I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

First time I was ever stopped on the street

It can feel weird to be on video all the time.  It’s not something I ever did before.  None of us at Grommet have.  However,  I’ve gotten used to it, mainly because I appreciate what the video medium can do for a story.  It’s never about us…it’s always about the story.

But I also stopped feeling self-conscious about  video  because it did not change my life.  At all.   (Well maybe I do notice my frequent bad hair days more now.  But just that.)

Yet, I had my first instance of being recognized, and stopped on the street, this weekend.  I was in Princeton, NJ.  My family and friends were waiting in a group while I darted up the street to take a couple photos of a record store.  I didn’t hear her, but as I walked by, a woman exclaimed “That’s the Grommet Lady!”  My husband overheard her, and said, “Yes, that is.”

A few minutes later I rejoined the group, now talking to the woman and her husband.  It turns out she is an avid Grommet fan, introduced to us by a mutual friend, and I was delighted to hear what Elizabeth Casparian said, paraphrased below:

In my non-profit’s office we have an hour from noon to one for personal internet use.  Since I’m the Executive Director, I abide by the rule too.  But at noon my colleagues and I all gather around a computer and watch the Grommet.  Then we go downstairs to our cafeteria for lunch and discuss the Grommet.

Her husband good-humoredly cracked,

If Elizabeth had her autograph book, she would have you sign it.

All I could say was WOW!   That was a dream come true.  Not the stopped-on-the-street part.  That was just funny.  But the part about how Elizabeth and her colleagues find the Grommet stories so engaging.  I always envisioned people actively discussing and sharing them.  But it was so great to picture the scene of this group of people actually doing it together.

Elizabeth Casperian

I only wish I had taken a picture of me and Elizabeth together.  She is my new best friend.

By the way, here is her non-profit, Hi-TOPS, which is clearly full of insightful people.  Their mission is to promote adolescent health and well being, through a rich panoply of programs and publications.  I am sure they would love their story to be shared too, so check them out.

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