Simon Burgess, meet Simon Burgess

Whilst the rest of the sane world was facing reality in the new year, last week I was on a quest. My mission? To meet myself.

What had started off as a mother’s mis-typing of my email address some two years ago has led to one of the most bizarre afternoons of my youngish life.

Just before Christmas, I received a Linkedin request from my namesake, Simon Burgess. Nothing weird in that you may think. After all, one of the first things you do when you join a social network is look yourself up, right?

The narcissism doesn’t stop there. Type your name into Google and you can have a great afternoon discovering what those fortunate enough to find themselves with your name look like, do, think etc. Some of my alter egos are an economist at the University of Bristol, a Labour parlimentary candidate, and “the flamboyant managing director of British Insurance”.

Furthermore try typing in your name as a url. proMotion (www.simonburgess.com) is written by Simon Burgess, the creative director at Canadian agency Elemental Motion Media. We get all over the world.

Anyway, back to the story…

So even though connecting with namesakes on social networks is not unusual, this request was different from the beginning.

Firstly, the mistaken identity situation.

Dear Simon,

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Only because you have the same name as me, I get emails in my gmail account for you (though these have stopped now)…

It turns out that Simon and I have almost exactly the same email address. In fact they are different by one keystroke. One tiny but rather significant letter. Pretty much as soon as I got a gmail account Simon Burgess (we’ll call him SB Senior) started getting my emails. Mainly from my mum. Being a nice chap SB Senior emailed my mum to let her know of her mistake, and thought nothing of it. Being a complete techno-nitwit my mum kept sending emails. As did various random people from Mexico City.

Whilst obviously annoying, I like to think that this tom foolery piqued SB Senior’s interest. So he did a search for me on LinkedIn and had a little look at my profile.

This is me on linked in. (You can connect with me if you like. Especially if you are called Simon Burgess.)

And this is where things got weird.

…and most weirdly of all (I told you) I worked at centaur at precision marketing from 90-91!

Now for those of you not so familiar with the classic UK Direct Marketing magazine, Precision Marketing, this may not seem like such a coincidence. It could happen to anyone. Except that this is a tiny trade magazine, we both worked there for our first jobs going into media sales, and worked there exactly ten years apart, SB Senior starting in ’90 whilst I began my slightly longer tenure in 2000. Furthermore, with Simon working in digital media, and this being the way my career has gone, our paths had to cross at some point.

Deciding to meet up for post Christmas drinks was a slightly daunting and exciting prospect. I was fully prepared to ditch the drinks after half an hour for a “meeting” if it turned out that actually not all Simon Burgesses were as amazing as me (had to say it) but luckily it turns out we’re all (at least two of us anyway) good lads. We ended up boring our fellow drinkers (Simon´s brother on one hand and his boss on the other) with our amazement at how weird the whole situation was, and then went on to have a ridiculously drunken pub crawl to celebrate the sheer Burgessness of it all.

So all in all I guess why I’m telling this tale, apart from outlining the random set of coincidences that went to bring it all together, is to say that social media, and I guess the internet in general, can have very surprising but rewarding results in “real life”. I know Dave Gorman got there first and told his version in a much more witty way but I don’t care cos I think it’s a great story and will be dining out on it for years to come.

Go on, do it yourself, meet yourself. It’ll be worth it even if it’s just so that you can tell someone a story like this.

Oh yeah, and Simon Burgess’s wife has the same name as mine. Now that is weird.

NB We’re gonna start a club so if you’re an SB get in touch

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14 responses to “Simon Burgess, meet Simon Burgess

  1. What a fabulous story, Simon! Or Simons.

  2. This is the 7th time I’ve heard the story!

  3. About the 7th time I’ve read the story, and it’s just as good as the first-5th time!

  4. @andrea bohnstedt thank youmy dear. I thought that you’ like it 🙂

    @Gustav Ando At least this was more understandable than the first five times which were repeated after that very pub crawl!

  5. I didn’t realize how 1.0 my narcissism is…I’ve googled myself of course, but have not taken the time to find myself on Facebook or LinkedIn.

    Will you be changing the blog to Simons Say?

  6. For an incredibly funny book that would blow this story out of the water, check out Dave Gorman’s book Are you Dave Gorman?

  7. Simon Burgess

    I vaguely remember talking to your wife on the phone at some point and mentioning how attractive she was. (you had shown me a photo) Apologies. My wife doesn’t believe any of it and assumes it was just a random made up excuse to be out.
    Simon Burgess Senior

  8. I like to think she took it as a complement. One day the two wives will have to meet although I worry about a whole space time black hole thing happening if we all met at the same time. Either that or we’d just completely bore them with telling the same story. Again.

  9. i once found out that the other olly owen worked just up the road from GI, at the guardian. I called up and asked him if he fancied meeting for a pint after i mysteriously got his copy of motorcycle news delivered to me by mistake. He said no thanks. Clearly simon burgesses are more sociable.

  10. Hey good looking, I’ll join the club but sharing the pint will have to wait til I’m in UK, unless you (and me and all the others) decide to have the club night in Godzown (NZ)!

    This time I’ll add my mail properly

  11. @simonburgess nice to meet you! There are indeed loads of us. Always good to get to know more (I fear this could become an obsession).

    So what do you do? At least I know you can’t have worked on the same magazine as me…

  12. @olly owen We are a sociable bunch it’s true

  13. Andrea Bohnstedt

    I have no other me. But I named my dog after Olly Owen (but spelled Ollie), which leads to confusion when I tell people that Olly is doing a PhD.

  14. Paul G. Mears

    I worked with Greg Gunter for 8 years and just found out he left the country. Good for him. Please forward my email to him. thank you.

    pmears@roadrunner.com

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