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You can't make everyone happy - stop trying
Last Updated October 21st, 2013

This past weekend, the day before I was set to give the closing keynote at the financial bloggers conference, a woman walks up to me, interrupts my conversation, and says, “I won’t be at your talk tomorrow, but don’t be a douche.”

“Oh?” I said.

And she went on. “I don’t subscribe to your site, and I don’t watch your videos. You’re always yelling and I don’t like it…They had Ramit Sethi last year, and he was a douche”

The guy sitting across from me, the guy I was originally talking to starts laughing. “She keeps putting her foot further and further down her throat.”

I’m mischievous, so I humored her.

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy – And You Shouldn’t

“Ramit’s a good friend… You ever stop to think that maybe I don’t want you as a subscriber? Or maybe that you not being a subscriber hurts you more than it hurts me?”

“Maybe, but I’m not the only one who thinks this,” she said, desperately trying make her point mean something to me.

The whole scenario was hilarious. And I’m sharing it today for two reasons.


People always have an opinion on what you do.

It’s up to you to assess the source of the opinion, and choose whether or not you should ignore it.

This lady was over the top, and sure, maybe I do yell a lot and should consider it…

…or I could look at the 50 other people I met at the conference who told me, “Derek – I love your stuff.”


And the next point…


People don’t have an opinion on everything…

They don’t have opinions on things like brain surgery, rocket science, physics, or anything complicated.

They only have opinions on things like what clothes you should wear. Or what color your website should be. Or anything that’s “on the surface.”

Why do people have these surface level opinions?

On this new podcast with Adam Alter, the New York Times best-selling author of “Drunk Tank Pink” (Aff) we talk about just that.

And we also go over some other interesting things like:

* The scientific case for why Apple products are the smart choice for creatives

* Why people have an opinion on almost everything

* Why you should never use the color red as your website background

* Why single women should wear the color red (I know that has nothing to do with business, but the data was so interesting that I had to share it).

* And more.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(If you can’t see the audio player, here’s the MP3 link).

Then, what I’d love for you to do is share an interesting story where someone gave you criticism. Criticism that was worth as much as that time you stepped in… 😉

Leave a comment.

And if you know someone who battles with taking some criticism too seriously, pass this along to them. They may find this enlightening.

Do you dig this podcast? Leave a review on iTunes. More reviews helps us with our rankings. Help a brother out!

P.S. Another person at this same conference asked me how I deal with haters, and whether or not they offend me. For that, take these words from Chris Rock to heart:

“You can only offend me if you mean something to me”

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81 comments Leave a comment

Nonsense, “surface” criticism is so embarrassing to watch. Do people not realize how obvious their own insecurities and faults become when they blast someone else?


Derek, I was impressed with your knowledge and willingness to share from the moment I first read and heard what you had to say. You are a wealth of good information, so I disagree with anyone saying you a loudmouth. I actually admire you for your drive and enthusiasm. I want some of that for my own business, so I can reach more people and win more business. Keep up the awesome work.


yep, trying to make everybody happy is a road to nowhere, have to take a stand on something and argue for it.


The more successful you are are..or becoming, the more jerks will come your way.

It’s just natural, people tend to envy you when you are climbing the ladder of success.

Bill cosby said, he doesn’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everybody!!

Thanks for sharing Derek, as I’ m gradually building my blog consulting business….learning from you.

Brooke Rothman

I love all the comments about you yelling, Derek. Cracks me up. If you’ve ever been to a Tony Robbins event you know he yells up a storm. This is so what he’s saying shakes you up and makes an impact. You definitely make an impact and what you have to say is smart and useful.

OK, so I had an anonymous comment come through on my last blog, which was more of a personal journal that mainly my friends read than anyone else. It was rude and meant to hurt me. And it did for a few minutes. But then I realized that this one person’s opinion (who was most likely an estranged friend of mine) did not overshadow all the comments I had received about how my blog was insightful and inspirational. Once I realized that, it was business as usual. A few months later I saw Brene Brown speak at The World Domination Summit in Portland. She was talking about all the criticism she has received about her shame research and how she doesn’t even read anonymous comments anymore. If you’re not in the “arena” fighting the fight, she doesn’t care what you have to say. Honestly, I don’t either anymore. There will always be people who don’t like you or what you do. The trick is to take any nugget of gold from what they have to say (because we can always grow and improve) and then refocus your attention on the people who really matter, the people you can impact.


