A Statement Regarding Modern Media Man Summit

I have been struggling to write this now for 3 months.  I have been cautioned, counseled about its content, prodded for its distribution, and have reached for publish and stopped a number of times.  The tough things in life are never easy, and admitting failure or that you have done something wrong or even just doing the right thing and standing for what is proper can be a rough task.  I try to be the example to those around me and so it is with that in mind that I have decided to make this statement to my friends, my followers, my family and the community that I belong to in hopes that I can move forward.  The community I refer to is inclusive of the men and Dads out there as well as my business contacts, my colleagues and those that I have been fortunate enough to know over the years and grow with over time.  I cannot continue forward with new things until I close out some of the old.

I am passionate and this brought me to being a Daddy blogger and business owner.  It was that passion and interest in the world of blogs and parenting that brought me to BlogHer a number of years ago.  I was sitting next to the pool in California with a few other dads, and we all said that it would be great if we had a conference for us guys to call our own.  We all chuckled then and rolled our eyes and asked who was buying the next round of beers?  Fast forward to early  2010. In February of 2010, I had an initial conversation with one of the organizers and founders of the Modern Media Man Summit.  At the time it did not have a name or a face a logo or anything more than a good idea of the person on the other end of the chat and they wanted to try a new company.  They wanted a conference for men and for dads.  This was after all, “The Year of the Daddy Blogger.”  I agreed to help be a part of what I thought would be a winning idea.

Having worked as the conference director and social media director for BlogWorld and New Media Expo the year before I thought I could provide some much needed expertise as well as some good business contacts and connections that I felt was needed to make the project a success.  It was agreed that we would go forward with the project.  Like in all of my endeavors, I threw my heart and soul into the success of the company and the project was underway.  I set aside most of my other business duties and began concentrating on what needed to be accomplished.    I reached out to some of my most trusted friends and the people I knew would give me some guidance.  They agreed to help and some of them became members to what would become the Advisory Board.  I reached out to another friend who I knew would be good to help with the coordination of speakers and content for the conference portion of the show.  I contacted all of my business contacts to let them know about the new project and that we wanted to give them the opportunity to partner with a great idea.  Some of them jumped at the chance and we signed a few sponsors and companies to being a part of the program early.  Things were progressing nicely and we were on track to making the conference a hit.  The 20 hour days of working by all the founders was paying off.

During the middle of March, 2010 there were differences between myself and another founder, and I decided then that we needed to have someone leading the charge that could be the head of the organization to keep it running in what I thought needed to be its direction.  We were about to sign our first big sponsor and we needed to focus and have a face and a personality of the business.  In my mind we needed a person to make the tough calls and a place where the buck stopped.  Being a man, and a father, I felt right in line with our target market and the best representative of the people we wanted to reach.  I volunteered to be the head of the organization, but indicated then that I needed to be able to run things the way I saw fit on issues of day to day decisions.  If it was going to be my neck on the line I wanted to control my own fate.  It was agreed that I would be the front of the organization for that purpose and business continued as usual representing to all that I was the man in charge.  On March 31, a little more than a month into the project I was told that the legal documents had been filed and that we could begin operating the business as a limited liability company in the State of Georgia.  I was a 1/3rd owner and was told that I was budgeted to receive a guaranteed sum of money for my work.  I began pushing to get contracts entered into and  started working hard to get to a finished product.  My vision of what an awesome conference for men and dads would look like was taking shape.  2 weeks later after what I felt was a grueling work schedule and having been criticized for nearly every decision, I made what would be my last decision on a matter that would be the best direction for the company and the conference.  It was met not with criticism this time but complete resistance.  I decided then that I could no longer lead the charge but that I would do everything in my power to contribute what I could.  Two days later I woke to check email only to find I had been blocked from the company email account locked out of the site and was told that I would not be contacted or spoken to unless I had signed a Nondisclosure Agreement that had contained a restrictive non-compete clause.  I inquired as to why, as an owner, I would be contracting not to disclose information with myself and not to compete with myself?  No response was forthcoming.  I made one final attempt to reconcile with the founders and again it was given complete resistance.  I reached out to a lawyer at that time to get some advice and was told not to sign any such agreements nondisclosure agreements and that any signing of agreements may supersede any previous agreements of the founders.  I then found out that no documents had ever been filed on behalf of the Modern Media Man Summit, LLC.  I was told next I was not to be a part of the organization.

