the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Winning and Losing

Posted by Jeff Id on November 9, 2013

Some things in blogland make you smile, others, not so much.   I just answered a comment from a reader which left me cold.  If you want to comment here, bring more than a thimble full of facts with you.   For reference, I am an EVIL business owner with a natural dislike for the authoritarian population.

Unlike Lewandowsky or Michael Mann, I don’t earn a large salary by writing political commentary or by supporting political goals.  I earn my IMHO a far-too-small salary by selling things that work.  And work well.   In fact, unlike the self-promotional aspects of Real Climate, this blog is a major liability to me and our company.  We experienced it first-hand last week, where the top VP level buyer of a major customer that, every single reader here knows by sight, discussed with me — sustainability.  I did not explain my/our (as there are other non-authoritarian partners who were present) background to them, other than the fact that we make the most efficient lighting products in our category.

In my life, wealth was not something my family considered much. It wasn’t important.  In my thirties, a non-work related event which was out of my control, left me far poorer than anyone I have ever actually met.  I am certain that some have had similarly bad or worse money situations, but I just don’t know them.  I was a white male with a very good job, yet still held large debt that could not be reasonably cleared through bankruptcy or reasonably paid off  by any but CEO level salaries.

So having smart friends and no personal property for myself left to lose, I quit my job and we started a company.   The work has been incredibly difficult, and I’ve blogged through more than half of it but we have succeeded in our efforts to date.  I actually remember sitting on the floor of an unfurnished bedroom writing my first posts here back in 2008.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring but last week, I found myself being told yet NOT replying to someone regarding their views of human-causes damage to the environment.  Readers here know that NOT telling someone what I think is not part of my genetic makeup! Instead I listened about discussions regarding sustainability and Clinton and conferences……etc.

In the end, a good company does what is best for itself, and we are by far the best option for this particular group.  They are still working that part out, hopefully to our betterment.  What it means is that as our organization grows, the Air Vent is becoming an albatross which is hard to ignore. Exactly the intent of Lewandowsky’s and Mann’s recent sciencology methinks. We have years of work into this company and won’t take less than perfect results.   If you disagree with my decision to hold back my opinions to this customer (which I doubt), give me a number as to how many years of effort (not money) would you be willing to forgo for the sake of commenting on personal politics?

——

In reality, I’m not fretting about these questions now.  I have reached my decisions long before, and the business is more important than this blog.  We have employees and shareholders that are far more important than explanations to powerful people.  That fact makes me a pragmatic dissenter IMO.  Some who would expect a more idealistic result should re-read my post more carefully.  Still, I wanted readers to know another part of what us business owners go through.  Cost is cost and it is important that this blog not become one.  Our unfortunate curse at my company is that we are a bunch of tea-party conservative, anti-authoritarians who own a fantastically CO2 efficient business.   Our entire business concept (no official plan, just driven engineers) was based on improved efficiency – for better costs.  Environment is a side-benefit!

If we suddenly experienced a multi-million dollar loss because of this blog and its inherent political accuracy ;D , I could (and perhaps should) be removed from the board and my position by our shareholders.   Seeing my name be trashed by Lewandowsky in a printed journal was more flattering than threatening.  How cool is it that your ideas are intentionally misrepresented by what are apparently major psychology journals, on another continent, using other peoples tax dollars!  The problem was the media publicity and the longevity of the fake claims. Imagine dealing with the same falsehoods repeated across the newspapers of this globe for decades on end.   That definitely was something that I was concerned about, and that meant that Lew had to be addressed.

Some wonder what my recent blogging absence had been about.   We have been incredibly busy, no doubt and that was primary.  Still the political situation today means that the Air Vent could become very expensive at any time.   I don’t think that any of us expect this situation to improve either!  How to proceed, when you are being publicly attacked by people with endless flow of government money, and have literally zero respect for free market business owners, even when the product is “green”.  It is very much shocking to see journals publish rants against those who understand capitalism as though it were some kind of defect.  The journal gives up all pretext of an unbiased broker of science, yet they behave as though we shouldn’t notice the editors and authors have a vested interest in expanded authoritarian government.

