Familiarity Breeds Familiarity

As the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt and that’s absolutely true all the time… when becoming familiar with a contemptible person. Although and I’ll apologize because I’m about to name names, in some cases familiarity breeds respect. Take Sam Aparacio, CEO of Ringio. Born and raised in Spain, The first thing you notice about Sam may be his Spanish accent. He speaks softly and not often. Yet when Sam talks, it’s from his heart, it’s authentic, thoughtful and insightful. The time spent with Sam the more he shines.

Then there’s the the National Industry phenoms. The Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki-like professional conference speakers, who once, like all of us had something to say. The people who just keep rewrapping the same tired message in new gift wrap and keep presenting it to us as a new and interesting point. The more they say, the less special they are, yet I suspect it is the distance from us mortals, the infrequent contact that keeps them on their pedestals. They remain as gods because we don’t get to scratch the service.

My point? That all of us have an inner-rockstar, a fact brought home daily by famed tweetster and blog commentator FAKEGRIMLOCK. The anonymous regular Joe, DC Tech Worker who may be sitting next to you right now in human form on the metro. Thankfully for DC, FAKEGRIMLOCK’s alter ego won’t eat you… even if you were bacon marinated in beer.

The FAKEGRIMLOCK premise is that any regular Joe or Jane has something interesting to say and he models this fact by routinely packing useful insight into humorous prose of wisdom. FAKEGRIMLOCK is a study of how an avatar can gain followers, fame, and respect by keeping a distance, remaining terse, and leaving his rabid fan base craving more.

In DC we’re fortunate to have several nationally recognized public tech figures, some of them, people like Scott Case, co-founder of Priceline and former head of Startup America, shine under the microscope of familiarity. He’s not just the kind of guy who only stands up well with infrequent and distant contact. The more time spent with him, the more his elevated intellect and good character become apparent.

Then you have the nationally known local DC Tech Luminati Rockstars who may be the inspiration for “familiarity breeds contempt.”

When accessed infrequently and at a distance, they speak in prefabbed snappy sound bites. They’re rockstars where they are well known and yet not known well. While spending more time, in unrehearsed constant back and forth conversations, the sound bites get stale and expectations of some new critical thinking gold nuggets are unfulfilled. Their stars don’t shine as bright when faced with critical thinking adults instead of naive raving fans.

When spending more time with them, they appear inauthentic and hypocritical. Up close their waxen wings, melted under the glare of constant spotlights, they crash to earth. On the road, in their occasional visits to Raleigh, North Carolina or Butte, Montana they remain superstars.

It’s okay to be a mortal human. By definition, everyone can’t be extraordinary. It’s just interesting to note that when all of the fan boys and fan girls are enraptured with the “Expert” on the stage, that superstar ninja up there may belong in the audience with you and that regular Joe or Jane sitting next to you in the audience may deserve to be up there on that pedestal.

Hey, we’re all human, we’re all like you, and we’re all special and have something to offer. We’re all superstars. The Startup Industrial Complex demands and serves up more extraordinary than exists in supply. We’re all special! Very few of us are more special than the rest of us.