On the intertubes, everyone gets to be a rock star

In the Sixties, Andy Warhol predicted everyone would get their 15 minutes of fame. In today’s World 2.0, everyone gets to be a rock star. I’m usually not starstruck…but tonight I got to rub elbows with a true superstar – Guy Kawasaki. I bought Guy Kawasaki’s first book way back in the mid-eighties… it was called the Macintosh Way, and it is awesome.

Guy has had a pretty interesting career, especially as an early Macintosh evangelist, and when he started blogging, I started reading his blog. He is passionate about business, about entrepreneurship, and is an all-around cool guy. Guy is now a Venture Capitalist and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Earlier tonight, @itsjustbrent (Brent Dixon) twittered to Guy Kawasaki that he should add Charlie Trotter’s (@chaztoo) cartoon/comic site called Lolzies to Guy’s new site called Alltop.com. Brent then twittered to the rest of his followers that everyone should petition Guy to add Lolzies to Alltop. At that time, my skeptical radar went on red alert. (I nearly turned into Mr. Grumpy Cranky, aka Ron Shevlin.) I thought to myself there is NO WAY GUY KAWASAKI is going to put Lolzies into his latest online endeavor.

Here’s some background on Guy Kawasaki’s recent online presence: Being well-connected in Silicon Valley, and with a great self-brand and entrepreneurial message, Guy quickly rose to the Top 50 of all bloggers in the world. (A-list, true technorati.) When twitter went mainstream for the technorati, Guy was there. Unfortunately, Guy didn’t follow the hundreds and hundreds of people who were following him. Since Guy likes to promote the projects he’s working on, many followers accused him of “using” his twitter presence just to shill his wares. Guy realized this wasn’t cool behavior, and to prove his detractors wrong, started to follow EVERY one who was following him. Well, that is now more than 6,200 twitterers. So I thought to myself, even assuming Guy is following Brent, how is he going to spot his tweet out of THOUSANDS that must be flying by his twitter-reader every second?

Personally, as much as I like Guy, I have slowed down with following his blog regularly. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the speeches he gives online there, but I’ve felt a need to focus on my own work. And since I don’t follow his blog as regularly as I used to, I definitely didn’t want to follow him on twitter. I didn’t want to see a stream of interesting, but distracting, information coming my way from him. But since Brent was trying to flag his attention, I figured I’d check and see if it were true that Guy follows those who follow him, so I followed Guy. And sure enough, I got an email back saying that Guy was following me just minutes later.

Then I joined in Brent’s petition to get Charlie’s Lolzies onto Alltop. This was followed by @CUWarrior joining in the petition to Guy for Lolzies. I think it might have been the giant feathers on @CUWarrior’s twitter picture that got Guy’s attention, because Guy tweeted back saying isn’t Lolzies a humor site and not a cartoon site? At this point my jaw hit the floor that GUY KAWASAKI was actually tweeting with us! So I jokingly asked Guy to sign my twitterrific interface, to which he responded “you’re scaring me”. He then returned the joke and said “sure, just send it over to me.”

After some banter, and Guy requesting that we all pimp Alltop in return for putting Lolzies into the comic area of it, he put it into the Comic feed, if Charlie was also willing to work some pictures of Guy into the comic itself if he sent over some photos of himself, and mention Alltop. Which Charlie quickly said yes to. (http://comics.alltop.com).

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true story of how Charlie Trotter became a rock star overnight. Do something worthwhile, and it could happen to you, too.

Addendum: This is the promise of social media– that quality and talent wins. Everyone with something to say has a chance to say it. Within every single one of us is a unique talent, and we are all rock stars. Traditional media gatekeepers are no longer in charge of what becomes popular or not. As Brent tweeted this morning, “Congrats, @chaztoo. Awesomeness wins again.”


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14 Responses to “On the intertubes, everyone gets to be a rock star”

  1. rshevlin Says:

    cranky, not grumpy. [ I work so hard to cultivate an image, only to have it denigrated into “grumpy”, 😦 ]

  2. rshevlin Says:

    I’m going to disagree w/ you a bit here, Morriss. The difference about social media from what became before it is the more democratic, viral nature of who becomes a rock star.

    In the old world, you needed agents and labels (i.e. power brokers). The “promise”, or difference, about social media is the loss of power among power brokers.

