Something new

For many years, I have used the moniker "Abscondo" because it has fit my approach to life. For those of you who don't know by now, "to abscond" means to run away, taking something or someone with you. Well, I am no longer running away. Recently, everything has changed and I am happily and enthusiastically leaving the Abscondo project behind.

Through all of these beautiful years as Abscondo, my primary value was freedom. In hiding, I found freedom to explore my true self and to let my uncensored thoughts and ideas develop. Abscondo was the blissful place where I went to create and to be me. For so long, this was a beautiful place because it provided the escape that I needed so that I could slowly become...become...well that's what this is really about. I have become something and the time has come for me to be that. I have come to the conclusion that it is possible to create your own reality and that there is no good reason to abscond from anything.

The problem with creating for yourself, by yourself, in isolation is that it fails to have an impact in the world. We do not exist in isolation and, when we attempt to, we become very self-absorbed and incapable of touching the lives of others. I am now a different person and the time has come for me to live my highest calling in reality. In this past year, I have gone through the most rapid, painful, and somehow wonderful transformation of my life. I have only just now finally become the person who can start to do what I was put on this planet to do.

Who am I? I am a son who left his small town so that I could become more, give more, and fulfill the purpose of my life. I am an MBA who questions much of what I was taught so that I could become more, give more, and fulfill the purpose of my life. I am an American who enjoys the freedom and experience of a life abroad so that I can be myself, give more, and fulfill the purpose of my life. I am an ex-employee who started a sales agency so that I could become more, give more, and create freedom to fulfill the purpose of my life. I am also a husband of 22 years who has recently made the difficult decision to move beyond a relationship that wasn't allowing the growth required for me to become more, give more, and fulfill the purpose of my life.

The purpose of my life is to help people make the person-to-person connections required to fulfill the potential of their lives. In simpler terms, I am going to help people meet the right people and I am going to do it on a huge scale.

To do this, I am going to start my work with lifestyle brands to help them take a leadership role with their customers by delivering the lifestyle they promise. An effective brand is a vivid symbol of a desired lifestyle. But, in truth, a lifestyle goes far beyond a symbol or product. A lifestyle is about what we actually do and who we actually know. I will help brands deliver the lifestyle they promise by building tribes of people who take action together to live their dreams and fantasies. 

My company will be developing a Tribe-Building Platform so that brands can help their customers meet each other, form relationships, and do things together in the real world while keeping the brand central to the relationship. What I'm doing applies to brands, prominent leaders, or anywhere else where tribes do exist or may exist. The way we are going to connect people is going to change everything.

I'm sure this all sounds very uncool and too commercial. The thing is, in order to create order to design a better future...we have to start by working with the system as it exists. This isn't defeatist, this is the way to get things done. ​This is me, trying my best to leave my ego behind just as I try to make the most of this one chance at life. This is me giving rather than taking. This is me trying my best to dedicate my life to love and service in everything I do. 

So you will not find any more posts here at and you will not find any new Abscondo music. From now on, I am simply Mark Manney. I exist in reality and I am no longer hiding from anything. Of course I'm not really going away, I'm just going to start focusing on the stuff that is most important for me to do. I've never been happier, more passionate, and more clear. Join me.

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It's a question of questions

The questions we ask ourselves are everything. You will never find the right answers if you are asking the wrong questions.

Pay attention to the questions you have running through your mind. How are you framing your personal dilemmas? Are you asking yourself what you have to do today or what you want to do today? Are you asking yourself how you can hold onto your job or are you asking yourself how you can triple your income and work just a few hours a day? Are you asking how you can make a terrible relationship last forever or are you asking how you can be happy in love?

Behind every question running through your head is a set of assumptions. If you remove the assumptions, you might free yourself up to ask better questions.  When you ask better questions, you might get better answers. When you act on those better answers, your life might get better because you direct your action in ways that might deliver better results.

