Yes, please, feel free

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I swear, the 4th most famous last words are, "How hard can it be?"

When I read something like this (go ahead, read the whole post):

"The conference was a joke. You're a ridiculous outfit and I could do a better job in a fraction of the time and cost."

I have to take a deep breath, look down, shake my head, look up, and either burst into laughter or attempt to suppress that laughter. I have to do these things, because the only people who could possibly say these words are the people who HAVE NEVER DONE IT (where IT is defined at organizing and coordinating whatever the organized event is).

When I was running SBUL and MPUL, people would complain about this or that, about how unbalanced the teams were, about how I wouldn't let the teams play when the ground was too wet, about how the bathrooms weren't open or the lights were turned off too early, about how much the league cost, or about I don't know, pick something. Yes, the leagues were balanced on paper but life/injuries/sandbagging happens, we'd lose the fields forever if we played on them when they were wet, the bathrooms were open you went to the wrong ones, the lights went off exactly on schedule, and yes, field maintenance costs money, suck it up. No bit of logic would dissuade these people from complaining to a bunch of volunteers who spent their time helping CREATE SOMETHING THAT DIDN'T EXIST BEFORE, and existed because they wanted it to exist.

Fast forward to Hacker Dojo. Now THERE was a lesson in how many different ways I can keep a smile on my face while people complain about things that really didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, all while getting kicked in the teeth in the end. Or Ignite Silicon Valley where a woman complained that the free-for-her event that I paid for and was organizing WASN'T SERVING DINNER.

The people who complained were invariably the people who have never managed an event, never created something from nothing for others because they wanted that something to exist, never been on the receiving end of two hundred people all asking for "one small thing, it shouldn't take long." They had never walked that mile in the organizers shoes, never understood death by a thousand cuts.

So, when I read something like the quote above, I see myself standing like Kris, one hand on my hip, the other hand on the bill of my baseball hat, looking down as I push the hat up and rub my forehead with the back of that upper hand, shaking my head slightly, a smirking grimace on my face. I see myself putting my hat back on my head, looking up, and echoing Andy Allan's words, "All I can say to you is please, feel free."