Friday, September 07, 2007

Facebook of the rich and famous

I rarely look at Business Week, but my brother-in-law gave me a copy of a recent edition on The Future of Work, which he thought I might want to mine for Pink Slip. Which I will be doing one of these days.

But first, I have to get by the little article in the UpFront section that talks about an invitation-only networking site that, for some unfathomable reason, I have not yet been invited to join.

ASMALLWORLD [is] a private online community for like-minded individuals. Most networking communities are open. Ours is only by invitation. Trusted members who have existing social networks of quality in the real world extend the invitations. aSmallWorld offers a retreat that intimately allows members to enhance their networks and to reconnect with old friends...

We have imposed certain criteria in order to keep the network exclusive. To join, you need to be invited by a trusted member.

If you have not received an invitation, you can ask your friends to invite you. If you have no friends who are members yet, please be patient.

So, not to worry.

A Small World has 45,000 members at present, and will max out at 250,000 which is, apparently, the number of people on the face of the earth worth knowing. It was founded by one Erik Wachtmeister, whose bona fides include both work as a Lehman Brothers banker and a royal title. (He's a Swedish count. I don't imagine this holds the same cachet as being Prince William or Prince Harry, but I'm still sure that it counts for something.)

Who's got their face on aSmallWorld?

Business Week lists Ivanka Trump, Naomi Campbell, Tiger Woods, and Paul Allen as members. Hmmmm, I happen to know that I am only two or three degrees of separation from Paul Allen in a couple of different directions, so maybe that will be my invite angle.

I did a bit more sleuthing, and found out (thanks to the poor man's info source, wikipedia, as well as through The Gawker) that Josh Groban, David Reuben, James Blunt, and Fredric Fekkai are also part of this elite bunch, along with a bunch of uncommon common folks who consult or manage money. I have to admit that, as celebs go, this is a somewhat lame-o bunch. Of course, some of this is my celeb ignorance. Are we talking about David Reuben the sex doctor, or David Reuben the Brit billionaire? And who the fekkai is Fredric Fekkai? James Blunt I had to google, too, but at least I've heard his song, "You're Beautiful."

All in all, it's no wonder I haven't been invited. Maybe Dr. David Reuben will invite me. I did, after all, read his Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask. It was quite the read in 1970.

Just what do all these quasi-celebs do on aSmallWorld?

Apparently not much.

Aili McConnon, the Business Week reporter, found postings for a political fund-raiser and chat on private-jets, along with ads for champagne and pricey watches. She also learned that Ivanka has over 300 friends, but that Tiger Woods, has only one, but I'm guessing that is by his choice.

I always wonder how celebrities link up with each other.

After all, Leo DiCaprio can pretty much assume that Chelsea Clinton is going to know who he is and vice versa. If Meryl Streep sees Barbra Streisand on the street, does she just say "hello"? Does Puff Daddy automatically know P. Diddy. No, wait, they're one and the same person.

And just how did football player Tom Brady meet supermodel Giselle Bundchen?

A Small World or not, there is a parallel universe in which rich and famous people operate, in which they trade phone numbers, send each other IMs, and just plain hang out. I suppose at this late stage of my life it's a tad too late to find my way "in."

And who would I want to meet there, anyway?

In truth, I'm pretty content with the friends and family I have, and I'm hard put to think of any household namer that I'd just "love" to meet. (Okay, I actually do think that meeting Bill Clinton would be a hoot.)

I guess I will have to be content with my occasional celebrity sightings. Who've I seen? Dolly Parton, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Sam Shepherd and Jessica Lange, lots of other actors - major and minor, lots of athletes, Ziggy Brezinski. Puff Daddy, in fact, at the DNC in 2004. One time at LaGuardia, I was almost mowed down by the Secret Service contingent accompanying Barbara Bush and her daughter. I was on a plane flight once with the actor Kurt Russell, who I've also seen on the street (he was with Goldie Hawn), so it's almost as if I know him.

Out of sheer self-protection, most celebrities don't make eye contact. (Robert Redford did. We smiled at each other. Jack Nicholson, made eye contact, too. It was years ago at P.J. Clarke's in NYC and that eye contact can be best characterized as glassy-eyed, and accompanied by a truly leering grin. I think I'd stick with Robert Redford, even though he is pretty short.)

A Small World. I guess I don't really see much of the point, other than to connect investment bankers - those star f-ers - to famous people. The famous people themselves seem to be doing a pretty good job of getting to know each other already. And I'm pretty sure that none of them could give a damn about meeting me.

The feeling is, of course, mutual. (Although Robert Redford did have an awfully nice smile.)


Marc said...

Hey! I am lawyer in NYC and just arrived from the Netherlands. Do you think you could send me an invite to asmallwordl?
That would be great! Thanks! Marc

Maureen Rogers said...

Marc - Welcome to The States, but you're on your own with ASmallWorld, as I am not a member....