Be a someone, not a something

When I was a kid, I used to think that you had to be a famous person to have your own website. I thought, Wow, you must have had to make substantial advances in cancer research or written seven platinum albums or invented Toaster Strudels. But as it turns out, any pathetic whiney Joe Shmo can get their own dot com. This isn’t to say I fall into that category, comma, because I don’t, comma, but it seems that everyone is trying to make themselves known, or become someone.

I’m saying this after a coworker of mine told me in passing today “I need to change my brand.” This struck me in a weird way. Yeah, it’s kind of a hipster, post-modern, trendy thing to say with a straw still in your mouth, but it is sad and a true testament to who we’ve all become. Or rather what we’ve all become.

coke.jpg

Why would you want to change your brand? What are you, Coke? Are we commodities? Are we services? Are we a means to an end? This all led me to question the transitory nature of identity. To say that individuals have brands is also saying that we are on the market, and perched atop the shelf of life. Who will buy us? Will they pay cash? I, personally, don’t take debit.

Okay, I bet you’re all like, “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players” and now Shakespeare is rolling over in his grave. I won’t disclose my coworker’s position, but it saddened me deeply to hear him articulate so naturally that he didn’t feel like he was enough -- in an industry that values radical thinking and alternate ideas, no less.

Ending thoughts: Brand, shmand. Settle into a brand organically. If you have to hem the edges, sure. But transforming yourself will feel incredibly stifling and will be a huge fun-suck. Not to mention, your audience can smell a sham miles away, like a bad Louis Vuitton on Canal Street.