Global Crisis/Innovation Blog

A Thousand True Fans:  YOU Can Do It!

By Shlomo Maital







By chance, I encountered a blog with a clever title and a powerful point.  [].  Here is the main point:

   There are two places innovators look for ideas. One is the ‘long tail’ – esoteric niche markets, on the long largely-unoccupied tail of the normal curve.  The density of users and buyers here is too low to support life, generally.  The second is the fat middle, where ordinary people reside.  Here, competition is fierce, advantages lie with incumbents and habit dominates (ever try to get people who love vanilla ice cream to try chocolate?). 

    The alternative, suggests the author, is to find 1,000 “true fans” (defined as people who will buy anything and everything you produce).  Here is the calculation:

    If a True Fan will spend one day’s wages per year supporting what you do, that comes to:  1,000 x $100 equals $100,000.  Presto – you have a business!

    If you are patient, if you add one true fan a day, it will only take you three years to build a real business.   But, you have to maintain contact with your True Fans.  Web 2.0 and 3.0 enables that.  And, the circle of True Fans is surrounded by Lesser Fans, who sometimes will buy what you sell. 

    You don’t need a hit to survive, says the author.  There is a place in the middle, not the fat middle, and not the long tail.  An ‘artist’ can aim for this spot, but I will add:  ON ONLY ONE CONDITION!  Be sure you are passionate about the offering you are making to your true fans.  If you are not, then you are doing it only for money, and that means YOU yourself are not a true fan, so you can’t expect a thousand others to  be one.