One day recently I woke up and saw that a “friend” on Facebook had just announced he was to be selected as a Tedx speaker.
My mouth dropped in shock, like you see in those comical movies- except no, there’s absolutely no fucking way in hell this guy deserves to be a Tedx speaker.
You see, this guy just ghosted his company because he hooked up with an employee who decided to press sexual assault charges on him. He has no money, yet gets interviewed and pasted on magazines about business success.
Based on what I’ve heard he’s fled the USA- my source (his co-founder at the company he fled) has no idea how he’ll even do this Tedx talk considering he may have ruined his chances to ever return to America.
But despite all this, you see his picture-perfect Facebook & Instagram photos… “Oh look at me, I’m going to be a Tedx speaker!”
The sad part is people fucking believe it, and if he finds a way back into the USA, he probably will give a Tedx talk about some other hype.
I even used to believe this guy was “all that!” Back a few years ago I actually took his business advice- and now months ago he confided in me as we made a business deal that they have no money, and that he had to downgrade apartments because he can’t afford rent.
In fact, this is a rather interesting story development…
A Story of Me & a “Successful” Friend
When I first moved to Phoenix, I had just turned 18- I was fresh, new to the world, and without much life experience.
All I knew is that I wanted to make lots of money, do something epic like travel, pick up girls, and live a great life.
I met this friend through a self-help Facebook group, and we clicked fast. Soon we were hitting parties & hitting up girls together. I didn’t know so much of what he did, but that didn’t matter.
When I started getting interested in business, I realized that this guy was a co-founder in a company. Awesome, I thought!
He suggested to me that I go to University & do something besides Facebook Ads because they “don’t work.” I of course ignored the advice, thinking it to be a bit strange. Other advice he gave sounded good (the typical hustle shit you see everywhere on Instagram).
For the last 4-6 months of Phoenix, I was pretty isolated due to some chronic pain, and we weren’t hanging out much. I don’t think he or anyone really believed in my goal of making money online and traveling the world, until I announced to family that I had a one-way out of the country.
When I returned he was quite shocked, and confessed he didn’t think I could actually do it so fast- but all’s well that ends well!
All up to this point, I was under the social media illusion that he was a successful CEO. He also had an epic, large apartment right in the party area in Phoenix where he regularly pulled girls to.
One of the last weekends I spent the weekend at his place because his roommate was gone and we actually had a blast throwing late-night parties and bringing people up from the party area to have a crazy fun time.
And Then, One Year Later…
So, no harm no foul- everything appeared normal. He had girls, money, he was the CEO, he lived in an epic apartment, etc.
I left Phoenix and lived in Sofia, Bulgaria and also traveled all around Europe for about a year before I returned to Phoenix. I became a lot more authentic as well.
When I returned for a short 3 weeks to see family and I met with him, I was quite… unimpressed by him.
He had put on a few pounds, and he was super obsessed with social media and creating the perfect image on Instagram to get girls. I was more of the mentality that you should just be a bit more real.
Still, I hadn’t realized just how fake he was yet- he reported that his company had received millions in funding (I think this might actually be true), or that they needed a million, or something like this, and I was happy he was successful.
Me, another “successful” friend, and him all sat down and eat dinner together one evening and I proclaimed that we would see each other next year even more successful.
Note: that other “successful” friend could be slightly more successful, but it seems he also is more of an Instagram appearance success than anything else.
Then I left and returned to Europe, thinking that I wouldn’t be back in America for another year or so- but then shit went south, I became a mess, and I ended up back in Phoenix maybe 4 months later.
And That’s When The Lies Were Revealed
Despite being such a mess after the break up with my ex, it seemed that the Universe still had some synchronicity waiting for me. My friend was expanding his company to provide software development services and other services to other companies.
He had such a huge network (he appeared successful) that he could close deals and then a highly skilled team of software developers or marketers like me could service the clients. It seemed like a win-win- he gets the deals, I work the clients, we all get paid.
There were some instant red flags when we got things going. It became apparent quickly that all was not well in this company. The first was that they were actually doing this new venture because of the fact that their current venture wasn’t profitable yet.
Their current venture is a health product which definitely has the capacity to be profitable, but they blew so many funds from stupid moves and still had hurdles to overcome. They now had to leverage their teams to service other clients to get funds to fund their primary business!
