There's a story about legendary public relations guru Howard Rubenstein, who gets confronted by a steaming hot client who'd barged into his office. The wannabe rock star CEO slams down a copy of Inc. on Rubenstein's desk and screams: "How come I'm not on the cover?"
The PR executive, who had been down this road many times before, sighs, pulls open his desk drawer, and produces a black water pistol. "Here's a gun. Go shoot someone, and I'll get you on the cover."
Rubenstein's advice, though not politically correct, is spot on for 99 and 44/100th percent of all CEOs who want to be rock stars. Why? Because their personal business story simply isn't coverworthy, that's why! But no matter. In my opinion, you really don't want to be a rock star CEO. Here are 17 reasons why not, with some hashtags to drive the point home.
1. If you die, the brand dies with you. #NoOnetoFillUrShoes
2. Your direct reports will envy, if not despise, you. #ScrewtheAsshole
3. Your customers will think you're more concerned with your own profile than their account. #ItsSoAboutU
4. It's damn hard to stay on top. And everyone loves to see a rock star CEO flame out. #MarissaMayerDeadPool
5. Competitors are even more motivated to beat your firm in new-business pitches. #DontCareIfWeLoseButSheCannotWin
6. Your family will feel marginalized. #WhatAboutUs?
7. Even charities will doubt your sincerity. #He'sUsingUs
8. The Internal Revenue Service will pay special attention to your tax returns. #Let'sBustThisDude'sCojones
9. Your PR firm will fire you. #Life'stooShorttoWorkforThatGuy
10. The media will pounce on your every mistake, no matter how small. #MillionaireEnvy
11. Every politician in the world will hound you for campaign contributions. #Hillaryin'16
12. Your security guards will need security guards. #SkyHighOverheadCosts
13. Your third trophy wife is already cheating on you with the pool boy. #CuckoldedAgain
14. All the Botox and photo retouching in the world won't hide those deep, dark circles under your eyes. #NoWorkLifeBalance
15. You believe every single word your sycophant posse members tell you. #IKnewJesusAndUrNoJesus
16. The more publicity you get, the more you want. #UthinkHeroin'sToughtoKick?
17. You and I both know that one day down the road, business people will be asking, "Whatever happened to that rock star CEO who made $6 billion on his IPO and then went to jail for fraud?" #TheBiggerTheyRtheHarderTheyFall
That's it. If you still want the brass ring of fame, go for it. Just do me one small favor, OK? Don't call my PR firm when you're ready for prime time. I don't want to have to buy a water pistol.