I recently read this article by Tim Ferriss, wherein he talks about the very real dangers of becoming famous. I strongly recommend you read through it. Yeah, there’s a bit of a feel of click bait in the title, but this guy, by simply being a popular nerd and entrepreneur, brought real danger into his life, and more importantly to me, the life of his family. I strongly suggest you read through.
This resonated with me a little. No, I’m not in any way what the most generous definition would define as famous. However, within our little community, I’m somewhat well known. With that, has come a few run-ins with people that were, let’s just say, less than enjoyable. My favorites, for being the easiest to deal with, are the people who want to play “Stump the Chump” to prove they’re smarter than I am. Honestly, this one is easy, I’m not that smart and I quickly just acknowledge their obvious superiority and they wonder away lost. Much less enjoyable are the people who have decided that because I’m an expert, whatever that means, that I have to have all the answers, all the time. Further, when you tell these people “I don’t know,” they get quite visibly upset, angry, accusative, as if, I’m not merely ignorant, but actively sabotaging them. Finally, my least favorite, the people who have decided that, because they “know” me from online, I should become their personal mentor. Nope. It doesn’t work like that. These people also become extremely upset when I refuse to just surrender my time to them.
This isn’t a whine session. I know other people, especially women, transgendered, and others, have it much, much tougher than I ever will. I just wanted you to get an idea of what this stuff is like. Choosing to be a public figure means that you’re now gambling with math. What do I mean? The most interesting aspect of that article for me was how Mr. Ferriss explains why this stuff happens. When your sample size is tiny, the chances of having a bonafide crazy person who could cause you or your family harm is exceedingly small. As that sample size increases, and it does as you become more and more known, the chances go up because of simple data distribution.
That concept fascinated me as much as Mr. Ferriss’ story, and man, I am sorry for what he and his family have gone through. That has to be tough. However, the key is, we do need to think about this concept of data distribution all the time. Yeah, you’ve never had a corrupt database, but now you’re managing 1,000 instead of 10. You’ve never had a flooded data center, but you have four instead of one. On and on, we need to think about how simple data distribution can impact us, not just in our databases, but in our lives.
Oh yeah, and treat each other with kindness, respect and professionalism. Yes, it’s a little bit of work, but well worth it.