Unlocking the Power of True Fans: Niche Communities and Direct User-to-Creator Payment


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 29, 2023

3 min read


Unlocking the Power of True Fans: Niche Communities and Direct User-to-Creator Payment

In the world of business and creativity, the traditional approach has always been to expand scope, increase the time and budget allotted to a project. However, the concept of "Fix Time and Budget, Flex Scope" challenges this notion. Instead of stretching resources, the idea is to pull back the scope when necessary. This approach forces us to prioritize and focus on what truly matters, ensuring that we deliver a high-quality product within the given constraints.

But how does this relate to the concept of True Fans? Well, according to Andreessen Horowitz, the idea of having 1,000 True Fans may not be as impactful as having just 100. The gaming industry provides an interesting perspective on this. Whales, who are the big spenders in the gaming world, often become the aspiration for other players. In the same way, creators can amass a small but devoted following of 100 True Fans, who are willing to pay them $1,000 a year for their content or products.

What sets these True Fans apart from casual supporters is their expectation of meaningful value and purpose. They are not just paying to benefit the creator; they are willing to invest in something that benefits themselves as well. This shift from a donation model to a value model requires creators to deliver tangible results and access to premium content and communities that have no close substitutes. By tapping into users' desire for accountability, recognition, and status, creators can create a mutually beneficial relationship with their True Fans.

In China, we see examples of this model thriving. Platforms like Bixin, Taobao, and Heizhu Esports allow people to pay creators to play video games with them. This not only provides entertainment but also fosters a sense of social affirmation for super-fans. When "normal" fans witness this interaction, it triggers a network effect that further elevates the value of super-fans beyond their monetary spend. This highlights the power of building niche communities and leveraging direct user-to-creator payment.

So, what does this mean for creators? It means that they need to focus on cultivating a loyal and engaged audience, rather than chasing bigger numbers. Monetizing through sponsorships or branded products might be more lucrative for creators with larger, less engaged audiences. However, for those who can create high-value, personalized programs that cater to the desires and needs of their 100 True Fans, the potential for success is immense.

Here are three actionable pieces of advice for creators looking to unlock the power of True Fans:

  • 1. Find your niche: Instead of trying to appeal to a broad audience, identify a specific group of people who share a common interest or passion. By catering to their specific needs, you can create a more meaningful and valuable experience for your True Fans.
  • 2. Deliver tangible value: True Fans are willing to invest in something that provides them with tangible results. Whether it's exclusive content, access to a community, or personalized guidance, focus on delivering value that goes beyond what can be found elsewhere.
  • 3. Foster engagement and recognition: True Fans crave recognition and a sense of belonging. Create opportunities for them to interact with you and each other, and make them feel like an integral part of your community. When they feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand.

In conclusion, the creator economy is undergoing a transformative shift towards niche communities and direct user-to-creator payment. The concept of True Fans challenges the notion that bigger numbers equate to success. By focusing on cultivating a devoted following of 100 True Fans who are willing to invest in their own growth and development, creators can unlock a world of possibilities. So, embrace the power of your True Fans and build a thriving community that goes beyond monetary transactions.

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