Like some of you, I operate in the feedback space, constantly and methodically evaluating what is working and what isnâ€™t. But this post is about an entirely different sensation; being a goofy, unrestrained, unadulterated fan; being swept away in the perfection of a thing, and seeing it for all the good that it is.
As consumers, we need unapologetic fan moments more than ever. Having posted about being a Downseller (and wow there are a lot of you), this one is a confession about the value of falling in love – as a fan, follower or customer.
My own fan moment came recently at a party in Malibu, with the performance artist duo The Bumbys. Incognito in their red white and blue gear, behind electric typewriters, wearing noise-cancelling headphones, accompanied by their handler, they silently deploy â€œfair and honest appraisalsâ€ of party-goerâ€™s appearances. Their astute, aspirational index-card write-ups are printed on the spot, and handed over after about two minutes of focused typing and hand proofing (and presumably observation, which you canâ€™t really see from behind their sun glasses.)
I fell hard for Gill and Jill Bumby.
Conceptually, I want to be a Bumby. Giving prophetic, colorful, reassuring feedback to complete strangers, while in costume, describes my dream job.
But as a participant, standing there – vulnerable – staring down the barrel of someone elseâ€™s opinion, was initially unnerving. Youâ€™d think the appraisals would lean toward â€œhonestâ€ in a possibly snarky direction â€“ but it was the opposite. Throughout the evening as we (guests) exchanged index cards, comparing our write-ups, the universal sentiment was heartening â€“ each felt poetic, personal, and even better, strangely true! Imagine all the people theyâ€™ve assessed, walking around with these insightful, deftly nuanced self-approval ratings. #genius.
Being a fan means losing your suspension of disbelief, and letting a person, product or concept, steal you away from the expected. In its unique resonance, these experiences reassure us that something is very right in the world; A signpost, however infrequent, we all need.
As business owners, most of us aim for amazing, but acknowledge that it takes a lot of hard work/time/attention to elicit that effect. Which is why, when someone or something moves us intellectually, emotionally, spiritually (or all three,) we gotta lose the pretense of â€œmatureâ€ and â€œprofessionalâ€ and just bow down, and give it up, if we feel it.
I restrained myself from asking The Bumbys for an autograph, but did work up my courage for a photo. Couldnâ€™t help it, and didnâ€™t care. Losing our cool factor in exchange for earnest fanship is one of the last vestiges of our innocence.
Go ahead, write a love letter. It feels really good.
Respect to The Bumbys!