The Bullshit Funnel

On the blog of one of my businesses, I recently published a post called, “Science Friction”. In that post, which is about the automated mechanization of marketing and sales, I wrote this:

The mechanized dehumanization of marketing and sales (among other things) can’t succeed long term: We’re human beings. It’s a matter of nature and definition that we’ll never escape, defy, or surrender our tendencies to interact as human beings. Neither will we forego our social sensibilities or our need to engage each other emotionally and to be so engaged, even in commercial contexts.

That automated mechanization leads to the derivation of the proverbial sales funnel. (Good grief.) That’s exactly the kind of depersonalized, overly complicated crap, of course, that gives marketing and sales a bad name. And it’s also what led to the transferring of a product name to pernicious forms of digital marketing.

Here’s a diagram of the sales funnel:

No Money, No Problem

In the context of our financial relationship (Ouch!) to government, it occurred to me I could just as easily have written this:

The mechanized dehumanization of taxation can’t succeed long term: We’re human beings. It’s a matter of nature and definition that we’ll never escape, defy, or surrender our tendencies to interact as human beings. Neither will we forego our social sensibilities, our resistance to being hornswoggled, or our need to engage each other intellectually and emotionally and to be so engaged, even in the ways we’re taxed and misrepresented.

Aside from ignoring — or passively accepting — everything that’s being done to us (not for us) by the governmental surrogates we elected, what the hell are we doing? Among other things, we’re blithely ignoring all the shit that’s being dumped into the funnel daily.

Here’s what it looks like:

It’s been going on for so long, we wouldn’t be able to see it anymore, even if we were inclined to look for it. But we’re not. So, it doesn’t matter. We live in a variation of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). That variation is BIBO (Bullshit In, Bullshit Out). We don’t even care. Why should we? Everything will be taken care of by … well … we haven’t quite gotten far enough to realize the buck stops with us.

Hitting the Wall

It’s tempting to say money’s finite. But the truth is it’s not. As we’ve proven many times over, when currency gets short, we’ll just mint more. Value, on the other hand, is finite. The more money we print, the less value we have. That’s why we have runaway inflation. And it’s why political promises are so dangerous.

Make no mistake: We’re in the Bullshit Funnel. And because we’re in the Bullshit Funnel, there are only two questions we need to answer:

  1. Have we been exploited enough to admit it?
  2. Are we angry enough to get out?

As the saying goes, time will tell.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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    • Thank you, Karin. In the United States, we have the opportunity to govern ourselves. TO GOVERN OURSELVES! And we won’t take the opportunity. That realization makes me tempted to study human psychology. But I’m afraid if I knew why we won’t take the opportunity to govern ourselves, I’d be morbidly and irretrievably depressed.

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