Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A "Nigger" Asks If Henry Blodget Should Fire Pax Dixson

Pax Dickinson is, as I write this, the CTO of Business Insider. He also, from his tweets, appears to be a unapologetic racist and misogynist. For clarity's sake, I should mention that I am the "nigger" that is asking the questions about Pax, and I use that word since Pax seems to use it so freely himself. It just seemed fitting.

In the last 24 hours there has been an uproar about Pax’s recent and historical tweets that are, shall we say, awe inspiring.

Valleywag has done a piece that has brought significant visibility to the story, and this Tumblr blog does an amazing job of deeply cataloging Pax’s tweeted missives. Given all of that, I won’t be exhaustive, but my personal fave is:

“in Passion Of The Christ, Jesus gets raped by a pack of niggers. It’s his own fault for dressing like a whore though.”

To be clear, that one is from 2010, but Pax has not slowed down one bit, though most of his recent tweets seem to be more focused on disdain for women than “niggers”.

So the question is, what should Henry Blodget, the CEO of Business Insider do?

I must admit that I take a real interest in this issue as I was one of the early outside writers at Business Insider when there were just three people there. I was not an employee, and did not get paid, but many of my blog posts ran there. I really loved the publication and enjoyed having my writing appear there. Many of my pieces drove a very significant level of traffic at the time, so I think they liked having me. But eventually I stopped publishing there because the site drew a significant racist audience, and I was frequently racially attacked in the comments. At some point I asked that they make an effort to address the nature of the comments but no solution was forthcoming, and I just decided I didn’t need that kind of grief any more.

In truth, Henry is an aggressive business person and my guess was that, in Henry’s mind, this kind of commentary, even if it was racist, was the price you pay for building up a loyal engaged audience of commenters, and ultimately, traffic.

So I say all of that as self-disclosing background to why this case is of particular interest to me. As I see it, Henry has hired a racist and misogynist with very poor judgement to be the Business Insider CTO and I am anxious to see how he handles it.

I am sure that this is a thorny question for Henry as Pax has been at Business Insider for several years, and I presume Henry has seen perhaps a different side of him, and that he likes him.

But the Pax problem has now spread far and wide across the Internet. It has picked up steam as the lack of diversity in tech has begun to become an important issue, and as the root causes are hotly debated.

So Henry has both a business problem, a legal problem and I would think, a moral problem.

From a business perspective, every female employee at BI has to be watching what happens here. In fact, every female employee in tech whose gotten wind of this is probably paying attention to this. And without it being addressed in some substantive way, I don’t see this problem going away. One of the problems with discrimination issues is that they are often hard to identify. I know as a black man, that I have experienced discrimination. But for the most part it is exceedingly difficult to be certain, much less to prove any given suspicion. It is rare that you walk into any office and someone says “nigger, nigger, nigger!”, as might have happened in the 50’s or 60’s. In fact It is only in a very small number of cases where a person publicly admits to racist views. Unfortunately misogynist views seem more acceptable to share, but in either case, when it does happen, what you do sets the tone in perpetuity.

From a legal perspective, Pax is a walking lawsuit. The next time any female employee or person of color has any problem at Business Insider, particularly in the tech department, these tweets become exhibit A. Before this outburst, it might have been possible for Henry to suggest that he didn’t know how bad Pax was. But now, the reality is inescapable. Of course if Henry fires Pax there is also the possibility of Pax suing BI, but of course that is a risk under any circumstances with any employee and I think Pax would have a really hard time making the case that he was fired inappropriately. In addition, a lawsuit makes getting a job at a bunch of places much harder. Sadly, there are probably places that are not so much in the public eye that will embrace his perspectives.

In any case, the legally driven need to act would be much less strong if Pax were not a senior executive with hiring responsibility. His tweets make clear he has a low view of women in tech. You just can’t have a hiring manager who has those views, and you *really* can’t have a hiring manager who feels free to share those views publicly.

Finally, from a moral perspective, I just can’t imagine you could have a person who shares such heinous views so openly as a senior member of your senior staff. But maybe thats just me.

So what are Henry’s options?

As I see it the only two options are firing Pax, or demoting him to a non hiring role and sending him to sensitivity training. I don’t think the second option solves the morale problem, but it might mitigate the legal issue. Still, Pax would have to live under heavy scrutiny, and any inappropriate talk or actions, either publicly or in the work place would have to be grounds for dismissal.

