If you haven't seen Paul Graham's latest essay you really really really really really need to go read it. And if you don't understand it, you need to read it again. A few quick quotes:
The eminent, on the other hand, are weighed down by their eminence. Eminence is like a suit: it impresses the wrong people, and it constrains the wearer.
Outsiders should realize the advantage they have here. Being able to take risks is hugely valuable. Everyone values safety too much, both the obscure and the eminent. No one wants to look like a fool. But it's very useful to be able to.
Seriously, go read it.