My never-ending quest for chutzpah led me this week into the bowels of Gawker, thanks to Mark Ward's Tech Brief column on the BBC NEWS Web site. More specifically, I found a post by Adrian Chen to the VALLEYWAG section that provides yet another example of the sort of world the Internet has made. Here is the substance of Chen's account:
If there is one common current that runs throughout all of humanity, it is that everyone Googles themselves all day, every day. Humans are vain creatures! Copywriter Alec Brownstein used this fact to get a job via Google AdWords.
Languishing at a huge ad agency, Brownstein bought the names of his favorite creative directors on Google AdWords for 15 cents per click. Which meant whenever they Googled themselves, Brownstein's ad popped up:
"Hey, [creative director's name]: Goooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too" with a link to Brownstein's website, alecbrownstein.com.
It worked: Everyone but one of his targets called him, and today Brownstein works for Young & Rubicam, a fancy New York ad agency.
This immediately reminded me of a post in which I recently wrote about "so much of the junk that is now out there on the Internet by those who are better at self-promotion than they are in cultivating a 'self' worth promoting!" Nevertheless, I have to credit Brownstein with coming up with positive-connotation chutzpah. Ultimately, this maneuver was a judo-like move of turning self-promotion on itself, taking the attention of those most fixated on self-promotion and directing it elsewhere (i.e. towards Brownstein himself). I admire his inventiveness, and I admire Young & Rubicam for appreciating the survival value of his strategy. Whether or not they all live happily ever after is beside the point. Brownstein has now given us a new Ur-narrative of Internet life; and the style with which he concocted the narrative earns him the Chutzpah of the Week award.