THE THING THAT DISTINGUISHES ONE PERFORMER FROM ANOTHER IS HOW HARD HE OR SHE WORKS. THAT'S IT. AND WHAT'S MORE, THE PEOPLE AT THE VERY TOP DON'T WORK JUST OR EVEN MUCH HARDER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE. THEY WORK MUCH, MUCH HARDER.
............................ 1871 - Where Digital Startups Get Their Start ........................
First Things First: Family and Friends By Howard Tullman
There are degrees of everything – very few things in our world today are absolute. The amount of regular attention we pay to various matters and things; the extent of our patience for our loved ones, peers and others; and the wide range and intensity of the up-and-down feelings we experience at home and at work every day are all highly variable and emotionally-charged elements of our lives. If variety is the spice of life; it’s equally an unsettling, challenging and countervailing offset to the security and stability that we all also relish.
At the same time, some things are for sure. You can’t be all things to all people; you can’t dance every dance; and throughout your life, you’ve got to make some hard choices, lots of sacrifices, more than a few compromises, and then you’ve got to live with them through thick or thin for a very long time. The truth is that you can’t really hedge your bets when it’s your life and the really important parts of it are on the line. We become the sum of our choices over time and those choices determine the kind of person we end up being and how the world sees and values us.What we become isn’t a necessarily a result of fate or destiny. It’s certainly not foretold or preordained in any sense, just as there are no guarantees when you start a business. And I don’t believe that it’s beyond our control and our ability to bend and shape the outcomes to match our desires if we consciously, actively and continually apply ourselves to the task. Throughout our lives, we remain a work in progress. Iteration isn’t just a business process; it’s a strategy for a life well lived. And the good things that we all hope for don’t happen by themselves; you’ve got to pay attention and make them happen.
One of the most critical choices you’ll need to make when you start out in your career is exactly what kind of person you want to be. I think it’s somewhat back in fashion these days to be a workaholic. For some of us, it never went out of style. Almost everyone today wants to be an entrepreneur; build a business; and be a big honking overnight success. But that’s only part of the story. Just as we say at 1871 that ultimately it’s not about making money, it’s about making a difference; it’s also about more than making a living – it’s about making a life. And the “you” you become is a big part of the life you build outside the office right alongside your business.
It’s really important – in the frenzy of the work and the world – that you don’t lose your sense of purpose, perspective and proportion and risk losing yourself in the process. Your business and your work will always be what you do. These things are not who you are. And it’s critical right from the start that you not confuse or conflate the two. This isn’t as easy to manage as you may think. Today, too many of us worship our work; we work at our play (fitness uber alles); and we play at what little worship we make a part of our lives. Where’s the soul and the value in that? And – assuming that we want to – how exactly do we get ourselves back on top of things before they veer entirely out of control?
To handle the constant barrage of useful information, occasional insights and useless chatter as well as the increasing assault on all of our senses and, in fact, just to get successfully through the day; we need a new plan. You can drown in many ways today – in data, in documents, in deliberations and in endless discussions. So, the fact is that we each need to develop new skills (for managing both the data and the people in our lives) which probably most resemble the triage process in any emergency room. It’s all about radical and rapid choices – as always – but there are many different kinds of choices in the mix.
At work, we tend automatically to focus on the fiercest fires and the highest flames. We let a great deal of how we spend our days and how our attention is directed be driven by the newest crisis rather than remaining in some kind of control and attending to the critical things that really matter. Attention is a slippery substance (a lot like mercury); easily and quickly redirected and readily dissipated. If no one is paying attention to the right things and the things that count, people just stop caring. Once you stop paying attention to the people in your business that are important and they stop caring about you and your business; they’ll go someplace else to find someone else who does pay attention and who does care. It’s just a matter of time. But that’s mainly the business side of the equation.
As the number of physical, mental and emotional inputs we absorb each day continues to increase; our attention spans are shrinking and it’s easy to fall back on systems and formulas and – before you know it – just by force of habit and circumstance, we’re applying the same approaches and mental checklists that work so well at the firm or in the factory to our friends and families. This is where things can go very wrong very quickly. Because some of the people decisions we’re confronted with every day aren’t mathematical or subject to standard rules and procedures – they’re choices about others, about feelings, and about our relationships. These concerns are fundamentally different, non-mechanical, and far more complex and they defy easy explanation. People aren’t products, positions or policies – they’re our co-workers, friends, and family. There’s no fixed formula for getting these things right.
