I’ve mostly worked inside insular industries. There is something about disdaining a club and then slowly forcing it to adapt to me that I find appealing. My handle on Twitter “AlmostMedia” wasn’t actually meant to be a joke about the ephemeral nature of timeline driven content (though it is now) but was an inside joke about my first personal blog.
I wasn’t as comfortable being an outsider when I was younger so a common theme on my blog was about how I “almost” achieved insider totems and status but never quite did it right. I never felt like I was stylish enough, cool enough, rich enough or had enough status symbols. Now I kinda laugh at myself as I realize semiotics is as driven by the out group as the in group. I always had the power to be enough.
But thanks to this insecurity about being “almost” but not quite right I’ve achieved a pretty valuable skill set. I’m able to see what is coming, what will resonate, and most importantly what will have status. I’m not always great at the timing (I’m often too early) but I am very good at nudging narratives into the popular conception. I call this the Thursday Styles problem. Timing what is next is as much about knowing what is coming as when it will hit and doing what you can to control the pace.
I particularly like fashion and startups as as success is often a Thursday Style problem. Status narratives are driven by people who like to show off that they knew something cool was coming. Think of the trope of venture capitalists publishing a post about when they first met a founder timed with a company’s IPO. Music used to be like this too with snobs insisting “I knew them before they were cool” when a band blew up.
Status narratives often revolve around being first. Much of crypto is obsessed with showing off how early they were while also insisting to everyone that “it’s never too late” as they need to drive a status narrative that brings in more adoption. Being early generally only matters if you are also still around when it’s “late” and you always need more people to push you further into early. Even if most of the benefits are seen by late adoption we all want to feel like we won the status game of being early. But it’s important to remember we are all a little too early or too late. We are almost right. Which is enough for plenty of success.