I have read only a few of your posts so I do not see what she means. In any event, we should not worry about how people think or act. We need to keep our side of the street clean and make sure we are doing good things and helping out, trying to live a solid and respectful life. The rest is just noise.


I totally agree Derek!
If you continue to trying to make everybody happy, then you will fail at making anyone happy. Sometimes it is better to lose one subscriber, than to lose 10’s of subscribers due to trying to make everyone happy.


In terms of your point about script fonts – I have three choices of restaurants to order from that are close to my office. 2 have regular menus and 1 has a fancy script menu. When I order from the script one I actually need to reformat their menu in Word before I can decipher what it says.

So sometimes it’s not just that it seems harder, but it is harder. Anyway, you can imagine how often I order from them…

Greg Agustin Jr.

Cool Derek,

Totally agree with your message. I believe that we all need to share our message with others, and of course there will be some that won’t resonate with it. These people might not relate to me, but will relate to someone else.

Now, my message is not for them.. so the focus should be on those that ARE listening.


Hello Mr. Halpern,

I agree that your reaction to criticism depends on the person, too. What about the environment? The blogosphere seems to be dominated by advice like this:

“Always be nice in your comments. If you cannot say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Do you agree with this principle? Is this what we have to do?

Have a wonderful day

Lucy Chen

Thanks Derek,
This is timely, as I just start to get criticism and even personal attacks from online vampires.
I am about to post what they say and respond to them publicly. 😉


Dear Derek,
Please yell more.



Categorising someone as a ‘hater’ because they had the guts to tell you face to face what they think seems to have touched a nerve.

You’re supposed to be an expert in conversions yet you seem to lack the basic skills to at least try and convert a critic into a fan. Instead, you write about it in a blog post depicting her as unworthy of your time and effort.

The fact you mention the guy across from you was laughing and that you felt mischievous so humored her says a lot more about you than it does her.

    Dave Z

    A beauty here, fellow Dave, is that we get to choose who we feel like dealing with, associating with, etc. Derek could’ve chosen to ignore that lady right after she told him what she thought, yet he humored her for a while. (otherwise, why bother?)

    What that says depends on what everyone else thinks, feels, etc. for him- or herself. In turn, that person can choose NOT to subscribe to Derek’s blog or YouTube channel, can choose NOT to talk to him in person, etc. Derek can do the same, and he’ll (surely) adjust as he sees fit.

    Up to you what you want, if anything, from here. Good luck.


This is especially true of website designs I find. Everybody thinks they know best!

I recently blogged about a new site I created (well, managed would be the better word). Since it’s in Russia, the post got translated on some other site and when I checked the translation (after getting a huge traffic spike woot!), I saw that it was being ripped to pieces in the comment section (I had a pretty negative of advertising on one Russian platform that riled up a lot of them).

The design was simple, nothing fantastic. Function and user experience is more important imho. Interestingly, nobody had anything useful or constructive to say –
It was just negative stuff about the subscribe button, how i’m an idiot and other crap.
But hey, who’s writing about them ? 🙂

Keep up the great content Derek!

Gaia O'dea

Why do you send me SPAM telling me what others have commented when you refuse to allow my comments to go through? I won’t waste my time again.


Hi Derek,

My website background color is red!! I must be screwed..LOL


As there are people who dislike you for talking loud, there are also people who do actually enjoy it being that way. Better loud and confident than quiet and shy.

Susan Osborne

I would much rather hear no BS advice from someone like you that gets to the point, than someone who tells (and sells) me a bunch of fluff. Just continue to be you – obviously it’s working :).


So the conclusion is to buy Apple products! Hahaha, I cracked up when you said that.

Great information!

Gaia O'dea

The FACT that you ‘moderate’ those who wish to comment is cowardly on your part. GAIA O’DEA

Gaia O'dea

btw, the link for this pod cast does not work.

Gaia O'dea

Well at least that woman was brave enough to tell you what she thought of you face to face. This is rare. I get insults all the time from people who do so anonymously, in cowardly fashion, with fake names, online.

I am not using a fake name. I never do when i write what i write to you. There are things i do like about you and many things i do not.

I have requested you contact me and you do not. You claim to read all your mail and answer it. Not so far as i have seen.

