Is “Fuck” Really Offensive in the Southeast US?

When I was a kid, whenever my mom said something like “Brad, you sure do have a mouth”, I’d usually respond with “You better fucking believe it.”  (which usually elicited a grimace from her, but I know she was laughing inside). 

I love giving talks, speeches, and being on panels (although I hate sitting in the audience listening).  I gave one in the fall at the 30th Annual Venture Capital Institute – a multi-day conference that’s one of the key “professional education” events for the VC industry. I always ask for feedback from event organizers after any talk I give or panel I’m on.  Sometimes it takes a while for the feedback to make its way to me – I finally got the VCI feedback the other day.  As I read through my talk specific feedback, I was rolling on the floor with laughter from the specific comments (I’ve italicized the ones that really got me) – they say more about the “style” of the VC industry than anything I could ever dream up.  So – rather than try to describe it, here they are.  Enjoy.

  • Just went a little bit too fast.
  • Although one of the best instructors of the program – with excellent delivery & content – I’d encourage the Institute to make it clear what is & is not appropriate language. I found Brad’s inferred style fantastic & nothing offensive – but some may, especially in the southeastern U.S.
  • Obviously a very dynamic speaker.
  • Dress is disrespectful.
  • OK.
  • Subject content may have been a bit too much of a “war story” recounting but brought valuable bits of info to light and addressed issues and options well.
  • A breath of fresh air with great experience to share.
  • Just a fabulous speaker – really enjoyed the “learnings” he shared from real deals.
  • Instruments used not really applicable to our market.
  • Very good.
  • Poor time management.
  • The best so far – actual cases very helpful.
  • More time or probably less slides.
  • I thought Brad’s teaching technique and personality was a great change.
  • Could have spent more time on term sheet.
  • Should have allocated more time to this topic.
  • Take time for IPO discussion.
  • This presentation was helpful, especially the examples of how exits occurred in his experience.
  • I would have liked this to be longer – it would have been nice to learn the rest of this presentation.
  • Entertaining speaker.
  • Case studies were excellent (and helpful).
  • Liberal use of the “F word” detracted from the presentation.
  • Knowledgeable speaker; would appreciate more examples of problematic exits & pitfalls.
  • Great candor in describing the industry. Perfect choice!
  • Nice T-shirt!
  • Some terms were beyond my knowledge level (liquidation preference – carve out…). I’m new in the business & will learn from my firm. A little crass and sloppy for my taste (in this setting). But clearly a very intelligent businessman with practical common sense – a guy I’d invest in & with.
  • Great!
  • Outstanding.
  • Bad language.
  • Try to stick to schedule. Useful format & detail. Slightly long-winded. Too much time spent on relatively easy concepts.
  • What happened to dress code? Too cute! Is this really the presentation VCI wanted? Language was offensive. Good material but inappropriate presentation.
  • Brad was terrific, all-around. Very concise, informative and honest.
  • Certainly unique but good, memorable presentation.
  • Great content. Having more detailed back up slides would be helpful as take-away’s.
  • Very practical/useful discussion.
  • Good job at describing very rich information. Very open and responsive.
  • Very graphic – held my attention.

Mom – you should be proud – you’ve raised a graphic kid (my mom’s an artist, so I’m sure she won’t miss the double entendre).  And – if Tom Peters says “fuck” in public, surely it’s acceptable in business at this point.