The business lessons you can learn from fakers, shysters, and obnoxious twats

Thanks to LoveFilm, we get all manner of great (and shite) movies drop through our letterbox, and earlier this week Cuban Fury arrived.  

Quentin Blake drawing of Mr Wormwood, Matilda.

There’s a lot of unscrupulous business sharks out there, waiting to give you bad advice. Learn how to navigate the waters.

I don’t remember adding it to the list… but there it was. It stars Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, and Chris O’Dowd and it’s… okay. Nick Frost is charmingly funny and Chris O’Dowd is hilariously obnoxious – but the plot is just your typical British rom-com.

Which is fine.

The funny came from Nick Frost setting the salsa floor on fire… and Ian McShane (yes, that Ian McShane) cracked me up as his erstwhile abrasive mentor.

But the reason I’m rambling about this film today is this: Chris O’Dowd plays a completely obnoxious twat who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. I think he has some sort of narcissistic personality disorder, possibly bordering on sociopathy. Anyway: he’s convinced that women love him.

He steals a mix-tape Frost makes for his crush and passes it off as his own.

He doesn’t tell his co-workers about a get-together at the girl-in-question’s place.

And he pretends to be a salsa dancer (and learns enough basic moves to swing it for a while).

Thing is, Rashida Jones (the girl-in-question) mostly sees through him from the start but ignores him like you’d ignore an annoyingly needy puppy, but other girls fall for his bullshit.

And it made me think of the sheer quantity of bad information out there for business owners. People with no actual experience running a business telling other, unsuspecting, business owners how to do it. Teaching them stuff they’ve never done themselves. Just rehashing information they scrape from the bowels of the internet and presenting a shallow version of it as their own. Usually for peanuts (and remember what you get if you pay peanuts).

It used to piss me off, and I guess I still don’t like seeing business owners hoodwinked like that… but now I just shrug and carry on. The copycats and wannabes get found out sooner or later, and the rest of us…?

Well, we can carry on teaching from experience – and admitting when we don’t know something and either going to find out or getting the right expert in.

Beware of unscrupulous business coaches and mentors and info-marketers. Some of them don’t know any better; others are cynical manipulators. Either way, they won’t do you any good.

Here’s a top tip: ask anyone purporting to teach you stuff how they know it works. Or why they endorse it. And what their credentials are. I don’t mean “qualifications” here (unless we’re talking medical or legal professionals); I mean, do they have the chops?

Just a tip.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Terry and Drew Edwards, the Renegade Recruiters, interviewed me for their podcast the other day and it was so much fun! I’ve never been interviewed for a podcast before. You can find the link here. There’s a shit-ton of valuable information in there that I can’t believe I gave away free ;o)

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