When I sent my second invoice, it wasn’t paid… until a week later. I became frustrated. The pay wasn’t so good as it was. I quickly realized I was the only person being paid because I was the only one with boundaries- many other people were ASU interns working for free, or simply not paid.
My friend confided in me that he had moved apartments from his awesome party place to a less-flashy location because he had troubles with money. He also started another small service-based business (which isn’t that valuable) because he didn’t have money!
Suddenly it made sense why my friend never wanted to go out or eat somewhere or do anything- he had no money! But, I thought he was the CEO of a successful company?
The company was an extreme mess, hiring free labor (“interns” are legal slaves), not paying me on time, and the other founder of the company was pouring his parent’s money into the business and hadn’t make any money back.
They had investors, but the investors were investing in the long-term potential payout… no one seemed to be happy though because no profit was being turned now.
In short, this business was a fucking disaster. They had no money. Yet… They were everywhere reported as “successful.”
And Then, It Got Worse
My friend hooked up with an intern. Because that always goes somewhere good, right?
The intern later claimed to the company that she was sexually assaulted, AKA raped. She was considering pressing both civil and legal charges. She is a lawyer, too…
When the situation was investigated, it became apparent that her claims were 99% lies. The other co-founder secretly recorded every conversation with her and there were holes in her story (she told a different victim story every time).
There were multiple text records, audio records, etc. which made it highly unlikely it was sexual assault. The more likely story was that my “friend” and her had a thing, and then he cut it off realizing it was wrong and then she flipped out and pulled the rape card.
When her background was investigated, it became apparent that she regularly did this to companies. She had a pattern of “getting raped” at the various companies she worked for.
Note: this intel was relayed to me by the other co-founder, so who knows, maybe she was raped, but based on my personal interaction, etc. my first guess would be that she wasn’t raped.
As soon as this happened my “friend” disappeared from the company. At the same time as this happened, I stopped working for the company because I was tired of this invoice not being paid bullshit- all work was halted until my invoice was paid, and all future invoices paid 100% in advance.
So basically all the clients got confused and left in a rage and wanted their money back… money which had disappeared…
My “friend” ghosted the company, terrified… but why? The evidence highly suggested that she was not raped at all. Based on my personal interaction with the chick, she seemed bat-shit crazy and her story made no sense. I had a friend who coincidentally hiked in a group with her and secretly recorded an audio conversation with her which also revealed her to be batshit crazy (to warn me about this company, lol) .
This chick was scaring all the interns off, and people like me that were already frustrated with the company. I prepared my resignation letter, ready to disappear- but I put on a face of staying just so that my invoice could be paid, then I’d disappear!
My “friend” NEEDED to be present at the company to fix this shit. The clients were confused. The interns were disappearing. His friend/co-founder was confused.
The evidence suggested he was innocent. Why was he disappearing and not able to stand up against the charges?
I hate to say this, but even if he did rape her… *whipser* he could get away with it because of the overwhelming evidence against her.
Whatever, I didn’t care. Fuck this company, fuck this situation, fuck everything- I collected my money and headed out!
A couple months later now, I find out that my “friend” is in a country on the other side of the world, which makes no sense given his visa situation. Note: this could be false intel, but is most likely true.
Why in the hell is he on the other side of the world? I get that receiving a false rape allegation is bloody terrifying, but running away from it makes you look guilty!
I must say that I do think he’s likely innocent, knowing him, knowing this chick, and having seen the records. It’s abundantly clear they had a secret relationship which he then cut off and she responded by going batshit crazy.
But is there more to the story? I don’t know, it’s about my paygrade. Maybe there’s even more to this rape story or more probably there’s more going on at the company that he fled from (ie. maybe he has a history of seducing interns, or something like this so despite it being consensual it’s still way fucking wrong).
And then, after all this shit, I wake up and see a Goddamn post about my “friend” doing a Tedx talk. What in the fucking fuck?
And so many people were liking on it, commenting on it, so excited, so many likes, so many engagements- are people really so blind?
This is why I hardly use social media personally. So many people that build themselves up on social media are actually so full of shit. Not all people that build an image on social media are bad, but too many of the people I meet on social media that are “Insta-famous” are actually just shit in life.
My Friend vs. Me (and Others)
I don’t mean to brag, so sorry if this comes across like it, but let’s make a fair comparison.
My “friend” is on magazines, news, whatever, super popular and receiving business awards and has a lot of Instagram & Facebook followers. He has been selected to give a Tedx talk. He has been interviewed a lot to give business advice.
