Christopher Columbus Was a Dickhead Marketer
Last Columbus Day my good friend Howie Jacobson pointed me to a revealing article in “The Oatmeal” about Christopher Columbus (IMPORTANT: Since publishing this post it’s been pointed out the article on the Oatmeal itself has possibly relied upon erroneous sources. If true, then Christopher Columbus wasn’t really a dickhead, and I might have been a dickhead myself for not checking the Oatmeal’s sources more thoroughly. I’m therefore now going to frame my post in the this context “I don’t really know whether Columbus was a dickhead. He could have been a really nice guy. I’m guessing probably not, but he might have been. Everything which follows was based upon the facts quotes by the Oatmeal article linked to at bottom. I’ll leave it to you to make up your own mind. I think it’s a worthwhile to post for marketers to read regardless” – Glenn. )
In the article I learned:
- Nobody actually really thought the earth was flat in 1492 because the Ancient Greeks proved it was round almost 2,000 years earlier
- Leif Ericson discovered America about 500 years before Columbus. And how can you “discover” a land which is already populated by organized tribes anyway?
- Columbus was much more interested in the Gold he found in America than establishing better trade routes for the Europeans
Our hero also correctly assessed the Lucayan natives as a generous, hospitable, kind people… whom he could exploit and slaughter for his own profit. And on his next voyage Mr. Columbus convinced the Queen of Spain to back his exploits with 1500 men armed to the hilt. (Think “raising capital” for a venture)
When he reached shore, he and his army demanded food, gold, and sex from the Lucayan women…cutting off the ears and noses of any dissidents. The Lucayans rebelled and interfered with his plans a little. So our dear Christopher took 500 of them back to the Queen to serve as slaves. Hundreds died en route.
If this weren’t cruel enough, Mr. Columbus enslaved another 500 natives to be kept in the New World, and allowed his men to hunt them down for sport. After they were killed, he let their bodies be fed to the men’s dogs to keep them healthy.
It gets worse and worse… I could go on and on. If you’re really interested, go read the article for yourself (I’ll give you a link at the bottom of this post.)
Columbus really was a dickhead who ignored the human rights and basic dignity of the “undervalued asset” he had “discovered”…and then arranged to market that asset to the Queen and the Spanish people for as much profit as he could possibly muster.
Why did I tell you this story?:
- I want you to carefully consider how you choose your heroes. Most Americans have little to NO idea about the true exploits of Christopher Columbus. We honor and celebrate him with a Holiday, but few of us know more than a few trite sayings put forth in a long game of telephone from historian to historian. Similarly, you may be under the influence of people in the marketing world whom you know precious little about. Mythology has a life of it’s own, so always ask HOW you know what you think you know about someone who’s advice you’re about to take on significant business decisions.
- To show you how easily people can get carried away when they see an opportunity to exploit. It’s one thing for us all to sit in judgment of the obviously despicable things Mr. Columbus did. It’s quite another for us to hold ourselves to a higher standard when we find undervalued assets of our own ready for the taking. In a truly ethical business transaction, everybody benefits. It’s easy to SAY you operate like that, but pretty hard to do when you find yourself in the power position.
Terry Dean and I are looking for a few more ethical marketers this month who want to leverage OUR tested and proven systems to find undervalued assets in other people’s businesses and help them profit. (So they’ll pay your premium business coaching fees!) It just may be the fastest way to turn your passion for marketing and business into a lucrative, rewarding, and fun career. Dickheads need not apply:
Dr. G 🙂
PS – We’re taking people for just a few more days or until we fill our 30 person quota. So if you’ve got any interest at all now is the time to apply.
PPS – Here’s the article on Christopher Columbus in The Oatmeal.