I wanted to make this post for two reasons. One is because I get asked this question quite often in various forms: What do I think about this RSD instructor? What do I think about this RSD product? Is it worth to take their boot camp? So here is my honest opinion about them – the good, the mixed, and the bad. Secondly, just like its important “to give credit where credit is due”, it is also important to call out bad/incorrect information. At the end of the day, RSD is a for-profit- business whose primary goal isn’t to maximize your success with women but to maximize their profit. Sometimes those two go hand in hand, and sometimes they conflict.
In the interest of full transparency, I will share my limited background and experience with RSD. Like a lot of people, I heard about them and the PUA community in general after reading Neil Strauss’s “The Game” around late 2012. In case you haven’t read the book, in it Owen Cook, i.e “Tyler Durden” (one of the two founders of RSD) is portrayed negatively as a dorky asshole. Around summer of 2013, I moved to Los Angeles. I only knew a few people there and wanted to meet other guys to go out and pickup girls with. I heard that “Tyler” was doing a speech at someone’s house and I decided to go. My expectations were extremely low. I expected him to be annoying, dorky, and a shitty person (like in the book). However, I was quite surprised. That night Tyler appeared inspiring, passionate, and quite down to earth.
I was impressed and joined the local RSD Facebook group. Through there I wound up meeting a lot of cool people, some of which are my closest friends to this day. In addition, I started attending the RSD “Free tour” events and watching some of their free YouTube content. I was never a die-hard fanboy but definitely sipped from the Kool-aid quite a bit. I even had a picture of Julien on my dream board (let no one say I’m not transparent).
During this time period, I spent pretty much every single day going out and trying to pick up girls. Cold approach pick-up is the only area of my life I focused on improving in. I bought into the sales pitch “looks don’t matter” so I didn’t pay attention to health, career, or lifestyle. I ran up my credit card debt and never hit the gym. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a “bad period”, my overall results with women improved. In addition, I started eating healthy and learned to meet women without alcohol. Nevertheless, my ROI (Return on Time) was horrible. I was doing cold approach pickup as if it was my job, yet I would sleep with 1-3 new girls a month. Most of whom were average looking.
Near the end of 2014, “JulienGate” happened.
In case you are not familiar, one of the RSD instructors, Julien, put up a few “Racy” videos on YouTube and the Main Stream media made a big deal out of it, causing him to get banned from a few countries and creating a “scandal”. I followed the news closely and was both surprised & disgusted. I felt bad for Julien, he didn’t deserve this. His videos and comments were taken out of context and used by the media to push their own agenda. However, that is to be expected. The part that surprised me was how Julien and the rest of RSD did not stand up for themselves AT ALL. They just kept their mouth shut the whole time and a few months later Julien went on CNN and apologized.
I thought this was extremely lame, Why not stand up for your employees when most of the things being said about them are horribly wrong and even slanderous? This made no sense to me. Now, I realize that this was obviously a calculated business decision done to minimize potential lost profits. The guys who run RSD, “Tyler” and “Papa” didn’t care about doing what was “right”. They just wanted to avoid the potential of more lost revenues. I use the word “potential” because I don’t think they ultimately would’ve even lost any revenue….if they just owned this whole thing and changed their strategy to capture all the free publicity. However, that is a different debate
To me This felt like “selling out”.
A few months later, I also started noticing a change in RSD’s content. Their almost daily videos, which I previously used to love, now started feeling watered down. Its like they were trying to avoid saying anything that could have a potential to be misinterpreted (which unfortunately is most of pick up) and were just putting out safe fluff content. In addition, their “Free tours” started to significantly decline in quality. They started to feel like a giant timeshare presentation. Previously (2015 and prior), the Free Tours were 1-2 hours of unfiltered free value and 15 minutes of the “Sales pitch”. However, now they have become the opposite. Twenty to thirty minutes of carefully cherry-picked “value” and an hour worth of “sales pitch”…Not fun!
Around this period, in my life (summer of 2015), I had started to discover other pickup and self-improvement content and began to realize the importance of other aspects of a man’s life asides from doing cold approach pick-up. I had also realized that a lot of the stuff, I had learned from RSD was incorrect or superfluous. I started spending less time running around bars and more time meeting women in my day-to-day life and online (better ROI). This left me with more time to read books, hit the gym, focus on health, and get my career in order.
