Your Word Is Your Bond

The title is an old saying from the floors of Chicago exchanges.  When people didn’t follow through with what they said or honor a trade, they were drummed out of the exchange.  The CBOT even did a documentary with the same title.

Recently I posted how something could only happen with social media.  It was straight out of the innovation that has happened this century.  Too bad I was dealing with a schmuck. I didn’t know it at the time and got hoodwinked.

Unfortunately, after we had a verbal deal she reneged.   We actually met, showed them around, bought them drinks and I introduced them to people.  The reneging isn’t the problem.  It’s the lack of communication.  Their word obviously isn’t their bond and the lack of communication caused me to lose all respect for them.  Since they are an entrepreneur not from Chicago, there is no way I’d ever recommend doing business with them.  I alerted the people I introduced them to and took full responsibility.  Totally my fault.

Never do business with schmucks and always get it in writing.  My friend Mark Rubin does huge real estate deals in LA without attorneys.  I’d like to learn from him.

Things can change which cause you to make different decisions.  It happens.  But, you need to be transparent about it.  You need to keep all parties informed so they can adjust and surprises don’t happen.

Schmucks can ruin your life.  In 2012 I worked on a deal for a year and had a guy bounce a check for $350,000. It still blows my mind when I think about it.

Never fake it until you make it.  I disagree with Robbie Abed here.  The person on the other side of the deal is counting on you.  They are trusting you.  Faking it leaves them holding the bag.  Sometimes you are selling, but if you are playing out of your league eventually everyone will find out.  This person was way out of their league and probably everything they said was bullshit.

I try never to lead anyone on.  I’ll even tell you point blank when I am having a shitty day (like Monday).  There is no point in putting lipstick on a pig.

Last September I hired three contractors to work on my place up north.   Everyone agreed they could do it.  We had all the times set.  When the time came to do the work, not one of them showed up and I had to scramble to find someone.  Do you think I respect any of them?  Do you think I’d recommend any of them?  Not a chance.

The other thing I find is that customer service in the US really really sucks.  Part of the reason is that the process sucks and they try to spend as little on it as they can.  The other part is the legal ramifications of admitting mistakes.  I have been doing a lot of interfacing recently with cell companies, towing companies, car dealers, moving companies, and car rental companies.  The big corporates are generally pretty bad.  They are simply stupid.  I had a great experience with Home Depot, and a great experience with Schlep.it.  IKEA was okay, not great.  Hertz, ATT were abysmal at best.  The less I can interface with companies, the better.

I had a “particulate filter” go out on my car right in the middle of our move.  Of course this “rarely happens.”  A lot of “rarely happens” has been happening lately.  $5g to fix.  The dealer has been pretty nice about it but I feel like I have a bad trade on that I can’t get out of.  Would be nice to have a car during my move.  I was planning on towing a trailer tomorrow full of stuff up north but that isn’t happening.  It’s a family joke that our car can sense when a big trip is going to happen. An engine light automatically comes on.

Communication is one of the toughest skills to master in a company.  It’s very important to be clear when you communicate and not to assume anything.  When you are leading your company, sometimes you need to get people you work with to articulate what they heard you say and what it means to them.  That way all the follow through action becomes expected.  Eventually, you’ll form a relationship where employees can finish each other’s sentences.  A culture will develop.

This person really put me in a bind with what they did.  Too bad.

  • awaldstein

    Even the best people take care of themselves first.

    Even the best contracts have loopholes.

    I had a very good friend bring me on as an advisor to an LA company a few years ago. It went bust as they couldn’t close the round and I was left holding the expenses and time.

    I was pissed off. It wasn’t personal as I simply wasn’t on the top of the list for payoff.

    He made it up to me three years later.

    Oh Bla Di Oh Bla Dah is a profound truth.

  • Dan Kunze

    One of the main tenets of my company is to admit the mistake, fix the mistake and make the customer whole. Most of the time, people understand and being up front actually pays off in the long run. The customer trusts you. Your word is gold. I have been reading and listening to the Kights – they preach that your company (and personal life for that matter) should be a no BCD zone. No Blaming, Complaining or Defending. A good thing to live by.