John Saddington; one of my favorite bloggers and creators-of-cool-shit, earlier wrote a fantastic piece on the topic of internet fame titled I Got Boring. While it would be egregious of me to compare my brief moments of popularity with Saddington’s long list of accomplishments, many of his observations resonated strongly with me.
When I was in high school, I wrote a couple of apps that became popular. My name and projects would appear frequently in technology publications. There were newspaper columnists heralding me as a boy-genius, there was fanmail, radio show invitations, strangers sending me wads of cash; MajorGeeks even sent me a stack of t-shirts just for letting them host my damn .exe file. For a seventeen year old kid, this attention was overwhelming.
Unlike Saddington, I immensely enjoyed all the attention. Not in the “I’m a fame whore” sense, but rather; in the sense that I work harder when I have something to prove. I felt like the internet was waiting with bated breath to see what my next ingenious creation would be. I’ve worked tirelessly over the last five years to recreate that “I matter” feeling, but despite my best efforts I can’t shake the “I’m a failure” feeling. Intellectually I know that isn’t true. I’ve built a business that can almost support me financially. The attention of total strangers really isn’t important.
As Saddington writes; the biggest loss as popularity wanes is the social circle that accompanies it:
The calls have stopped, the emails have ceased, the invitations to events no longer find their way into my hands… What is disappointing, though, is that I had unrightly and ignorantly believed that some of those people were my friends, that they were people that cared about me and not just what I could bring to the table…
I miss the mentors, the encouragers, the small army of people practically begging to beta test every little thing I was working on. Now when I show off a cool new app or website, it’s met with cold silence. It’s hard to stay motivated when it feels like nobody gives a shit what you’re up to.
(For the record; I don’t think you got boring, John. Desk looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it)