The 1,000 true fans public experiment

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In the first episode of Default Alive, Chris and I talked about the pros and cons of transparency.

As a fan of Baremetrics and the Open Startups before I worked for Baremetrics, I absolutely loved the transparency. It was unprecedented, brave, and created a new level of trust in the market.

However, after working at Baremetrics, I also saw some of the cons of transparency. Competitors start up hoping to make a quick buck and rip you off. Secret sauce is open sourced and run into the ground. There's an argument to be made that, at a certain point, it starts to not make sense to share all your metrics openly as a SaaS company.

But as a subscription-based media Company of One... that's a different story.

The epiphany I had on that podcast episode was that content can't be copied like software can. Transparency for a SaaS company is only positive so long as the benefits of the trust it earns with your audience outweighs the risk of opening yourself up to copycats that can steal customers and features from you.

Here's the thing: content-based businesses are rarely zero-sum. You won't find someone paying for both Baremetrics and ChartMogul. But it's not unlikely to find someone paying for both Swipe Files and DGMG. We might be doing something similar and for a similar audience, but that doesn't make us competitors.

But don't mix up subscription-based content businesses with affiliate-based content businesses.

If you have a blog that derives traffic primarily from Google, you best believe everyone creating content for that keyword are competitors. The content itself is essentially commoditized for affiliate blogs. It's just a matter of who can rank the highest in Google.

But if you have a blog that derives traffic primarily through social media and email, who are your competitors? And if you're not trying to rank in Google for a specific keyword, you can create much more original content that will stand out.

All that to say: No one can create content like I do. That's why I'm not afraid to be transparent about metrics.

And that's why I'm creating the "1,000 True Fans Public Experiment."

It's a test to see if it'll get my audience more engaged in my journey, and just maybe, become members because of it. And since there's little risk of copycats (because how do you copy original content in a compelling way?), there's very little downside for me.

More details soon...