Yesterday, the #EFT community received devastating news of the loss of one of its most authentic supporters. The shock and deep sadness that washed over me, and I know I’m not alone, upon learning that @SadBillAckman is no longer with us was overwhelming. In honor of the good times he brought us all, my immediate reaction was to raise a silent toast with a beer. My next instinct was to head to Soluna for chispas, a treat that I’m certain SBA would have come to love, despite initially underestimating their reputation.
Reflecting on the concept of “experience” has occupied my thoughts for the past few years. As my involvement with #EFT grew, I forged friendships with fellow enthusiasts. These connections may have originated for various reasons, and while we may not always see eye to eye on issues, I value the thoughtful considerations that some of you put into your opposing arguments. Building relationships online has been a part of life for decades, with social media playing a significant role in recent times. Should a friendship formed on Twitter hold any less significance than one formed on eHarmony?
I believe the opposite is true. These friendships formed online are often more genuine than any algorithm can calculate on a dating site. Platforms like Twitter offer anonymity, allowing us to channel our core personality traits into a new identity. While this online persona may not precisely mirror how we perceive ourselves in the physical world, it is based on our true values, inspirations, and instincts. I find it hard to believe that someone who behaves like a complete jerk online would turn out to be the kindest person you’ve ever met offline. Social media amplifies certain aspects of ourselves, shaping an entire persona.
SBA was a truly remarkable individual. He exhibited kindness, insight, and an unwavering willingness to devote time to his friends’ questions, thoughts, and concerns. He never burdened conversations with his own problems or worries, at least not in my experience. Although this may not have encompassed SBA’s entire real-life personality, it felt like a genuine representation. You can’t be an asshole in real life and convincingly pretend to be a kind-hearted and genuine person online…unless you’re exceptionally skilled at deception.
The impermanence of life stands in stark contrast to the lasting nature of online communications. It’s intriguing that human nature tends to undervalue online relationships compared to those formed “in real life.” But then again, what about platforms like eHarmony and Tinder? We’re all here for a limited time, so does it truly matter how or why we meet someone if they become a good friend? I grappled with this dilemma back in 2020 when I first became deeply involved with EFT and began revealing my identity to those I felt close to.
Initially, LandmanWife couldn’t grasp the idea of forming friendships with people on Twitter. Her perspective changed when we had dinner with some EFT acquaintances and their partners who happened to be in town. Despite it being our first meeting in person, we all got along splendidly and had a great time. This experience opened her eyes to the fact that my involvement with EFT wasn’t some peculiar game or time-wasting hobby; I was genuinely developing meaningful connections. Perhaps these friendships may never serve a tangible purpose beyond sharing random nonsense, but isn’t that the case with any new friendship?
Getting to know people through EFT has been an extraordinary journey. A few years ago, someone tweeted that the downfall of EFT was people meeting each other and losing anonymity. I wholeheartedly disagree. Anonymity allows us to fearlessly be ourselves. It may lead to more honest conversations with other anonymous individuals, but the nature of communication or the identities of the involved parties shouldn’t diminish the quality or value of those interactions. Whether we’re blowing off steam, sharing memes, or seeking advice based on real-life experiences, the platform shouldn’t undermine the experience itself.
The outpouring of love and admiration for SBA over the past 24 hours has been truly astounding. As a believer, I don’t know what the afterlife entails. Nonetheless, I hope SBA can witness the profound impact he had on so many lives. Let’s use this shared experience of grief to harness our combined potential, just as we did back in 2020. Disasters and tragedies have a way of bringing us together; it’s inherent to human nature. The flourishing times in the oil and gas industry that followed the darkness of 2020 created distance among us. When things are going well, we often become consumed by work and inadvertently neglect our friendships here on EFT. Let’s not fall into that trap.
I, too, am guilty of this oversight. Last year, I faced illness and withdrew into my own darkness. The people who reached out to check on me during that time have no idea how much their small acts of kindness and concern meant to me in those moments. I didn’t disclose what was happening because I was unsure myself. To anyone who reached out, whether we know each other or not, I sincerely thank you. Some of the best friends I’ve made in the past four years have been through EFT. My business partner is someone I met through this community. Together, we’re doing great things, striving to become better versions of the brokers we worked for throughout our careers. Shortly after my daughter Maeve was born, Lyndsey and Mike surprised us with a visit to the hospital. Unfortunately, I wasn’t present to welcome them past the COVID checkpoint, but they left some gifts for Maeve nevertheless. Their kindness is something I will always cherish.
We are a close-knit community. When you have a fleeting thought to reach out to someone, please act upon it. You never know what the person on the receiving end might be going through, as they may not have shared their struggles. Your message could be precisely what they need in that moment. Don’t let those feelings pass without taking action. We all have the power to help each other become better, but it requires us to act. I’m going to have another drink and another silent salute to SBA, but I’m also going to make more of an effort to keep up with all of you that are reading this right now, because it doesn’t matter if we’ve never met, we’re friends.