Conspicuous Consumption for Nice Silicon Valley People
I was sitting in the office the other day when the following conversation ensued:
Coworker One: Wow, I just noticed your sweet (insert_nice_car_here)! What kinda 0-60 you seeing on that?
Coworker Two (nonchalantly): Hey thanks. Yah its all dinged up now.
Silicon Valley is filled with people who are fantastically driven, talented, hard-working and happen to live in an industry that specializes in wealth-creating disruptions. It is also generally filled with highly educated progressive people who are – to put it mildly – slightly less comfortable displaying their wealth than, say, 50 Cent. Or T.I. Or every other idiotic rapper out there.
Now, that’s not to say that we don’t LOVE our BMWs and our SF Marina sailboats, our big-time Palo Alto homes, our Porsches or even (in my relatively impoverished case, right out of college) our tacky red Nissan 350zs. We just don’t want to look like dicks while loving them. That’s so….LA. Barf.
So how’s a fundamentally nice Silicon Valley person to square this awkward social situation circle? BitBubble’s here to help with this handy list of tips:
- Self Deprecate: When confronted with a social situation that points out your latest sweet toy in a cloying/envious manner, simply turn attention to your own flaws. A few examples:
- “Oh! I bought that car to get over a quarter life crisis!”
- “I wear a Rolex because I’m just a douchebag at heart!”
- “Yah I won the lottery at Google and blew all my cash on this giant house. Not smart financial planning but what the hey! Maybe I should go look for a job at AIG!”
- Tarnish Latest Toy: Its also useful to wipe the psychological luster off the shiny new house/car/bling by finding some horrendously minor flaw with it. A few examples:
- “Oh look. There’s an invisible scratch on the underside of my Rolex!”
- “You know, I know its a Porsche convertible but the top takes 30 seconds to drop! Guess who has two thumbs and got ripped off on the deal?! THIS GUY!”
- Compliment Envious Complimenter: File this one under deflection mechanisms. When confronted with a compliment on your bling, find any way to compliment the complimenter. Try not to patronize them but this is secondary. Being patronizing is better than the ugly feeling that accompanies privileged guilt. Examples include:
- “Wow, your Honda Civic is AMAZING! No power windows either!!! You’re so retro cool, really.”
- “I love the deals at Target! That Mizrahi fellow really does it do it better than Marc Jacobs, no?!”
Of course, you can mix and match from the 3 categories above. I’ve seen compliment deflection and self deprecation combined to very useful effect.