Don’t worry about building your audience before your product — build your audience with your product

Rob Walling had a back and forth on Twitter recently about the idea that you need to have already built an audience before you launch a product:

I’ve always had a problem with the “audience first” approach to building a product — mainly because I spent way too much of my career believing it.

The biggest and most pernicious problem with “audience first” is it can rationalize away all of the bad habits of social media.

No, I’m not mindlessly scrolling Twitter… I’m building my audience!

I don’t need to talk to customers… I’m building my audience!

I don’t need to fix that really difficult bug… I’m building my audience!

I don’t need to make sure I’ll have enough money to make payroll next month… I’m building my audience!

Also, the whole idea of building an audience before you’ve started building something that will benefit that audience is kind of… oh, I don’t know… self important? It just feels too “social media influencer”-y to me. It’s like that gag-reflex-inducing stuff you see on LinkedIn.

On the way into work this morning I looked up and saw an elevator pitch in skywriting… I hired those 3 young pilots immediately… those pilots were named Bill Gates…

Build an audience with your product, not before it. Build an audience alongside your product. Because of your product.

In other words? Earn people’s attention by solving their problem. Heh, sounds stupidly simple when you say it that way, doesn’t it?

Justin Jackson had a great response to Rob’s original tweet:

He nails it because, of course, another reason you should build an audience with your product instead of before it? Because when you start doing it right those audience members become customers!

Building the product builds the audience. Building the audience builds the customers. Building the customers builds the product. You get it.




Thoughts on leveraging AI to scale yourself and build a solo business empire

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

David Spratte of Carpe: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO

Kaitlin Zhang of Oval Branding: Why We Need More Women Founders & Here Is What We Are Doing To Make

A Guide to Venture Deals

Difficult journeys typically tend to be life-changing experiences, and especially so when some…

A Tool to Build & Benchmark Your VC Platform Strategy

Women Leading The Cannabis Industry: “Let’s Lower The Barriers To Entry” With Jessica Mulligan of…

The Thanksgiving Issue

Core insights from the Axis online chat with Alan Patricof

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Adam Howell

Adam Howell

Thoughts on leveraging AI to scale yourself and build a solo business empire

More from Medium

Electricity Crisis Forces College Students To Study Only On Campus

Ascend — a Career Transition Services Platform Case Study

Product Update 15 Mar. 2022: Developer Portfolio

Brand Building for Early Stage Companies