The Best Revenge: To Not Be Like That

When people screw up in front of me, the first thing I like to think about is how close I’ve come to doing the same thing. Or, how many times I’ve probably done it and never even known.

Last week, I spoke to advertising company about working for just one of the Rudius sites. Later in the conversation, I dropped another major client in their lap, for the good of everyone involved. And by major, I mean a site who’s pageviews are measured in the millions, monthly. The person on the phone, thinking that the Rudius property was of little value, turned around and gave the private information to a competitor. Thinking that I was little, and thus didn’t matter, he felt that it was safe to act without integrity. But the problem with that is that you never know who someone has lines of communications with and who else is packaged along with them. In the midst of what the rep thought was a big coup for he and his sales friends, he fucked himself out of nearly 30 million monthly pageviews and that’s just the immediate present. More than that, he placed me in a troublesome situation, for which I will never forgive his company.

It is almost never safe to act without integrity. And even more dangerous to think that you can get away with it. You won’t be confronted about it, people will just move on. Rudius will go with another advertiser (because you can’t be trusted) and I don’t plan on recommending this to any of the other properties that I’m working to monetize.

For me, I’m quickly learning that people often have influence where you wouldn’t expect them to have–especially when knowledge is scarce. But more importantly, since I know that I purposely reveal very little about myself, most other people do it too. It’s better to be safe and treat people right, then the folly of underestimation.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.