So there you have it. As I sit here writing this, there has only been one brief comment from Henry Blodget where he said:

Pax was speaking for himself, not Business Insider. We obviously don't condone what he said.
I am anticipating this can't be the end of this, but of course, even that would be significant news. And so I must admit anticipating further response has moved today’s Apple product announcement out of my top interest slot as its rare that the nasty private thoughts of significant public people get such an unvarnished airing.

Please pass the popcorn.

UPDATE: Well that was quick. Pax Dickinson forced to resign.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tech industry silence is deafening on #BlackInAmerica


Last sunday night Black In America 4, the documentary that chronicled the summer that I and seven other black entrepreneurs spent in Silicon Valley, aired. (note it will re air Sat Nov 19th at 8pm) The aftermath has been, in some parts exciting. I have been incredibly busy doing panels and interviews. #BlackInAmerica was even a trending topic on Twitter on Sunday evening. In some sense it felt like lots of people were paying attention.

This is important to me not because I am in the documentary but because the lack of significant African-American presence in the tech economy is, I believe, critically important. In fact, If we don’t fix it, its going to accelerate an already dangerous level of wealth inequality in the country.

As I said in the documentary, not fixing this problem ultimately leads to a permanent underclass. And if you think Occupy Wall Street is a troubling signal regarding dissatisfaction around wealth distribution, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I fear the growing wealth disparity, particularly along racial and ethnic lines, will be catalyst for significant civil unrest.

If we are going to change course, in my view, the most valuable potential outcome of the documentary would be a willingness to more openly discuss the issue of race in technology. And since Twitter is a great proxy for engagement on any issue, that’s where I looked. I was hoping that given the heavy discussion in the tech blogosphere and press that the issue had finally broken into the mainstream.

But the Twitter stream said something else. Initially my sense was purely anecdotal, but I saw none of the tech industry “players” participating in the conversation.

So at my company, Kloudco, we decided to do some quick analytics. We pulled down all 150,000 #BlackInAmerica tweets between 9am est, the morning of the Black In America 4 airing, and 9am the next day. Then we cross referenced that list with industry mega-pundit Robert Scoble’s important tech people lists. These include his Twitter lists for press, VCs, and others.

Unfortunately, the results were just as I feared.

Across all of Scoble’s lists, there were only three participants in the discussion: @lekanB, @rachelsklar, and @venturebeat. The tech industry either wasn’t watching, was totally unengaged or worse, uninterested.

For whatever the reasons the tech industry is silent.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Soledad O'Brien Interview

Soledad O'Brien interviewing me about the meritocracy of Silicon Valley.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The death and rebirth of useful interface affordances




Mainstream interface design, as a discipline, was born during the era of the early Macintosh circa 1984, and died during the early era of the Web. In some quarters, Flash helped bring a bit of real interface design back, but now with HTML5 and iOS and Android I think people are starting again to really focus on and understand what real interface is about again.

Let me explain.

For those of you not steeped in the language of design, an “affordance” is a characteristic of an interface element that leads one, through its nature, to understand what to do. This is a little more subtle than it seems. For example a button in a user interface has a “perceived affordance” in that when we see the button we know that we can click on it and something will happen.

During the early days of the graphical user interface, we had a beautiful collection of new affordances provided by the operating system. Windows that had draggable headers, buttons that were clickable and did something, dialog boxes that could be modal, meaning that they had to be dismissed before further action could be taken, etc.

This allowed for lots of innovation. But because we also, as developers, had access to low level graphical primitives, we could make new interface objects that had new perceivable affordances. For example, in the first drawing programs I ever saw, LisaDraw and MacDraw back in 1983 and 1984, clicking on an object caused “handles” to appear around the sides of the object. These handles told you that the object was selected, but they also made it clear that the given object could be resized. This was an incredibly intuitive and obvious affordance. We, as software developers, had the capacity to create new objects with new affordances like this that could be incredibly powerful.

Make no mistake, this could be abused, and was, by software developers that had more programming chops than taste, but the best and most important software during these golden years of graphical interfaces always created new interface objects and introduced new perceivable affordances.