What are your biggest questions? Are those questions really inevitable? Might there be other, more profound questions that could replace them? Can you ask better questions by removing a few assumptions? This could be your breakthrough. 



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Huge respect to all the young human beings, from grade 1 through university, for showing up each day and making the most out of an archaic school system designed purely to force upon them soul-crushing domestication and obedience to authority. What a miracle it is that so many of us ultimately are able to unlearn, overcome, and shrug of most of the harm that our schools inflict upon us. May human greatness always prevail!

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Selling without ego

An ineffective salesperson is an ego-driven salesperson. From his firs contact (his long-winded email pitch), he'll tell you all about "what we do". He'll make wildly optimistic promises and brag about vague successes. All of this, even before understanding anything about who you are, what motivates you, how you are trying to solve the problem today, and before understanding anything about your strategy or approach. He sees you not as an equal partner in what will hopefully become a long-term business relationship, but as an obstacle to his sale.

Then, if for whatever reason you are still convinced to take a call, his focus continues to be on his own needs. He'll run through a standard pitch about what his company does (caring mostly about how well he delivers the pitch), he'll ask whether you have budget (money he wants), whether your project has a timeline (money he wants sooner rather than later), and he'll qualify you to understand whether you have decision-making authority (he doesn't want you to waste his time). All of this, even before he understands what you need or why you took his call to begin with. Even if the conversation does eventually shift to you, how can you be sure you aren't wasting your time or wasting your breath?

Sure, sometimes the customer will buy from an average sales rep. If there is a well-defined need and there are few other choices on the market, then average sales performance is tolerated as just business as usual. But the best salespeople do more than just take orders when they are ripe. The best salespeople know how to step outside of their own ego and how to consult with clients.

To sell without ego is to first understand who the prospect is, what the prospect needs, what he or she is doing today, and where current and past efforts have failed. Top sales performers pitch nothing until they understand the prospect's perspectives, biases and assumptions. This understanding is the foundation from which you can move forward. From there, consultative sales requires that you lay-out a path forward that meets the prospect's needs and, beyond this, exceeds what the prospect is able to accomplish without you. When this has all come together, you can feel the tone shift and the mood lighten. You know that it is only a matter of time before the terms will have been negotiated, the deal will have been signed, and a long-term mutually-beneficial relationship will have begun.

Sales is hard. Because of countless bad experiences, prospects aren't usually open to us and are almost never nice to us at the start of a conversation. Beyond this, salespeople fail far more than we succeed. In many industries, closing 10% of your leads is the best you're ever going to achieve. As salespeople, we need to remind ourselves not to take it personally. It isn't about us.

Don't let ego get in the way of new business. An ego-less salesperson tries to see the world from the client's perspective, treats people well, and places himself in the service of all stakeholders.

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To love an ego

It is easy to love a person, but hard to love an ego. Ego is the enemy of love.

The ego is prideful and makes demands. To love someone with your ego means to expect your partner to serve that ego. It is to care less about who your partner truly is or what she feels and to care more about what she is or isn't doing to meet your expectations. You will demand, threaten, you will manipulate, you will do anything at all to get what you think you need from your partner. Unfortunately, your partner will never fully satisfy you because the ego is always greedy for more. You believe that you are great, that you are worth it, and you deserve exactly what you imagine you deserve from your partner. It is selfish and ugly.

To be in-love with an ego-driven partner is to slowly come to the understanding that it is only your good behavior that is loved (not you). You come to discover that you don't matter; rather, what matters is the role that you play. It doesn't matter to your ego-driven partner what you feel, what you think, or who you are. If you do or express something that threatens or fails to serve your partner's ego, you are swiftly met with disapproval or anger. What matters to your ego-driven partner is only what you do to serve that ego. To dedicate yourself to an ego-driven partner is to feel constantly frustrated, afraid, misunderstood, unloved and lonely.

