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The Price of Success
2 min read

The Price of Success

The Price of Success

What is the price of success? There is often this narrative painted that it is lonely on the top. But there is more to it than that.

I have the honor of calling Sameer Mehta a good friend. His background with Kellogg, Mckinsey and Shell - and the vast number of boards that he sits on equips him to see problems and life in terms of frameworks. He is one of the few people that I absolutely trust.

There was once this conversation we were having about how success and becoming famous is inversely proportionate to the freedom that you have.

With the loss of anonymity, you no longer can do the things that you once used to do - and even things that are considered normal and acceptable by everyone else.

Normal people can have an opinion and express it freely, you can't - the media will have a field day over it. Normal people can crib about a bad experience they had with a brand or a restaurant that they went to - if you do it, it would be considered bullying and disproportionate use of force.

In the land of humans, you are now a dragon - and a simple Knick or kick could have dramatic consequences, and you have to think through things.

This is where the difference between successful people and those who are famous comes in. People who are successful create the means and also have favorable public opinion. If public opinion goes sour, they can just lay low and go on with their lives, and the cycle eventually will break. On the other hand, if you are famous - and your job depends on you being famous, then you are in serious trouble when you make a snafu.

So if you are a politician, a celebrity, or an influencer and you "break the internet" and have to go underground for a while, the risk is that while they forgot what you have done, they might also forget who you were.

This is why for famous people, loss of public opinion is a death knell. It has very little to do with gender, or nationality. It cuts through across the spectrum for everyone.

If you are an entrepreneur riding the hype machine and you are "faking it till you make it", you are not yet successful but are famous. Tread those lines very carefully. The market might forgive you if you have a product that is genuinely solving a problem (twitter and Facebook are great examples), but if you haven't yet achieved PMF yet, consider yourself in the famous but not successful camp.

The bottom-line is this : the more you become famous / succeed, the lesser your freedom in public. Period. That's what you signed up for.

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