As a result, during the past two years, the quality of my life has improved by every metric I can think of. I have made more money, traveled to more countries, and gotten in better shape than ever before. My actual results with women are significantly better as well. I am not as good at “night game” as I used to be. Yes, if you go out to a bar with me now you will probably be less impressed with my “skills” than you would’ve been a few years ago. However, I also sleep with A LOT more women, who are on average a lot more attractive. That’s good enough for me.
I started “Playing with Fire” about six months ago and this has given me even more perspective on the pickup community and RSD specifically. It’s not that big of a club and all the coaches are at most one or two degrees of separation apart. As a direct result of this website and Facebook group, I have been able to meet some of the top guys in the Game and gain access to a lot of behind the scenes information that few people publicly write about. I am not the first to come out with a post like this, here is one I read a few weeks ago that I pretty much 100% agree with. However, this type of stuff is rarely talked about objectively. Instead, people either completely bash pick-up/pick-up companies… or become giant fanboys, without the ability to separate internet marketing from the truth. There is a middle ground and every company or “guru” has a completely different level of integrity when it comes to “selling you”.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, RSD’s is a for-profit company whose main goal is maximizing their earnings. They are also extremely good at internet marketing and getting people to “buy into them”. I will give them full credit for this. However, as any salesman will tell you (I did sales for two years for a variety of companies), getting the sale and telling you the truth/helping you don’t always go hand in hand. Depending on the product, needs of the person in question, and a bunch of other factors this schism could be minimal or it could be huge. Nevertheless, the point is to see RSD as a business entity with their own interests…. not as some kind of father figure, who truly cares about helping you succeed.
Let’s start with the good. I am sure, I will miss some stuff here (partially not my fault since they put out a new piece of content every minute), going to try to call out the big ones.
- “Don’t Blame others and take Responsibility” – This one is huge and extremely important to being successful with women. The Manosphere community gets close to zero pussy because they are bitter and blame women for everything… “She didn’t want to have sex…Must be feminism…Can’t be anything I could’ve done better”… That is a horrible approach to take if you care about getting laid or even being happy in life. Instead, it is better to understand the way things really work and assume personal responsibility for everything that is within your control. RSD has always been very good on this issue and provided the counter-balance to the Victim-mindset based thinking I see quite often in the Manosphere community. However, you can also see how this is a case where the truth perfectly aligns with the marketing. If you are convinced women are the problem, and that the sexual marketplace is hopeless, you are not going to see a need for a product on improving your skills with these women.
- “Be present to the moment” – This is also huge. Many guys who haven’t had much experience interacting with women become paranoid about doing something wrong and their mind is all over the place during their interaction with women. Ironically, this significantly increases their chance of actually doing something wrong and getting rejected. The right approach when interacting with women is to trust your instincts, relax, and be present to the moment. Then after its over (successfully or not), you analyze what you did right and what you could’ve done better. RSD gets this one right.
- “Be Nonreactive”- A lot of women will throw you “shit-tests” before sleeping with you. A girl might test you once or twice, or she might test you all night. It depends on your personality and the girl in question. However, most women will test you in one way or another at some point throughout the interaction. When this happens, the right move is to not let it affect you and remain nonreactive. RSD gets this one right as well.
- “You are never a finished product” – This has been a popular concept in the self-help community for a while. However, I will give RSD credit for bringing it into Pickup. The truth is you can always improve your skills with women. There is always someone who is doing something better then you…who you can and should try to learn from. The guys who stagnate, and thus never improve, are the guys who think they “already know it all” and let their egos stop them from continually improving. That is what happened with Mystery (from The Game). He stopped evolving in 2003 and as a result, has gone from being one of the best in the community to largely irrelevant.
- “Meditate” – Meditating for 10-20 minutes every day is one of the many things that will overall improve your success with women and the quality of your life in general. Tyler is huge on this one. In fact, I didn’t really get into meditation until I got into RSD. Full credit to RSD on this one. Teaching guys the benefits of meditation isn’t going to make them buy pick up products, but its also not going to lose any sales. No schism here.
