Quick Post on Security Rockstars

2012-10-19 23:09:05 by chort

This week there has been a debate about "security rockstars," which I've mostly tuned out. Today a comment jogged my memory and I recall that last year a PR consultant for our company (who appears to do a fairly competent job, not that I would know) heard that I was submitting a CFP for a conference. She told me "I made [insert name of "thought leader"] a rockstar. [person]'s blog now receives [number] of impressions a day. I can help you do the same thing."

I don't really fault the consultant here. She was trying to a) bill more hours (who doesn't want to do that?) and b) get more publicity for the company I work for (which is what we pay her for). I'm pretty sure she's good at her job and she chose her words carefully. This leads me to believe that her pitch is tailored to work on geeks like me. In my case, I did a polite version of running away screaming.

For my own satisfaction, it means a lot more to me to do work that I know is high-quality, know I'm helping other people, and be respected by my peers. I don't want teaming masses who barely know me to hold me up as some shining example when they don't even understand what I'm saying. I also don't want the pressure of being expected to be amazing all the time. I'm human, I make mistakes. I don't want my every decision under a microscope, so I don't go seek out publicity. It seems simple to me.

I realize different people have different priorities, and other people derive their self-worth in other ways. That's OK with me. If someone wants to be a "rockstar," fine. Just remember, with popularity comes scrutiny. The same people who held you on their shoulders will be twice as quick to kick you when you're down.

For everyone else, if you're sick of rockstars, stop feeding their behavior. PR reps wouldn't pitch geeks on becoming "rockstars" if it wasn't something a lot of geeks aspired to.