The Nightmare

Once upon a time, there was a nice house, It was a little strange but very nice. It was based on the symmetry, perspective, and values of the classic architecture and classical thought … both coming from an ancient people living far away. All its tenants had always loved it. The neighborhood was so proud of that because it represented old and noble values.

One day, a rich ogre avid for power came to dwell in it. He and his servants. He was sordid, stupid, vulgar, liar, dishonest, narrow-minded, childish, and self-absorbed … but in spite of all this … he managed to ensnare people and got promoted as a sort of head of community. He won because unfortunately in the journey of history there’re always simple people who totally ignore that life, at the end of the day, is what you make of it  … and they always wait for the Man of destiny … to solve their problems.

… anyway … this ogre believed to be a god but he was nothing but a ruthless fraud without ethics and without morals. He had pitted people against one another and had scared the whole neighborhood and even distant neighborhoods with his malice, his cruelty, his falsities, and slurs. Many people had resented his attitude.

At some point, after many hardships, no one could stand him anymore, except those like him, and the majority of his neighbors wanted to send him away.

The ogre was terrified … of the consequences. He couldn’t scare people anymore and shut them up … and his neighbors would severely condemn him … he could lose everything, not to mention his ego …  he angrily thought … Against me!!! Against me!!! Bunch of filthy swines!!! How dare these useless worms flout my authority and ignore my awesomeness and my wealth … this house is mine, I am the living God and I do whatever the fuck I want!

He felt untouchable and superior … but he had forgotten that he was just a tenant, an occupant of the house. He had forgotten he was made of flesh and blood just like everyone else.

One night, he had a scary nightmare. It was dark … He … was in front of someone … a man nailed on a cross who was looking down to him. His face was in pain but his eyes pierced the soul … and expressed a profound sweetness. The ogre couldn’t stand sweet and kind souls … he used to think of them as stupid losers – he said: who the hell are you to dare to look down on me? I am the only one who can look down on everyone.

All of a sudden, the face of the man on the cross turned into a fierce grin … There was a feral smile on his face … the light in his eyes was terrifying … his eyes were like embers. He said with a scary voice: you dark soul of evil itself! You scums of the earth! You filthy king of lies! You used your power for sowing weeds among the good wheat …

As the ogre heard those words … saw that the nails with which the man had been crucified were coming off … and the man would come down from the cross … the man’s face was really scary and fixed on him …

That’s when he woke up … soaked in the horror sweat … he started choking. He never told anybody about his nightmare … he never vented his thoughts … but his hair had become mostly white of fear.

After a while, he thought: “this is just a bad dream” … he put the nightmare out of his mind … “to hell with everyone else … they want to drive me out of my house … this house is my house … they won’t find it so easy to evict me … they won’t drag me away easily … I will show them … I will spread so much hatred and chaos and I will make use of it to my benefit …  I will see them drowning in their lukewarm blood … a bunch of rascals and useless losers.”

He blamed everyone and everything for his anger and discomfort and tried to make a general mess out of things …

But … as is always the case … “The devil is, but not the covers” … he teaches people his tricks but not how to hide them.

… And one fine day … a man came … followed by an uncountable multitude. The ogre saw him from afar and unleashed his uruk-hai … his superior orc species bred specifically for war.

The ogre began to get really scared … from a distance, he desperately tried to count the people following the man leading the crowd … the crowd seemed kind of huge and scary … they were the majority of his neighbors that up until now had tolerated him … but then they had decided to kick him out of his house for all his misdeeds.

The ogre saw the end coming but he didn’t want to accept it … he was consumed by narcissism … because the only one he ever loved was himself.

He even thought to turn to justice … that he had always despised … but his were just spurious grounds … just lese-majesty and fear. No one was listening to him anymore. He knew that sooner or later even his bunch of orcs would have dropped their tail … Inevitably he decided to fight with the dirtiest weapons of his repertoire … until the buzzer would go off.

And just like he promised … he started to throw poop on everything and everyone … even on all the things people hold dear …  even his naughty bunkies on Power street … who dithered too much …  but sadly for him, he was totally unaware of the fact that if you like to dive into shit … you splash everyone everywhere and shit will come back to you with interest. That’s life. It’s not difficult to understand. Only an idiot would not understand.

And that’s how … many got the moral of the story right.

If someone is an absolute idiot, is an absolute idiot. If someone is a jerk or worse a rogue, is a jerk and a rogue and that’s it. “Stupid is as stupid does” … You remember? … meaning that you are what you do … your actions speak louder than anything else. No matter who you are, what you own, or where you are from. Unfortunately … as in all fairy tales there must be fools and rogues … It is up to us to figure out who they are.

But the worst thing … really the worst .. were the “uruk-hai” surrounding the ogre … so cleaved to him for crude blind obstinacy, for money, power or unmentionable reasons … they were way worse than him. Useless sycophants are the worst. Bunch of sellouts. Butt kissing people. They are the worst.

They kept reporting and sustaining the most absurd things and the most disgusting lies that the ogre said, even at the cost of their own credibility, whereas they knew very well that the things they were saying sucked and had no basis whatsoever.

The fairy tale is over … and there’s always a happy ending … even this time.

But this is BizCatalyst 360 … this is probably LinkedIn … so it doesn’t hurt to make a few personal comments on real-life … and why not, also find a thread that somehow connects the tale with business and leadership.

I remember I found one of my old friends, a while back, who told me over a chat: “What a good thing … if I achieved something in my life is because I never surrounded myself with toxic sycophants and yes men or women. I really don’t have the bandwidth for this … I always wanted people with me who think for themselves, with their own mind – If then we talk about entrepreneurship … wealth, including the financial one, why not? Not just the inner wealth, well … also financial wealth comes from diversity, in a way … how we interpret diversity …if you know what I mean … if we see it as something understood as the varied perspectives and approaches of different identity groups that bring to an idea … in a way – a sort of life design thinking if you will … you know … and … dictatorial behaviors and pedestals … have no room in all this.

Those words made me think. It goes without saying … I fully agree. That’s what I did in my own life, both professionally and privately, but not because I am better than others but just because it makes sense.


Massimo Scalzo
Massimo Scalzo
YOU MIGHT SAY that Massimo advises big and small companies, entrepreneurs and individuals on how to craft digital strategies that get tangible results from their tactics. Which is true. You might even agree with few german managers who called him “gute schlepper” (good tugboat in English) because of his inner strenght of pulling people toward visionary and positive goals. However, neither of these statements would be completely true. The truth is that from his childhood, Massimo was fed and watered to be someone who relates to people, is constructive, multilingual, loves the life and looks at the future. And the most amazing thing that came out of his attitude is the ability of conveying the same feeling to others For nearly twenty eight years he traveled and worked in management consulting in eight countries. His thoughts, notions, ideas, speaking engagements come from more than thirteen years as an entrepreneur and fourteen plus “on the road” for Touche & Ross, Deloitte and PricewaterHouse. On his path, he learned a great deal about customer-driven strategy and transformation, digital marketing and design thinking, working on behalf of a-z roster of clients, e.g. IBM, BMW, Frost & Sullivan, SAP, Oracle, Fiat, Salesforce, Accenture, OpenMinds and many other SMEs in several countries and industries. Massimo lives (as much as he can) in the greater Frankfurt area in Germany. He loves his two kids, Massimo and Amelka, more than anything else.

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