Sarah Hoyt’s leadership of the Sad Puppies V campaign is a classic case study in leadership failure. If you ever want the absolute pitch perfect example of what not to do in a leadership position, look no further. This tale has everything: incompetence, insanity, bullying, harassment, technical difficulties, lack of vision, and just plain bitchiness. If I tried to create an example of bad leadership from scratch, I couldn’t make one this complete. If she were trying to destroy the Sad Puppies campaign and help the other side, she couldn’t have done a better job of it.
This, my friends, is a tail of abject, utter fail.
Sad Puppies V (SPV from here out) failed in literally every conceivable way, so this may take a bit. Bear with me.
Failure #1 – Stupid, Pointless Goals
Step one in leadership is setting goals that are actually a) worth achieving and b) achievable. SPVs supposed goals are neither.
To be fair, Sad Puppies IV dropped the ball pretty badly and started the descent. The Hugo Awards allow five nominees per category, and the nature of the old rules meant that an organized campaign around exactly five titles per category could achieve useful results. So what did they do with Sad Puppies IV?
They nominated ten works per category, completely diffusing all of their voting power. As a result, they completely failed to get anything nominated for a Hugo that wasn’t also on Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies list.
GG guys. GG.
Think that’s bad? SPV got even stupider. Rather than promoting a confined ballot of books that could focus their firepower, they diffused it further. What is SPV? “Oh, we’ll just create a list of indefinite size of recommended books. For any award, not just the Hugos.”
Look, guys, this is a core martial arts principal:
If I apply a given amount of force over a small area, I create more pressure than if I apply the same amount of force over a large area.
This is easily expressed in a simple and common law of physics: Pressure = Force / Area (P = F / A).
By diffusing the force of SPV basically infinitely, Hoyt doomed the campaign to epic failure before she even began.
But that’s just the beginning.
Failure #2 – Doing nothing to achieve your stupid, pointless goals
After defining some dumbass goals that she could never possibly achieve, Hoyt went on to… do nothing.
Hugo Award nominations were due on January 31st. Hoyt made a Hugo post announcing her leadership stupidity… er, I mean, “plan,” in September. And then posted nothing – literally nothing – on the topic again until January 7, less than four weeks before ballots were due.
Of course, she
made noisy, stupid excuses pretended that this was the plan all along, because SPV wasn’t about the Hugos anymore. Because nobody would see through that bullshit. And how they had a web site coming real soon now, guys, really, I just haven’t had time to do it.
Look, I run five separate web sites. All of them use WordPress. You can set up a WordPress site in three minutes. You can make it look acceptable and flesh out some basic content in about ten. I know. I’ve done it a dozen times.
But, of course, she’s behind on her paying writing. Well, of course she is. Because she’s moved on to…
Failure #3 – Shooting at your own team
Did I mention that she wrote a post about SPV on January 7? Did I also mention that the post didn’t do anything to actually advance SPV? Ok, let’s talk about that. Because instead of doing anything useful, Hoyt decided to make a very personal attack on one of my authors.
Finn’s crime, of course, was volunteering to help but not being cool enough to actually be leadership. It’s horrible, I know.
Meanwhile, Finn had actually managed to, you know, actually get a recommendation list up. Which is still more than Hoyt has managed.
Failure #4 – Not stepping down when her failure became clear
Apparently Hoyt has had some serious health issues for a while. For that, I am truly sorry. I don’t wish that on anyone.
But do you know what an actual leader does when it becomes clear that she’s too sick to, you know, lead?
She steps down and finds a new leader. She would’ve had plenty of volunteers.
Failure #5 – Projecting her own failures onto others
Meanwhile, while she’s going about abject failure at every level, she’s projecting all of her own incompetence, greed, and narcissistic attention whoring onto other people. She accused Mr. Finn of volunteering for Sad Puppies just to help market his book, and went on at length about how much it didn’t help and he should let it go.
Meanwhile, of course, the sole reason she’s holding onto “leadership” of SPV, despite running the Titanic straight into the iceberg, is so that she can use it to market her books. The reason it hasn’t helped her isn’t because it’s a bad marketing tool. It’s because she’s totally incompetent at it.
There is no question that earlier Sad Puppies rounds resulted in beneficial publicity for Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen, and Vox Day. None. Larry and Brad kind of rode the wave a little bit. Vox Day masterfully turned the whole thing into a publicity coup d’etat.
Sarah Hoyt crashed the wave into a brick wall. A wet noodle could’ve reaped more benefit from it than she has. But due to her own narcissism, she refuses to let go of it.
Failure #6 – Refusing to let it go
Given all of this, you’d think that somebody who spent months literally doing nothing would have an easy time just… letting it go. But now, that play would require at least some competence, and Hoyt has demonstrated that she has absolutely none. So instead, she’s penning more posts about the subject as recently as yesterday.
But is she actually accomplishing anything? Nope, she’s just out playing Mean Girls again. She’s hitting hard on Mr. Finn (while still lacking any courage and refusing to name him out loud), and also hitting on everyone around him.
In a word, an author of mediocre success is trying to bully a less successful author in order to feel better about her own failure. She’s admitted herself that she’s several books behind, and no wonder. She’s too busy writing several-thousand-word-long insanity-fests.
Here’s a tip, Sarah: lay off my authors and get back to work, before your publishers call and demand their advances back – as they have every legal and moral right to do if you’re that far behind.