This Is What A Complete Leadership Failure Looks Like

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.”

Epic. Fail.

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.

Literally 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.

Of course, she’s used to playing by Mean Girls rules, so she wouldn’t actually name Declan Finn. That and she’s a fucking coward. Call him out by name or STFU, Sarah.

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.

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22 thoughts on “This Is What A Complete Leadership Failure Looks Like

  1. LaForce says:

    It’s a shame you’re sharing lies and slanderous bull crap. But you associate with Declan so no surprise. Declan wanted to ride coat tails all the way to the top and thought trying to wrest Sad Puppies away from others to his “enlightened control” could gain him his desired street cred.

  2. Kamas716 says:

    So, were you involved in any way with any of the previous Sad Puppies campaigns? Because I really don’t remember your name popping up.

    If you want to follow Declan’s list feel free to. Or, create your own. There’s nothing stopping you from doing your own list and pushing it. Or, were you hoping to increase your own notoriety by taking on something that someone else made famous?

  3. Jared Anjewierden says:

    “Jared Twerpwierden –

    Not naming names is absolute cowardice, but I wouldn’t expect a pussy who picks fights with girls instead of standing up to another man to understand that. Cowardice is normal to you, so I guess you just can’t tell the difference.”

    Well, now that I am home and can actually write more than a line or two, I will respond. That I am “picking a fight with a girl” is your first falsehood, in attributing to me motives you cannot possibly discern, but it won’t be the last I point out.

    Fact is, I commented on Facebook because 1) was on my phone and commenting on FB is much easier than responding on your little blog, 2) I am acquainted with and respect Dawn, but have no idea who you are, or why I should especially care what you say. As such I expressed my disagreement to her, as the party who I actually have a modicum of connection to.

    Calling me a coward is also a falsehood, since, again, you have absolutely zero evidence to back up such a claim. You don’t know me from Adam, as I do not know you from Adam. However, given that you rush to defend someone who does not in fact need it does give me decent evidence to suggest that what you are displaying here is not manhood, but chauvinism.

    That your first inclination to being disagreed with is to childishly attempt to make fun of my name also suggests chauvinism rather than manliness. (And a poor attempt at that, seriously in thirty plus years of hearing my name made fun of that was not even in the top fifty)

    As for your suggestion to step into the dojo, for any of us, the answer must needs be no. You don’t get to start a fight in the realm of words and then move the venue to somewhere you think you have the advantage would actually be evidence of cowardice.

    “I hate to break it to you, but Hoyt still won’t sleep with you, no matter how hard you white knight for her.”

    That you alternate between white knighting for one woman and attempting to degrade another in this way is fascinating. It does reinforce my chauvinism theory, in that the words and tactics you use seem to indicate that you view woman as weaker and good for only a few specific things. In the end it is more degrading to you than anything else, so that is all I will say about that. (The crime is its punishment, as it were.)

    “I run two small businesses. I *HAVE* put my money where my mouth is…” That is not logically sound. Having your own business in one realm does not translate to anything in another realm entirely.

    Given that you are now (as I type this) accusing those you disagree with as being SJW’s, well, that doesn’t do you any favors either, but I will finish this for the peanut gallery rather than any hope of actual debate with you.

    Right. Onto the article in question. I won’t fisk the whole thing, since I have more important things to do and, as Larry is fond of pointing out, refuting wrong information takes an order of magnitude more to debunk than to spew.

    “This tale has everything, incompetence, insanity…” A calumny already, and not even a paragraph in. Charges of insanity would be below the belt for any real man, but I suppose it does count as evidence for my chauvinism theory.

    “SPV failed in literally every conceivable way,” hyperbole *and* still false, as you are abrogating to yourself the power to determine for others what their goals were. There is a lot of that in this post.

    “To be fair, Sad Puppies IV dropped the ball pretty badly and started the descent. The Hugo Awards allow five nominees per category… 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.”

    Again, you are assigning to them motives and goals they did not have. The point was not to swamp the Hugos, but to show that, even when they ostensibly did what the other side was saying we should do to be ‘respected’ it wouldn’t actually change the response. Rabid Puppies goals were not the same as SP. Last year it would seem that *both* met their goals, they simply diverged as to what those goals were.

    “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.”
    Epic. Fail.”

    That is a fail only by *your* metrics. You are not in charge of Sad Puppies and do not get to decide what their goals are. Personally I think continuing to give money needlessly to people who hate us would be a much bigger failing. You are of course welcome to your opinion, but just stating it here doesn’t make it truth, so while not strictly a lie it is a falsehood as you are attempting to dictate to others without any right to do so.

    “Hugo Award nominations were due on January 31st.” Yes, they were. Given that SPV is explicitly no longer worried about the Hugos that matters not one whit. If you want a list for the Hugos, Vox Popoli is over yonder. Have fun storming the castle and paying for comped meals for the attendees. Seriously, all the best in your endeavors. I wish you luck. That said, you don’t get to forcibly conscript others or their groups for that effort.

    For someone complaining about ‘shooting at your own team’ you seem to engage in it a lot. You may disagree, but avoiding that is one very good reason not to name a party to a disagreement after said disagreement is worked out. Of course I imagine you disagreeing with this statement will include one or more uses of the word ‘pussy’ so whatever.

    “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.”

    I would have thought someone so concerned with ‘picking fights with girls’ wouldn’t be one to rush in and declare for a woman that she is too sick to do something. Since she is in fact a grown woman she can make that determination just fine on her own, and since, apparently, they had never intended to worry about the Hugos at all the issue wasn’t pressing anyway.
    And yes, she would have volunteers. Just because they would volunteer doesn’t necessarily mean they are right for the job. Turning SP into a copy of RP would be one of those ‘not right for the job’ issues.

