Masterclasses, TEDx Talks, Spam, and the Rise of the Fluffpreneur

My long-term slightly scientific study of fluffpreneurship

Douglas Giles, PhD
Inserting Philosophy
9 min readDec 5, 2023

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The vast majority of people want to be happy, comfortable, accepted, and successful. And when a lot of people want something, other people will step up to sell it to them. Some of the sellers are honest, to be sure, but sadly, too many of them will be con artists and snake oil salespeople.

(Source: public domain)

We are now in the Epoch of the Memeocene in which things are oversimplified and vapid. It is an age in which society recognizes facile imitation more than substance. Not surprisingly, the snake oil merchants have adapted to the times. What they sell and how they sell it has been pared down to exploit our age of pretending to solve problems with empty platitudes.

I love spam e-mails. It’s weird, I know, but they provide insights into the human psyche, revealing what people want and fear, and how other people try to exploit those desires and fears. For nearly four years, I have used a throwaway e-mail address sign up to things that will get me spammed. It is a free and easy way to study humanity. In particular, I have been observing a dark side of humanity that is as overly sweet and substanceless as cotton candy.

What fills my inbox are e-mails selling me fluff. Not stuff, fluff. Fluffy classes, fluffy talks, and fluffy get-rich-quick schemes. The sellers sending the e-mails are the fluffpreneurs — professional fluff sellers.

Fluff 101

When we need a service, we are prudent to hire an expert. Plumbing and electrical work are best handled by those with the proper training and equipment. Heart surgery and organ transplants are procedures we can’t do ourselves, so we pay someone to do them for us. Makes total sense.

Along that perfectly sensible line of thinking, it would seem that we could also hire someone to help us be happy, comfortable, accepted, and successful. That’s where the fluffpreneurs come in. They claim…

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Douglas Giles, PhD
Inserting Philosophy

Philosopher by trade & temperament, professor for 21 years, bringing philosophy out of its ivory tower and into everyday life. https://linktr.ee/dgilesphd