But it’s just as much our job and equally incumbent upon us to decide all day long what’s truly important in these interpersonal instances – both in the moment and in the long run – and to spend the time and direct the required attention to making sense of these situations with the same passion and energy that we apply to our business problems and concerns. It’s a given that there’s never enough time in the day (and that’s never going to change); there’s never enough of any one of us to go around (cloning may help this someday); and it’s way too easy to find an excuse rather than finding the time to deal with these issues.
But here’s the bottom line: your family (when you have one) will be a much more important extension of yourself than any work you do. There’s always more work – you only have one family. And, believe me; good friends are also few and far between. Friends are the family that you get to choose – they are hard to find; even harder to leave; and impossible to forget. So as you make them; make a plan to hang on to them. They’re as important an investment over time as anything else.
Take a little time now to decide how you’d like things to turn out when you look back in 50 years at your accomplishments, your family, and what you’ve built. It’s all right there before you; it’s all possible at the moment; and ultimately it’s all about what you’re going to make of it.
Howard A. Tullman serves as the CEO of 1871 and the General Managing Partner for G2T3V, LLC and for the Chicago High Tech Investors, LLC; he is Executive Chairman and a Director of Music Dealers and a Director of SnapSheet, PackBack Books, VEHCON, and BCV Evolve. He is a Board Advisor to Hightower Advisors, The Starter School, Built in Chicago and many other start-ups in Chicago. He was previously a Trustee of WTTW in Chicago and the New York Academy of Art in New York. He serves as the Chairman of the Endowment Committee of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, and an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston and at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.
It’s a simple idea, yet one with immense possibilities -- a playground. In the South Side of Chicago, where many kids have no safe place to frolic, two 7th-graders from a nicer part of town are skipping the lavish celebrations that would usually accompany their upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, and will instead use the money to build a park.
Best friends Marc Luban and Ariana Handelman partnered with the Anshe Emet Synagogue, where they attend services, and Bright Star Church in Bronzeville to raise money, design and eventually construct a playground for those in the South Side area. The park will reside on the Bright Star premises.
Both kids asked their parents to spend any money and energy they would have put toward their parties on the playground instead. All invited guests are now invited to build. They’ve also set up an IndieGoGo page with a minimum goal of $30,000, which they’re close to meeting, and are looking for additional donations and sponsorships to reach the $90,000 total needed for the project.
“I’ve always liked parks because they’re so much fun, and you can do a million different things,” Ariana tells Ellen’s Good News. “The neighborhood isn’t the safest so having a park there will give them a good place to play.”
While Ariana and Marc live on the North Side of the city, Ariana says she visited Bright Star Church earlier in the year, and was able to meet many of the kids who will benefit from construction of the playground. The 12-year-old acknowledges the dire circumstances many of these children face on a daily basis.
“When I went for Martin Luther King weekend, a lot of it was trying to acknowledge how violent it was and how we all need to stop the violence,” Ariana remarks. “The police officer who was talking said she had met with high-schoolers, and asked them to raise their hand if their brother had been killed -- a bunch raised their hands. Then she asked them to raise their hands if their father had been killed, and a bunch raised their hands. She asked if both their brother and father, and more than half raised their hands. So, that's a little of what I know about the area.”
Bright Star Church is located in the Bronzeville neighborhood of the city, which is 97 percent African-American and has a median household income that’s one third of citywide household incomes.
Ariana adds, “I think building a park will help, because the kids can have somewhere to play that’s not dangerous."
Together with their synagogue leader, Rabbi Michael Siegel, and Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Church, Ariana and Marc have inspired a movement within their two communities to create a lasting effect on the city. They are currently at summer camp, but will meet with their South Side cohorts when they return to design the park.
“We are going to meet with the kids who are going to play there, and have them dream up their ideal park,” Ariana explains. “With the money and space, we will try and make as much happen as possible.”
The park combines two elements of Marc and Ariana’s Bar Mitzvah rituals: community service and celebration. It’s also an extension of a bond the two religious congregations developed years earlier, and a commitment they have to give a sanctuary to all kids in the city.
“This park is helping us get together,” Ariana points out. “People should learn if they want something to happen they should try. They should work on it.”
If you’re interested in learning more or contributing to Ariana and Marc’s fundraiser, visit their IndieGoGo page.
Neal Sales-Griffin and
Mike McGee faced tough choices in spring 2011: They could work for the
president's re-election campaign, split up for different opportunities, or work
on their 3-week-old startup idea.
