nice.  Until Elon Musk touched my bum.

The part of the dream that I remember was me and Elon Musk laying in a large bed, talking about all the cool stuff I’d want to talk to him about.  Then without warning, he touched my bum.  I’m not talking about light rub, I’m talking right on the button.  I immediately clued into what was happening and let out a stern and loud Noooooooo.  I turned around and he had a look of shock and shame like he just realized it was an unwanted advance.  He jumped behind his side of the bed to cover his embarrassment.  I remember feeling confused, and then sorry for the guy, and I think we talked it out… but that part is still fuzzy.  WTF.

Wow, there’s a lot to unpack there.

I guess first things first, why was I in bed with Elon Musk?  It’s fair to say that I have a bit of a professional crush on Elon.  I think he’s one of the most visionary leaders of our time and I greatly admire his approach to business.  He’s the effective bar I’ve set for myself so I pay close attention to what he does and how he does it.  That still doesn’t explain why we were in a bed together, but it was genuinely a non-sexual scenario for me.  I’ve also already gone down the ‘am I gay?’ rabbit hole and came back pretty sure that I was more likely to be asexual than gay.  Who knows, maybe we were in bed because I was actually in a bed.  Maybe Elon is the one guy I would sleep with?  Anyways, moving on…

The second part was the ‘bad touch’.  I’ve been hit on by guys before and I’ve always been pretty good with keeping things light, polite, and clear.  I didn’t have the opportunity in this one.  It went from a casual conversation with my back turned to him, to feeling like someone was about to go knuckle-deep and try to check my oil.  In fall fairness, I’ve reacted the same way when girls tried to do the same thing.

I think this is a result of all the time I’ve spent thinking about rape, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct over the last few months.  I’ve been through some unwanted sexual scenarios but this dynamic was very different.  It was extremely unexpected, acute, and from someone who I didn’t want to turn around and toss out of my life.  If I remember the dream correctly, I think we talked it out afterwards and everything was good.

I think my subconscious was trying to simulate sexual harassment as experienced by these women who have accused these high-profile men.  Clearly it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but I can’t help but think I tapped into a few things.

The first is that there needs to be a difference between an unwanted advance and sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.  Elon clearly skipped a base or two with what he did and he obviously caught me by surprise, but once I said no, he stopped.  I was no worse for wear.  We talked it out, and we were good (I think?).

Perhaps this is where I should enter the disclaimer of rape is wrong, but the reality is that I see rape as a form of bullying (perhaps the most extreme) – and I am strongly against bullying of any form.  What I’m trying to understand here are the nuances because being held down and penetrated against your will is not the same as your idol trying to give you a sneak-attack prostate exam.

We seem to have entered into a time where this entire topic is taboo.  I keep hearing that we must believe the women who have accused these men of sexual misconduct but that’s literally contrary to one of the most fundamental legal principles – due process.  By no means am I saying that these accusations should be dismissed, but believing someone at face value for anything is a dangerous precedent to set.  I wholeheartedly agree that men everywhere need to step their game up, especially with holding their friends accountable, but this isn’t the way.

I’m confident that no one would step in more quickly or more fiercely than I would if I saw someone being taken advantage of like that.  It wouldn’t matter if it was rape, someone getting jumped, or a kid getting picked on (maybe less fiercely).  It’s all bullying to me.  It’s an exercise in the abuse of power.  But if that’s true, can it not also be addressed like bullying?

When I was a kid, I was taught that if someone bullies you, you tell the teacher and they get in trouble.  Because they got in trouble, they wouldn’t do it again.  Wrong.  If I have kids, I’ll show them how to stand up to that bully, because there will always be another bully.  Assuming all the tactics for avoiding confrontation didn’t work, you now have a physical altercation.  If you don’t know how to handle yourself, you’ll be scared.  If you’re scared enough, you’ll be more likely to play dead than fight back.  Now you’re prey.

We live in a physical world.  Not being able to protect yourself is a glaring deficiency that I think we overlook as a society.  If someone picks a fight with you and you don’t know how to defend yourself, you’re probably gonna get fucked up.  Those bruises and broken bones will hurt all the same regardless of that person’s motivations.

 

If I had kids, I’d teach them self-defense from an early age.  The things you learn from martial arts and combat sports are lessons that you can carry with you throughout your life.  I’d teach them that when dealing with a bully, your first priority is always to deescalate the situation.  Being able to walk away without confrontation is almost always your best option.  I’d also teach them that when it isn’t, you need to be ready.  Know any bullies that got laid out, and then went back to bullying that kid?  Doesn’t work like that.

There isn’t a complete parallel between the bullying I’m describing here and the sexual harassment/#metoo movement but there have to be some.  Bullying is bullying right?  I got back into training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently and I asked myself how many of the women in my class could hold their own against a guy who was acting inappropriately.

A light-bulb went off – probably all of them.

When I started BJJ, it took me about a month worth of classes to reach a point where I would be completely dominant over your average joe.  We’re talking just the basics of how to move and where to go.  A few months later, some guy at the bar tried to pick a fight with me and I was able to laugh it off and walk away because I had this new confidence, knowing that if things went sideways, I’d probably be just fine.

I desperately want women to have that same confidence.  

I don’t think this movement of victimhood and blame will help create sexual equality between men and women.  Among other things, I think it’s going to create a lot of confused men and fragile women.  What I do think will make a difference is if women start standing up for themselves with the confidence that comes with knowing that you can handle your shit.  Unwanted kiss?  Bob-and-weave. Unwanted dick pic?  Ew, beat it.  Guy pushes you up against the wall, get him off and tell him it’s in his best interest not to try that again.  Guy jumps you while your on a run and drags you into the bushes?  Get on top of him and smash his face in with a few solid elbows.  Then call the police and ambulance so the poor fool doesn’t choke on his own blood and die.  You want men to stop doing this stupid shit?  Handle yourself.  These men will learn that the time of being able to take advantage of women is over.  That if you cross that line, there will be consequences.  That if you make things physical, you should expect to get your ass handed to you.

Women are clearly motivated to make a change.  They even earned themselves the cover of Time magazine this year.  If we could only push it one step further and create a movement where women were motivated to abandon their title as the physically weaker sex and embrace that untapped physicality – I think we’d be looking at a foundation for the new age of sexual equality.