Gaia ODea

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Recently I had a woman complain about one of my programs. And though she may or may not have had good points, it wasn’t delivered as constructive feedback. I notice that when someone goes out of their way to make me feel defensive, hurt, ashamed or guilty it’s probably because they are actually feeling those emotions themselves. For some reason, as humans, we tend to want to pass the buck – pass our bad feelings along in an attempt to get rid of them. (Which of course doesn’t work.) In this case, one woman clearly felt ashamed because she couldn’t keep up with my online program when other people were thriving and loving it. Realizing that helped me feel compassion towards her, and let go of any negativity she was passing on to me.

Andy Nathan

I love when people criticize me for no reason. It gives me a great reason why I remember why I am grateful they are not a client of mine. Not worth the time to deal with people who do not like everything you do.

Joshua Dorkin

As you know, I’m the guy who was sitting across from you, Derek, and she just didn’t know when to stop digging a hole for herself. It was freaking hysterical.

This wasn’t just a 5 minute rant . . . she was going on and on for like 20 minutes.

Derek was cool as a cucumber the whole time and just laughed it off. Well played.

We’ll finish our conversation one of these days and hopefully she won’t “drop in” on it again 😉


Derek i loved your story bro, you are a total inspiration. i love coming to your site and reading up on your new post etc man please keep up the good work love it bro

Kay Ross

Hi Derek and Adam – following up on one of the topics you covered in the podcast, about the color pink, I just came across this breaking news that I thought you’d enjoy: “Australia gang members face pink prison uniforms”

Ryan Biddulph

Good reminder Derek. We can not be everything to everyone. Some will hate us, even though we do good, with a good intent, and others will love us. Release the low energy advice and of course, check the source of the advice because sometimes, they might just be telling you the truth.

Great read, thanks!


Brandon Turner


Although you think Lean Startup was terrible, I will forgive you for that and still think you are a good guy, especially after hanging out with you at FinCon. 🙂

I appreciated your Keynote quite a bit. I’m seriously adopting nearly every suggestion you made into life at BiggerPockets. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

And I appreciate the quote at the end of today’s post. I need to work on actually believing that now!

Keep in touch sir. Hope you come out to FinCon next year as well.


Yes, Derek, loud, but look how famous you are! Maybe we should do a small test, try a quiet version and a loud version, and see which converts more? Ha.
They say it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work…
And if I want soft, gentle answers, I go to church. 🙂


This podcast reinforced a belief I have: People don’t have opinions on difficult to understand things because they do not have the willpower to investigate and learn. It is a rare person who takes time to learn a topic and not simply regurgitate slogans.

I also liked his approach, “I would like to learn more about your ideas”. What a great approach to get someone to open up and show you what they know (or don’t know). Then you can challenge their ideas but in a non confrontational way. You can challenge with questions, such as “why do you think that is?”

Any thoughts boss?

Madeline Schwartz

Aside from the fact that the woman was rude and obnoxious, she had no valid commentary to make. Sounds to me like a clear case of jealousy. When we have valid commentary and/or insight to share that may be helpful to another then we should feel good about sharing. However, this woman was not, in any manner, attempting to share anything other than her vulgarity and frankly, stupidity!

I’m sure you can certainly understand and accept constructive criticism. However, her mean-spirited comment supplied you with nothing more than her sheer ignorance of what you do. Had she been possessed of any intellect, she would have known that you are not screaming or yelling in your videos but are a man full of great passion. When one is full of passion and emoting in a video such as yours, the volume tends to increase. Therefore, for most of us, who value what you do, as well as your mode of expression, you are a champion in your field!

Sincerely and respectfully,
Madeline Schwartz

Brian C.


This is hilarious, because I continue to read your blog and watch your material despite being uncomfortable with your loud presentation style – precisely because the ideas and the actionable content you present is excellent. I’m not here to feel good about myself, I’m here to be challenged.


Hey Derek,

Great interview!

I like the part where Adam Alter talks about learning about people’s ideas and not confronting them when they think that they are an “expert” in your field.

I get quite a few of those clients, so this is also one of my favourite line that you Adam had used “I love to learn more about your ideas.” That’s when you know how little or how much they know about the topic, and that’s also when I step in.

Keep up the good work!


Michaela Kennedy

LOL Derek, love your story. And it reminded me of the time I tried to give you a compliment with what I thought was some constructive criticism, and all I ended up doing is looking like a douche myself!
I hope you never change. Your boisterous excitement in your presentations is great energy.

Web Wigan


If it’s all right with you, I’d like to remain subscribed.

And please keep sending me the emails. The more, the better.

