Monday, February 15, 2010

The Kevin Smith lesson

I have read with great interest the saga today involving director Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines.

The short version: Kevin claims Southwest kicked him off a flight because he was too fat to be on a flight.

Kevin's version of the situation can be found on his Twitter blog at

Very few of us can do what Kevin is doing. Complaining in the manner that he is.

Kevin can complain because he doesn't stand to lose anything in his public grandstanding. He'll actually probably gain because its become a national news story.

Complaining or grandstanding only works if you have nothing to lose. I have read many Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace posts and blogs where people have ripped the companies they work for, the people they work with, and the experiences they have had doing various things.

We all like to think we have power over our lives. The truth is that power is limited. Mad at your wife? Put it online and you're adding evidence to a divorce. Hate your job? Regardless of how much power you think you have it's a privilege to work there and that privilege can be easily removed.

Kevin will gain because Southwest won't want to look bad and they'll come up with something that makes it a win for Kevin and a public relations win for Southwest. He has no monetary investment in this situation so he has nothing to lose.

Very few of us will ever have the chance to do that. I know from my own experience that its nearly impossible to talk smack about any bad experience I have with any business because they could be a client of my radio station or company. I have my job to lose for being a complainer. I need my job more than they need me.

I think all of us hope one day to have the chance to right a wrong. Unfortunately, most of us never will.