I tell people that I'm terrible at marketing. This is a lie. What I'm terrible at is manipulating people into buying something they didn't originally want. I would be shit at selling things like laptops on commission. If someone turns up going, "I just need to check my email and put things onto my iPod," I'm not even going to bother showing them the $2200 Alienware gaming rigs. I'm just going to walk them over to the $300 refurbs. They would walk out happy, but I would be surviving on a steady diet of ramen for the rest of my life. Eventually, I would get fired for not trying, and I would probably be happier for it.

On the other hand, I'm the last person on Earth you should be talking to if you want to be talked out of purchasing something you've been eyeing for a while. Do you want it? Will you enjoy it? Do you have the money for it? Then buy the fucking thing and get on with your day. Moggie is in the market for a new car, and has recently achieved Twoo Wuv with the idea of a green 2010 Miata with power hard top and paddle shifters. She was hemming and hawing, and talking to other people about sensible things like maintenance and snow tires and passenger space and practicality. I pointed out that she had sporadically been writing mash notes to Mazda for years now, there are a bazillion of them on the road and they're relatively cheap to fix, and the MX-5 is the textbook example of a sports car that normal humans can afford. Since there was no reasonable way for her to import James May for her own personal use, she should indulge her other lifelong automotive dream and just buy her damn convertible already. Who the hell cares what other people think? She's the one who's going to be driving it for the next decade.

As it turns out, I'm pretty good at selling smut. People who come to our website are already looking for porn -- I'm just giving them a recommendation. I've got no problems with this, especially since Circlet stuff skews intelligent and nerdy. 1901: A Steam Odyssey, for instance, is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It's a brilliant pastiche of Victorian pulp literature, right down to the jungles of Venus and "hastily-penned missives" that start out promising to be brief for lack of time, and then run on for four florid pages. Things pointed out in the very first chapter become hilariously important plot points right before the end. I would read it even if no one in it were ever naked, which is the highest recommendation I can think of for any kind of pornography.

I had a surreal moment the other day when I realized I was sitting on the train just like a normal person, reading the abovementioned piece of steampunk tentacle porn on a respectable-looking Kindle, for my job. I read the whole of that novel on my commute mostly for the hell of it, but I can -- nay, I am supposed to -- charge an hourly consulting rate for sitting in the office and skimming the first couple chapters of a wide variety of creative smut, because I need to know what's in it well enough to market it. Hanging out with the local burlesque dancers and the lady who's producing "The Slutcracker" holiday show is technically professional networking.

I have absolutely no idea how this became my life, but I'm going to run with it until the universe notices and puts things back.

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