So the final series of Game of Thrones is now behind us.
It’s all over.
It took a decade. The Pilot was shot 11 years ago.
Some cast were kids at the start, now adults. Like Maisie Williams (Arya Stark in GoT). She was 11 yo, now 22.
Her character was prob’ly my favorite. Well: along with Tyrion Lannister.
I find it interesting to see how the process, the creative journey, has transformed young creatives like Maisie.
She recently launched a little “social network” app called Daisie (already has 100K members).
I love what she’s doing: instead of diving right back into acting, she’s leveraging her newfound social status to build something that matters.
A platform that is enabling *other* creatives to come together to create better work: art for people who care.
What a run for HBO, right?
HBO said that each episode this season has averaged 44.2 million viewers and that the finale was the most watched HBO show of all time.
Here’s the interesting part; the lesson hiding in plain sight:
GoT attracted/acquired/earned its cult-like following BECAUSE is was a highly-niched and polarized show for a narrow audience.
Think about that.
It’s counterintuitive. A bit of a head-scratcher.
By going so narrow and focused, and repelling MOST people (like Anita, like my mom, for example, who don’t like watching violence), the people who were attracted in; were sucked in like a tractor beam (and cared for the story and characters and their journey; for a decade!).
By becoming the best niche show it could be, a cult-like following emerged.
Same happened with The X-File, the original Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, and of course, Star Trek (the original).
Twin Peaks is a classic example of being so weird, or freakin’ different, that many said it would never survive past the Pilot.
Not a chance in hell. No way! Dead on arrival.
The pilot was first shown in Sept 1989 at the Telluride Film Festival. That same month, Connoisseur magazine ran a cover story calling Twin Peaks “the series that will change TV forever.”
After viewing the episode, Tom Shales of the Washington Post wrote:
“Twin Peaks isn’t just a visit to another town; it’s a visit to another planet. Maybe it will go down in history as a brief and brave experiment. But as can be said of few other TV shows in the near or immediate future: This You Gotta See.”
In April, a screening was also held at the Museum of Broadcasting in Hollywood. Media analyst and advertising executive Paul Schulman said:
“I don’t think it has a chance of succeeding. It is not commercial, it is radically different from what we as viewers are accustomed to seeing, there’s no one in the show to root for.”
Yet … the opposite happened.
The two-hour pilot was the highest-rated movie for the 1989-1990 season, viewed by 34.6 million people.
In Los Angeles, Twin Peaks became the seventh most-watched show of the week earning 29% of viewers.
Creating something “magical” for the weird.
Or as Seth Godin says, “for the smallest viable audience.”
This has worked for film and TV, for the movie business, for fiction, for the video gaming industry.
But it also works for the stuff we do as marketers.
In fact, in many cases, it works even better.
Our numbers are smaller, sure, but our audiences are no less passionate…
No less “weird”…
And no less desperate for the work we do.
In the third season of Game of Thrones, 257 cast names were recorded. That’s a lot of mouths to feed and bank accounts to grease.
The lead actors were being paid $500K per episode each. And there are a lot of lead actors.
I battle to wrap my head around the size of that production and the logistics of managing an operation that big.
As (digital) creators, as marketers for the weird: we get to essentially do the same, but on a “tiny little” scale.
We can be in business as a “company of one” armed with just a MacBook Air and a desire to serve the weird.
… serving our audience of “1000 True Fans,” doing work that mattes, work we’re proud of, for people who care.
We live in a post-industrial age: a world that values and rewards the people (creators) who create for, and serve, the long tail.
We live in a world that rewards serving the RIGHT people over seeking to reach MORE (more clicks, more likes, more vanity metrics that don’t matter).
This “go narrow” (target less, not more) idea is one that most marketers battle to put into practice.
On the surface they nod their head, “yup, I understand; I totally get it, I’m good to go,” but when the rubber hits the road, the wheels come off.
They default to what they see everyone else doing.
So the sheeple marketers create ads that are clickbait-y…
Landing pages that are too general…
They don’t push away (alienate) the wrong people. Instead, their offers are wishy-washy, aren’t polarized, and pack zero punch.
The big takeaway here:
Your job is to interact with PEOPLE WHO CARE (and the hard pill to swallow is that most people don’t!).
But that sentence above in parentheses is the whole point.
This is why, a few months ago, I created a course called Lean Business for Creators (a course I’ve been wanting to create for years).
It helps creators become better marketers; marketers who choose to serve their peeps through empathy, trust, and generosity.
Doing work they’re proud of.
Work that’s an asset, that’ll be around for years or decades.
JULY 1-7 2019
Between July 1 and 7 I’ll be opening up LBC for the last *closed beta* opening until I officially open this bad boy up for good at the end of the year or early 2020.
Lean Business for Creators (LBC) is a course I released end of 2018.
It’s for people who want to create deep and meaningful work they’re proud of, for people who value that work enough to pay for it.
LBC was open for the four days over Black Friday through Cyber Monday (November 23 through 26, 2018).
I hadn’t created the course yet.
None of it existed.
But that didn’t stop 539 people from investing (of them, only one person refunded).
I delivered the initial “Pilot Version” to them on December 21.
Then a few months later, on March 7th 2019 (my 46th birthday), I opened up LBC for ONE more day.
Another 98 people joined.
In the five days that LBC has been open since its inception, we’ve had around 650 amazing people join.
It’s a small movement. But it has already had a real impact. How to create an asset: something meaningful in the world that serves others.
Beginning of July I’ll be opening up ONE FINAL TIME.
If this stuff resonates with you, I hope you’ll join us.
(At the bottom of that page is an opt-in button/form that’ll get you on the “I’m Interested” list.)
There’s no easy-to-click link to be added-and-tagged; sorry.
Over the following few months I’m *slowly* (manually) moving segments of people from our current Drip email account to ConvertKit.
Have yourself an amazing weekend.
André “tiny little slowly slowly” Chaperon
My ClickBank rep wanted to jump on the phone with me last week to discuss how he could help out.
(ClickBank is the company we use to sell our courses.)
So I had a call with him.
He said he could see spikes in sales from LBC, but then months and months of zero sales. Nothing. Crickets.
This puzzled him and he wanted to help.
I explained to him my process:
When I create a new course, I keep it in “closed beta” (a long pilot release, essentially) while I build it out and use the help (feedback) from our customers to make it the best version I can for them.
Only once it’s at a point where I’m happy, will I open it up to the “public” as an evergreen product.
I said sometimes this can be a year. Sometimes two years.
“Dude, this is so amazing; but none of my clients do this. They create products quickly, put them out, then move on. That’s their business model.”
(Well okay, he didn’t call me “dude,” but it fits nicer into this narrative.)
I had him scratching his head when I said that SOI had been in “closed beta” for two years before opening up that last February for good.
LBC will probably be “closed” for over a year, all said and done.
Hellz, I’ve been working on the big “10 Year Anniversary Edition” of ARM for the part 18 months (and it’s still some way off: but it will be this year!).
I care about creating world-class courses for people who care.
It’s what gets me up each day.
I love creating work that has a real impact for the “weird” who choose to embrace their weirdness.
The tiny little few.
The black swans.
You can do the same: as a side business initially, then perhaps into something full time once you’ve achieved the level of traction and micro-scale that matters to you.
We open for a week in a little over a month.
You can read more about LBC here:
There’s a free manifesto on that page.
You’ll prob’ly value what’s in it.
Then, if this all resonates with you, get yourself on the waiting list for July 1-7. This will be the last opportunity for a while.