    “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.”

    Well, here’s one of the bigger falsehoods of the piece. Objection, facts not in evidence would be where I would start, and that if before digging into the amazing amounts of calumny on display.

    “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.”

    That’s straight up a lie.

    “Failure #6 – Refusing to let it go”

    I assume you are familiar with the third law? I would not dream of calling you an SJW, but the third law does apply to more than just them.
    “Here’s a tip, Sarah: lay off my authors and get back to work…”
    Funny, my advice to you would be fairly similar.

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  5. J. C. Salomon says:

    Failure #1: Failure to understand clearly-worded goals
    This post is very much in line with a comment left by “Peter” on Mrs. Hoyt’s About Those Lost Puppies post, suggesting that any attempt for the Sad Puppies campaign to distinguish itself from Rabid Puppies or others “wait until the SJWs have been driven off the field.” But of course, neither Peter nor yourself nor any of the Rabid-orbit people I’ve seen writing on this topic lately seem to actually understand what the goals of the SP campaigns have been.

    SP1: The most prestigious award in SF/F has been ignoring certain subgenres, and these subgenres’ fans have been ignoring the Hugos—let’s rejoin them and have fun and maybe get a nomination for something we like.

    SP2: Hmm… Seems the Hugos have been captured by a clique which actively rejects the subgenres we like, though they claim otherwise—let’s get some good stuff on the ballot that will make their cliquishness be impossible to deny.

    SP3: Okay, SP2 achieved its goals and can declare victory & go home, but let’s try to fix the Hugos—let’s find good stuff the Hugos usually overlook, from a broader range than just what “we” like, and no deliberately controversial inclusions.

    (Oh, look: someone else is piggy-backing on our name, doing something vaguely similar. Have fun storming the castle, guys!)

    SP4: Okay, that didn’t go as planned. We were trying to participate, not take over; and besides, anything that looks too much like slate voting is going to be rejected—let’s try again and this time be even clearer than before that this is for recommendations and discussions. But really, the Hugos seem to be too broken to bother with.

    (Huh, that other fellow is still doing his shtick, with his own, more obviously different goals—and are they still conflating us with him?)

    SP5: Do we even need to bother? Well, not for the Hugos, but there are other awards, and good SF/F has a discoverability problem (AKA Sturgeon’s Law), so let’s set up a discussion-and-recommendation board. But there’s no real rush—

    Why, thank you, Mr Finn, for your kind offer to take this off our hands, but you obviously are trying something very different from us: go ahead and run your own campaign like others have done—and with its own name, if you’d be so kind.

    Come to think of it, this also covers
    Failure #2: Failure to understand other people’s schedules
    and
    Failure #3: Failure to respect boundaries
    (This is not to say, “Stay in your lane,” but rather “Hands off my steering wheel; go drive your own car.”)

    Failure #4: Concern trolling
    We get it: You think Sarah et al. would be much more effective if they only used tactics which they’re explicitly avoiding. But since your measure of efficacy—and more importantly, the goals at which they’d be more efficient at—are entirely different from what they’ve said they want, your recommendations can hardly be taken seriously.

    This of course leads into
    Failure #5: Inventing other people’s motivations
    Larry and Brad have been clear about what SP1–3 cost them, and though Sarah was not running them she got just as much “publicity” from her open support and campaigning for SP2–4. Your claims that their motives are anything but what they themselves have said are just that: your own claims. Yes, “Vox Day masterfully turned the whole thing into a publicity coup d’etat”—but you’ll notice that his tactics and stated goals were all different from the Sad Puppies campaigns.

    And finally, as has been pointed out by others,
    Failure #6: Failure to be a decent human being

    • Russell Newquist says:

      I’m not concern trolling. You mistake me for giving a shit about Sad Puppies.

      I’m just punching back at someone who punched at my guy. And I’ll keep doing it until she stops. She just gave me an easy target to punch at by fucking up so badly.

      Also, it served as a nice object lesson in what not to do.

  6. Greg Hullender says:

    In the spirit of talking about leadership issues, I’d add “Failure to Understand the Task.”

    SP IV invited people to nominate whatever works they wanted to and promised to tally up the votes. This is precisely what the Hugo Awards did prior to EPH, and so it’s vulnerable to all the problems that process has. A good leader would have taken a look at those problems and made at least some provision to cope with them.

    The biggest problem, of course, is that it’s vulnerable to slates. In the case of SP IV, a number of well-meaning folks from File 770 nominated works that were not at all the kind of things the puppies were supposed to be about.

    Closely tied to that is how many people you need to participate before you get results that mean anything. you need thousands at a minimum, whereas I don’t think they got even 100.

    Doing this right is also a lot of work, and they made it even harder by having people submit forum posts rather than using an app. This meant someone had to manually extract all the votes and collate them. They made this worse for themselves by including all the Hugo categories rather than limiting it to written fiction.

    I wasn’t surprised that they dragged their feet on processing the SP IV data until it was almost too late to make a difference. It was really clear well before then that it was going to be a whole lot of work to do something of almost zero value. I wasn’t surprised that they had zero enthusiasm for SP V either. Repeating SP IV couldn’t possibly be appealing, but anything else would be a lot of work. Even making a slate is work.

  7. Nick Eden says:

    Honestly I’ve no idea what the point of Sad Puppies is.

    A Mad Genius Book Club seems a reasonable thing to want. Why tie it to a name that’s achieved nothing?

  8. MC says:

    As a reader I have bounced of the periphery of this topic. Agree 100%. If you want to lead, lead. Sad Puppies is dead and Sarah killed it.

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