Phil and I had a conversation over lunch today about the idea that people can find success for themselves by building their personal brand in a way that's far more flexible and useful than the sort of power that's granted by a lofty position at a fancy company. Or something like that.
We also talked about his plans for growing out his beard after his wedding. We talked about a lot of things. That's not the point.
The point is that people like Noah, Russell and Gareth have all built platforms that have allowed them to transcend the company they work for, maybe even becoming more valuable to their employers than their employers are to them. Although I'm sure none of them would admit to that. Especially not Noah since he is his own employer now.
Anyways, this Snarkmarket post did a good job of bringing my point to life, while adding a bit more dimension to it:
I feel like Reggie Watts’ fame is way more interesting and durable than, say, Lady Gaga’s. It is, first of all, entirely his own creation—it feels like an asset he’s nurtured and grown, not an investment that someone else has made, contingent on certain outcomes. Also, it’s somehow scale-free: Watts is capable of performing on a big national late-night talk show and at a weird little regional conference, too. The former doesn’t intimidate him, and the latter doesn’t diminish him. Gaga is the opposite: she’s operating at a much bigger scale, sure, but she’s trapped there. Even if she wanted to perform at the, like, Shelby Township Asparagus Festival, I don’t think she could. Stripped of the sound and fury of big-time production, she is weakened, made mortal: Superman under a red sun. A large part of her fame (and I’m obviously using her as a proxy for a whole class of performers here) now derives precisely from the trappings of fame. Which is a crazy situation to get yourself into! That’s how you end up alone in a giant mansion, eighty-four million dollars in debt.