The audience used to be a one-way street, nowadays the game has changed, the audience is also on the stage.
With the audience-driven approach, you are making every choice with your audience. The audience conversation will remain active even after the business's success, as people feel engaged in the business.
An example of this is Patrick Collison, the founder of Stripe, who asked his customers about Stripe's roadmap on Twitter, and engaged in hundreds of replies to that Tweet, even now after building a Billion dollar business, they still listen to their developer audience.
Audience-first vs. Audience driven
The audience first implies building an audience and then selling your business products to them, but the audience-driven approach "puts the audience first" to engage with them and empower them. Audience building is an important part of the process but doesn't come first, it's actually the last step.
Audiences are not just walking wallets, they are real people with real problems you would need to build an authentic relationship with them.
Communities and audiences are related, communities are starting points for building audiences. A community looks in all kinds of directions, but the audience looks at you.
The audience-driven approach
You delay building your product until you have chosen and explored an audience for your business.
You first choose a market to operate in and the potential customer, then embed yourself into their communities and learn what you can do to solve their problems, then you turn that into a business idea and start working on it (which you can learn how in Arvid's other book: Zero to Sold 😉).
The audience-driven approach reduces the risk significantly by evaluating your business every step of the way. This makes it less likely for a full pivot to happen.
The concept of coming up with a good idea and trying to build an audience around that.
There's an "entrepreneurial curse" according to Arvid, we tend to assume too much, we have to assume everything will work fine and that we know our audience well. The idea that "build and they will come" is very risky. We tend to focus on solutions and neglect to visualize the underlying problems.
When we have a business idea, the solution is much more visible to us, and if there are enough people to pay for that solution.
Some funders try to build alternative tools for themselves when they feel a problem needs a better solution, but it's still based on assumptions and not validated with a large enough audience.
On the other hand, with the audience-driven approach you "embed" yourself in the community, and understand their problems first and try to solve those problems for them.
Things that Audience-driven helps you with:
- Audience discovery: Who do you want to serve? This is the most important step
- Audience exploration & problem discovery: Being an active part of the community, talking to people, and learning from them
- Audience building: Creating for your audience, and solve real problems for real people, and becoming the domain expert by constantly showing up and providing valuable contributions to the community
In the coming chapters, Arvid talks about the above points in detail. Thanks for reading, let me know what you think on my Twitter.