There’s someone in my professional community I’ve listened to and respected for many years now.
I’ve consumed almost all their content. I listen to everything they have to say. I’ve engaged with them online. And I’ve even spent money on them.
But lately I’ve noticed a creeping from the shadows: they’re starting to act like a bit of a dick.
I’ve notice a bit of… how do I describe it – I think arrogance and hypocrisy are the words I’m looking for.
It’s nothing overt. More in they way they speak. What was once a consistent positive attitude and refusal to engage (at least publicly) with negative behaviour is now starting to turn. Where, on one topic they tell people “if you don’t like it, just ignore it”, on another topic they’re engaging in a fight they should just ignore.
While it’s not intolerable, it is a turnoff. To the point where every time I’ve wanted to engage with them online over the last few weeks I’ve decided against it, because I’m envisaging a hard-stop negative response from them rather than opportunity for a discussion.
And this is not good for the person, because they are their brand. They earn their living because of who they are – co ntinua leading authority in their domain.
And while they continue to be an authority, if long-time loyal “fans” (see Kevin Kelly) like me start turning away (perhaps even becoming vocal about their disappointment and affecting future listeners) then the authority will dilute their brand by turning away the people who matter most.
Sure, they won’t go out of business. But what was once the equivalent of Nike with a strong ambassador like Michael Jordan will become just another mall shoe store, selling a utility we all need but having none of the passionate following of something special.
I continue to listen to this authority figure. For now. But with me their reputation is already diminished. And if their attitude continues to aggravate me I have no problems tuning them out of my life (has they have themselves advised in the past). Life is too short for aggravation and there’s always someone else I can turn to for advice.