I had brought all of their existing sponsors on board and was in line to speak with four others.  I had made promises, had discussions, made representations and risked much of my reputation, much of my social capital and invested nearly three months of a difficult work schedule.  I sit here 3 months later and look back wondering what has happened.  I see some of the work I have done and work that has not been done.  I continue to get calls from sponsors, from friends, from potential speakers and many that have no idea that I am not somehow still involved.  I only recently found out that the founders have not disclosed any of the above to some key sponsors and other parties.  For that I wanted to get this out in the open. I have not been involved with the organization on any level since May 17, 2010. Any decisions, representations or otherwise have not included me nor have I had any direction in how the company would proceed.  I have not received any  form of compensation for the time spent on this project.  I am not at liberty at this time to discuss my future with the organization, any liabilities I might have or the remedies I have before me, but I want to make it clear my involvement.  The costs have been great not only in the time and energy and effort spent, but in some friendships, some contacts, some reputation and many other intangibles.

I want to apologize to the people that have been harmed by this.  I have tried to reach out to some and offer a personal apology.  I may not know all that has occurred but I can assure you that I am truly and sincerely sorry if there has been a problem.  I can only hope to regain some of what I have lost.  I continue with my vision that we can have an event for Dads and for men.  It may yet prove to be the M3Summit.  It may be other projects and it may be someone that can lead that focus.  I will forge ahead and continue.  If anyone has any questions that I may be able to answer or if you want further information please feel free to contact me.

Comments

  1. Tac Anderson says:

    Jim,
    Great post and I know how hard it must have been to write. I’ve been in similar situations and been let down hard by partners I trusted. It’s a hard lesson to learn but a valuable one. Onward and upward.

  2. I feel for you man. I went through something similar in the last job I had before I became a SAHD. I’m curious Jim. What has been the reactions of some of the sponsors who you brought on board for the summit? Maybe you don’t know, but if it’s okay for you to share, I would be interested in knowing as I have been going back and forth with myself all week about attending M3.

  3. This is the most amazing post Jim. I am so sorry to hear that something which I know you put your time, energy, network and passion into has become such an awful situation.

    You are, as you have always been, genuine my friend.

    I am in awe of your capacity to maintain transparency and authenticity in what often seems to be a difficult space to hold those standards in.

  4. Jim, despite all that you’ve been through, you remain one of the most stand-up guys I know. I know that this situation with the M3 Summit wasn’t easy for you, and I admire your ability to remain diplomatic and honest about the whole situation. I hope that things work out so that you are able to work with them again, because I know how passionate you were (are) about the conference. If not, I have full confidence that you’ll be able to pull off something that will truly represent daddy bloggers around the world.

  5. Chris Cree says:

    No matter how you slice it this sucks, Jim! Makes that note on their site’s footer seem more than a little ironic, though:

    Please Don’t Steal! We Prosecute

  6. Jane says:

    Jim, I know that I’m not the only person who greatly admires your honesty and integrity. Once again, you have proven that you GENUINELY grasp the concept that to obtain true success, we must understand that all GOOD business is, indeed, also personal. I hope that these people are learning some valuable lessons; perhaps there is still hope that this conference, which began with so much optimism and enthusiasm, can overcome its present “It’s not personal; it’s business!” attitude and become what you had originally dreamed and conceived it to be. That will, of course, require a lot of work and attitude-changing on the part of those still involved. I also agree with Shylah in that I know that your dream of creating a place where daddy bloggers can share with each other will come true, and soon. In the meantime, Jim, continue to stand tall and do the right thing. The world needs as many good examples as it can get.

  7. marcy hoffman says:

    Jim
    I have admired your honesty and integrity since we first ‘met’ 3 years ago. I think i speak for all of the FOJs (friends of Jim) to tell you that a) we all have your back and b) they’re damned fools.

  8. obviously, i don’t know everything that happened. and, obviously, i’m not personally vested, so it’s difficult for me ignore the good rapport i have with some who were involved w/ the project.

    that said, your calm demeanor, and cool delivery of this very frenetic and hot topic speaks volumes. such delivery, IMHO, exudes class and leadership.

    and any organization, especially one in charge of forging a path, can NEVER have enough of those qualities.

    kudos for your professionalism. i’m genuinely sorry things got so messy. for everyone.

    • Jim Turner says:

      Thanks John. From here we go forward and we continue on what will be our path. I appreciate your comment and look forward to watching you help lead this industry as well.

  9. I don’t know you. And I don’t know the facts.

    But all I can think of is: Oh, god. How easily that could be me.

    I am so, so sorry this befell you.

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