Tim McCarthy and the Business of Good

Fear and Love

Jul 1, 2024 1:23:21 PM / by Tim McCarthy

07-2024 - Fear and Love


Paulo Freire said, “The opposite of love is not, as we many times or almost always think, hatred, but the fear to love, and fear to love is the fear of being free.”

Sounds “touchy-feely”, doesn’t it?  My continuing experience says it’s not.

  • In business…In 2005, Timmy had just one Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers at 15th and High (Ohio State). Zaxby’s, a Chicken Finger chain larger than canes at the time, announced they would build 15-20 restaurants in central Ohio, the first one a few blocks away.  We received a war chest from our franchisor to fight them off.  When I suggested we mount a competitive campaign, Timmy said, “Let’s spend the money instead reinforcing Raising Cane’s theme “One Love” by investing in operations and service.”  A year later, Zaxby’s closed and has not returned to Ohio 19 years later.  Note:  Todd Graves added “Cane’s Love” to “One Love” internally to become a chain widely known for respecting their people. For 28 years they’ve been able to hang onto that idea in practice while building a company now worth almost $10 billion.
  • On parenting…During my children’s adolescence I lived in mortal fear that they would take the wrong path and, often, I used fear and guilt to admonish them.  Confrontation and expressions of disappointment were constant whether spoken or implied.  The fear I lived with and expressed inhibited their and my growth and got in the way of love and trust.  The cracks are still noticeable.  
  • Politics…My professional political career began in 1971 as money and embellishment of the truth were growing in importance.  Now, the Citizens United (unlimited spending) decision and lawsuits allow both parties to engage in hyperbole, even outright lies.  The result: Fear has become a winning strategy.  
“Our country (state, county, town) is being overrun by (pejorative name here).”
“Our country (state, county, town) is going bankrupt, financially and morally.”
“Elect me or all kinds of disastrous things will befall you and our nation.”

      On this point, I’ve no resolve except that I pray each day that moderation will return.

  • Advertising…The age-old question “does life imitate art or vice versa” came up early in my advertising career.  Fear is most advertisers’ first choice; telling consumers that buying their product will “make me a better person, healthier, envied, and lead a fuller life”.  Media has long been bent to FOMO (our fear of missing out). 
    The ad agency McCann’s theme, since 1934 is: “The Truth, Well Told”.  I was lucky to work in their system that taught me our job was not to scare people but instead to put our client’s product in the best light using facts, warmth and humor. 

Building business, parenting, selling politicians and products count on decisions based on either fear or love.  It is difficult in the moment to consciously define and decide which to choose.   Decisions that seem quick and obvious are easier to make than thoughtful ones.

Fear sells faster but never longer.  Love takes time and conscious choice but, over time, love wins.  Choices borne of love are harder but when it’s about business partners, kids (and theirs), buying something or voting, personal experience says that love lasts longer.   


Tim McCarthy  




07-2024 Quote - Jocelyn McCauley - NewsletterQuote of the Month: Jocelyn McCauley

Fear is self-imposed, meaning it doesn’t exist, you create it, and you can destroy it. I love fear because behind every fear is a person you want to be.

---Jocelyn McCauley







07-2024 Song - Whipping Post - NewsletterSong of the Month:  “Whipping Post” Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band

Editor’s Comment:  Rest In Peace, Dickie Betts.  Betts’ most famous writing was “Ramblin Man” and while popular, is not one of my favorites.  This, another Betts song features Betts and Duane Allman alternating on lead and rhythm guitar in one of the greatest electric blues ballads ever.

Listen to it here





Book of The Month: "Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver
07-2024 Book - Demon Copperhead - Newsletter
Editor’s Note:  (Thanks for the tip, Joe.)  Imagine someone believing they could update Charles Dicken’s famous “David Copperfield” and get away with it.  Kingsolver succeeds both in her social commentary and brilliant writing.  The story begins on Damon’s (“Demon”) birth, in the first person and continues with narration of his life through mid-20s growing up in Appalachia.  

Favorite excerpt: (regarding 9/11 terrorist attacks)

“I know it was real buildings.  And they still have lots more standing in those cities, so I guess that’s a worry.  Here, if any terrorists came flying over, they look down on our trashed-out mine craters and blown-up mountains and say, “Keep going.  This place already got taken out.”  


Read it for yourself here




07-2024 Funny - Bill - NewsletterJoke of the Month: Bill in the Office

My brother, Bill, was the President of a local bank and nurtured the image at work…well-dressed, formal speech, everything in its place.  After calling his secretary into his office one day, he unleashed a silent but deadly fart. 

Both he and Lynne tried to ignore it but finally she asked, “Excuse me, Mr. McCarthy…but did you pass gas?” 

To which my brother replied, “Well of course I did, you don’t think I smell this way all the time, do you?”






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Tim McCarthy

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