Still, even if you express these feelings, the ego-driven partner is unwilling to change. The ego doesn't listen. It doesn't learn. The ego justifies everything. It threatens, manipulates, and resorts to hostility and violence. When out of control, the ego is willing to destroy anything to get what it thinks it needs. As a result, to love an ego-driven partner is bad for your well-being. You begin to believe that you are not worthy of love unless you meet your partner's expectations. You feel as though something is wrong with you. You find yourself hiding your true self, lying, or even cheating when the despair becomes too much.


To love without ego is to love your partner unconditionally and to completely accept who she is. It is to understand that her feelings are not a threat to you. The things she likes, the things she does for herself, the decisions she makes about the relationship, none of it is against you because it isn't about you. It is about her. Don't take it personally.

To love without ego is to fully experience the bliss that true love brings. It is to know and understand a person deeply, to have complete trust because there is no reason to lie. It is to know another person as well as you know yourself (neither of which are possible with ego). It is to feel the lightness of freedom even as you are committed. May you discover the joy and bliss of loving without ego. 

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Bernie Sanders, the conclusion of the Democratic Primaries, and what to do next #differentfuture

Bernie Sanders has now finally been over-run by the Democratic party, the corporate media, by the full strength of the establishment. I’m thinking about the millions of people who placed so much hope in him, in this movement, this message. Millions of people made contributions, spread the word, and turned-up for enormous rallies just like millions of beautiful and inspiring young children.

Like a small child asking a parent whether it would be ok to stay home from school, they politely asked the all-powerful establishment whether it would be ok if we could please stop funneling all our money to the top .01%, if we could please have healthcare, please have an education without going broke, and to please stop unjust imprisonment. How did the all-powerful establishment respond? Like a strict, stubborn father reacting to a small child’s request. The answer was short, clear, and unmistakable. The answer was “no”. The entire process was controlled by rigged specific rules (super-delegates, closed primaries, etc.), media bias (very little coverage for Bernie), and in the end they called the primary a day before the huge California primary.

The truth is, even if Bernie had managed to become President, there is very little that he could have accomplished within the rigged political system where essentially every congressman and senator is bought and paid for by their corporate, billionaire overlords. Bernie was not just on our side, he was directly opposed to their side. Bernie did win a victory, though his victory was symbolic. He exposed so much and taught us so much. But the truth is that essentially none of his proposals would have become law.

What if, rather than asking the establishment to please change, we acted not as children asking for permission but as adults making our own decisions? When we ask a corrupt political system to change, when we ask our employers for a raise, and when we live by the rules of conventional wisdom that everyone seems to agree with, we are living as helpless, obedient children. Like a child who is told to go to bed and doesn’t want to, we obey in action even if we occasionally dissent by grumbling about how unfair it is.

If we are going to live in a better, freer, more fair world, we will need to become adults and stop asking for permission. We will need to become our own ruling elite. We need to create systems and structures to depend upon that are not designed to exploit us. The systems we depend upon today are designed to exploit us by a ruling elite who grows wealthier and more powerful each day though the exploitation of our hard work, our intelligence, our time, and our talent.

I see a different future, where we move away from the structures and institutions that enslave us and we create structures and institutions that free us. It is a simple switch, really, and we don’t even need to win an election or ask permission. We just need to live differently and to create systems that support that way of life. My idea for just such a system is presented in this free, 25-page eBook.

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New Abscondo album

The new Abscondo solo album Forbidden Curiosities is available on Apple Music, streaming for free on Jamendo, and coming to all other digital music sources shortly. The response to the album has been quite positive so far.  I'm glad.

Forbidden Curiosities Cover smaller

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To love a person more than a story

To truly love a person and to be loved in return. This is the highest form of happiness that I have known in this life. Sometimes I wonder, if we all agree that love is the most wonderful thing and most of us crave true love more than anything else, then what holds us back from finding it? Even when we do stumble upon perfect love in these imperfect lives, then what prevents us from sustaining it over the long-term?

