There is famous and there is famous to the family. Cousin Aaron is famous to my family. Or, to be less literal, the family of people like us might understand that Satya the milliner or perhaps Sarma Melngailis or Peter Olotka are famous.
And famous to the family is precisely the goal of just about all marketing now. You don't need to be Nike or Apple or GE. You need to be famous to the small circle of people you are hoping will admire and trust you. Your shoe store needs to be famous to the 300 shoe shoppers in your town. Your retail consulting practice needs to be famous to 100 people at ten major corporations. Your WordPress consulting practice needs to be famous to 650 veterinarians or chiropractors. Famous the way George Clooney and George Washington are famous, but to fewer people.
By famous, I means admired, trusted, given the benefit of the doubt. By famous, I mean seen as irreplaceable or best in the world.
Here's how to tell if you're famous: If I ask someone in your community to name the person who is known for X, will they name you? If I ask about which store or freelancer is the best place, hands down, to get Y, will they name you? If we played 20 questions, could I guess you?
Being famous to the family is far more efficient than being famous to everyone. It takes focus, though.
Famous to the family (of boardgame fans) is the key to making my friend Peter's Cosmic Encounter Kickstarter hit its goal. Or Ramon Ray's new magazine getting traction. Famous to the family is what this IndieGogo needs in order to change kids' lives. And failing to be famous to the family is precisely why most Kickstarters fail.
[HT to me, I wrote something about this three and a half years ago, but I forgot, and so did most people I talk about this with, so here it is again.]