Marginalization of my opinion was exactly Lewandowsky’s intent, and he and Mann more guilty than those they accuse of being blinded by their belief system.

——–

I did a little editing this morning for clarity – Jeff


26 Responses to “Winning and Losing”

  1. It was his intent. I am sorry for your loss. But I understand. I have known others in the same situation.

    Hold strong to your ideals. And thank you for your blogging.

    • Jeff Id said

      The losses of life are beyond writing but we all have them. One of my crosses just happened to be money. We are well past that problem now and have new challenges which are much more fun. I am very excited for our future and we will simply guide the company where the government allows.

      Thanks for your support and readership sir. I don’t intend to stop blogging but don’t know the future any better than Mrs. Cleo knows the IRS.

  2. Jeff Id said

    The look on my folks face when I told them I was named in a psychology paper by a guy on another continent was absolutely priceless.

    Proud days for their son!

  3. johnfpittman said

    It is strange that slander can take the place of truth. At one time, liberals and progressives were the champions of truth. Now, it appears that they are champions only in their own minds. It certainly isn’t in their math or hypotheses.

    • Jeff Id said

      Hi John,

      It is the authoritarian aspect of handing any rights, control or money to govenrment which invariably leads to the same place. I have had the discussion with low information liberals (there are low-information people on all sides but we know the type) multiple times where it becomes apparent that through media marketing, they simply think they are voting for a different product than they actually are.

      I’ve even heard the argument that liberal means liberty with no understanding beyond that. This seems especially true for foreigners who have become citizens – but I have limited data. The media was like our political immune system in the past, attacking infection and disease made the better story. Now it is nothing but an advocate for state policy with a few fighting back.

      • johnfpittman said

        The strange part is that the press pursued the semblance of capitalism without understanding the need of the ethics in capitalism. Thus as the market changed, partisan voices over a cheap medium took many of their niches.

        But it does appear that local monopoly news can still survive. So perhaps at the local level news can once again provide service and be part of the immune system.

  4. Andrew said

    Jeff-I have spent my whole life walking among the liberals, I completely understand the idea of biting my tongue and keeping my head down and…it sucks. Having grown up that way, I have to do it, I learn how to do it. To keep myself from being “outed” as it were, and becoming a pariah. But I have never liked it. It’s a constant struggle, and a couple of times I have failed to keep it all contained: I spent a year or two in high school semi-outed as the obviously least liberal guy in the entire school-and I never *dared* tell them just how conservative I was. I blog basically anonymously because I don’t want anything I say to be used against me going forward-even if, or rather though, it happens to be correct. I am fortunate I think that I have avoided any professional consequences of daring to speak my mind, but not without effort. And the prospect that I may not be so fortunate in the future is a sobering thought.

    I appreciate your efforts. I know it can’t possibly make up for what it costs you to give them, but I still want to thank you. As a younger guy I have to confess in these years of blogging I’ve sort of looked up to you, you know? Your willingness to speak out convinced me I was doing the right thing, if I had any doubts. Thank you.

  5. Chuck L said

    Jeff, appreciate your blogging and having owned a business, understand how it can (and must) monopolize your time. As to living among liberals, I live in North Jersey close to NYC and deal with them all the time, most recently when I posted on Facebook, that as bad as it was, Haiyan was a strong Cat 4 hurricane. Here are some examples that I am sure those who read this an other blogs can relate to:

    “Any denial of man made climate change will fall on deaf ears of the victims of this typhoon. Why fight science? Even if it is wrong, it is only minuscuely wrong in it’s projection of the impact Hello!?”

    “Denying the rank of Haiyan is one thing; not using your eyes to see is another. I’m watching your obfuscation come apart at the seams. You’re a happier in a bubble, though. It’s pure sophistry, Chuck–but I’ll hand it to you, you’re a stand-out”

    Me: It’s hard to argue religion, which is what Manmade Global Warming is, to true believers like yourself. I can show you peer-reviewed papers, graphs and hard data but you will ignore it because it does not fit in with your unscientific worldview. The maximum wind recorded by the Philippines Meteorological Bureau was 150 MPH with gusts to 170. You have not proved anything that I said was incorrect so it is you who engage in sophistry and it is sad that you and many others have lost the ability for critical thinking.”

