Louis C.K. is one of the most entrepreneurial and authentic self-marketers in the entertainment world. I want to write loads about his email campaigns, his online ticket-sales, and the consistency of his persona, but tonight, it’s very late, I’ve just spent 22 hours on planes and in airports, and so this will have to do.
From the NYTimes’ interview with Louis:
Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.
I think, even more so than the entertainment world, the technology and entrepreneurship movement has attracted this thinking that 4 or 5 years of passionate work will result in success, money, recognition, and the ability for one’s product/company to change the world. This isn’t suprising. After all, the press and attention focuses on the outliers – the few twenty-somethings (or thirty-somethings) who’ve managed these remarkable successes.
The problem is that we forget (myself included sometimes) that these are outliers.
There’s a slide series I like to use in a number of my decks about the time & effort it takes to achieve results through blogging (using G’s site as an example):
Even in an emerging field like technology/blogging, it takes years to get momentum and start the flywheel turning. I began my accidental career in this world 12 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another 12 before there’s a hint of the traction Louis’ talking about. It’s far more likely that level never gets close. Which is fine, because I love the journey, and I’m already luckier than I deserve to be.