Alexey’s website

The Fear of Being Too Late

Someone I know was recently mentioned in the press. The article about them uncovered a super interesting part of their personality that I was unaware of.

I hesitated to reach out to that someone and ask them out for lunch. They had been published on a big site, they now have an inbox full of coffee chat requests, I thought. Why would they talk to me now, when they have the world’s attention? It’s too late to talk to them! I’ve missed an opportunity to get to know them before they got famous.

Interesting. That “it’s too late” pattern is familiar. Where do it come from?

An ad for a brand runs on TV, and we think, it’s too late to buy their products, they are now advertising on TV thus they are mainstream, their products are not cool anymore. I won’t get additional status by using the products that everyone knows about.

We see an interesting meetup online, but it’s too late to sign up, it’s probably full already if the topic is so interesting.

We read about a company raising series A round from prominent VCs, and it’s too late to start a business in the same category, because that first company will get huge and eat the world anyway.

It’s too late to start investing, because the market has been going up for the past 8 years, we missed the period of great returns. Everyone around us is now starting a business like ours, and we are behind, it’s too late, we’ve missed our opportunity.

A restaurant has a 9.0 score on Foursquare, and we love it, but we’re sad because we were not the ones to discover it, we were just following the trend.

So now I’m afraid that I’ll be too late to get face time with that person, they won’t want to talk to me as now they are getting the internet’s attention, they have more important, higher-status people to talk to.

In reality, though, my acquaintance told their story to the world in one interview in one publication. Yes, it got many likes and shares on different platforms. Yes, they got a series of meeting requests right after the article was published, and met with a few people who were inspired by their story, but the people seemed more interested in what they can get out of the story rather than the person who told the story. A week after publication no one was reaching out anymore. In the meantime, my acquaintance still is a great person with an interesting story. They are still doing great work day to day.

So I’m absolutely reaching out to them and inviting them to lunch, because it’s not too late.