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How to Tell When Someone’s Full of $#*

BS artists. They are more prevalent than ever in our user-generated content-crazy world. And they have burned many of us in our business and personal life. The question is how do we detect the BS from good, relevant, honest and congruent communication and interactions?

Steve Tobak, managing partner of Silicon Valley-based Invisor Consulting, notes “All the fads, myths, quick fixes, miracle cures, crazes, pseudoscience, personal branded virtual personas, magical thinking, feel good fluff – I see it all day long and every single time sets off my BS detector.”

Do you have a good built in BS detector?

Steve authors a great blog and writes weekly columns for Fox Business and Entrepreneur Media. And his recent post on BS detecting really resonated with me. I think it is very “right on” and gives us all a few laughs as well. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

by Steve Tobak
A lot of the guys I grew up with in Brooklyn were artists. BS artists. And I mean they were good at it. You didn’t have to be a gambler to bet that much of what came out of their mouths was complete BS. It was a sure bet.

After getting burned a few times, I developed an internal BS detector. It’s not something that happened consciously but was more a matter of survival. To this day, I can smell it a mile away. And it really comes in handy in our user-generated content-crazy world.

All the fads, myths, quick fixes, miracle cures, crazes, pseudoscience, personal branded virtual personas, magical thinking, feel good fluff – I see it all day long and every single time sets off my BS detector.

The other day I was wondering how millions of people could live with themselves spreading all that nonsense. Then it occurred to me that maybe they just don’t know it. Maybe making stuff up and posting everything that crosses their Facebook feed is just the new human condition.

Maybe they just … can’t … help … themselves.

So I thought I’d give you all a checklist so you can tell when someone’s full of $#*!:

They can’t even get through a sentence without contradicting themselves.
Favorite Tweet?

“GMOs are evil!” “We need to feed everybody on Earth!”

Note that GMOs were developed to more efficiently feed the world’s growing population.

They can’t even recognize their own social media profile.

First look at their picture. If it looks more like their kid than them, that’s a dead giveaway. As for their description … aw, who am I kidding; there isn’t a grain of truth, is there?

They’re best-selling authors, serial entrepreneurs, investors, experts, and award winning something or others.

I’ve gotten to the point where, as soon as I read one of these laundry list profiles, I instantly know it’s entirely made up. I see them every day. No kidding.

Their Facebook page resembles a scene from The Stepford Wives.

They have a model wife, genius kids, and a dog that can do a Rubik’s cube in 45 seconds flat.

They dream of becoming a LinkedIn influencer, giving a TED talk, or being interviewed by Jon Stewart.

People with real careers and accomplishments shouldn’t care less about that sort of nonsense (including the President of the United States, by the way).

Dan Schawbel’s Me 2.0 is their bible.

The personal branding craze is responsible for more made up virtual personas than anything else … except narcissism.

They’re CEO of a one-person company.

Read my lips: chief executive officer is a corporate title. No corporation + no board of directors + no management team = no CEO.

They think Tony Robbins is for real.

There’s a sucker born every minute … and I think Tony Robbins figured out how to make a living off them.

They have a cause.

Sorry to break it everyone but, these days in the golden age of fads, most causes are complete BS. OK, some are legit, but they’re few and far between.

They really believe that what they read online is true.

Tell them to subscribe to this blog; we’ll fix them right up.

Thanks again to Steve for sharing.  OK.  How many BS Detector factors do you agree with?  Please comment and fill us in on yours!  And give us some laughs as well!!


© 2015-2020 Steve Tobak. Blog Post reprinted with permission. Steve is a management consultant, featured columnist, and former high-tech senior executive. As managing partner of Silicon Valley-based Invisor Consulting, he advises business leaders on strategic matters.


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