What do you get when you hire a famous person as a spokesman, or an advisor, or a member of your Board of Directors? That's tough to say. Maybe an insurance policy against blame? ("Don't accuse me; I was relying on Dr. X's judgment.") Or sometimes a gateway to other interesting people? (Let's ask Dr. X to invite Professor Y --- they shared a Nobel Prize, you know.) Or perhaps a bit of the aura that might rub off on the business? (We're a first-class enterprise; we have Dr. X on retainer.)
But most of the time, alas, celebrities can't pull their own weight. Creative energy and insight in one field don't transfer to another. Fame fades over time, though the bearer may not realize it. Worst of all, overconfidence after one success leads to misjudgment and underestimation of risk in a host of new areas.
A company can pay a lot for a few hours of big-name time --- and the recipient of such cash faces a strong natural pressure to say something, regardless of ignorance about a particular problem. It all adds up to danger. Better to get the real scoop from those who know, the insiders, the low-profile but savvy people who have the respect of their peers ... not the ones who give the best sound bites to network news mikes.
Tuesday, June 13, 2000 at 06:32:32 (EDT) = Datetag20000613