Embrace Upsetting People

I’ve learned that you need to be ok with upsetting people from time to time to if you are going to attempt to lead a movement.

On Friday, I accidentally published a blog post, which discusses absurd paintings which have sold for over a million dollars on the Art Sumo blog. Although, I share a view that the art which caters to the rich is somewhat odd, I felt that the post could make me look silly and I did not want to ruffle too many feathers when launching artsumo.com, so I decided not to publish it.

Since publishing it, the post has gone on to make the digg homepage and garner the most traffic that artsumo has ever seen: about 50,000 visitors in the last 4 days, with over 500 shares between Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve found it particularly interesting that different discussion forums have very different takes on it.  Some can’t find enough 4 letter words for me (I got an email that started with “whoever wrote this article is an artless cunt”), while other forums completely agree with the spirit of the article.

I witnessed the same experience when I published a post sharing my view that entrepreneurs shouldn’t get an MBA. Half loved it, it half loudly expressed their displeasure.

These experiences have taught me that any discussion which challenges the status quo will give a voice to a certain group of people, but will probably piss off a lot of people who don’t share your world view as well.  While it would be nice to get the former without the latter, I don’t think it is possible. So, from now on, I’m going to be embrace ruffling a few feathers.