Ben Arment: The Cost of Influence

Influence is an interesting animal. You can have it with people in certain spheres but absolutely zero in others.

Like how Malcolm Gladwell probably goes largely unrecognized when he walks through the streets of New York.

I once went into awe-paralysis when Chuck Colson walked into my Reston, Virginia, Starbucks. But to everyone else in the store, he was just an old man with glasses from the 1970s.

If you want to increase your sphere…you can.

But there’s a cost.

When I worked at a certain company that owned a certain thought leader’s abandoned properties, we were constantly being approached by suitors who wanted to buy the brand’s dormant influence. They were willing to spend ungodly amounts of money to be the next said thought leader.

And maybe you can buy some influence with money. Like how you’re treated at a casino just before you blow your life savings.

But eventually, you can’t get around the true cost of influence.

It’s the cost of starting from the beginning in some circles.
The cost of not being big man on campus in certain places.
The cost of lunches and coffees and phone calls.
The cost of spending on rather than being spent on.
The cost of lower attendance in new markets.
The cost to your pride of being an obscurity.