    But this story is about how a power broker — Guy Kawasaki — helped CTrotter become a rock star. Just because it happened over the Internet does not make it an example of the “power of social media”. What’s worse is that Charlie had to sell a little of his soul (putting Guy Egosaki in the comics) to make it happen. Sounds like the old world to me.

  3. Charlie Trotter Says:

    Ron, interesting observation on the breakdown. I agree that it’s more like the old way, but I wonder (really, I’m wondering aloud) if we should have an expectation of power brokers loosing power in that sense because of social media.

    The power brokers are, in this case, a lot more accessible thanks social media. That seems to be the main change. Because people with influence, a higher profile and longer track records for delivering and recommending good content are still influential, still valuable to a person on the come-up. I think social media helps break down the issues of accessibility to these people and are maybe helping them to think more openly about who they help because of how easy it is to come in contact with new talent.

    As for my soul-selling, I think looking at the exchange from that angle is too easy an answer in this case. I never setup any standard of can’t-be-bought purist integrity for LOLZIES!!1@!. I don’t want it to become the Shill of the Month Club either, but the humor I’m interested in pursuing is about meta communication and pop culture and how those things eat each other and contradict each other. Guy is a figure in the internet/marketing pop culture, so I think it’s appropriate to have him appear in a comic. I’m not making fun of him by doing it either, I just think there is a latent joke sitting there about the general societal groping for internet fame. A joke I didn’t intend, but one I appreciate, and I hope Guy will as well, and one that is on the both of us at once.

    And, by the way, my putting him in the comic wasn’t a condition of my getting onto Alltop. He had already put LOLZIES!!1@! up before he realized I was the author. The cameo and mutual back-scratching was an afterthought, and kind of a fun one as far as I’m concerned.

    He has a site that will be a really handy content provider for people looking for it and people looking to get looked at (Keep your grammar guns holstered. I know what I’m doing.). The site’s success will benefit him, but it will also benefit the people whose content he’s broadcasting. It feels like he’s been pretty transparent about that.

  4. Morriss Partee Says:

    Ron, great points as always. But Charlie didn’t have to put Guy Egosaki, (I agree with you a bit on that name) into his Lolzies. It was not a tit-for-tat deal. Guy agreed to put Lolzies on Alltop before the whole “can I send you photos of me to work into it?” came up. And Charlie didn’t have to put Guy on there, but it seems an appropriate exchange for the value of being on the new Alltop. So selling one’s soul isn’t appropriate unless this is something that Charlie didn’t want to do. (I hope you chime in here Charlie.)

    And you do have a point that in this case Guy is the new powerbroker. But here’s where it’s different than the old world. To me, this incident is kinda like the wanna-be rockstar who finds out where the record execs limo is going, and throws a cassette in the window in the hopes that it gets heard. So here’s where the internet is different, Brent in Dallas throws the cassette into Guy’s limo in Silicon Valley, or wherever Guy happens to be giving his next talk, and me in Massachusetts says the tunes are righteous and Matt in North Carolina says yeah, the tunes are righteous. And the other thing that makes it more legit than cassette-throwing is that it wasn’t the artist himself who threw it in the limo’s window.

  5. Morriss Partee Says:

    Aha, Charlie responded before I finished writing up my reply to the Shevlinator. Thanks Charlie! Good stuff from both of you!

  6. Credit Union Warrior Says:

    Historically, folks have sung the praises of the Internet’s ability to connect people with information. As it has developed, however, you can see how it’s being used to connect people with people. I’ve heard stories of folks playing Madden football on XBox Live only to find out they’re playing against the REAL Shawn Merriman. I’ve seen Ron Shevlin get blog replies from Seth Godin. Now I’ve seen Guy Kawasaki respond to Tweets from a nobody like me.

    I’m continually amazed at how the Web has become a part of our life, and absolutely blown away at how it has been able to connect people of all types. In a way, it’s become a great equalizer. We’re all on the same level on the Web. This is made possible when people like Guy are cool enough to play ball with folks like me.

  7. Ginny Brady Says:

    I say – Good for you, Charlie! This reminds me a little of the recognition Larissa has gotten for her CU difference videos. I love seeing hard work, creativity and talent being recognized.

    Ron, How could Lolzies have gotten this kind of recognition without the internet, Twitter and Brent’s call to a community formed around blogging? Whether or not this brings rock star status to Charlie and Lolzies remains to be seen – you can be sure that Lolzies will be added to my RSS feeds
    1. Because they’re fun and funny and 2. Because it will be fun to follow a rising star.

