Authenticity may be overrated.

Greg Salmela
1 min readDec 13, 2020

As social creatures, we’re selective about revealing our authentic selves, because being authentic isn’t always helpful.

Author Seth Godin calls the authentic self a toddler without executive function. He argues that what matters more is our social self.

For example, let’s say I was tired of having to don a mask every time I was out for a latte or flat-white. While my authentic self might prefer to skip the mask — my social self cares more about the welfare of others and being a responsible member of society.

Interestingly, this duality may be analogous at larger scales. Like an authentic self, companies each have a culture. Inevitably such culture is inwardly focused, but the brand — much like the social self — becomes a carefully considered outward expression to interface with the world.

That’s not to say that a crafted public image is inauthentic. Because, whether we are talking about the authentic or the social, identity is governed by one’s values.

I founded Aegis, a relational design firm. We help create emotionally-intelligent brands and organisations.



Greg Salmela

Hanging with human-centred thinkers, researchers and designers.