"Innovative." "Brilliant." "Fun." My work to advance the cause of local food culture here in San Diego has been acclaimed for over a month now, until a few people decided to soil my best work by branding me as a dangerous con artist and accuse me of scamming my clients in an callous act of revenge over a small debt. They took a risk to publicly call me a fraud online/ social media and said that my advertising campaign was a scam... all over a small debts that linger because of my inability to pay. I'm sorry but that's online bullying. Bullying me was a mistake that will cost them. What surprised me the most about this attack, was the involvement of Barbarella Fokos publishing this con artist defamation as reporting without contacting me or anyone else to investigate. Her tweets are littered with such reports.
So, who am I and what did I do to deserve being called a con artist? Well, I'm not just your ordinary entrepreneur who wants to start a shoe shop, or a cool food truck. To date, I may be the most polarizing and controversial public figure in all of Sustainability. I am called the "Fresh Prince of Cleantech" for a reason. I exude confidence. I see opportunities and tactics to change the game in an industry... I'm a visionary. I work double and triple OT and I take larger than normal risks to prove my ideas are right. My bravado attracts people and I speak swaghili when I ask them to join in on the fun.
Have I made mistakes in the past? Yes. Have I failed people and failed at making a business successful? Yes. Do I regret trying at the current cost of being called a con artist? No. Do I regret losing money that was lent to me for trying to make things happen? No. Well, why not? Am I a monster? Yes, I eat what I kill. Am I a heartless beast and don't want to hear about any pain I've caused? No, I have been wronged in my life and handled it the right way. Don't I care about what a handful of people say terrible things about me online? Depends. I think there's a difference between "a compliant" and "revenge." A wise friend said this to me: (Yeves) there's a lot of people out there that don't distinguish between a business that fails and a con artist. there are a lot of reasons that businesses fail and it shouldn't be taken personally if there's a loss. it's sentiments like that that give fodder to elitists to say "average people can't be investors because they don't understand the risks".
Each and everyone of these interactions about me started off great, almost always high on the possibilities, and excited to be apart of something BIG! They all wanted me to deliver BIGTIME, on time, no excuses. Did I give any excuses? Yes. Was I really the fool to be so desperate, and accept help from people who could go online and leave out what I risked? Yes. They all just completely leave out what I lost... my side... but all the books say "don't be too proud to beg." So, I sat down, explained my plans, and asked for help in starting my early companies. Was I perfect? Hell no! However, I've completed lots of good work, in good faith, and have executed 10x more than what I'm being accused of or complained about. Then after failing, I deciding to disrupt the local advertising scene and start a small agency. This time at 99% all-my-own-risk!
Did my past matter? Yes. Did clients get concerned when googling me? Sure. How did I explain myself? I made mistakes and I moved on to do the best work I can do! My virtues however are really a double edged sword and just this month, an article in Psychology Today titled "When Virtue Becomes Vice" opened my eyes to what sabotages my work relationships.
My skills as a visionary were perfect to be a Creative Director and my appetite for Risk was perfect to pitch ideas. As the article indicates I did let my fears and limitations go which makes me appear reckless, impulsive, or callous and I admit I did ignore other people's fears and limitations. Were all my pitches great? No. Did I struggle? I still am struggling. Do you have good intentions? Yes! In fact, I think every vengeful post about me on line should really include the fact, they deep down know I always had good intentions to do my job.
So, what did I do now? I was late on paying some debts. Why was I late? Because stuff happened and I don't have a LOC. Why don't we resolve this in court? Because San Diego has entered into a childish competitive mindset that's similar to famous Silicon Valley beefs and apply that online like Yelp. Plus revenge is sweeter especially when you want a public figure to pay you faster. I feel like Kanye West meets Sean Parker. And like them, I will not be bullied.
I strongly disapprove of Barbarella using her professional Twitter handle (which does not say my views and opinions or tweets are my own and do not represent the San Diego Reader or NBC) to defame me and use her clout to warn my clients of danger, which is untrue. She did not call me nor did she attempt to investigate. She posted unverified information in a calculated attempt to cause monetary damages. I will protect my clients and my intellectual property from slander and defamation and file a libel lawsuit. What's even more disappointing is her "I will believe anything these people say bad about him," attitude and completely ignore all the great things he's done for his community and for Sustainability. And no references to what I risked and lost. I am also disappointed by Jim Holman (Owner) and the San Diego Reader for not even realizing what Barbarella was posting as investigative reporting until I called him. It is obvious his operation lacks ethical oversight as all her tweets are published to the San Diego Readers website (so it must be all true)! I recently shared an email exchange between Barbarella and I to Jim Holman where she admits to acting (publishing) out of "anger" which is not in accordance with the Society of Professional Journalist's Code of Ethics. According to SPJ.org Journalists should:
— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
I will not regret proving her wrong about me and my good campaign. Bullying me is not a good idea. Moving forward, I'm ok with being the Dark Horse figure for telling my story, because disrupting is what I do. In fact, I've just earned my Ph.D.— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.