What does it mean to be an influencer?

Enrique Dans
Mar 15, 2019 · 2 min read

Spanish business magazine Emprendedores published (in Spanish) a ranking of influencers in entrepreneurship and leadership (pdf) which it generously included myself in. The ranking was first posted on the web in November, but has just been published in the print edition.

Some years I make it onto these kinds of rankings, and others, not; so I’m not sure how reliable they really are as an indicator of my influence, but the way they’re created is interesting. Emprendedores combines the opinion of dozens of entrepreneurs with a series of metrics from various social networks. I don’t know if all the social metrics used are correct or significant: to be honest, I pay little attention to them these days.

That said, I am concerned about the (mis)use of the term influencer: frankly, if all it has come to mean is an update of “celebrity” or “mercenary”, somebody who sells influence or posts garbage on YouTube to generate advertising, then include me out, as Sam Goldwyn said. I get emails and calls every day offering to pay me to write sponsored articles, for including certain links in my stories, for mentioning this or that, or for publishing press releases, and my answer is always the same: I am not a means of communication, my page is purely personal and my readers are not looking for advertorials. I am fortunate in that most of what I do online I don’t do it for the money.

Fortunately, Emprendedores seems to be using the term to refer to people who aim to inspire through their work, people undertake initiatives of all kinds, in which case, I am very grateful to everybody who mentioned me. As for those people who, despite all the evidence to the contrary over the last three decades, still accuse me of working on behalf of this or that company or of belonging to this or that political party, I can only tell repeat that I do what I do based on my own criteria and that maybe they should turn their attention elsewhere and leave me to get on with doing what I do. I’m too old for mind games.

Once again, many thanks to Emprendedores and to those who remembered an old teacher who still enjoys what he does every day.


(En español, aquí)

Enrique Dans

Enrique Dans

Written by

Professor of Innovation at IE Business School and blogger at enriquedans.com

Enrique Dans

On the effects of technology innovation on people, companies and society (writing in Spanish at enriquedans.com since 2003)

More From Medium

More from Enrique Dans

More from Enrique Dans

More from Enrique Dans

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade