Trends #0030 โ€” Audience-First Products

๐Ÿ” Problem

You need to understand and reach customers.

๐Ÿ’ก Solution

Build trust before you build products.

๐Ÿ Players

ProductTypeSource
LetterDropAggregatorKP
UserlistSaaSJane Portman & Benedikt Deicke
Bite-Size PythonBookApril Speight
Earnest CapitalFundTyler Tringas
The Tim Ferriss ShowPodcastTim Ferriss
Power-Up PodcastingCoursePat Flynn
GrouponMarketplaceThePoint.com
Chicken + BeerRestaurantLudacris
Virginia BlackLiquorDrake
Roc Nation SportsAgencyJay-Z
Ministry of TestingCommunityRosie Sherry

๐Ÿ”ฎ Predictions

โ˜๏ธ Opportunities

  • Choose your channel and build an audience. Use YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. But don’t stop there. To reduce platform risk, use these as funnels. Not destinations.
  • Get feedback from your audience. Failory surveys subscribers to find pain points. Bram Kanstein used Twitter to get 135 pre-launch subscribers. Kalo Yankulov used a blog to get $4,000 in pre-sales. (Via Nico)
  • Leverage your audience to find investors, suppliers and employees. Ben Tossell uses Twitter to find customers and hire. Now he’s raising a fund.
  • Use an audience-first approach to find your dream job. Iheanyi (Github) and April (Microsoft) have audiences, optionality and side hustles. Social profiles are replacing resumes.
  • Use gamification to grow your audience. Pieter Levels gained more than 10,000 followers with a giveaway. See the Makerpad Challenge.

๐Ÿ”‘ Key Lessons

  • Audience-building is a forcing function to find and understand customers.
  • Your audience is your moat.
  • An audience gives you optionality. You can sell products, raise funds, hire employees, get jobs, endorsements, affiliates and more.

๐Ÿ˜  Haters

“This isn’t new.”
Common knowledge isn’t common practice.

“You mention agencies, restaurants and conferences. These are not products.”
๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ Use your imagination.

“If I build it, they will come.”
Tell that to Stephen King. Who wrote under a pen name in relative obscurity. Until his identity was revealed. Audience outweighs product.

This doesn’t always work.”
Indeed. There are broke celebrities. Blame execution not efficacy.

“What if I build the wrong audience?”
Start with the end in mind. Who do you want to help? Who do you enjoy spending time with? Educate or entertain them.

“Is paid acquisition useless?”
No. Use it for validation. And arbitrage opportunities. Not for survival. Unit economics change fast when you bid for attention.

Gamification only attracts those who want prizes. Not my product.”
Make your product the prize.

๐Ÿ”— Links

  1. On Linear Commerce โ€ข Media and commerce are merging.
  2. 12 Startups in 12 Months โ€ข Pieter Levels built an audience by building in public.
  3. My Journey From Quitting My Job to Building 7 Apps and $1,000+ MRR โ€ข Andrey Azimov followed in Pieter’s footsteps.

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