This was important not for the sheer act of adding new interface widgets to the built-in palette of operating system widgets, but because it allowed us to do something which for the most part was, in the ensuing years, almost entirely lost from software design. It was the act of creating software that allowed users to understand the data model of the application and to interact with it in an intuitive way.

In an ideal world you want an application to expose its nature, its data model, to you through its objects. This means that without having someone describe what it is you need to do or provide menus of options, that you understand what to do by the nature of how the data model is exposed.

As a counter example, coming back to MacDraw, imagine if drawing programs required you to create a new web page for each object you wanted to add to your canvas. A “new” button would allow you to create a new circle or square or line, and then a new page would come up that would ask you to enter the coordinates of the object. Then imagine when you wanted to see your creation, you would press the “render” button and your canvas would be rendered on the screen in some “under glass” manner that would not allow any direct manipulation.

In a drawing program, the data model is a list of objects with types such as line, circle and square, where each such drawing has characteristics such as color and dimensions. So there is no reason the web page model could not be used to represent the data model.

Except that it would suck.

The point is that good interface objects and metaphors and perceivable affordances make software vastly more useable.

But what happened is as the web browser ascended to the preferred software platform is that software developers lost their palette. Not only did web browsers not have the ability to express rich interfaces in the way that applications did, but a whole generation of user interface designers for the web have no idea about most of these subjects, or if they do, it is as some long lost art, and not a part of their actual toolbox.



Interface and interaction designers today tend to think in terms of pages and flow where the user is a mouse that must be guided through a maze. This is fine for certain categories of applications, for example content management. Web browsers were intended for display of text anyway so the web browser never proved to be an impediment for that class of application. No new affordances are needed, people just need to be guided to their content.


But as I see it, many application categories could benefit from a bit more creativity. A good interface designer is someone that can think without the constraints of a limited palette. This is, more often than not, a programmer (these days this includes CSS3), because a programmer is much more likely to understand what is possible that may never have been done, and how to make it happen.



This whole subject came up because, in the last year I have had a variety of people lecture me about user interface as if I somehow “didn’t get it.” As we have been iterating Kloudco I have been working inside out, and art has really not, for most of that time, been a focus. I always listen politely, but most of these folks were barely even born when the first Mac’s came out and we were trying to explore what the real potential of man/machine interface and design really was. So such lectures have never sat well with me, but I haven’t been able to put my finger on what the deeper problem was. I finally realized that that the majority of newly minted design professionals don’t realize that they are being asked to create Rembrand style art with house painting rollers. (Do they even require reading Don Norman?- serious question).



The primary design palette is a series of pretty screens (or pages) that walk you through choices. But this just doesn’t work (or isn’t best) for apps that aspire to the level of problem solving of the early days of the graphical interface.

To be clear, there are lots of websites for which a limited set of objects is totally fine. You really don’t need anything beyond links and text to create a e-commerce site. But when we think about applications that allow us to more deeply understand our data models and interact with those data models in an intuitive way, we need the flexibility of a canvas with which we can cook up fresh new interface widgets and affordances that speak to the user without yelling at her. Applications like drawing, or calendars, or text editing, or collaboration or a myriad of potential applications that don’t fit the web page model demand this type of fresh thinking.

Another area where design options can and often should be more constrained is with smart phones. Most smart phones apps provide sequences of menus to navigate the data and the command sets (our mouse in the maze). This is necessary because not only are they on-the-go devices, but smartphones have limited screen real estate and input resolution. So creating a drag-and-drop calendar or drawing program might not be a very good idea on a phone. But if you have the input resolution and screen real estate of a laptop or a tablet, I would much rather drag an appointment to change its date than to click on the appointment, then click on the date and flick a roller.

What is exciting to see now is that HTML5 is going mainstream and is an acceptable platform for making web applications, so we are back to having rich tools with which to build. Still, the Mac Toolbox from the 80’s is vastly more powerful (though admittedly not easier) than today’s web browser. But Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have an almost totally unlimited design palette. And while the potential for interfaces on phones is more limited because of the i/o issues, on tablets I see a vast potential to create intuitive and yet powerful experiences. One early example of this is Apple’s iPad GarageBand.



