Stilgherrian's great post on calling Jason Calacanis a "prick" is a fun and worthwhile read on many fronts.

It is also a great real example of authenticity.

Jason Calacanis made some comments on a blog post which he later edited after receiving loads of negative responses.

Fire people who are not workaholics. don’t love their work… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it — go work at the post office or stabucks [sic] if you’re not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.

As Stil rightly said, "the words that people blurt out first are closest to what they really believe." Our initial thoughts are least filtered and therefore closest to our truths. We all hold our own versions of what is "the truth". Being authentic is about honouring that truth. This is also called having integrity.

What has happened here is transparency in action. By blogging honestly, Jason Calacanis has shown a part of his true self to the world. And this is a good thing. This is being authentic.

In a classic fear-driven need to manage others' perception, he subsequent revised his message and attempted to justify and explain the initial communiqué. This struck me as being inauthentic.

This actually worked against his credibility and integrity. It made him appear calculating and untrustworthy.

I may not agree with his views, but I would respect him a tad more had he been authentic. Many people (unfortunately) would agree with him. And that's ok. But by back-peddling, he has potentially damaged his standing with these people too.

What business often forgets is that you cannot make every possible customer happy. Or appeal to all demographic segments. Just be true to who you are, and you will attract the right customers. Trying to appeal to everyone, to appear "safe" and "inoffensive" just turns your brand into an amorphous grey lump that does not really appeal to anyone.

The Doggie Doo Analogy

The sort of PR back-peddling is akin to stepping in doggie doo and then proceeding to inadvertently create an even larger stink by attempting to scrape it off on all available surfaces.