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Element 41. High Profile Persons Availab... > Practical Experience—This Deserves t...

Practical Experience—This Deserves the Medium Weight of 2

The culture of one’s upbringing can often influence how quickly the entrepreneur endorses the idea of using someone famous to help build quick confidence in your venture. In the rural areas of the Midwestern United States, this may not sit well. People there often eschew fame.[1] However, in urban areas of the country including the Midwest, it often strikes a sympathetic chord. Famous people can be lightning rods of attention, and oddly, an image of freedom from risk (despite the fact that their presence has little to do with reducing risk). There is also the possibility that investor or resource prospects will wish to be associated with winners, including just being associated with an enterprise that boasts of the famous participants you mention. It is part of the buzz you need to create. It is consoling in many respects, and now, long before products are being delivered, at least you have these names “working” for you.

[1] The official medallion of Miami University, the old one in Ohio that was the source of the McGuffey Reader (the first attempt to promote long-distance learning away from the classroom) and the Cradle of Coaches, has a Latin inscription, front and center, that says “Prodesse Quam Conspici.” You can look it up because it is still there. It means “Achievement without fame.” Many alums have become quite shamelessly famous, suggesting that few took Latin or paused long enough to know that they should not be so noteworthy in their accomplishments. My apologies Miami, dear alma mater, but I could not resist. The point is that in the Midwest, this business about achievement without fame was once taken seriously.

The value of using a high-profile person in your venture can be a perishable commodity—someday soon after launch, the reputation of the company and your products should trump the value of the name belonging to the high-profile person. In the end however the high-profile person energizes the team and the process, particularly if they take an active role.


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