Oh, and don’t ever change the way you present yourself in the videos.


Cynthia LaLuna


I LOVE your dynamic, yang style – it keeps me awake. Six minutes of someone’s more “yin” style would put me to sleep.

I was able to listen to your podcasts for SIXTEEN HOURS of driving between Asheville NC and Richmond VA for a conference last weekend – and I didn’t feel I was putting myself in danger from drowsiness. What MIGHT have been a bit risky was the fact that I kept pausing the podcast and dictating notes to my phone (I have a dashboard mount.)

I agree with Storm – so interesting that someone who apparently doesn’t consume a scrap of your material has an opinion about it.

As a website designer, I deal with things like this all the time, including, “My wife doesn’t like the color.” “My secretary thinks the guy in the photo is too young.”

If you hire an expert and put your trust in them – don’t be swayed by a single peanut from the gallery.



Enjoyed the podcast. I’ve known times when I have been the ‘hater’ and when I’ve been ‘hated on’ (hey, I’m not perfect :-). There is usually a lot of psychology going on in those situations (from the hater).

When you started to talk about the color pink in the podcast, Football Coach Hayden Fry came to my mind immediately. I went to school at the University of Iowa and Coach Fry had set up the visitor’s bathroom in ALL PINK. To this day, visiting teams cover up the pink walls with masking paper.

“Kinnick Stadium is well known for its pink visitors’ locker rooms, a tradition started by emeritus Iowa coach Hayden Fry.[6] Based on his psychology education at Baylor, Fry believed that pink would put opponents in a “passive mood”. So Fry had the visiting locker rooms decorated completely in the color pink. Despite the periodic claims of various activists, it has nothing to do with gender or sexual preference. It’s simple color psychology.
One thing we didn’t paint black and gold was the stadium’s visitors locker room, which we painted pink. It’s a passive color, and we hoped it would put our opponents in a passive mood. Also, pink is often found in girls’ bedrooms, and because of that some consider it a sissy color.
—Hayden Fry, Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic, p. 102[7]”


“And Fry had the visitors’ locker room painted pink. Fry, a psychology major at Baylor, knew that pink is occasionally used in jails and mental institutions to relax and pacify the residents, and Fry claimed that it might have the same effect on the visiting team. Principally, though, Fry hoped that the unusual color would distract and fluster the opposing players and coaches. Visiting head coaches, particularly Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler, would occasionally try to cover the pink walls with paper to shield their players from the color.[3]”


Keep up the great work!

PS: Lol on the dying off of Derek as a name.


I thought it was interesting that your style comes across as much more laid back on stage. On video, it’s an aggressive presence. In person, not so much.

Excellent job at Fincon.

Storm Cestavani

Hey Derek,

How the heck would this woman know if you scream or not if she has never watched your videos, purchased BTC, listens to your podcasts, or reads your site? I found that rather amusing… I am still giggling over it. BTW, I love it when you scream.



    Thought the same thing… Wondering if she is reading this blog post 🙂

Tom Drake

Great points Derek, what attracts some people will put off others. It was awesome hanging out with you… and you rocked that keynote!


Hi Derek,

I related to your web designer friend whose clients regularly tell him how to do his job. I’m experiencing something like this right now, although not with a client. I don’t know how to handle it. It’s stressful.

Kate Phillips

I’ve actually learned a lot from criticism… too much to list! But I think of it as “feedback.” If the person’s goal is to assert their opinion or criticize me, it hasn’t been so useful, but at other times, someone’s feedback has helped me see my blind spots and been invaluable.

Hmm… I think it’s especially been valuable when I’ve asked for it via a feedback form of some kind… so maybe I am open to listening more when the feedback is solicited!


    Hi Kate,

    I too have received feedback that helped me to see blind spots I didn’t see or ignored. I’m also more open to listening to feedback when it’s solicited. However, I think a person’s approach has a lot do with it; at least it does for me. If a person is condescending or smarmy, I’ll tune out. If they genuinely want to help, I’ll listen.


This made me laugh! I wish I was more like you I am just getting to the point where people on the internet even know I exist. And with that more people who are not so happy about that. They say the weirdest and meanest things and all the bullying I got as a kid starts to surface and I freeze.I never know what to say to these people. I had a woman who said that I was to young to anything about blogging or making money. ( I never claimed to be an expert) Than she goes on tell me that I should check to see if my psychical disability was not also mental cause clearly I didn’t know how to communicate with other humans.And I have to be honest I cried like a little girl. Until I realized I don’t know these people,I have never met and I never will. They can only mess with me if I let them.So now I just ignore them! I figure if I don’t feed the bears they can’t try to eat me.


