Tim McCarthy and the Business of Good

Faking It

Apr 1, 2024 3:53:24 PM / by Tim McCarthy

04-2024 Post - Faking It (1)


How many times can you remember “faking it”?  

My list is very long.
  • The first few weeks of high school
  • The first few weeks of college
  • A few months on my first full-time job
  • At least a year while courting Alice, possibly until our wedding day
  • At least a year in any music endeavor I did publicly.  (Favorite example: When Chuck Huey and I decided to return to our guitars to play church music in 1982, we agreed to play no songs with more than three chords until we got the hang of it.)

And there are more like the several years in each of the first three entrepreneurial pivots I made:

  • Contract Marketing: The original consulting business we opened in 1988 headlined “we fix individual chain store sales”.  Of course, to survive I did any consulting anyone would pay me for until 100% of our consulting was “fixing down stores”.
  • Sales Building Systems: To build down store sales, we needed to create, print, and send promotional materials.  Our fulfillment business took several years to capitalize and build process around.  We “faked” Sales Building Systems while we continued to make most of our revenue by consulting.
  • WorkPlace Media:  The company I ultimately sold was a database driven media company, borne of our experience with consulting and fulfilling campaigns for chain stores.  As with the other two pivots, it was years after renaming the business for database marketing to grow from 10% to 100% of our business.

My favorite memories of faking it were the many times Alice and I would look at each other puzzled while raising our kids and ask, “where’s the manual for this job?”  We faked our way to becoming decent parents, as most of us do.

In every case, we muddle through until you either “make it” or become a great faker.  

Making it beyond faking essentially means learning from our failures.  It’s why transparency and humility are essential ingredients of leadership.  

When I cut a very loud fart in religion class, I had to learn to never fall asleep in class again. The first time was funny, more of the same would have earned me a nickname I didn’t want.  

When I made Alice angry and she was kind enough to tell me why, I learned never to touch her food.  (When you’re from ten kids, any food on the table is considered a free-for-all.)  

What are your fake-'til-you-make-it experiences?   What are you still “faking”?

I hope you’re still faking a few things (like I am) because otherwise, you’re not growing.



Tim McCarthy  




04-2024 Quote - Seth -ThumbnailQuote of the Month: Seth Godin on AI

In 1840, at the dawn of the information age, the king of Sardinia asked Charles Babbage what nearly instant messaging like the telegraph could possibly be good for.

Twenty years later, it was obvious.

When I first saw Prodigy in 1986, I saw that the consumer internet would have many possibilities, but I didn’t have the guts to ask what I was missing. “In 40 years, for what purposes will it be useful” would have been a productive way to think about the change that was happening.

AI is as big a change as the internet, perhaps more so. And in just a few years, people will wonder why we weren’t wondering better.

---Seth Godin - "For What Purpose Will it be Useful?"


04-2024 Song - A Lot More Free - ThumbnailSong of the Month:  “A Log More Free” by Max McNown

Editor’s note:  With the open mind of a man who is not crazy about country music, I listened to this song sent by a friend.  Soulful, and simple, here’s a very young musician whose mother taught him that “singing means you have a happy heart”.  

Listen to it here

Favorite Lyric:

“When you love somebody and your love grows cold,
The sun starts shining when you let it all go."

Book of the Month: The Last Ships From Hamburg by Steven Ujifusa04-2024 Book - Last Ships Hamburg Thumbnail

Editor’s note:  I like history in general and particularly about the world war periods.  There is so much to learn that we must hang onto.  This book really grabbed my attention because it combines business, politics, immigration, social behavior, and war.  I guess I’ve never thought beyond “all those people arriving at Ellis Island” to find out more about what ships carried them! 

Favorite excerpt:

““There was scant mention of his [J.P. Morgan’s] involvement with the Titanic.  The Wall Street Journal did, however, did offer this laconic verdict on the International Mercantile Marine [consortium], his only business failure: ‘The ocean was too big for the old man’.” 

Read if for your self here.


04-2024 Joke ThumbnailJoke of the Month: What it means to be in an Irish Family

1) You have no idea how to make a long story short!
2) You swear very well.
3) At least one of your cousins is a fireman, cop, bar owner, funeral home owner or holds political office.
4) You think you sing very well.
5) You know at least 3 people named Paddy
6) There isn’t a big difference between you losing your temper and killing someone.
7) Many of your childhood meals were boiled. Instant potatoes were a mortal sin.
8) You have at least one aunt who is a nun, or an uncle who is a priest.
9) You spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling in prayer.
10) You’re strangely poetic after a few beers.
11) Some punches directed at you are from legacies of past generations.
12) Many of your sisters and/or cousins are named Mary, Catherine or Eileen, and there is at least one member of your family with the full name Mary Catherine Eileen.
13) Someone in your family is very generous … it is most likely you.
14) You may not know the words, but that doesn’t stop you from singing.
15) You can’t wait for the other guy to stop talking before you start talking.
16) You’re not nearly as funny as you think you are… but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency.
17) There wasn’t a huge difference between your last wake and your last keg party.
18) You know someone named Murph, Mic or Sully.
19) If you don’t, you are Murph, Mic or Sully.
20) You are genetically incapable of keeping a secret.
21) You have Irish Alzheimer’s… you forget everything but the grudges!
22) ‘Irish Stew’ is a euphemism for ‘boiled leftovers.’
23) Your skin’s ability to tan ….not so much. (Only in spots!)
24) Childhood remedies for the common cold often included some form of whiskey.
25) There’s no leaving a family party without saying goodbye for at least 45 minutes.
26) At this very moment, you have at least two relatives who are not speaking to each other. Not fighting mind you, just not speaking to each other

And it means you are among the luckiest people alive, if for nothing else, just because you have your Irish family.

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Tim McCarthy

Written by Tim McCarthy