Myke Hurley, 512Pixels:
Audience Quality > Audience Quantity
I feel like this notion can be applied to so many mediums; I don’t believe that this will just work with podcasting. I’m sure that if you write on lovely sites like this one and you follow this simple idea, you’d achieve similar results. Of course there is a limited amount of space on the internet for success, but those that get there will be the ones that produce good quality work, on a regular basis.
Quality over quantity.
The concluding notion of "quality over quantity" is one of the most oft-spoken phrases in our industry. Regardless of whether it's applied to venture capital, user engagement, conversion rates, or audience growth, the lesson remains constant to the point of banality.
And yet, despite the saturation of this knowledge, it's rare to meet someone capable of truly abiding — and living — by such a philosophy.
We're inherently self-conscious people and, accordingly, we have a desire affixed deep within each of us to quantify, compare, and gauge ourselves and our perceived popularity or success. So, as we open our respective content management systems and sales databases, the natural inclination is to compare our performance to yesterday. To look backward and attempt to assure ourselves of growth.
The sad, sad ramification of this is that the true value of your product — whatever commodity that might be — is lost. You lose focus on producing the best articles or the best products. You lose sight on intuitively working to better yourself and your product, instead relying upon the safe knowledge of what worked in the past.
All of our endeavors — regardless of discipline — benefit from confidence. If you can demonstrate conviction and self-assurance, you'll define a positive trajectory for yourself. Obviously this conviction must be informed with real world data to avoid flagrant, unintelligent narcissism, but the fundamental truth is that when tethering yourself to statistics and excessive worries about associative matters, you will not be able to move forward.
Broadcasting with 70Decibels for almost a year, I've watched Myke move away from an introspective focus upon statistics, to a confident mentality of growth and excitement. In direct correlation with this attitude shift, CMD+Space has become a juggernaut of a show and 70Decibels is now merging with 5by5.
All of us on 70Decibels care passionately about our shows not because of statistics and reach, but because we are — or hope to be — producing quality content. We are all confident in what we produce and, therefore, we expect that growth is the logical outcome.
And such a mentality has proven to be accurate.
Perhaps you could dismiss this unscientific, organic, and intuition-driven route toward success as flimsy and unrepeatable. That's not an outlandish criticism. I will, however, offer a pre-emptive rebuttal:
People flock toward good products. There is science in producing something good and differentiated for people. Coupling something good with intelligent, informed confidence, whilst allowing self-conscious fears to subside, will result in success and growth.
Numbers do not engender success, good products do. If you're confident in the goodness and quality of your product, you will invariably find success.
Focus not on the past, but upon what you need to do to build something better. Focus not on numbers, but on the people most engaged and supportive of your cause. Be pragmatic, but dare to embrace blind optimism.
As Myke wrote yesterday — and as thousands of people have said before him — it's all about "quality over quantity." There is wisdom in that philosophy, but its value is only unlocked by those who dare to truly live in such a manner.