Halpernicus — I love your material. But… you usually talk about ‘bigger’ wins. Can we really spend time agonizing over what color to choose for a cover to send to our editor? Not just this specific example, but in general, this seems like the minutiae.

While color is important for more permanent things (like website/brand design), people might take from this that they need to choose specific colors for everything from their logo to the paper clips they use on documents.

This goes against Barry Schwartz’ paradox of choice, where we should be eliminating options, not extrapolating them. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Dave Z

    Derekus Halpernicus…like the ring of that!


      Hahah, well, he is a modern-day philosopher… it’s only fitting.

M. Stern

Dear Derek, (Love the sound of those 2 words together!)
I find your material to be both riveting and useful and will continue to follow and enjoy. But, not to be one of “those people”, I would love it if I did not feel that you were shouting at me. Please keep up the good content.


Have I ever mentioned how someone banned me from their home because I was quiet?

It’s amazing what little things people focus on and use for their hate towards others, such as in the case above.

This all reminds me of something that happened with Hasbro. The fans of MLP came up with a name for one of the background ponies in their cartoon series. It was widely accepted among the fan community. The company, being at least somewhat tuned in with the fans, decided to give a nod to the fans and officially use the name in one of the episodes.

Later on, I find out that they quickly redubbed the episode, taking the name out and using an entirely different VA for the character because the company received 10 complaints about the name. However, the company received 200 compliments and praises about using the name. Instead of focusing on the crowd that was happy, they focused on the tiny amount of people who were unhappy, and then ultimately made a decision that pissed off the fans who were originally happy.

I just don’t get why companies focus on a tiny number and are trying to please a minute amount while angering the vast majority. Funny thing is, their products preach the opposite!


I had a medical doctor come on to one of my fan pages and rant about how the content was completely useless and how I was not providing any real value to anyone. I used it as an opportunity to let my fb fans know about it, and say what you’re basically saying here– that you can not please everyone. I had about 100 comments from people fuming that someone said that about my page, which was an amazing experience.. to see how many people actually DO value the content there. It seems like when we get criticized, we can always use it as an opportunity to teach our audience something, as long as we don’t take it personally.


Haha. Great summary and lesson from an event that I know to be the absolute truth.

Unfortunately, having opposing opinions is part of being human.

Expressing an opinion, so bodly, to someone whom you do not know is the very definition of being a DOUCHE. Unfortunately, this young lady didn’t understand the irony in her statement.

“Haters gonna hate?”

Every person will have someone who opposes their views or way of doing something.

Here’s a quick story that happened at the airport.

I’m walking…

…an old man who was selling something tried to get my attention.

He says, “Hey, You…”

I look.

“Yeah, You…Come over here and let me show you this” as he summons with his finger.

Being exhausted from the minimum sleep I received during the conference, and frustrated because he interrupted my WILDLY STIMULATED BRAIN as a result of what I learned from the conference, I expressed to him in a bit of a tone, “Why would I come to you if you’re going to summon me like that? How can you possibly believe that was appropriate?”

I really wanted to PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!

He started mocking me…bowing his head…not taking me serious.

I told him, “You know…you’re an asshole.”

Then I walked away.

There was no way I was going to convince him that he was wrong.

But guess what? This is MY OPINION.

Apparently, he thought what he was doing was ok.

Bottom line:

Stuff like what you experienced happens all the time. And guess what?

The more people that know of you, the larger number of haters you’re going to have.

And YES, people have opinions on complicated stuff all the time, too (i.e. religion, politics, or all the many different types of “scientifically-backed” and proven diets).

Sometimes, we have to learn to let others talk and then respect that they at least have an opinion.

There still may be some value in hearing their perspective.

Kay Ross

Derek, I love your style! I’m a marketing consultant, and it drives me nuts and breaks my heart when people and companies shoot themselves in the foot with bad marketing, badly written marketing messages and bad customer service. So I created a series of four short videos, “Does Bad Marketing Piss You Off?”, in which I was quite blunt (hey, I’m Australian) about why bad marketing pisses me off. One person commented on one of the videos: “i’m no expert but, this could be the worse marketing ive ever seen.” Oh well. I could only laugh. I chose to ignore that comment.


always interesting and relevant…

Kat Tansey

I’m one of 15-20% of the population who is a Highly Sensitive Person (see Dr Elaine Aron for her research on this). All my life, people would criticize me for “being too sensitive”. I would suck it up and push forward in spite of how I felt inside.

