Dave Eggers' response to "keeping it real" - not his phrase
I was taken by Dave Eggers' long and impassioned response to a Harvard student's interview question on "how do you keep it real?"
And here's my response to his response.
Dave Eggers' piece resonated with me. Yes to saying yes. But if this were a live conversation, more about I'd want to put the following to him: what about the implicit contract an artist or entrepreneur (while still early and small) makes with his or her viewer, physician reader, sale listener, user? I think Dave doesn't acknowledge that there is an intimacy to the relationship between an emerging artist and audience member/fan, a bond more imagined than real, full of unrequited passion and adolescent fantasy perhaps, but no less visceral to the early fan or the early adopter of a new technology for that matter.
When the artist or entrepreneur gets big, this notion of monogamy or mutual loyalty, albeit illusory, is shattered. So the young person, explorer/discoverer, president of a fan club of 3 feels an inexplicable sense of betrayal and moves on to support the next underdog. Remember "you were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you. Now 5 years later, you've got the world at your feet. Success has been so easy for you. But don't forget it's me who put you where you are now and I can put you back down too. Don't you want me baby?" Creepy, yes, but kind of a hard-to-ignore part of the psyche of fan-hood.
And this goes beyond the arts. Mike Arrington, tech guru, writer, investor wrote a sad post about the state of silicon valley now vs. a number of years ago, Silicon Valley could use a downturn right now.
Small is beautiful, big can be devastatingly gorgeous and infinitely renewing, but the journey between the two is by definition a relationship between creator and experiencer and therefore inherently fraught with negotiation.