Ultimately, the two men
chose the last and riskiest option, co-founding Chicago-based coding and
entrepreneurship school The Starter League.
The journey to that
decision involved ignoring advice from business veterans, turning down the
president — and persuading Sales-Griffin's dad to move out of his apartment so
Sales-Griffin and McGee could work together day and night.
"We couldn't stop
this idea," McGee said. "And we went for it."
During the past three
years, graduates of their school have spawned several companies, including one
that raised nearly $1 million in venture capital.
But unlike entrepreneurs
who take their concept national, Sales-Griffin and McGee plan to keep their
business small and local so they can maintain personal relationships with their
"The way we work
well together is, we share the same belief," said Sales-Griffin, 26. That
belief is that the world will be better if people can solve problems with code.
"Neither of us is
that religious or anything, but if we had our own religion, we'd both be very
strong believers in it."
Their startup was
profitable from day one, a "ridiculously rare" accomplishment, said
one of their mentors, Howard Tullman, who also is chief executive of Chicago
tech incubator 1871. Though he questioned the co-founders' lack of desire to
grow, eventually, after a heated argument or two, he finally understood:
"You could see that this was half a business in a way and half sort of a
The Starter League was
one of the first companies to land space at 1871 when it opened at the
Merchandise Mart in 2012. In March, The Starter League moved into new
headquarters, at 30 N. Racine Ave. The co-founders declined to say just how
profitable their company is, its revenue or its rate of growth.
Sales-Griffin and McGee's
unique relationship — co-founders who work and live together — began in
college. They met at Northwestern University, where McGee was student body
president his senior year.
recommending him (for a committee) after all the candidates spoke," said
McGee, 25, though he'd never met Sales-Griffin. "I could really tell that
he cared about the right things."
The two sometimes worked
in their student government offices until 3 or 4 a.m.
"I knew that on a
bad day, Mike could work harder than me," said Sales-Griffin, who, in
addition to attending classes and heading up Northwestern's student government,
also put in three days a week at a venture capital firm.
Amanda Lannert, CEO of
interactive marketing company Jellyvision and on The Starter League board, said
the duo's enthusiasm entices people to want to work with them. Lannert, for
example, said she agreed to teach at their school even though she said she
barely had time for the meeting during which Sales-Griffin asked her to teach.
kind of a broad guy and his arms are out and he leans into the table … and you
just do it," Lannert said. "All of a sudden you're agreeing to things
you didn't know you would."
The two men could be seen
as interchangeable; they often fill in for one another because of overcommitted
schedules. Yet they have different skill sets. McGee has a knack for design and
Sales-Griffin's forte is business development.
Sales-Griffin is a
homebody and a workhorse, laboring nights and weekends.
"He cares about
nothing except for what he's trying to do," said Jack Mallers, a recent
school graduate. "No score of the football game, he doesn't care if he's
hungry. … Nothing else matters."
McGee is a sports fanatic
and highly competitive. When he makes announcements, he does so with animated,
grand gestures. And he can recall the smallest details of his life with
stunning clarity, as if he were recalling scenes from a movie.
Sales-Griffin clearly is
the restless one of the two. Six months after he graduated in 2009, he landed a
job with Chicago venture firm and startup incubator Sandbox Industries Inc. But
one day he called up McGee: "'Hey, I'm going to quit my job and you should
learn how to code with me so we can build startups.'"
Twenty seconds passed.
"It wasn't a hard
sell," McGee recalled.
At least not to him.
Sales-Griffin's parents was another matter. They thought he was crazy.
Sales-Griffin asked his
dad to move out of his apartment so he and McGee could spend the next year,
working 12 hours or more a day, sometimes in their pajamas, teaching themselves
how to build Web applications.
"My dad, he was
like, 'This is stupid. What are you talking about?'" Sales-Griffin said.
"My mom, same thing: 'No, don't do this. You've got a good job.'"
It took three days to
persuade his dad to move out.
proposition was: We will rent this place from you. You'll be our landlord and
you can go get a nicer place," Sales-Griffin said. With that, he turned
his childhood apartment into their new workspace.
The year turned into a
swirl of frustration. While teaching themselves how to code, and sifting
through about 100 startup ideas, none seemed like a good enoughbusiness
Then, a passive
suggestion from a friend helped crystallize the idea for The Starter League: If
they were struggling so hard to learn code, wouldn't other would-be
entrepreneurs also need help?