So the point of all this is that I would really like to see application designers today looking back at the history of the art of interface design. The golden era was only from 1984 to 1994. There are things that were pioneered that are as relevant today as they were then. With the right design, it is not necessary to sacrifice all power in an attempt to achieve simplicity. New affordances can make hard things easy. With the new tools available my hope is that we can win back some of the ground lost in the last 15 years of the web revolution and its unnecessarily dumbed down interfaces.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Arrington's not a racist (who's said that anyway?)... he's just being dishonest

In his last two blog posts on the subject of the CNN Black In America documentary airing next Sunday, November 13th, Michael Arrington has been running around like a wounded dove claiming people are calling him racist.

Let's get something straight. No one credible or substantive has said that.

The fact that Mike can't discern the complex and important arguments about this from "people are calling me a racist" is incredible. The other thing he is doing is accusing Soledad O'Brien and CNN of sandbagging and tricking him and accusing them of starting a "race war".

From where I sit, asking him about the black entrepreneurs he knows is nothing of the sort. It's not a crazy question, it's not unfair, and it's certainly not a trigger for or indicia of a race war. In my view, Mike shows his insensitivity to the issue but certainly not ill intent, with the on-camera answers we've seen in the clips. There is a big difference between having a lack of understanding or awareness of the issue and of being a racist.

But what Arrington is doing now is deflecting a hugely important issue and discussion by trying to generate sympathy based on non-existant racism accusations. He is diminishing and minimizing the life experiences of all of us who are arguing with him who, to be honest, have far more experience with this issue than he does (i.e. apparently almost none).

For example one of my housemates in the documentary, and the co-organizer of the NewMe accelerator, Wayne Sutton, was stopped this summer by the Mountain View police at night and checked for warrants for doing nothing more than walking down the street and being black. The police's after-the-fact excuse for the stop was "they didn't recognize him" and it was a "voluntary" stop. For those of you who may not realize, this is *very* common. I've been stopped three times by the police for just walking around.

But the biggest problem I have right now with Arrington is, to bend an old political cliché for my own purposes, the coverup is far worse than the crime. What Mike is now spewing is really bad because it shows him to be either purposefully or "in the fog of war" dishonest. I think the "they are calling me racist" defense is intellectually dishonest, but some of the specifics he uses to defend himself are flat out lies.

In his latest post, Mike characterizes my last post by saying I am criticizing him because his coverage of NewMe or African-American entrepreneurs was not enough.

Specifically what Mike's post says is:

While it’s easy to look around Silicon Valley and see very few (non Asian because they don’t count!) minorities and then conclude “you’re a bunch of racists,” I don’t think that’s productive. What I do think is productive is to get more minorities, and women, and everyone, focusing on math and science and computers in school, as early as possible.

Once they’re here they are welcomed with open arms.

The top ten, or so, reasons I’m a racist

Unless their ideas suck. And even if they do suck a little, at TechCrunch we’d write about it anyway to give exposure to these entrepreneurs. That’s another source of endless criticism.

Or the coverage wasn’t good enough.

Or that putting people on stage who didn’t strictly deserve it is racist because it makes people think that they’re only on stage because of their race.

But either way, unless we cover more minorities, we’re racist.

First, the link in the block quote above is to my last piece. And the implication (though I admit it is murky) is that my post accuses him of racism because he doesn't cover enough African-American entrepreneurs.

The part that is *very* clear is his representation that my piece accuses him of not sufficiently covering African-American entrepreneurs.

The best defense of this comes from Natrius on Hacker News who said:

Hank said nothing of the sort. He said there is no proof that Arrington goes out of his way to cover black founders as he had claimed. Hank didn't say Arrington should go out of his way, nor did he call Arrington a racist. Hank just said that Arrington's claim was incorrect, and from where I'm sitting, he's right.

And just to back up what Natrius said, here's a big hunk of the text from my last post where I specifically say the *opposite* of how Arrington characterizes my post:

Either way, Mike was within his rights to decide what he would or would not cover, or how he would cover it, and at what depth. He does not owe any person of color or female entrepreneur or anyone else anything. But to, after the fact, say that he bent over backwards to cover African American entrepreneurs is laughable.

Does this make Mike a bad guy? No. I presume in actuality, he wasn't even involved in the editorial process. So I won't blame him for the uncharacteristic lack of depth of demo day coverage. But I sure as hell am not going to let him claim credit for somehow being some kind of bend-over-backwards-to-cover-African-American-entrepreneurs kind of guy. Let's get real.

