The rise and fall of Real Social Dynamics
This is a chapter in my series on History of the Manosphere. There are far too many players in the Manosphere for me to do a piece on all of them. RSD is the one that I am most familiar with. I may leave some parts deliberately vague for the sake of not doxing myself—what you believe or don’t believe is up to you, but this is what I have seen, and you are welcome to draw your own conclusions.
RSD had a near monopoly on all pickup and men’s self-improvement content in the mid-2010s. YouTube channels with multiple thousands of subscribers and millions of views. New coaches who came from the organization, and informal communities of peer-to-peer advice in a global network. You could travel to a new city, link into an Inner Circle Group, and quickly learn what are the best places to go out to and find people willing to meet up. It was an amazing feat, but they then let it slip away. This is what I saw.
I argue the core asset that made RSD successful was the community that it fostered. When it started the Inner Circle Facebook Groups, all the local lairs basically went out of existence and people moved to the Facebook groups. Metcalfe’s law. A network is as valuable as the people who use it, and a critical mass moved from the decentralized local lairs to the RSD Inner Circle groups.
Additionally, what drew people in to RSD instead of a competitor’s Facebook groups (any dude on the internet could make a Facebook group) was that RSD started putting out free videos on YouTube that exceeded the quality of paid products from rivals. The free videos truly were amazing and life changing for a number of people, myself included.
They’ve since pulled a number of the old school videos from YouTube, but you can find some of them re-appearing on Odysee here: https://odysee.com/@ResourcesForMen:c
This video in particular really got me off my ass when I was starting out:
I don’t fully buy RSD’s story that they pulled their old pickup videos because of a culture change with the so-called Me Too movement or woke culture. I concede that may be part of the story with YouTube censorship, but there are pickup channels even on YouTube now, albeit not the old school ones from the mid-2010s.
I mean even Sasha Daygame still has content online:
I argue that the real reason why RSD started coming apart has to do with:
Treating their community, which was their real core asset, like a sales funnel to aggressively ram down products instead of a community to be stewarded—they killed the golden goose
Failing to retain top talent
Treating interns like crap, underpaying them or not paying them at all—eventually people catch on to this and your ability to get recruits drops
Tyler really lost relatability somewhere along the way
Killing the Golden Goose: Breaking apart their community
It’s really hard to explain to someone who wasn’t there just the magnitude that RSD had in pickup/men’s self improvement/whatever you want to call it in the 2010s. RSD became a near monopoly. That’s quite a statement, but they completely took over to market.
Prior to the peak of RSD, people would meet up in local groups called lairs. Think of it as a pickup version of a Meetup.com group, before Meetup.com was a thing. These were things like local subforums on major pickup forums or things like Yahoo Groups back when those were around.
RSD in 2012 launched a program called Inner Circle, where it established local Facebook groups, and these quickly sucked all the traffic out of the lairs and effectively supplanted them. The value of a network is proportionate to how many users the network has, and when RSD’s Inner Circles took all the traffic, the lairs withered away.
This then gave RSD exclusive marketing access to the entire PUA community. There were a few other upstarts on YouTube like Simple Pickup, but RSD by far had the biggest following. This is back when forums were a thing, and RSDNation had some good threads and field reports on their forum.
The community was also a great content source of its own. Besides the RSD coaches, you’d have people just volunteering their own time and effort to help out others to improve their social skills. People also no longer had an excuse that they had no one to go out with. Even if their current loser friends didn’t want to go out, they could reach out to the Inner Circle and find wings. Or, if they’re on personal or business travel, they could quickly get plugged into a new city. It was a global network.
Somewhere along the line though, RSD started viewing the community that they took over as a money funnel instead of a community to be stewarded. The forum completely went to shit with lack of moderation, and spam or weirdo posters started ruining the quality. Local admins on the Inner Circle leadership discussion group were asking about the forum and if they needed help moderating it, or what the way forward is with the forum versus the Facebook groups, and no answer was given.
