I have been to no fewer than five Cirque events and can report that they are not just bold, but memorable; I can actually recall color schemes, particular villainous costumes, and riffs from the live music from each and every Cirque I have been to. The theme song from Alegría is hard-wired into me, for better or worse.

Cirque du Soleil is not just spectacular from an entertainment point of view.

Software that isn’t necessarily just designed to aid humans, but also to strip us of bargaining power, is a reality.

The future is a dichotomy between those like A-list movie actors who can exert genuine bargaining power over the producers, and those like B-list and below actors who are replaceable. And the line between them is razor thin.

At that very moment you are like the Cirque performer who says, “phew, well, at least I don’t have to manage a stinkin’ twitter account” or a gym trainer who says, well “that client was a pain, in a way I’m glad my hour with her is done and someone else’ll tell her she ain’t gonna lose that ‘babyfat’ on treadmill setting ‘2’.” It is a small setback toward commoditization. Especially in our photoshop world, beauty is a commodity. The fundamental point is that beauty is easy to replace, and “beauty talk” is not harmless. If you sip that sake you make it harder for others to see you for what is not easily replaceable, namely a distinctive mind.

In a similar vein there are many "beautiful linguists" out there. I.e. those who make it a point to show you how brilliant their language skills are. “I have great command of the Chinese language, unaccented by the way, and I have this on my resume, and I have all these friends.”

But I think you lose when you play the “look at how great my Chinese is game.”

By uttering how good your Chinese is you have lost the game before you can end the sentence. First, because learning the underlying values and culture is more important than mere language. If you learn language as a Mormon missionary does you will grasp quickly grammar and syntax. You may build an edifice of a vocabulary. And a good linguist does. Secondly, no Chinese person will ever tell you their skill is “fluent” or “great,” even “good” comes out waffled. This is because of opacity, of inclinations toward the group- in that deference toward others comes into play, and certainly the unknowable presence of seniority in the group (i.e. wealth, legacy, community service, academic titles, all these could imply higher seniority but are not always knowable). 

Just as Marc Faber said the current and future lingua franca of the world is "bad English," we face an accelerating and inevitable environment of commodization. On a strict economic calculation the Queen's English may even be a liability. All the movers and shakers of the developing world speak bad English. Who cares that you can outdo people over a threshold where statistics aren't counted, where no one cares. On an absolute basis you may have a point, yes your Chinese is good, and you deserve credit for your individual merit. But what about on a relative basis? How good is it really? Basking in the spotlight about what you may think are rare skills will continue to be shakier and shakier for three reasons: 1) too many people in aggregate hungry to match and then exceed you; 2) they are making higher percentage gains on you when you rest on your laurels; 3) when there is saturation people will eventually just agree to some normalized equilibrium of fluency, and any glory that you have for achieving a very high, absolute level of competency (above the equilibrium), well, will be "wasted," at least in economic and practical terms. 

The work that you do, the job that you have, the vocation you pursued, these used to be fundamental aspects of one's identity--but not anymore. Commodization means these markers of identity will be stripped from people; in other words the welder has to be "Bob," he will have to continue to go deeper inside who he is to find a secure anchor for his identity. I reckon that the first step to combat commoditization is sincerity, which is itself, and by definition unscalable. Maybe Bob should start there. Maybe this tension between commodization and sincerity is something he should get ahead of.