So to conclude, no one is accusing Arrington of being a racist. But it's clear he is (or at least his writing reflects him to be) incredibly insensitive to issues of race and privilege. No one imagines him sitting around spewing racial epithets or purposefully discriminating, or even thinking bad racial thoughts, but that is not a very high bar.

Mike, it would be great if you'd put an end to this pity party and join us in real discussion as you suggest you would like to. Most of us engaged in this debate are pretty reasonable people and if you really do want to "do something" as you suggest, now is a great time to work on it with us. And yes I've heard you want to work with will.i.am on the issue, so you can bring him too.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Arrington, Race, and Silicon Valley

I spent this summer in Silicon Valley as part of the NewMe Accelerator. NewMe is the first Accelerator program focused on African-Americans. I had an absolute blast in California connecting to incredible mentors like Mitch Kapor, Ben Horowitz, Vivek Wadhwa, and, in my own way, both absorbing insight from, and, as the old man of the crew, mentoring the other members of the program. 

As I have over the years spent much time in Silicon Valley, starting from my days writing Mac software in the 90s, it was great to rekindle some old relationships. Participating in the program moved my company, Kloudco, forward in some amazing ways, in large part from the brilliant insight of the other participants. There’s much more I want to say about my NewMe summer, but that will have to wait for a later blog post. 

Our experiences in NewMe were captured in a new documentary that is part of Soledad O’Brien’s Black In America series on CNN. The documentary will air November 13th and on Wednesday, I and a few hundred other people saw an advance screening. You can check out some clips here.

One of the most striking things about the evening was the aftermath reaction to some of the comments that Mike Arrington, founder and former editor of TechCrunch, made on camera.


A Twitter fight erupted between Arrington and others such as Vivek Wadhwa, who is also in the documentary. In the calm of the day after, I want to share my thoughts.

Arrington Says: Silicon Valley Is a meritocracy

Mike said a few very clear things about his view of the state of diversity in Silicon Valley.

  • its true that there are very few African-Americans in Silicon Valley
  • despite this, Silicon Valley is a pure meritocracy
  • you become successful because you have a “big brain”

First, let me say, I think Mike truly believes everything that he has said about the tech world being a meritocracy. Lots of people believe that.

But I do not believe Silicon valley is a meritocracy. I would more properly say that tech *markets* are a meritocracy.  There are very few businesses where a single individual in her bedroom can create a piece of software that can potentially touch millions of people without any additional capital. No matter how talented you are, if you want to open a hot new restaurant or a shoe factory, you need lots of money before you start. Not necessarily so with software.


Consumers and businesses, for the most part, don’t care what the ethnicity of their software or Internet service vendors are. Users want solutions. And so if an entrepreneur can get a great product completed cheaply, in many cases they can compete on totally even footing. Even if they ultimately need capital, explosive initial success knocks down all known barriers.

But the market *makers* operate in a world that is not particularly even-handed.  The market makers are the folks that help new young companies and entrepreneurs by providing insight, mentoring, capital, and relationships. And this part of the tech world is driven by all the same types of biases that exist in the non-tech world. And it is *much* harder for even the most talented African Americans in the tech world to gain access to influential, insightful, connected mentors, let alone investors.


People, for the most part, want to work with people that are “like them” or that fit a pattern that appeals to them. There is an actual term for this among tech investors called “pattern matching”. It's the idea that, without objective facts, one can decide whether someone is likely to be successful based on indirect criteria. In other words, when they see a particular pattern of “personhood” they are excited.

And these patterns are discussed openly in the tech industry around issues like age. Since it is only moderately politically incorrect to suggest that younger entrepreneurs are “better”, it is done all the time. The best example of this might be Mike Moritz from Sequoia Capital, perhaps the most influential of all venture funds, admitting on a TechCrunch Disrupt stage that they have a strong bias towards very young entrepreneurs.

But if you believe that age is the only criteria that VCs use for pattern matching I wanna smoke some of what you’ve got.

To be clear, I am not saying any VC says at a partner meeting, “you know I really like this company’s product but did you notice he’s a negro?”

Never happens.

