Yet, even without brandnames, they are thought leaders. That is, they have the influence to change others' behavior. The power of ordinary people can be extraordinary.
One of these non-brandname thought leaders lives in my complex in Tucson, Arizona. Her take on whatever resonates. "X says," we say. Among behaviors she has changed is ranting. She taught us to simply ignore. That includes not going postal about the several religious fundamentalists in the complex.
For less cosmic issues we call on her on a one-to-one basis. Distraught, I confided how a client was driving me nuts. She cut to the chase: Does your instinct tell you to drop that client? That was the end of that story.
This phenomenon of the very ordinary thought leader isn't new. In the old neighborhood in cities, there was usually at least one. And it was a she. The parents went with questions if they should send their children to Catholic school and what to do about their husbands' drinking. Politicos did favors for her.
We kids hung near her door because there was always the chance she needed an errand run. She paid well. She had the money to do that because she was smart, much more so than our own mothers.
The media have anointed certain brandnames as the ones we should heed. But most of what they say doesn't touch our lives. As much as I admire the smarts and courage of Peter Thiel, his life doesn't intersect mine. Perhaps thought leaders with the most authentic reach, that is with Everyman and Everywoman, don't need media, not at all.