A Reminder About Selling Yourself

Christopher Poole, aka moot aka the founder of 4chan, one of the vilest (and most fascinating) communities on the Internet, spoke at TED yesterday.

The subject of his talk was about anonymity on the internet, and how, since 4chan doesn’t require a user to post his/her real name, community thrives.

Fine, fine. But this is the 21-year-old who was profiled in the Washington Post almost a year ago about how, despite his Internet celebrity, he couldn’t get a job.

From the article:

How to explain what Christopher Poole actually does? He’s not a programmer. He doesn’t know code. His site doesn’t offer a specific service, like Google. What he does is foster community. He makes millions of people feel that they have a safe space for creative — sometimes vitriolic — discussion, deciding how far things should be pushed, tamping down upsurges when they get too unruly. Or something like that.

But, he says, “I have no idea how to translate my 4chan skills on paper.”

Now, a year ago, the idea of a job as “community manager” was slightly more farfetched than it is now. So maybe there’s that. But more importantly, less than a year after that piece was written, he’s speaking at TED. Which is just wow.

That’s selling yourself.

We’re not all going to be TED speakers someday, but if you don’t fit into a nice little career box, how can you make your skills stand out? That’s the challenge we’re all facing. It seems moot may have figured it out.