"The light bulb went
off," Sales-Griffin recalled. "I thought, 'Yeah, duh! This is a huge
problem. … We need a place to learn this stuff, why isn't there a place for us
to learn how to do this?'"
There were complications,
though. Sales-Griffin had already secured a one-way ticket to Uruguay after a
Web development firm there offered to teach him how to code in exchange for
help managing projects.
A few weeks later, Harper
Reed, chief technology officer for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election
campaign, came calling. He wanted Sales-Griffin and McGee to be project
"They spent a lot of
time thinking about it," Reed said.
But ultimately, they said
no to both opportunities.
"I was like … this
is the president," Reed said. "You can't do that … and of course,
Neal didn't (care)."
McGee said it was a tough
decision — he could picture the hundreds of "likes" and
"shares" on Facebook if he went to work for the president.
"But then I was
like, what about six months later?" McGee said. "Is this something
that when you wake up on a random Tuesday that you want to do?"
Reed said McGee's and
Sales-Griffin's willingness to say no is part of why they've been successful.
"It's not just that
they say no," said Reed, who has acted as their mentor and serves on their
board. "It's that they trust themselves. A lot of people say no, and
they're just idiots. But Mike and Neal have this vision, and they're unwilling
to sacrifice that vision."
During spring 2011,
Sales-Griffin drove around Chicago with an iPad trying to convince anybody in
the tech world who would listen that their idea was worth funding. That effort
earned him "a lot of parking tickets," and after a frustrating
runaround with venture capitalists, and watching their bank accounts dwindle to
close to zero, they decided to go it alone, without capital funding. They would
need students to pay tuition upfront to buy needed computers and to pay the
"We were on State
Street, we were waiting for the bus and we were just like, let's build
this," McGee said. "Let's do it."
Even though they couldn't
prove with "pretty charts and graphs" that there was demand for
learning to code, Sales-Griffin and McGee knew it was there. They'd been to a
lot of tech conventions where they'd heard people say they needed Web
developers. That, they said, underscored the need for a coding school.
The original idea for the
school was a nine-month program. The duo pivoted to a three-month model priced
at $6,000 to test it out.
"We knew we could
get people," McGee said. "We didn't know who they were, we didn't
know what they looked like, but we knew they were out there."
Since The Starter League
opened, dozens of coding schools have followed, along with a promise to churn
out professional developers in as little as 10 to 12 weeks.
"It makes me laugh,
because we really did just make that (stuff) up," McGee said. "Yeah,
three months, quarter system, that could be enough time for someone to learn
something. And now you see all these sites, 'Three months and you'll be a
professional Web developer.'"
Paul Pagel, chief
executive of 8th Light Inc., a software development company, said it's
impossible to become a professional developer in 10 weeks. About one-third of
apprentices who join his company are graduates of either The Starter League or
rival coding school Dev Bootcamp.
McGee and Sales-Griffin
aim to develop self-learners and quickly refocused on their original nine-month
idea. They didn't want to churn out "screwdrivers," who knew how to
code but not how to build businesses. They wanted to foster entrepreneurs.
Their first batch of
students in the $36,000, nine-month Starter School program that teaches
students how to code and design software and ultimately start their own
businesses graduated in June.
Graduate Erinn Barr
started a business called MakeHerSmile, a personalized gift-giving website for
stumped boyfriends and husbands. Pete Albertson created a site to manage season
tickets among friends as an alternative to sites like StubHub. Mallers opted to
go to Starter School rather than traditional college and will continue working
with Sales-Griffin on a Web application side project.
"I've really learned
… that the world we live in was only built by people who are no smarter than you
and I, and that we can build things," Mallers said. "We are the
builders and designers of this world, and that whole point of view comes
completely from Neal and Mike."
The decision to
transition from a financially solid three-month model to a significantly
riskier nine-month model had their mentors screaming about a year ago.
"I'm not sure who
was yelling the most, but the thought was, 'We don't (care) if you don't want
to run (the three-month model) anymore, you should hire people to run it. What
are we missing?'" Tullman said.
"What we were
missing was, that wasn't the business they wanted or intended to build,"
Focus will be key, their
"Part of the
challenge about having this charisma is, opportunities galore come to them easily,"
Lannert said of the men who have, on several occasions, met with Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel and White House staff to talk about their ideas. "This school
wants them to have a program, the governor wants them to do this, CPS wants
them to do that. … Not doing too much is a challenge."
