Yay! Reading through this again I have decided to call myself a thought leader as apparently they are people who think beyond the norm (and I don't mean the fat guy in 'Cheers') and every time I come up with headline or a piece of creative copy on behalf of a client I have clearly out thought them! Or you could just say I was doing my job, but somehow I prefer the thought leader tag! Obey me people! You mere mortals are SO not worthy!:-)
All creatives live in a fantasy world Paul :) And do I want a few million followers? Er, not really. Quality not quantity, that's me! :)
I can't wait until "Thought Leader" starts showing up on business cards and resumes.
2008 to 2010 THOUGHT LEADER - Responsible for thinking up shit that nobody had thought up before then convincing someone else that it was worth spending money to do. Terminated Jan 2010 due to the shit i thought up not being wuf a shit.
Paul - I don't think the issue is so much that people can't stand someone who sets trends.
I think there is a disdain for the term "Thought Leader" in and of itself.
Obviously, no one is going to argue the people at Apple or Einstein are not great minds that have set incredible trends. But I think the underlying problem is that by terming them "Thought Leaders", you are deeming them "Leaders of thought" - as opposed to "Leaders of technology" or "Leaders of science".
In every case you (Paul) mentioned of why we should respect "Thought Leaders" (your term, not mine), there is a subsequent "Doing" that must accompany their "thought" in order to create said trends.
There is not an either/or with "Thought" and "Doing": what makes these folks admirable is their ability to combine the two. Again: It's a fundamental disagreement with the use of the term "Thought Leader".
Like I said before, I think it ultimately short-changes people who ought to be considered "Innovators".