In 2019, RSD pulled the plug on the Facebook groups. They didn’t give much reasoning, or reasons they did give were flimsy. For example:
RSD said guys were posting nudes in the group—unlikely, since nudity goes against general Facebook policy and would get your account suspended even in a private group, and moreover you can just ban the guys posting nudes (assuming any of this actually happened) instead of shutting down the entire system
RSD said that feminists infiltrated the groups—we’ve always had this, but it’s been more of a nuisance than an existential threat
RSD said that “Me Too” culture was forcing them to do this—unlikely, since other groups spawned to fill the void that RSD left, and moreover groups like these are good at pushing back against the excesses of feminism. If you get rid of the groups entirely, then you help perpetuate the excesses of feminism instead of providing a healthy alternative
Failing to retain top talent
RSD brought on board some of the best coaches in the business…and then lost them. Todd Valentine helped start RSD and came from the original Project Hollywood days. I, personally, did a Boot Camp with Todd during his RSD days and can vouch for him.
But later…well, I’ll let this video speak for itself.
When RSD had the community and top talent, it became a self-reinforcing network and self-reinforcing marketing machine. Without the community and with talent attrition, RSD no longer captured the entire market.
Treating interns like crap
A substantial part of RSD’s backend operations and even some of their assistant coaches were unpaid interns. They were told that they were getting “experience”, and perhaps they were getting experience in talking with girls, but the were not getting transferable or resume-marketable skills. Eventually word gets out, and you can’t get more interns.
Tyler’s loss of relatability
I want to be clear: Blueprint Decoded is still one of the greatest of all time video programs. Despite coming out over a decade ago now, it’s a timeless classic.
I went to a Tyler Hot Seat in 2016 and it was…weird. He was pointing to random audience members and yelling “HEY. I’m in your head.” This repeated for about 10 minutes. I’m waiting for him to make a point or explain, but this would just continue.
Seriously, check out early 2010s Tyler versus now. It’s a night and day difference. Early 2010s Tyler had swag AND he could convey how you, too, could have swag.
Side note for aspiring coaches: remember that we don’t look up to Tyler because he has game. We look up to Tyler because he taught US how to have game.
Nowadays though, Tyler is making jokes about having man boobs (no I’m not kidding). There are times when he really breaks through and makes salient points even now, but early 2010s, Tyler was on fire. Absolute beast. One thing I really admire about Bow Tied Bull is with the limited info he’s put out about himself, it seems like he’s an older fellow, perhaps early 40s, but he still remains very relatable to younger people—and this is important when you’re trying to teach someone.
I am told from a reliable source that RSD had one of their most profitable years in 2020 despite all this, essentially ramming through online products (Hot Seat at Home, etc.) during the early part of COVID when no one had anything else to do except impulse buy products online. I’m also told that Derek’s business coaching is selling well…although we’re talking about basically a video product that just recaps business books that you could just buy on Amazon.
The thing is, I’m not sure how sustainable that is. RSD just isn’t as culturally relevant as they were in the 2010s, and Tyler almost waxes poetic about that on some of his live presentations.
I want to reiterate though, this was NOT because of feminism or being “canceled.” There is still a market being filled, by newer people like The Roommates, Fresh & Fit Podcast, or old school people like Todd V.
My post is not intended to be a hater piece on RSD. This is meant to recap a history from someone who had a good amount of knowledge as to what was happening within the community, and it is meant to be a lesson for future leaders to avoid some of the mistakes that RSD made.
Game Global’s network seems to have started to fill the void left by the Inner Circle Groups. You can find out more about them here: https://www.gameglobal.net/groups/
There are other groups, some of whom may prefer privacy, so out of respect for that I will not mention. I’ll give one hint: you guys like photography. That’s all I’m going to say.
I’d be curious to hear your experience with RSD. I’m going to delete blatant troll comments, but constructive criticism is welcome.
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