If you had 1,000 people who were your true fans—and I define them as people who would buy whatever it is that you produce at any time and would not only buy the paperback but also the hard cover and the digital version, who would not only buy your CD but would drive 100 miles when you were on tour. Those are your true fans. If you had 1,000 of them, and you could get $100.00 from them a year for what you were producing, and you got it directly, then you got $100,000 a year from only 1,000 true fans.

The concept was this interesting middle place. You didn’t need to have a million fans to survive or make a livelihood. You needed more than one fan, but you could do it with this interesting moderate number, which is an imaginable number. It’s hard to imagine a million fans, but you could imagine getting 1,000 people who would really follow you.

If you could and you had direct relationship with them, and you got the money directly from them, then you could make a living—maybe not a fortune, but you could make a living—with 1,000 true fans.

Kevin Kelly, on the New Disruptors podcast, on the power of a few devoted fans. See more podcast picks.


Photo: michellemilla, Flickr

We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.