But I firmly believe market makers, both investors and the people who help you get ready to approach them, seek out entrepreneurs who appeal to them on some less than objective, visceral level, who feel “comfortable” to them. They don’t *need* to actively filter out undesirable profiles. They just focus on what *does* appeal to them. They focus on the “patterns” they find appealing and I am confident that not only is age a part of many investors' ideal patterns, but so are perhaps un-recognized criteria like race, gender, cultural affinity, etc. And on some level this should not be shocking as it reflects socialization that all of us must work hard and consciously not to act on.

Is this (racist/sexist/agist/_____ist)? Well in this context, using incendiary labels is only likely to make people more defensive. The bigger question is, is it a problem? Absolutely.

Is it possible to overcome these additional barriers? I have. But it is only by a sheer persistence and focus that, few other people, white, black, or otherwise, have. While I would never suggest that I am smarter than anyone else, my Arnold-Schwartenzegger-in-Terminator like determination has made my successes possible. Yes, I have definitely had help and support, but compared to some, not so much. 

In fact some people get far more support than others. For example, I’m not going to name any names, but when a top tier VC writes a five million dollar check to a 19 year-old with a barely-beyond-napkin-stage *idea*, no customers and a fragile technology because they “present well” then clearly something else is at work. I am not saying that this exact scenario is common, but it does happen. And since everything is on a spectrum and I can guarantee there are no African-American, or for that matter Latino or female entrepreneurs that contribute such insane data points to that spectrum, it is troubling.


So the bottom line is, if the level of determination that I have was required from everyone on some kind of moderately equal basis, it would indeed be a level playing field — a meritocracy. But it's not.

Arrington says: I went out of my way to cover African-American entrepreneurs at TechCrunch

The other striking comment Mike made in the documentary was that he went out of its way to make sure African-American’s got covered in TechCrunch.

Bull.

And I say that with all due respect, because, again, I suspect he believes that it's true. But I just don’t buy it.

The NewMe organizers tried repeatedly to reach TechCrunch regarding covering the NewMe demo day. They never got a response. While this was going on, Mike was discussing, with CNN producers, being interviewed by Soledad O’Brien for the documentary. At some point, Mike agreed to do the documentary, and after he had shot his interview, told the NewMe organizers (after being approached at a party) that he would be sure to send someone to demo day. Before that time there had been no acknowledgement from TechCrunch that NewMe even existed. No emails responded to, nothing. Mike had only responded to CNN.

TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis did ultimately show up to the demo day. Her article was complimentary about the idea of NewMe and she said, via Twitter, that it was the best run demo day she had seen. But she only wrote a sentence or two about each startup. She didn’t ask anyone for a live demo, or present anything of substance about any of the companies. In essence, she focused on the form of the demo day and the purpose, but not the companies.

Now, if this was the standard for how TechCrunch covers demo days, that would be fine. But I read TechCrunch voraciously, and I don’t believe I have ever seen such thin coverage of any demo day that did get covered. YCombinator has always gotten a full story on each company, as has (I believe) TechStars. Of course there are many accelerators and demo days, and I can’t say that TechCrunch covers every one in depth. But it was striking that they didn't do a substantive piece on even *one* company given that they did cover the event. (Note: several months later they did cover a company, but not in the demo day context as usually happens).

So my point is this. Though Mike was being interviewed by CNN about race in Silicon Valley in the context of the NewMe accelerator, he did not deem it appropriate to make sure his NewMe coverage was at least roughly on par with other accelerator demo day coverage on TechCrunch. Awareness that he was going to be on national television talking about fairness and balance and meritocracy and race in the Valley did not sway him. Perhaps he didn’t want to be seen as giving favor to NewMe since he was going to be in the documentary. Perhaps.

Either way, Mike was within his rights to decide what he would or would not cover, or how he would cover it, and at what depth. He does not owe any person of color or female entrepreneur or anyone else anything. But to, after the fact, say that he bent over backwards to cover African American entrepreneurs is laughable.

Does this make Mike a bad guy? No. I presume in actuality,  he wasn't even involved in the editorial process. So I won't blame him for the uncharacteristic lack of depth of demo day coverage. But I sure as hell am not going to let him claim credit for somehow being some kind of bend-over-backwards-to-cover-African-American-entrepreneurs kind of guy. Let's get real.