- “Eat Healthily” – This one isn’t directly taught by RSD, but it is referenced so often by Tyler that I will give them credit as well. If you eat a clean healthy diet your brain chemistry will work better and you will have more energy, motivation, and mental capacity to be successful with women. Personally, I have been following a very clean Paleo Diet for the past four years. I know some top pick up guys who are a lot better with women than me, yet eat like shit. Like meditation, It is not a requirement. Nevertheless, I am personally a big proponent of eating healthy. Not only is it very likely to improve your results with women, but it is also guaranteed to improve the overall quality of your life.
- Read – Also, not rocket science and quite popular advice in the self-help community. However, I will give RSD Tyler credit for pushing it into pickup. Reading will not directly get you laid, but it will help you be more successful in life, which in turn will attract more women and help you get laid.
- “Take Massive Action” – This is one of the RSD concepts that can help or hurt. The average person spends the majority of their day talking about and then rationalizing not doing the things that they know they need to do (go to the gym, improve with women, etc). RSD consistently preaches to stop making excuses and take action. This is right… as long as the action you take is “correct action”. However, if you take massive amounts of “ the wrong action” you can actually set yourself back. Let’s take putting on muscle mass as an example. You can hit the gym twice a day (taking massive action), but if you fail to increase the amount of resistance on your key lifts, you will not put on mass. After a few months of not seeing results, you might get discouraged and come to believe “you will always stay skinny” … or even worse, you can get injured from poor form and overtraining. The same thing applies to pickup. I see too many RSD guys run around clubs doing 100s of approaches, yet getting close to no results. They are taking massive action, but clearly do something wrong along the way, because they are failing to get laid. despite the numbers being in their favor. For a lot of these guys, now that they have gotten past the “approach anxiety” stage, the right strategy is not to “take more action”, but to be more strategic and analyze what they are doing wrong instead of taking more wrong action.
- “Openers don’t matter” – The simple truth is, as long as you don’t say something weird or “overly-gamey”, the exact words you use to open a girl are fairly irrelevant. She is paying much more attention to your body language, tonality, eye contact, vibe, and of course your Sexual Market Value. My favorite opener for night game is “Hey, Im Alex”…. RSD talks about this, yet I see so many of their fan boys run around saying the weirdest, most gimmicky shit and getting blown out as a result, time after time. Why does this happen? I think certainly a big part of the problem is that RSD puts out videos where one of their instructors says something fancy or crazy and it works. The truth is this – it worked despite the weird opener, not because of it. However, that opener made for much better marketing so they put that in the video over the 10 normal ones they shot.
- “The importance of Self-Amusement”. There is definitely and element of truth here. For guys, who are too serious or logical (a good portion of men getting into pickup), learning to self-amuse and have a little fun is going to increase their success with women. No doubt about it. However, I see this concept getting misinterpreted and blown out of proportion, more often then not. Often times, the rsd-fan boys run around acting ridiculous and weirding out every girl they talk to, thinking that this is how you get laid. It’s not. Not at all. Personally, I was never that bad, per-se, but definitely was not one of the people who wound up benefiting from “learning to self-amuse”. I was already relying on humor too much. Instead, I needed to focus on recognizing social cues and being more grounded/dominant/sexual. When I improved in those areas is when I started to get laid more.
- “Looks don’t matter” – This is pure nonsense. The truth is your results interacting with women will be determined mainly by a combination of your Sexual Market Value (Looks, Money, Fashion, Status), Game (ability to communicate this value) and Persistence (number of approaches and time spent interacting with women). However, that is a much harder sales pitch. If a guy is convinced that its his looks that are holding him back, telling him that he is probably partially right is going to make it a lot harder to get him to buy your latest game-knowledge product. Instead, if your goal is to maximize your sales and profit, its better to keep things simple (big rule in sales) and tell him that he is wrong, and that his looks don’t matter, and that the problem is in his inner/outer game. Unfortunately, for a majority of people this is a disservice. This is because your “looks” are largely within your control. Every man can increase their Sexual Market Value, at least a few points by putting on more lean muscle, reaching a low body fat, and dressing better. However, if you are convinced that “looks don’t matter”, then you’ll be much less likely to bother.
