Have you ever tried to do something that required help from other people? How did you get them to help? For 3 years during and 2 years after high school, I tried to make a living playing rock and roll. This meant living in a van named Trogdor with 4 to 5 other guys going across the country in search of supporters.
by Scott Hoch - NationBuilder
After high school I tried to become a rock star. This is the story of how the band went from 1 to 300 fans in Las Vegas.
Have you ever tried to do something that required help from other people? How did you get them to help? For 3 years during and 2 years after high school, I tried to make a living playing rock and roll. This meant living in a van named Trogdor with 4 to 5 other guys going across the country in search of supporters. We needed people to raise money for gas, cheeseburgers, fireworks, etc., and got it by selling music, merchandise, and getting money from the venues we played. We needed volunteers like Dan who went on tour with us to watch the merch booth, Adam who threw parties for us to play in Arizona, and all the people who gave us a floor to sleep on and a shower to use. We needed fans and a following so bigger venues would book and pay us. But before anyone could give us these things they had to know we existed. So how do you get people to know you exist? Back then we called this being nice and making friends in each city we visited, but now I would like to take a more systematic approach to thinking about the spread of ideas, and the spread of music.
How do we think about this situation systematically? Let's say each city we visit is a network of people who are connected through relationships. We can model these communities with a graph data structure. If these cities are totally disconnected from each other then 1 graph is all you need and you can extrapolate the results to all different cities. Within each city there are 3 types of people: prospects, supporters, and churned (ex) fans. I thought long and hard about whether to call people supporters or fans, but whereas fans like your music, a starting band really does need supporters to help push them to where they want to go. People move from being prospects to supporters and eventually their fickle hearts turn and they churn as fans. So in the beginning let's start with a community of people where everyone is a prospect, and one person is a supporter. This actually happened after we played our first show in Las Vegas' Roadhouse Casino (now closed) to an audience of Shilpa, bartender and door guy. The people of Las Vegas were the community and we had 1 supporter. Despite the small start, our final Vegas show was for over 300 people at GameWorks on the main strip. How did this happen? How can 1 lead to many in our graph? The story continues. READ MORE