2 min read

Authority and perceived authority are such an interesting concept to me.

Based upon some (fairly arbitrary) external signals, we create an assumption of the level of accessibility a given person has. And then we usually use those assumptions to guide our level of effort in trying to get access to that person.

Let me give you an example.

A couple weeks ago, Facebook reminded me of this weird and disturbing video animation that I was really into in 2013. The artist, Nick DenBoer (who goes by Smearballz) has made a ton of other videos since 2013, which I promptly binged on (one of which was selected to Sundance).

His showreel includes a ton of work for the Conan O’Brien Show and lots of other TV shows. His YouTube videos have millions of views.

If we’re looking at social proof, the dude has a ton.

My first reaction was, “Man this guy must be killing it,” my second reaction was “I want to get in touch with him,” and my third reaction was “there’s no way.”

Thankfully, I’ve started to train my fourth reaction to be “oh it’s probably not that hard.”

Some quick work turns up a Twitter account with ~1500 followers, which is fewer than my own. I shot him a tweet, and he got back to me nearly instantly.


The same is true for email. If you subscribe to someone you admire, there’s no reason you can’t simply hit reply and shoot them a note (and no, this isn’t just a plug for attention).

People with an audience are still self-conscious. It’s still scary to make ourselves vulnerable. And it turns out, people generally don’t get tired of receiving positivity and compliments.

I’ll give you one more example.

When I started playing around with Anchor, I knew it was still a young platform that I could try and grow with. But instead of simply creating the content, I looked for ways to access people with authority at Anchor. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked at technology startups, but I knew I could get noticed.

So I went to their website, found their team, viewed their profiles on Linkedin, followed them each on Twitter, and listened + called in to all of their Anchor stations. Wouldn’t you know it, they started listening to my station and I received an inquiry about being a featured station in the Business category shortly after.

Challenge your assumptions of who you are able to get in touch with. There is always a way. Don’t let your perception enable you to take the easy route of not even trying – because that’s the only sure way not to get access.