Avoid fame

Some people think they need to be Twitter famous to start a successful business. But I think fame is a trap; you should avoid it if you can.

It reminds me of this old interview with NOFX (the punk band):

Interviewer: "Do you wish you gotten bigger in the 90s?"

Fat Mike: "No way. Because once you get really big, you can’t hold on to it. You can’t sustain that level of popularity. Our level of popularity we can sustain. Our crowds have never gone down. We sell out places all the time, the same clubs we always play where if you look bands who did go the MTV way they were big for a few years, but then they were back to playing clubs."

If you're a band, and you can fill a room with a hundred people and play to those fans in multiple cities around the globe, you've made it. That's perfect. The same is true in startups: if you can build a small, profitable business without becoming well-known, you should do it. It will bring so much more calm to your life.

"I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: ‘try being rich first.’ See if that doesn’t cover most of it. There’s not much downside to being rich, other than paying taxes and having your relatives ask you for money. But when you become famous, you end up with a 24-hour job." – Bill Murray

Tim Ferris also does a good job of describing the downsides of fame.

"Who you know" and "who knows you" definitely increase your surface area for luck. But there’s probably an “optimal” level of fame. Once your audience gets too big, you have to deal with more and more bullshit.

I wonder if there’s a reasonable equilibrium: where you’re known enough to create opportunities but not so known that you attract the wrong kind of attention.

At what stage does the scale get tipped?

Justin Jackson

Published on November 24th, 2022
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