  8. terrell Says:

    Shari Storm’s MBA blog is on Alltop as well.

  9. Morriss Partee Says:

    @Ron – btw, I like how strike-thru makes your alias look like Mr. Grumpy Cranky. Sounds like two of the seven dwarves.

    @terrell – thanks for letting us know about Shari’s Motherhood is the New MBA being on Moms Alltop! And while we’re at it, I’ll mention that Caleb Chang (@changstein) is in the Alltop Twitterati.

    Phew, Guy sure got some mileage for Alltop out of this whole deal. I think that Guy is a master at one of the primary internet success principles: Make your audience the star. And by so doing, you bask in their glow. That’s also success principle number one at EverythingCU.com.

  10. Charlie Trotter Says:

    Ginny, thanks for the encouragement. I really, really appreciate it. And thanks for subscribing! Great call on noting that my comic’s status hasn’t really changed overnight. This will likely be a very helpful boost to the profile of LOLZIES!!1@! as time goes on, and one I’m pretty excited about, but for now, overnight, traffic doesn’t look any different from any other day. I still have to bust my hump to offer good content on LOLZIES!!1@! or this little spike in exposure – celebrity cameos or not – will only result in more people knowing about one more thing they don’t like. Without consistently good content, I’ll just be one more person chasing their 15.

    Terrell, I’m glad you mention Shari’s blog. Hearing from Brent about her being on Alltop and how she got there is what turned me on to Alltop, which I then started to really enjoy. Shari Storm: Trailblazer.

  11. Morriss Partee Says:

    @charlie – and don’t forget that Terrell herself is a trailblazer in the Yelp community. I am so excited that I get to play in the same sandbox with so many innovative people.

  12. Morriss Partee Says:

    @CUWarrior – I was just going through my tweets from yesterday morning and spotted that you had no idea who Guy Kawasaki was when we were tweeting with him last night. That’s cute. And you say in your comments how Guy Kawasaki tweeted with a nobody like you. Well, I beg to differ. You are clearly somebody who has some important ideas to share with the rest of us. Guy Kawasaki is a human being just like the rest of us, and puts his pants on one leg at a time.

    The power and promise of social media is that we are all rock stars, and all of our voices and talents are important. That’s why I hate when people use the term “A-lister.” People who use that term are just reinforcing that there exists some sort of hierarchy, when really, there is none, we are all just people. Everyone gets to be judged on their talents and contributions, not “who you know” or what list you are on. Trying to move up ‘lists’ is a foolish goal. Making a contribution to society, family, friends, colleagues or neighborhoods is what is worthwhile.

    @chaztoo/Charlie Trotter – BTW, the reason why you didn’t see a spike in traffic yesterday is because the site cartoons.alltop.com was not yet on the home page for alltop.com……… but today it is. Let us know what kind of a spike you are seeing today! I bet it’s significant, and of course may grow as Alltop gains popularity.

    You can see how Guy’s interaction with this particular group has created a large awareness of Alltop amongst us. Just think, he is doing the same thing with dozens of others of online networked groups all over the web. Others who are not directly connected into the groups that Guy is interacting with will see Alltop everywhere and investigate.

  13. rshevlin Says:

    @Ginny: I’m simply responding to Morriss’ statement that “This is the promise of social media– that quality and talent wins”.

    I agree with the statement — but disagree that the example given is a proof point. To me, this was more of a story how one person used his influence to publicize someone else. And not an example of the more democratic, viral nature of “social media”.

    And my apologies to Guy Kawasaki (like he cares) for my comment, if he wasn’t looking for some tit-for-tat arrangement with CTrotter. I was actually regretting that comment as soon as I hit the submit button.

    and…@Morriss: while “trying to move up lists” may be a “foolish goal”, I think it’s human nature to want to. I find it hard to criticize someone else for trying to move up the list, when I know I look at my own blog’s technorati more often than I’d care to admit.

  14. Tony Mannor Says:

    This is pretty cool. In “Our little group” there are some folks who are really making some traction out there in the social media world with Charlie, Shari, Caleb and so on. To hook up with someone like Guy is awesome.

    It is a buzz to brush up against celebrity like that. Even if the “celebrity” isn’t Jessica Alba but a technology and business genius like Guy Kawasaki.

    I do have to mention that we (CUHype.com) got listed in the Alltop marketing site. http://marketing.alltop.com yesterday and we are pretty pumped about that.

    It is fun to be lumped in with a bunch of very cool people like the ones who hang out here!

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