• Brett Johnson

Shark Week! When Keynote Presenters Attack: An Open Letter to The Person Questioning my Reformation

I guess you know you've made it as a speaker when other speakers choose to attack you during their own keynote presentations.

OK, not going to name names, not going to mention the conference. Why? Because I'm bigger than that. I'm not going to sink to drama or name calling. I'm just going to address what was said and go from there.

So, this person was a speaker this year at a conference I keynoted last year. GREAT conference, great people, great company. Truly one of the best experiences I've had as a speaker. She spoke at their most recent summit. During her presentation she decides to mention me and comment that I might not be as reformed as I claim to be. I'm guessing it was a snide comment, maybe a comment to get attention, maybe she meant it, maybe not. Honestly? Don't really care why she said the comment.

But it is a comment which bears discussing.

First, to the speaker. Come on. You gonna call someone out at least have the decency to give the person a chance to retort. When I called a certain financial institution a bunch of assholes I immediately tried to give that same institution a chance to respond. So don't hide your remarks. If you are going to say something, stand by it. Don't say something behind someone's back if you can't say it to their face. Want to talk about it? Hell, I am MORE than willing to take the stage with you and we can have a discussion on whether I'm reformed or not. It could be like Tyson Holyfield and I'd even let you be Tyson if you want. I'm positive we'd have an audience for it.

As for me being reformed? I can SAY whatever I want. Words are cheap. My actions are something else entirely. You judge me by my actions and it becomes harder every single day for anyone, including you, to claim I'm not 100% above board and living a completely legitimate life. You look at the work I do and the information I share freely. You look at the groups I work with and the effort I put into making sure I'm doing as much as I possibly can to protect people and NOT be remembered as the guy who stole stuff. Look at the amount of law enforcement contacts I have and the discussions I have with them and are invited to. Consider all that and more and it not only becomes harder with each passing day to claim I'm not above board, it becomes disingenuous.

I know this write up will get back to you. If you'd like to have a public discussion on Linkedin--I am MORE than willing. If you'd like to be a guest on the podcast where I will gladly discuss your feelings--I'm game. If you'd like to co-author a blog--lemme know. We've actually talked before. I still don't know you that well, but would hope you would choose to have this discussion where everyone can weigh both sides, make their own decision, and go from there instead of just spouting off on a stage for whatever reason. I'd hope you would be open-minded in such a discussion as well.

You will note, I didn't attack you. I didn't call you names. I didn't question your knowledge. I didn't slam the company for which you work. I have my own feelings about all of those, but this isn't the time or place for that conversation. So what do you say? Wanna talk?

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