Daily Lab: The folly of fame

Focus on value, not followers.

Daily Lab: The folly of fame

Short summary:

  • High skill in a field doesn’t require vast popularity to achieve success.
  • A massive following doesn’t guarantee genuine expertise or business acumen.
  • Marketing’s primary goal is sustainable business growth, not fleeting fame.

If you were a really good tradesperson, how many potential clients would have to know about you to keep you busy and profitable?

Not that many, right? A few thousand?

Certainly under a million.

Because if you’re really good, you don’t actually need that many people to know who you are for enough of them to buy—and keep buying—from you.

And that’s why you should be skeptical of advice from people with millions of followers on social media or TikTok.

I’m serious.

Here’s a way to think about it: If their advice truly worked, if it truly added value to the people who tried it, they wouldn’t need that many people to know about them.

If you have to cast a net that wide, it’s because your individual impact is tiny.

“But isn’t fame the point of marketing?”

No, not really.

I often think about the fact that Mr. Beast is the most famous person and brand on the planet. And he’s stated that his business runs on razor thin margins and that he’s “dying mentally” trying to keep up with it.

We see in the news that famous people and famous brands go broke all time. In fact, it’s possible that famous people go bankrupt more often than the average.

And how many of the biggest, most popular startups from the last decade are even around anymore? When’s the last time you used a Groupon?

It turns out, fame is a cost, not a strength.

Get results, and you’ll get clients.

Get famous, and you’ll get attention.

But if you can’t turn that attention into returning and referring clients, then what do you have?

Focus on value, not fame.

In what you do, and in who you listen to.

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