    So typical of the low-information Liberal/Progressive mindset.

  6. Ed said

    Sadly, the only people able to make public comments any more, without fear of job loss are tenured teachers. As a consequence, we have created a one sided society of opinion. The rest of us, including me, bite our tongue – even when the facts support our view – because in a political environment, we must protect our livelihood. This will not end well when we are all equal but some are “more equal than others” in political discourse.

    • patrioticduo said

      If one attaches too much importance to ones own opinions, no matter how factual we think our opinions to be, then we fail to communicate our opinions in a manner that is tailored to be received by the person who holds the opposing opinion. In my humble opinion, this is the fundamental reason why libertarian thinking has become ostracized by both the left and the right. If one is able to take a more humble approach, then our message can be conveyed without ostracism. The Statists know this so well that they took over media. Too many libertarians have no ability at it whatsoever. In engineering circles, it is perfectly OK to arrogantly shout that a wing cannot work in reverse. But in other circles, one has to finesse such discussions because most people have no idea how a wing works to begin with.

  7. steve koch said

    Blog anonymously or, even safer, give your input to somebody you trust who can publish under their name. Your writing would benefit from editing anyway and a more professional, less emotional/personal perspective. What you are going through is what most climate scientists have dealt with, they too had to sell out for profit.

    • Jeff Id said

      Steve,

      I’ve sold nothing out. I sell product to whomever wants to pay and have never held myself out differently. I’m a capitalist, not an idealist selling political policy disguised as science.

      Also, I used to blog anonymously under Jeff Id, until I was outed by the guardian in London during climategate. They wrote a whole piece which seemed to have nothing interesting except for my full name, location and details about me.

    • Jeff Id said

      Actually I have a question. I’ve had several people over the years ask about me to write on my personal life. I used to avoid it entirely, now when I do, you say it should be less personal. Everyone thinks something different of course but this blog has a lot less motivation than it probably seems. I’m not interested in maximizing its effectiveness. The thing is titled the Air Vent because I really do need to let off steam and it was done anonymously because I’m not interested in letting these fools interfere with business.

      At one point this blog had 5,000 readers per day which made it competitive with main-stream blogging venues. I didn’t have an editor and didn’t care what impression people had of it. I tried to attract guest writers, often with differing opinions but had limited success.

      The value of a company is the same as the value of a blog, it is the sales channel. This blog still has an immense, yet abused/unused influence. If it were your blog, what would you write about?

      Are you interested in trying?

  8. Hank Mccard said

    Jeff,

    As a retired CEO, I can say that I never acquired a taste for biting my tongue when having an unpleasant conversation with a customer on non-business matters when I didn’t agree with my customers opinion. I didn’t rationalize it as a matter of “the customer is always right,” I chalked it up as ” … we don’t debate religion or discuss our kids or politics unless it applies to our business relationship.” Having said that, I never felt constrained to withhold my opinions during private conversations with others.

    I retired in 1996 and have never thought about the conflict that you have as a CEO and also having a public audience as a blogger. Nonetheless, I’m inclined to think that, if I were you, I would consider my blog to be a forum where I express my personal views and not my CEO POVs. I realize that you have expressed both from timed to time but I’m not inclined to think that harmed your business. If your partners or key employees feel otherwise, that is a different matter.

    I’m certain that you will do what you deem to be in the best interest of your company. I, and many others, will continue to miss your thoughtful blog posts,

    Best regards

    Hank McCard

    • Jeff Id said

      Hank,

      Thank you for your words. I often find reader comments at this blog helpful in unexpected ways.

      To be clear, I have no intention of stopping blogging. My posts will continue despite the potential consequences. My point here was that there is some consideration necessary because of the environmentalist movement influence.