Sales-Griffin said the
company, which has seven employees and several adjunct lecturers, is in
"investment mode" after a big spike in revenue. He said he and McGee
are using profits to bolster the nine-monthStarter School, which
begins its second year of classes in the fall.
Tullman predicts that
Sales-Griffin and McGee will launch a couple of more businesses. "They can
pretty much do whatever they want to pursue. I don't think they'll be going to
work for anybody anytime soon."
McGee and Sales-Griffin agree that they won't
be slowing down.
"I just look out at the world and think
(about) how many people are out there with a far more challenging or difficult
situation," Sales-Griffin said. "I owe it to those people … to
put every last drop of blood, sweat and tears that I have into what I'm doing
all the time."
High school mascot: A
pretzel. "Our motto was, unofficially: 'You can eat us, but you can't beat
Favorite superhero: Batman
Ironic fact: One of
the biggest hiccups in his campaign for student vice president at Northwestern
University was the fact that no one knew how to build a website.
Favorite sport to play: Golf.
He used to play an average of 54 holes each day during the summer.
Childhood: He grew
up in Freeport, west of Rockford, but often visited an aunt in Hyde Park, near
where Sales-Griffin grew up.
On getting started
without venture capital funding: "(I'm) not
going totally against capital. There are definitely some startups that need
capital more than most, but the knee-jerk go-for-capital is not the smartest
thing all the time."
Childhood: He grew
up in Chicago's Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods.
Favorite sports: He was
on the football and track and field teams in high school.
Ironic fact: He
learned how to type four years ago.
First job: Selling
Christmas trees in grade school.
On work ethic: "I'm
just going, I'm grinding, you can't stop me. … I may not be smarter than you
now, but I will be later, because I'm going to keep working."
On leadership: "It's
ultimately just about bringing together a group of people that can collaborate
and take action to solve a problem. … The rest is jazz."
I don’t know how to write this without sounding like the kind of person I’m about to sound like, but sometimes you’ve just got to write it like you feel it. And I feel this. I un-friended a ‘friend’ from Facebook the other day.
To be honest, he wasn’t really a friend. He was a professional aquaintance and one whose talent I respect. But that’s it.
I un-friended him because he crossed a line.
I don’t mind that he didn’t write to ask how we’re doing here in Israel. People have their lives and we’re not the center of the world.
No. He started posting videos and images that reek of anti-semitism and an anti-Israel bias the likes of which are posted by people who clearly hate my country.
And a post that Robert De Niro supposedly made claiming we’re an apartheid state. (He never said that at all. We’re not – and that post was another spreading of an untruth).
He crossed a line on a day – the other day – that 13 regular Israeli fathers, sons or brothers here were killed defending my country. Men drawn into a war they did not want to fight, but fought to protect their families, friends, and country – and to protect ME. A war others will continue to fight because to not fight it means we will perish. I don’t mean that we will lose our country, but as you can see by the turmoil around us in the Middle East (that has nothing to do with us) we will lose our lives.
He crossed a line following 10 days in which we, the citizens of Israel, have been bombarded the length of the 10 hour drive north to south of our country, and two our drive east to west of our country (that’s the size of Israel) with missiles intended to murder Israelis, no matter what gender, what age, what profession and what religion they follow. (We have over a million Israeli-Arabs living here within our borders as citizens with full rights).
And as I write, coming home from a day of work and having put my son to bed in his crib, we are still being bombarded.
He crossed another line after he saw that I unfriended him when he wrote an email to me saying that it’s ‘…funny to be de-friended for posting a statement from an elected official. As a Jew you should realize that mass murder is never justified’. (His identity will remain hidden, of course).
First of all, don’t give me that ‘as a Jew’ crap. I don’t need to be a Jew to realise that mass murder isn’t justified. I need to be a decent human being.
Secondly, I don’t give a damn that he was an elected official – he said some preposterous, disgusting and very untrue things – and history is full of misguided elected officals.
And third, we’re mass murderers? My country accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire twice and Hamas keeps firing away. They aim rockets at civilians while we go at great lengths to avoid civilians actually calling them in their areas and dropping warning charges, to give innocents a chance to escape. That’s unprecedented in warfare history. We leave Gaza for a chance at peace 9 years ago and for 9 years we got rockets, hate education, underground tunnels built with the purpose of entering Israeli territory so radicals can murder and kidnap Jews? This is what we get for leaving Gaza unilaterally 9 years ago. And we’re mass murderers?