I think that true love is something that happens when two people love each other more than they love the story. Most of us have it the other way around. Even before we meet our true love, we are in love with the fairy-tale of our perfect love story. We might imagine a perfect wedding or we may plan to have two children. We might imagine the right life partner as someone who falls within a certain age range, someone who looks a certain way, is from the same part of the world, or someone who shares the same interests. In this way, we might fall in love with a love story even before we meet. Then, when we meet a real person, we tend to qualify or disqualify them based on whether they can take us down the path of our perfect story. In doing so, we often disqualify people who we might otherwise have fallen madly in love with. Worse yet, we undermine the potential of our relationships because we overlook the infinite possibilities available to us that we haven't previously imagined.

Even if we are lucky enough to find Mr. or Ms. right, even after we have had the perfect wedding and have been fortunate enough to setting into the perfect house, this is when we fall even more madly in love with the story. Now we are collecting pictures and shared memories of perfect vacations and life milestones. Now we have established rituals and routines that slowly become as familiar as the back of our hands. We have rules and expectations of each other, shared friends, and the expectations of our extended families. We have the house, the car, and the image of the happy, photogenic family to uphold. Indeed, we might fall so deeply in love with all of this that we tend to overlook the real person laying next to us in bed every night.

Love Story

But what happens when the person in bed next to you has thoughts and feelings that do not fit with the story you love? What if you have fallen so deeply in love with your story that you have forgottent to love the real person, with real feelings, messy thoughts, unreasonable dreams, and even crazy impulses that you fear might threaten everything? What if you find yourself growing apart in some ways? What if you discover that you are fundamentally different in important ways? Do you love each other more than the story, or do you block each other out to maintain the story? What if your partner doesn't behave in the way that your friends understand and approve of? What if he or she lies to your or cheats? Do you truly try to understand each other, accept the truth of what is, or do you force each other to get back in line so that you might desperately maintain the story you both love? If you love the person, why can't you just accept anything and everything about the person? This doesn't mean that you aren't allowed to feel how you do when your partner does something that hurts you, just that there are ways to express those feelings without hurting each other.

To be in love with a person is to achieve the highest form of happiness that can be found in this world. It is to know and accept someone completely, to share everything openly, to explore and grow together in complete openness and honesty. It is to be in a space where there is no friction, no power struggles, no agendas, no lies, no arguments, and no manipulation. And why do these terrible things happen in a relationship? They happen only because we love a story more than we love a person.

When a couple loves their story more than they love each other, they are willing to sacrifice each other's feelings for the purpose of the story. They don't want to hear about anything that falls outside of the boundaries of the story. They don't want to allow anything that is perceived to threaten the story. They control each other for the purpose of maintaining the story. They fight each other to coerce behaviors that support the story. They argue and debate so that they may convince each other to love the same version of the same story. They leave each other lonely, alienated, and choking in a life that leaves no room to grow, to evolve, and to experience anything that excites them. We tell each other that there are parts of us that are not acceptable. We forbid each other from exploring those parts. We take away each other's freedom to exist in this life for the simple reason that it may threaten a fucking story. So naturally, we begin to resent each other. We keep things from each other. We lie, we deceive. We cheat. Or maybe we just eat or drink ourselves to a slow death.

This is what will happen to you if you are with a person who loves your story more than he or she loves you.

To love a person is bliss. To love a story leaves us lonely and cold. To love a person is to accept and embrace every single thing about that person, unconditionally. It is to give each other so much understanding and acceptance as to feel more free, more yourself together than apart. Nothing is more wonderful in this world than for two people who find a way to give each other the freedom to be who they truly are. Remarkably, when two people love in this way, then the most perfect love story will inevitably flow from that love. It is possible to have your perfect love story, but you have to stop trying to control what that story is going to be. Just let go and try to love a person first. The story will follow and it may be even better than you imagined.  Most of us have this backwards and this is why we are miserable in our relationships. 

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