In this world, we talk a lot about first impressions. Career trainers emphasize how important they are in job interviews. Agents and editors talk about how critical the first few pages or chapters of a manuscript are. High-profile authors discuss stategies for making a splash at conventions.
In all of the chatter about looking good, getting attention, and making the most of the first few seconds it's easy to forget that a first impression is worthless if you don't have something solid to follow it up with.
Have you ever dated someone who seemed fantastic at first glance, but became less and less interesting the longer you talked to them?
Ever seen a movie that looked great in the previews and turned out to be a total flop?
When Jim Baen died, what astounded me most wasn't the number of people who wrote online eulogies, but the consistency of those eulogies. Jim Baen, they said, was an incredibly kind person. He helped people. He spoke to everyone, from first-time conventioners to top-selling authors, with respect and consideration. Now that's a legacy if ever I heard one.
I still think first impressions are important, don't get me wrong. But Mike's article reminded me that it's not worth scrambling to make a good first impression if you pollute your lasting impression in the process. Be a good person first, and a flashy person second.