No – fool. Ours is not the behavior of mass murderers.
I’m tired of the argument lobbed against us where I read people saying it’s ‘not fair’ because more Palestinians have died than Israelis. Of people asking ‘why are we complaining when we’re the stronger ones?’ My heart bleeds for every innocent killed no matter what side they’re on. Palestinain or Israeli innocents – it matters not.
But I will not apologise for surviving.
For surviving missiles intended to kill me. The fact they didn’t kill me doesn’t mean they weren’t sent with the intention to murder. We have a defence system, shelters, evacuation procedures and governments who take care of us – I will not apologise for living and surviving thanks to being prepared because we have a culture that celebrates our lives and cherishes them instead of sending 10-year old children to be fighters and bombers. I will not apologise for having a business, a home, a family and friends here who want normal lives and to live in peace with our neighbors. I will not apologise for existing and I want nothing more than to co-exist quietly with neighbors who accept me here.
But this is not what Hamas wants.
Let me be very clear. Hamas is trying to kill ME. My family. My baby son. All of us here. That is their purpose. Get it through your heads – that is what is happening. And it’s VERY personal. For all of us here.
Our Israeli civilians – people like me – are being targeted to die. Palestinian innocents on the other side are dying because my army is trying to protect us from thugs operating in those areas who are launching rockets at my populated cities. If Palestinian innocents are dying it’s because of jihadists and terrorists (other names for thugs), but NOT because of the State of Israel that is trying to protect its citizens as any sovereign country would do. People are going to die. Innocents will die and it’s awful and it’s ugly. But we have to do what we have to do now. That is not a tone of justification. It’s me telling you the way it is – and believe me, we’re already paying the price with the blood of our people…of families who will never sit together again. Play together again. Hold eachother again.
This is not a game.
I was speaking to my father this evening and he advised me, like a good father does bless him, to not speak my mind on Facebook. Why go to the trouble? But he’s looking out for his son knowing I’ll face backlash.
Look, we remained silent in the 30′s and look where it got us. We hoped rational people would see sense and refused to believe that people were capable of evil. And where did that get us? Trainrides straight to the gas chambers by REAL mass murderers. And there are those today who follow directly in the footsteps of the Nazis and who state proudly that they want to see all Jews dead, all of israel wiped off the face of the earth. (It is in Hamas’ offical charter – I’m serious – look). And why? Not because of ‘stolen land’ and politics but because they’re misguided, pitiful, hateful people who hate Jews and don’t give a damn about their people. Because anyone who gives a damn about their people would try giving them a future and not use them as pawns in a sick game of death and 72 virgins.
No, I will not remain silent while lies are spread about my country, my people, my culture, my values. I will be the FIRST in line to condemn my leaders and countrymen and women when they do wrong – as we do. (And we do). But we are in the right here and I will not be quiet.
If anyone doesn’t understand any of the above; if anyone doesn’t get it; if any of my friends are going to post anti-Israel messages in a time where over 500 Palestinians have tragically died in this current conflict yet you remained silent while almost 200,000 Arabs were murdered by Arabs these past few years; if you’re not writing about Assad using chemical weapons against his people; if you’re not writing about ISIS who crucified 8 christians the other day and who are telling Iraqi Christians ‘convert, pay tax, or die’; if you only have criticism for the State of Israel that is doing EVERYTHING in its power to avoid civilian losses to Palestinians during a war; if you’re going to do nothing but sit wherever you’re sitting and just dish out your anti-Israel dirt while rockets are being aimed at my house, family and friends as our boys are fighting to protect us – and you’re going to dish it out simply because we’re living in this land and you haven’t got a clue as to our connection to it; if you’re going to join the anti-semitic and anti-Israel demonstrations flaring up in the world like we’re seeing in France, Turkey, Berlin, most Arab states and even in the US that have nothing to do with this conflict but are really just expressions of hatred directed at Jews and Israelis (and these expressions will be directed at the host countries soon); if you’re going to stay quiet and just accept, then go ahead and unfriend me from Facebook now because you’re probably no friend of mine.
Know this: when someone tries to end my life, IT IS PERSONAL. And if you’re adding fuel to the fire by posting crap that in some small way will contribute to my demise, then again - un-friend me now.
Because you can have the hatred, the twisted, the sick and evil and be a part of that – or you can have me. But you can’t have both.