A few years back, I interviewed Dr. Elaine Aron and told her that I broke down sobbing when I read her book and learned THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. Because I hadn’t known this, I pushed myself until I ended up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1990.

You’re style is different from mine, Derek — but you are a good man who is passionate about helping people. You have been very helpful and kind to me. Because I am sensitive, I knew you were coming from a caring place the first time I heard you speak. I just need to filter what you teach and figure out how to use it in a way that is comfortable for me. And then we both win:)


Just experienced this a few days ago.

This semester I assigned Pat Flynn’s Let Go as a required reading in a social business class I’m teaching. My goal was to expose the students to entrepreneurship opportunities that are all around them, if they just think creatively and proactively.

Last week we had a brief discussion about the book during one of our class meetings. I asked the class whether they felt like the book was a useful read. One student immediately, within a split second, blurted out: “No.”

I replied: “OK. Why not?”

Student: “He was just lucky.”

Me: “Luck is best defined as where opportunity meets preparation. Pat was prepared and seized an opportunity. That’s luck. Anyone else have thoughts on this?”

That pretty much ended that part of the class discussion.

I don’t enjoy it when I receive meritless criticism that’s nothing more than personal opinion unsupported by evidence to back up the opinion. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve slowly grown more immune to an emotional response to irrelevant opinions.

As for your style, Derek, my rule of thumb is this: Can I learn something from this individual? If yes, I keep listening, reading and monitoring. I’ve been following your work across various channels for the past 18 months or so and keep coming back, which should tell you something.

    Dave Z

    “Can I learn something from this individual?”

    That’s my rule of thumb, too. I guess it’s (arguably) a shame that that woman considered Derek’s “shouting” more (so-called) valuable than what he offers.

    But, different strokes for different folks!


I have a long Japanese name, but now I go by “Josh.”

Now my clients remember my name the first time I tell them.

João Alexandre

You can make a good point without talking loudly. I don’t think you shout as some people say, but even if you talk a bit loudly to make a point, I neither like you or dislike you that, I’m more interested in the content curation you do from (even simple) research you use on your videos.

One thing I note from having watched several of your videos is that, over time, your video quality has improved, and you don’t seem to look so much to your left when speaking. I suppose it’s when you’re articulating thoughts that you look to your left to continue your line of thought. Different people have different mannerisms, and you have others. Has Ralph Smedley said, any habit that makes the speech more effective is a good mannerism.

Here’s something useful: http://www.toastmasters.org/201-Gestures

John V

lol. Pretty sure that was my wife… no, not really. Hilarious. Good thing you have a thick skin.


I just read your new blog post and am a little disappointed you didn’t use the word “douche” in the subject line. For those of us who are curious what were you going to use for your subject line?

Here is what I know about you (from things you say and write)
1) You know that being provocative makes people click on your email blasts which is good for you of course

2) You are friends with Ramit and have taken the stance that you don’t need nor want some types of subscribers which can alienate a lot of readers

3) You’re a New Yorker and you have that aggressive bravado that can really piss people off

4) You know what you are talking about and you share good opinions and advice with your followers based on research and analytics not just your opinion

#4 is the reason I don’t click the unsubscribe button and I tolerate the yelling!

I used to manage large teams building software applications and had to deal with a lot of green sensitive artists. As a manager I have no time to beat around the bush even if I hurt feeling someones feelings. My experience is why I’m the manager and you’re not. So when I overheard a designer whining about something I said to another manager their response was one I apply to myself and others “the root of what she is saying is correct just ignore the wrapper, don’t take it personally, and move forward.”

Sometimes to seek knowledge and advance ourselves we have to “ignore the wrapper” because the opportunity to learn something valuable doesn’t always come wrapped in festive Christmas paper.

As for your question, I have been on the receiving end of my fair share of criticism and what I’ve learned about myself is I take the most offense to things I do need to work on. Whether I want to admit it or not.


    I’d like to hear more, Stephanie, because my opinion is based on what I know from the opposite viewpoint, that of sugar-coating things too much and finding people disrespect their authorities if they are nice, but on the occasions that I simply lay it on the line in a firm way, I get better and quicker results.


