Tactical celebrities: eh…no thanks!

I just received some third-hand notes from a conference where a BTDT speaker gave some real-world advice about, well, the real world.  (I’d love to give credit where credit is due here, but while I know the speaker’s background I don’t know his name.)  He said two things that really struck me.

1) You probably want to avoid training with many of the tactical celebrities out there.  In his words, “Your training resume will follow you forever”.  Always ask yourself: A) has this guy (or gal) said something in public that I wouldn’t want to be discovered in court?, and B) Does this guy present himself well enough that I’d like him to be cross-examined in front of a jury?  Too many of the tactical celebrities out there fail one or both tests.  So do lots of instructors who aren’t famous.  Remember, you aren’t just buying the training (which may even be good, but not always, and even then not always relevant), you’re buying the whole down-the-line package.  Caveat emptor (this phrase is often translated as “buyer beware”, but a better translation of the meaning is that the buyer must perform due diligence when purchasing an item or service).

2) “Your digital exhaust [love that term] will haunt you forever.”  Most half-way mature people in this field have been warning about this for decades now, but still, many otherwise halfway intelligent people seem to forget it.  Once you hit that “send” key, your email, tweet, forum post, photo, blog post, or what have you, like herpes, is forever.  It never dies.  It will be discovered.  It can’t be covered up or destroyed.  I learned this lesson way, way back in the stone age of email, and have remembered it ever since.  I now listen to that little voice in the back of my head and just save any remotely controversial electronic communication as a draft until the next morning.  Most of those next mornings I wind up deleting it.  A wise man learns from experience; a really wise man learns from others’ experiences.

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