Geek Celebs, are they now the product?
I've made some wise cracks about WebDU today and got a few chuckles from my friends within MSN Messenger. I made a joke about how at times I wasn't sure WebDU was about the products or was it about Adobe Employee appreciation week (i.e. WebDU has a lot to offer - no disrespect to it - but a select few (minority) do act a little silly when they are around the imports).
I mean that with no disrespect, but it's something many (myself included) have noticed in years gone by, how employees of a company somehow achieve this "celebrity" status amongst their peers.
Tim Buntel from Adobe walks into a room of Coldfusion developers, he instantly has their attention, they are glued to his every word and I'm absolutely convinced that if Tim broke the news that Coldfusion was about to dump XYZ feature, he'd be the one guy who could break that news (people would complain, but only via blogs etc and not to him direct).
I heard comments about how Mike Chambers was unapproachable, and I asked why and the response was "because that's Mike Chambers! ". It cracked me up, especially since his role in Adobe appears to be focused on community.
Adobe isn't alone with this, I mean I remember the day when Robert Scoble linked back to my blog. A few friends go "omg! you got scobled" and it cracked me up as to be openly honest, I had no idea whom he was so I wasn't impressed at the time.
It took someone to say "Oh he's the channel9 guy, you know that guy who keeps interviewing the Microsoft folks" - "oh, cool! " (Sorry it just wasn't that much of a religious experience).
I've met a lot of personalities from reading about them online, and I at times giggle to myself when I first meet them as a sudden wave of being "nervous" comes over me but then I push past that and continue to chat with them.
I must confess I do the same at times, especially when I hear the credentials of some geeks I've meet. An example comes to mind when Nick and I meet Joel Pobar, and we heard his story. Instantly we were going "dude, that guy's the man" as we felt he deserved that kind of recognition for his effort and work history with Microsoft.
Yet if I tried to explain that same situation to my non-tech friends they would probably look at me with a confused look and go "uhuh". Yet, if I were to meet say Jaymz Hetfield from Metallica and explain that meeting to anyone, they'd go "way cool man" (provided they knew who Metallica was).
It's funny how we let personalities whom are there to market products, begin to overshadow the very products they are there for and they themselves become one.
Just look at Robert Scoble for exhibit A (All the power to him I say!).