1000 True Fans
(Read web version.)
Previous posts looked at ways to generate income from mobile apps by exploring App Monetisation and User Growth. This post provides a framework for considering how app developers and other creators can make a living from their craft. The approach covered here was popularised in Kevin Kelly’s article 1000 True Fans.
Technology allows writers, musicians, app developers and other creators to interact with their consumers directly, e.g. via email. Until recent years, this had not been possible, e.g. with authors having indirect relationships via publishers.
The number of customers one needs to make a living is small. The most valuable users are True Fans (as Kevin Kelly calls them) who will purchase anything the creator produces.
Why 1,000 True Fans?
If there are 1,000 True Fans and each spends £100 per year then that generates £100,000 which is a decent annual income for a solo creator.
The absolute number of True Fans is not critical, but the order of magnitude is. The required number of True Fans needed is measured in thousands, not millions.
It can take a lot of time, effort and personal exposure to service the needs of 1,000 fans directly. Not everyone is happy with this level of commitment and, to help, intermediaries may need to be involved.
On-going expenses and one-off investments should be taken into account and may increase the number of True Fans required.
First, ten by Seth Godin
How to get your ideas to spread by Seth Godin
This post suggests that 1,000 True Fans are sufficient to sustain a creator. In next Sunday’s post I’ll share some thoughts on how to make a meaningful difference to your users.
Until next Sunday, consider if you are a True Fan. Do you buy every book written by a favourite author or every piece of music produced by a musician?