- “Focus on the Process, not the results” – This is mostly internet marketing as well. If a large portion of your customers are running around like jackasses and not getting laid, you certainly don’t want them to focus on the results. That will lead to dissatisfaction and refund requests. Instead, it is better to convince them to “trust in the process” and that the results “will eventually follow”. Let’s take my “getting jacked” analogy. If you have gone to the gym for a few months, but you haven’t seen a noticeable improvement in your physique – then you are doing something wrong. In truth, you want to focus on both the Process and the Results. Why? Because if you are not getting results then the process is clearly wrong
- “RSD infield is largely marketing” – Yes, I have heard numerous accounts of RSD actually faking infield by hiring actresses. However, since I personally don’t know this to be true, I am not going to go there. What I can say with a certainty is they edit, cut, and show their videos in a very deceptive way. They want you to think that in each video the respective instructor got laid. However, the flat truth is that most of their “pulls” do not result in sex. In fact, most of the time, if they had kept the video going a minute longer, you would’ve seen them get blown out.
- “They are very cultish” – This is the part of RSD few people see. However, if you post anything in any of their forums or Facebook groups that do not “toe the company line” you will most likely get banned without a warning and your post will get purged. There is no free exchange of ideas, significant discussion of different viewpoints, or room for criticism (god forbid). Anything and anyone that has the potential to interfere with profits is censored or removed. At any of their live events, even if you are a paying client, if you express a different viewpoint, more often then not you will be shamed into silence with some vague markety catchphrase. There is moderating to keep a healthy constructive community and then there is what RSD does.
- “They treat their employees/customers like shit” – A few of their former employees have come out and spoken out about this publicly. The most recent casualty was RSD Todd, who wanted to negotiate a better deal on his commission. He had been with the company for over 10 years and was getting tired of making a small percentage for the work he did (rightfully so). Since starting the website and getting “into the industry”, I have also met numerous of their ex-employees who privately shared some very crappy things that RSD does. Lets take refunds for instance. RSD advertises a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. However, I have yet to meet a person who successfully got their money back after being dissatisfied with a boot-camp. Instead, the company policy seems to be to find any detail that can be used to blame the customer and say that this action violated their guarantee. I can make a whole post just on this point, but hopefully, this text exchange between my friend and RSD Jeffy (one of the instructors), summarizes everything…. Great customer service, man!
6. “They water down their content” – The flat truth of it getting good at sleeping with tons of women is not always PC. In fact, it can often be very controversial to someone who is not “red-pill”. This controversy can cause media backlash and potential lost profits. As a pickup company, you often have to make a choice between giving guys the raw truth and maximizing your profits. RSD used to be pretty decent in this department. However, in the past few years (most noticeably after Julien-gate), they have consistently been watering down all their advice. I’ll give an example: I don’t teach night game because it is something I don’t consider myself an expert in. Far from it! However, if I did, I would tell all my clients to look for women who are out by themselves. It may sound kind of creepy, but its the right advice. Women who are out by themselves are much more likely to be looking to go home with a stranger. Furthermore, there is no chance of getting cock-blocked by a friend or the girl being too afraid to act out her desires because of social pressure. Every guy who gets laid a lot from night game knows this fact. Yet, I have never heard RSD even hint at it.
7. “Their products are largely bullshit” – Let’s be real. How many Game products can you make while still giving new valuable information each time? If you are RSD, it is apparently around one every month. It is impossible to release even close to this many products and still have them be full of new valuable information. Instead, it is mostly recycled superfluous information, with a number of accompanying and largely deceptive infield.
8. “They allow the blind to lead the blind” – The main problem with the RSD forums is that all the attention from the people who are in a “place of authority” is being spent on censoring anything that interferes with profits, instead of actually trying to give the right information. As a result, they have become a place where “the blind lead the blind”, full of erroneous and often quite comical information. There is a balance here, you can focus on both as I and many other groups have done. However, RSD doesn’t.
My goal with this article was to try to be as objective as possible and give you my honest opinion, the way I see things after being in the game for 4+ years and recently getting “into the industry”. As people, I have varying levels of respect for each one of instructors, ranging from none to a lot. As a company, I admire aspects of what they’ve done (especially the marketing), but if any of my friends asked me, my simple and honest answer would be “stay away man”.
A big thing, I’ve noticed with hardcore RSD fans is that their actual results with women stagnate or even get worse over time…until they eventually burn out. They become way too focused on each product and point that they never really learn. They treat the mostly superfluous theories like doctrine. This ultimately hinders them. The guys who get good don’t worship pickup companies or instructors. They take what they want, what helps them and move on.
*Obama mic drop*