More Smoke And Bigger Mirrors


(Richard Millington) #1

Originally published at: https://www.feverbee.com/mirrors/
It’s tempting to inflate the numbers.

It’s tempting to claim 400 when you have 200 people.

Bigger numbers suggest a bigger community. Bigger communities appear to attract more people, bigger sponsorships, and greater attention.

With enough smoke and mirrors you might just be able to create and sustain the illusion, at least for a time.

It will always catch up with you. By the time you grow from 200 to 400, you’ll have to pretend you have 1000. When you get to 1000 you will need to pretend you have 2000.

Soon the time spent on pretending will cripple your ability to grow.

The real tragedy is those attracted by larger numbers tend to be the least valuable contributors to any social group.

The other tragedy here is size rarely matters.

People don’t join communities, attend events, or use a product because of how many people are attending. They attend those where the right people are present. The majority of sponsors care FAR more about the who than how many.

Focus on attracting the right people. Promote who is a member and who is coming.

 


(Bas van Leeuwen) #2

I fully agree with the first bit. When it comes to sponsors though, my experience is that it’s mostly about vanity metrics and cold hard cash results.

Now, to increase those numbers, you should indeed focus on recruiting the right people, the rest will follow :smile:


(Bo McGuffee) #3

This is a great piece, and I hope it is widely read.

The struggle is in explaining the above to those who watch numbers. I understand the concerns and the importance of growth: businesses are in the business they are in to make money. And the default assumption is “more members = more money”.

While that might not necessarily be accurate, convincing those who make higher-level decisions otherwise can be difficult. So, I suspect that the unfortunate “smoke & mirrors” approach may simply be (for some) the path of least resistance.


(Richard Millington) #4

Easy argument to make against number-junkies.

Ask them if they would want 1m more penniless teenagers to join tomorrow? Or come to your event?

No? Then there has to be a line they’re drawing somewhere. Let’s figure out where to draw it.