Obsessing on Fame

I’m a heavy reader. I used to read a number of weekly and monthly magazines but find that now I am focused more on reading blogs, news sites and other information. I am varied in my reading, too. I read venture capitalists and tech news, I read political news and information, I read about sports. I also read books, mostly history, and a single magazine (National Geographic), which gives me insights in anthropology, history and the natural world.

Even with all this reading I have found myself too narrowly focused, especially in technology reading. I am finding myself distracted by Silicon Valley. Sean Murphy pointed this out to me a couple of weeks ago. He questioned my plan for a new app, comparing it to certain “Valley” fanboy companies like DropBox and Evernote, and he pointed out that I am trying to make comparisons to outliers.

I have consistently struggled with my own desires for running a business. I have been conflicted between grow a large company well respected in the industry and being happy with a smaller business that gives me the flexibility to do what I want in life.


I have two daughters, one five and the other three, and they have been obsessed with the idea of famous. “I’m famous” they’ll say, of which I or their mother responds, “Yes, in your head you are.” But they don’t really know what famous is, it is just a word they like. When they finally asked what it means my answer was as follows: “Famous is when people you don’t know know you. There are degrees of famous. For instance,” I explained, “I am more famous than your mother but Nemo is more famous than me.” (Hey, their 5 and 3. Who was I going to say, Lady Gaga?)


The truth, though, is that I have been obsessed with famous myself and didn’t realize it until Sean pointed it out: I have been obsessed with being recognized for my business accomplishments, I have been obsessed with growing a company recognized as a world-class leader, I have been distracted by the desire to be better known than I am. Reading all those Valley rags, which focus on the outliers more than most, was contributing to my obsession. And to be honest, obsession really doesn’t suit me very well.

So I’m done with all that, or at least being obsessed by it. I just can’t control those things. And frankly it is hard enough controlling the things I can control let alone the ones I can’t.

4 thoughts on “Obsessing on Fame

  1. Nice post Elia. I know too many people who were obsessed with fame/money/something and woke up one day to discover they did not know their family. That they missed their kids growing up. Or that they missed they did not have a life, and now had no energy to keep up the pace.

    The goal is not more, the goal is enough. First understand what enough is and what it is made of (time with family, time to give back, money to pay bills, …) Then spend your time appropriately.


  2. You may not have a choice in the matter. You may not need fame, but depending on your strength’s, recognition may be necessary to be satisfied in the work you do.

    If you haven’t done so already, buy strength finders book from Amazon and take the online test it provides. You’ll gain some key insights into what makes you successful as well as what you need to be happy based on those strengths.

  3. @Maurice: thanks for the complement. I haven’t forgotten my family by any stretch. In fact it has been this conflict that has kept me on edge about this issue.

    @Jason: you are right, of course. I guess what I am getting at is that I need to re-prioritize the scope of my fame (or fame desires as the case may be). I think I have been focused on the wrong scope. Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll check it out.

  4. distraction sure seems BIG these days ..especially in the form of keeping up with twitter and blogs. Can be particularly problematic for makers who often dont need to stay informed in less than 8 hour intervals.

    anyhow, good post 🙂 now i need to get undistracted 🙂

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