Donald Glover is a talented man. His ability to change personas at a whim is remarkable, leading to a career that goes from witty writer to rap star to actor. He isn’t even thirty yet.
And I ask myself, how do people gain such widespread fame so fast? How do these candles burn so bright and so hard that it’s impossible to ignore them?
When I was young I believed deeply in meritocracy. To be famous you had to be good at what you did. I say fame here not in the celebrity sense, but in the leader in your field sense. Do most people know who Donald Glover is by name? Maybe quite a few. Do many know who Jony Ive is by name? Probably not many. Still, I consider that fame in that field.
When I found out about Snooki, that worldview sort of shattered.
My theory could be summed up “If you build it, they will come” as if people just had a talent detector and they would somehow magically find you if you were good enough.
Now, it’s a sort of false dichotomy to compare an entertainer – a person who’s job it is, literally, to sell themselves as fun, likeable people – and a professional whose job it is to make things and otherwise stay out of limelights. There’s also a cultural divide when we look at design specifically. The Scandinavian designer philosophy is very different than the American one.
It isn’t my explicit goal to become famous (it’s been pointed out that prestige is often just another way to get you to do something you don’t like for free) but I do wonder how we can, as people who devote our time into our work and not into our personal marketing, try and sync those up into a resonance that burns bright as tribute to both.
In the meantime, since I don’t have an answer yet, keep burning.
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