      In the meantime, I will consider your thoughts.

      • johnfpittman said

        Perhaps, Jeff, you should develop something similar to what teachers say: “I won’t believe the things your kids tell me about you, if you won’t believe the things your kids tell you about me.

      • Hank Mccard said

        Jeff,

        I hoped that you would continue to pursue both of your passions.

        BTW, I live in ME and have always had a passion for the North Woods at this time of year … ‘Bagging the big one’ one was not all that important …

        Hank

  9. Howard said

    Keep the blog about science and keep the business about business. Everybody and their dog does politics which are mostly about emotion and opinions.

    Regarding the sustainability issue with the customer, turn it around to educate and enlighten without offending. Explain that because of the high positive feelings around saving the environment and sustainability, everyone tries to claim it, but few actually achieve it. Then make the pitch how your company and products are solid green by deed, not covered in green-wash words like so many imposters. .

    • The problem is that Lewandowsky attacked him FOR the science. lewandowsky is your typical snake oil salesman. He creates myths and then wraps them in fancy terms. But when you peel back the layers of his BS, you find nothing there. He basically is the attack dog for the “team”. And as competent as the lot of them.

    • patrioticduo said

      Howard, well said!

  10. Stephen Richards said

    I spent a large part of my working life defending my principles and it cost me dear. As you say your responsablilties are greater than one as were mine so eventually I decided to play their games. Now I’m retired and live comfortably in a large house with swimming pool and mercedes. Principles have no value in a world where lying and cheating is the winning hand. We can fight the like of Loopaper and mann in other ways and that is what we should do.

    Have a good break.

  11. hunter said

    You oare not alone. I have lost clients who were so offended that I very mildly stated that I have doubts about AGW/climate catastrophe.
    I am waiting for the next logical step in this current situation, andbe warned (if I am lucky) that if I state more politically incorrect opinions on AGW then I am off my job. I would not surprised to see a time when I am pressured to recant everything I have ever said that is not in agreement with climate orthodoxy.

  12. Bob said

    Good article, Jeff. You do what you need to do to keep the lights on and groceries in the pantry. There is no shame in that.

    I always enjoy your technical blogging because it makes me remember/review things I learned in engineering school forty years ago. Perhaps you read Steve McIntyre’s blog about the lack of integrity in nutritional studies. The same can be done with medical studies where about 80% are shown to be wrong ( John Iaonnidis), or the lack of expertise in many other fields as in the financial industry. There are lots of technical things to write about.

    All this takes time, but I will keep watching The Air Vent to see what is going on.

  13. patrioticduo said

    Great and excellent post Jeff. I find myself in a similar situation on a daily basis. I am commenting from a cubicle in a Foggy Bottom office right now. Doing work for clients that are ideologically opposite to my position is not that difficult now that I’ve learned to swap debate with “instruction through questioning”. A teaching technique that allows the teacher (me) to appear to be the student. In learning such techniques, I have found that I can “disagree in stealth” and yet still win the business. I dislike calling it passive aggressive but someone else called it that and it seems to fit. In learning to work in this manner, I find I can find agreement while also disagreeing. I’m sure you do this already. You are married – right? On another point, you said “Our entire business concept (no official plan, just driven engineers) was based on improved efficiency – for better costs. Environment is a side-benefit!”. I have to ask you why you think that humankind has been so successful at expanding our footprint while also so successfully coexisting with nature around us? Could it be that “environment” is the central pillar of the entire human experience. And although not perfect, it is best evidenced by the very fact that the Earth is as healthy, clean and welcoming to 99.9% of the biodiversity in it that the greens seem to think is so horribly tortured by our presence? From there, one could ask, isn’t reduced cost usually associated with reduced energy need (in both and all stages of design, production, operation and retirement of any product) which in turn implies less damage to the environment? And therefore, perhaps your statement is self contradictory? It is the very fact that you seek to improve efficiency that you directly lessen the impact on the environment. Could it be true that the single factor that threatens nature is if the expansion of humankind exceeds the efficiency improvements?

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