Yet his company has never turned a profit, he can barley afford rent, he’s hooking up with interns that claim he sexually assaulted him, and despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports his innocence he fled the country & ghosted his company which suggests he’s either a massive pussy (meaning he’s afraid his perfect social media image is ruined), or there’s something more going on at the company, or.. he actually did do that horrible thing.
And then there’s me (and countless others like me): I have like 100 Instagram followers, maybe 3 Facebook posts, and maybe 60 friends subscribed to my blog (but maybe only 10 people who actually read each post). My website gets maybe 5 views per day or something terrible like that.
I could be insta-famous or blow this blog up, but instead I choose to develop my character, and my real business, and live real life. My image is secret. No one knows my life, and you would never discover me on Google, Instagram, or Facebook.
Yet despite living in the shadows I’ve lived in multiple countries, traveled to 13+, eat out every day, and have been (for the most part, though I’d be lying if I said always) financially secure for the past 2 years.
Look Past The Image
People like my friend are exactly why success can be hard to attain- many of the truly successful live secretly in the shadows, actually enjoying their life.
For example in 2018 all I cared about was my ex-girlfriend. I wasn’t trying to post photos of her butt on Instagram to get likes n’ views. I’d rather just enjoy my time with her.
I have a group of absolutely amazing friends in Sofia, Bulgaria and several wonderful contacts all around the world (such as in Montreal, Phoenix, Belgium, London, and now places in Southeast Asia).
You would never guess by my Facebook images or profile that I’m living an epic life- and even as I write this, don’t assume that I am!
I try to be authentic, and if I’m being completely authentic I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, I’ve been sick the past week, and feeling generally agitated / mildly culture shocked. So even as I write “living an epic life,” I can guarantee that my past week has not been significantly more legendary than many other people’s especially due to my cold that I had.
Very few people are willing to be authentic though. I’d get more likes if I took a photo of a nice ass on the beaches of Bali, or took a selfie on a surf board, or maybe took a selfie with some of the monkey’s in Ubud.
The fact is me admitting that I’ve been sick a week, or that I cussed out the Ocean when I struggled surfing, or that Bali traffic is something hella annoying, simply doesn’t get likes or engagement- but it’s the truth.
People like my “friend” love the attention. He’s probably a narcissist (or worse, considering that the rape charges may be legit).
Note: if I didn’t include “friend” or every time I said my “friend” please include it mentally because obviously he’s not a good friend anymore or even really an acquaintance.
SO MANY people are posting these fucking picture-perfect photos on Instagram, it just makes me sick. Even on my flight to Bali I met a guy and girl who both had picture-perfect photos, but the girl was just a straight-up bitch; they were all talk, no substance.
You’re a million times more likely to find these people on Instagram than me or someone truly successful because the truly successful don’t have time to perfect a stupid social media image.
They’re out making millions, enjoying an amazing girlfriend, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the finer things in life… and they feel no need to whip out the phone to go get 1,000 likes from strangers that mean nothing to them.
It’s all too easy to get hooked on Instagram because it’s what we think we want- but it’s not.
The people you look up to are creating an image. It’s OK to get inspired by it- for example, I was often inspired by photos & videos of Bali or Bulgaria or whatever. But don’t get attached to the people that are sharing these stories.
Don’t even get attached to me! I am a guy writing a blog, you might think I’m successful but I guarantee you there are countless people way more successful than I am that have 0 social media presence and 0 blog and just have like a family of 5 and then 2 close friends.
The truth is always deeper than the image. So many people appear to be successful, but they actually are fleeing their company, a country, they have sexual assault charges, and their company has never been profitable but instead countless dollars in the hole… and they can’t even hire employees or pay interns.
You might think this is a one-off case, but I assure you it isn’t. As I’ve grown in such LITTLE success, my bullshit-meter is super high. Your reality would fall apart if you knew just how many of those people you follow on Instagram are secretly miserable.
Verify Real Success
When taking advice from people… verify real success. You may just be taking advice from an ass-hat that enjoys jerking off their ego and that has no real success.
Also keep in mind that many of the truly successful people lie in the shadows. When you sit down in a restaurant or coffee shop, there might just be a millionaire or billionaire living the best life on Earth, but you’d never know because they’re dressed in plain clothing and focused on taking care of their kids just like everyone else.
Appearances are just that- appearances. It’s hard, but don’t get sucked into them, because the truth behind these people is not what it appears to be.