I read Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans post yesterday, as well as The Reality of depending on true fans. Both were very insightful articles, the first being motivational and practical – hey artists, you’re only 1000 people away from making 100k a year. The second a more somber look at attrition rates, overhead costs, and managing the fans.
What I took away from it all though, from a business-perspective, is it is important if you are a “creator” of some type, that you sell or offer something that can be re-gifted, shared, taught, or passed on in some way. This is the only way to have your fan rates grow higher than your attrition rates. This is the only way for viral-spread. This is the only way to infect a population. One teaches two whom teach two, etc. Robert Rich sold his music online, but still frowned upon passing it on. He even says that he feels conflicted about the Copyright act. Five-hundred Russians have his music and appreciate it, but his “4 or 5 true fans” are the ones who pay for it and tell him about those bootleggers. If open-source software has taught us anything, it’s to open yourself up, build transparency, share it with the world, and let them see your warts. As Seth Godin says, “If you want to not be demonized, open up and become exposed,” or something like that.