One of my first get-out-of-the-cubicle-and-see-the-Industry events was E3 2006. I was sitting in the hotel lobby (the expensive hotel of which EA shareholders were gloriously paying for me to inhabit) and I was waiting for a friend to come down to walk to the show. This was a kinder, simpler time when people didn’t fill every spare second looking at their iPhones and ignoring their surroundings. I was absent-mindedly perusing the free E3 newsletter thing that was dropped off at every hotel room when Will Wright sat down on the chair across from me, clearly waiting for someone too. I glanced up long enough to make visual recognition and then focused intently on my paper. I didn’t want to be that guy that was all like OhmygoditsWillWrightSimAntfreakingchangedmeasapersonandmademewanttobeadesignerheycanigetapictureandanautographandahairsample? So I just played it cool and a few seconds later, his colleague appeared and they walked off.
Now that I actually know people in the industry and am a bit less green, my Facebook “People You May Know” keeps suggesting all these legends that are two degrees away from me. It’s a bit surreal, and I doubt that I would ever Add As Friend unless I knew them.
It’s one of the neat side effects of the socially-connected decade we are in. In 2006, I felt that Will Wright was this inaccessible celebrity. In 2011, I’m invited to contact him. How strange.