The easiest way to get a reputation is to go outside the fold, shout around for a few years as a violent atheist or a dangerous radical, and then crawl back to the shelter.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
By parsing this quote, we can capture the recipe for building a reputation.
“…go outside the fold…”
Get out of your industry clubs, get out of your cluttered office. Get out of your comfort zones. Keep those relationships moving. But if you limit your interactions to only those in your industry, how can you be very different than they are? Outside the fold is this fascinating, wide world. There are scientists that are growing bags, clothes, houses – growing them out of living material! There are movements to the Moon, to Mars, and to planets far out of our solar system! We are connecting medical devices to smart phones. We are inventing flying robots as tour guides. Start looking around, and you will see a wide, and wondrous world full of growth and change and opportunities that you can capitalize on.
“…shout around for a few years as a violent atheist or a dangerous radical…”
Get into the public eye. Write a book that contradicts your own industry. Publish papers for the mainstream on your topic. Court news coverage from national chains about your breakthroughs. Send hundreds of interesting emails. Research press people, and be daring and bold enough to go after them. Shake things up. Fire your secretary. Institute a gravity-free policy in your corporation and discover the wild ideas of your lowest subordinates. Hire robots. Reinvent the wheel. Does your whole industry rely on gas? What if it relied on a friction engine? What if it relied on a hydrogen engine? How can you be daring and different from your industry – a pioneer that people quickly try to copy? Be different in small ways, and be better in big ways. Just be different, and be different in public.
“…and then crawl back to the shelter.”
And once you have gone out to the wide world, and absorbed the wonders… Once you have made wild stunts, and take a position contrary to the herds… Don’t forget to go back to your company, run things, create things, and leverage your radical reputation for explosive growth.
So what are you waiting for?