The Plight of the Passionate

Legion of Tech launched their Legion of Talk speaker series Tuesday night with Gary Vaynerchuk – the highly successful host of Wine Library TV.  The topic was generally described as ‘branding/promoting using new media’, but Vaynerchuk talking on that was like Martha Stewart talking on ‘food preparation’.


Vaynerchuk’s take-away was this: if you are passionate about something, you can take that passion, and with time and attention spent on branding and promotion, turn that passion into ‘crazy’ success.  ‘Crazy’ success, here I come……what’s the problem?


I hope I am not alone in saying this, but I’ve had a lot of passions in my life.  When I was into them I was really, really into them. 


  • For a short stint last year I was really, really passionate about Adam Smith and economics and I had a knack for slipping ‘invisible hand at play’ references into almost any conversation.  I could SO go there with Vaynerchuk’s ideas on self-promotion – but I won’t!  You see, I sort of lost my passion for Adam Smith.  Good thing too. I was about to buy a very expensive early copy of Wealth of Nations on eBay.


  • Once I was passionate about home-brewing.  There was probably a good year or so when I always had something percolating in the carboy.  I made a killer Peet’s Coffee Stout once.  Could never get the recipe to turn out the same way twice, but I was told by many that that first batch was heavenly.  My landlord at the time, who was old enough to remember Prohibition, frowned on my hobby, but I just couldn’t help it.  She’d often ask accusingly if I was brewing beer.  I’d always say no even though the waft of wort coming from the garage was overpowering at times.  I haven’t brewed in years and just this spring threw out all of my handwritten recipes.  I’m not a passionate brewer anymore.


  • I was once passionate about being a concert promoter.  I wanted to be the new Bill Graham (back when he was the ‘old’ Bill Graham), and it was all I talked about.  I got little business cards ‘Stop Drop and Roll Promotions’ done in the then-cutting edge San Francisco font and hustled for gigs on behalf of any band needing ‘representation’ from an incredibly naïve 21-year old.   I went to LA to ‘take it to the next level’ and then 390 later, happily came home to San Francisco having gotten ‘over that music thing’.


I’ve been passionate about so many things.  But am I passionate about something to the point that I’d bet on being passionate about it for the length of time it takes to become ‘crazy’ successful?  Do I even want to be ‘crazy’ successful?  Well, sure I do!  I’m passionate about it!