You’re really yelling. I cannot watch/listen to your videos as you seem too theatrical to me. I’m also emotional when i’m addicted to something, but you seem showy rather than just emotional.
p.s. never told that before, as i though it’s only my opinion.
p.s.x2 nevertheless, you write wise/interesting things.


I think you made a mistake on the quote from Chris Rock. I believe it should say, “You can only offend me if you mean something to me.”


NICE… I love this article, Derek!

Soooo many speakers, designers, authors — people, in general — are constantly changing the way they do things because of ‘one’ person’s opinion. No real data. Just an opinion. I can’t even count the number of people I know who have wasted money on marketing or other areas of their business, just because ‘one’ person got ‘offended’ over a video, an article, a… whatever.

The more visibility we have in our industry, the more ‘feedback’ we get. Sometimes, that’s good — but most of the time, the feedback is useless, mean, or destructive. We all need to stop wearing our feelers on our sleeves, ignore those few people who opine negatively, and start looking at real, measurable data in order to affect change.


You know what’s funny about this story? There’s part of me that agrees with this woman–you’re often more pugnacious than I’m comfortable with, and I’m not sure we’d get along in social settings–but I don’t subscribe to your blog and podcast because I want to be best friends. I subscribe for the ideas you bring to the table, and because I learn something by seeing how someone very different from myself tackles issues that are near and dear to my heart. The very fact that you’re a yelling douche, as this woman would say, is part of what I value about you. If you were just another ranting knee-jerk TV pundit it would be different, but you’re not. You’re presenting interesting and thoughtful opinions in a way that reflects who you are, and the fact that your presentation style makes me uncomfortable sometimes helps me think about my own style, about who I am. So keep on yelling, baby!


    @Jennie : Best comment! Thank you! LOL


    Me, too! 🙂

    I used to have a doctor who had a brusque bedside manner, but he KNEW medicine, as in, actually being awake in med school. I needed that and almost could value his stern professionalism, because I felt he was concentrating on my well-being instead of trying to remember the next joke.

    Derek is loud. But he knows his stuff and is one of the more generous people I’ve ever had to deal with. And I have a volume control on my computer, so no prob.


      Katharine, your story reminds me of a friend who in deciding between two surgeons went for the one with the better bedside manner despite the fact that his reputation as a surgeon wasn’t as good. Several complications later, she deeply regretted her choice.


    Another 20 likes from me to add to Amy’s! 🙂


    Can I like this comment 20 times?? I’m right with you, Jennie, 100%!

Ben Adams

I have to be honest, when I first heard you I initially thought you were a loud mouth. Then after 5 minutes of listening to you I realised that it was not you being a big mouth but being extremely passionate and giving of high quality content to help others gain momentum online. Keep up the great work Derek. 🙂

Sean Mysel

Hey Derek,

Here’s my story:

When I was teaching golf I did an extensive amount of research on what players really wanted and needed to transform their “range” game to life on the course.

Actually involved a lot of psychology in terms of breaking bad habits they would take with them. Long story short.. I created a program where I taught lessons on the course with video feedback that was narrated.

All the pros at the club laughed saying that I could never sell it. That day I just tried to do an eblast through the club anyway.

I ended up being booked solid for three months and got 3x what the other pros got for lessons.


    That is super awesome! I love how you proved them all wrong and did it anyway 🙂


Thanks Derek. As we delve more deeply into the chasm of entrepreneurship, we must become increasingly good at hearing horrible advice and responding “hmmmm…that’s one idea…”

Awesome Chris Rock quote.

    Jim Wang

    The more people you reach, the more jerks you reach. Cost of doing business, right?

John Shea

I tend to find overall, dealing with people like this usually means there is some sense of jealousy.

People should be following you, complimenting your good work and your style. If they are not fond of you they just shouldn’t say anything.

Granted you can’t satisfy everyone but you certainly don’t need to tear others down because you don’t like them. Just because I don’t listen to Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus does not mean I need to say negative things about them or their music.

I remember when I told a friend I was buying my first home, I mentioned it was an older home so his response was to come up with about a million reasons why it was a terrible decision and why old homes are “bad”.

Being someone who was still living with mom and dad this was his natural ‘negative’ reaction due to jealousy.

    Madeline Schwartz

    I agree wholeheartedly. Like my mother used to say, If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all…It’s sad to say we have become a society of “mean-spirited” people.

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