I started North Valley Friday Nights, a social group that meets in the North Valley once per month. This is a spin off of the wildly popular East Valley Friday Nights, Phx Friday Nights, etc (there are a few of them now). One of the people who attended the first two of the NVFN events has continually criticized on Twitter the conversations, locations, pretty much anything surrounding NVFN. Its funny, he’s seen me in person more than once and had the opportunity to offer to help plan, make suggestions or offer constructive criticism, but he posts negative comments on Twitter instead. The first time I posted a reply to him, it was something to the effect of “sorry you didn’t enjoy yourself, please give it another try”.
Well, this past Friday a friend of mine who doesn’t know that Bitter Twitter Guy has a chip on his shoulder was joking with him about me. This guy took this as an invitation to run away with it and wrote more nasty things about me and his dislike for NVFN, knowing I’d see it. I told him in response that he doesn’t contribute to the group and if he doesn’t like it not to come (nope, I wasn’t nice about it, the situation got the best of me). Things spiraled out of control from there. I probably received about a hundred texts, replies and DM’s that day about the situation. He also spent the rest of the day debating others on his behavior, language, and choices… and then it spilled into blogs and comments.
The whole situation was pretty lame. I appreciated everyone’s support but wish that people hadn’t given it so much energy- it certainly didn’t bother me as much as it bothered others who weren’t directly involved. This isn’t really about me. The guy is an unhappy person, and I have empathy for that. When the conversation evolved to include his beliefs, values and faith I wish my name had been left out of it- that’s his stuff. All I cared about was this person criticizing my efforts and NVFN. On a daily basis I am breaking my ass to take care of my family, build my business, charitably contribute to my community, create jobs, support local businesses, and then I want to just put something fun together on my own time and this guy has the nerve to publicly post nasty stuff like this about me? But I said what I had to say about it and wouldn’t have given it a second thought if everyone hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon. In the end we gave an unhappy person a grand platform to be more unhappy.
While this situation was disappointing, I see it all the time amongst the Phoenix community. This is really a greater analogy for the problem here in Phoenix. We just love a good fight. So many brilliant creatives, techies and leaders giving each other a hard time. We’re trying so desperately to get ourselves “on the talent map”, to be mentioned along with LA and New York. But so many of us are negative and competitive, rather than seeking out mutually beneficial situations in which to advance and learn from each other. How can we possibly expect to collectively elevate the profile of Phoenix when we’re so caught up in keeping each other down?
As a community I think we are pretty young and still have a lot to learn about guaranteeing our own individual successes by supporting the community and creating a landscape full of opportunity for everyone. You get what you give. When you put out positive stuff it comes back to you. When you put out nasty stuff because of your own insecurities that’s gonna come back to you, too. In the words of the immortal Shaq: “I don’t hate, I congratulate” 😉 When someone else in Phoenix is successful, it means that I benefit, too. That’s the real problem here in Phoenix- so many people want to be King of Phoenix, they want their own group, their own audience, their own show, and notoriety, and unfortunately, a lot of people want to do it by crushing the competition and mowing down the more successful guy.
I wonder how fast we’d get on that map if we knocked some of this shit off?