In An Age Where We Can Circumvent Gatekeepers, 1000 True Fans is More Relevant Than Ever

Srinivas Rao
3 min readJan 19, 2021

Kevin Kelly originally proposed the idea of 1000 true fans in 2008.

To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans. Kevin Kelly

Today everyone has access to more tools, resources, and distribution channels that are cheaper and easier to use. The power that was once in the hands of enterprises, studios, and publishers is in the hands of anyone who wants to build something.

But the paradox is that it’s easier than ever to start but harder than it’s ever been to stand out in a sea of noise because it’s an opportunity that’s available to everyone.

“There is a positive side to the ways that the internet has enabled people to circumvent gatekeepers, speak directly to the audience, build an audience directly. All of that is true. One thing that’s also true..You’re not the only person who’s heard this message, which means that everybody is trying to do it” said William Dereschwitz in our interview on The Unmistakable Creative.

The fragmentation of the media landscape took us from a handful of talk show hosts on TV to over a million podcasts on iTunes, millions of blogs, and millions of youtube channels.

As the fragmentation continues, Kevin Kelly’s idea will become even more relevant. Loyalty will matter more than reach.

You can reach a million people, but if they don’t give a shit, don’t come back, or wouldn’t miss you if you were gone, then you’re not going to build a career.

You’re going to become a one-hit-wonder. You’ll be the talk of the town today and afterthought tomorrow.

When nothing follows something that goes viral, an audience doesn’t either. It becomes all too easy to confuse attention with accomplishment. What’s been true since the beginning of time is just as true today: mastery not metrics is what leads to a sustainable creative…

Srinivas Rao

Candidate Conversations with Insanely Interesting People: Listen to the @Unmistakable Creative podcast in iTunes