Fanocracy: How To Build Your Fandom With David Meerman Scott

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TSP Meerman | Fanocracy

Episode Summary:

When you’re a stage performer, there’s nothing like connecting with people who bring vibe and excitement to your show. Is it possible to build your fandom and create the same energizing feeling in your business? In this episode, John Livesay, aka The Pitch Whisperer, chats with marketing strategist, entrepreneur, advisor, and best-selling author David Meerman Scott about fanocracy, strategies that help you build fans for your business, and the usual marketing tactics that scare them off. David touches on his relationship with his daughter and how they teamed up to write their book, which is not just a prescription for a business to grow fans but also a formula to live a more passionate and fulfilled life for every one of us.

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Fanocracy: How To Build Your Fandom With David Meerman Scott

Our guest is David Meerman Scott who is an internationally acclaimed business strategist, entrepreneur, advisor to emerging companies and a keynote public speaker. He’s The Wall Street Journal’s Bestselling Author of ten previous books, including The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead and The New Rules of Sales and Service. He’s got a new book called Fanocracy and in his spare time, he serves and travels around the world for great live music. David, welcome to the show.

Thank you, John. It’s great to be here. I love what you’re doing.

Thank you. I love your passion for music, but I always like to ask my guests to take us on their own story of origin. You can go back to childhood, high school or wherever you want to go and tell us where you had the idea that you wanted to become who you are now.

I started my professional career on a bond trading desk. I was absolutely terrible at bond trading and I hated it. I disliked the idea of being in a windowless room and screaming into telephones, but I loved the information behind bond trading, real-time data and real-time news. I moved into that world and for about a decade, I was in sales and marketing for companies like Dow Jones, Reuters and other organizations that are delivering real-time content around the world. The company I was working for at the time in 2002 was acquired by Thomson Reuters. I was in a jam because they let me go. They fired me and I was like, “What in the world am I going to do now?”

TSP Meerman | Fanocracy

Fanocracy: When creating a new company, idea, book, or speech title, think of things like trademarks, unique names, and how people are going to search for you from the internet.


Fortunately, I had a head start on the web because I had been working in real-time information prior to the web. I came up with this new concept of what marketing on the web is that nobody else was talking about at the time back in the late ‘90s and early 2000. Marketing on the web, in my mind, wasn’t about advertising but instead was about content. I started to write and speak about that. The New Rules of Marketing & PR, the book I’m best known to hit the international bestseller list. It’s on a business week list for six months. It sold 400,000 copies in English. It’s now in the sixth edition and it’s in 29 languages. That got me on the rocket ship of speaking and I’ve been thinking about, “What’s next?” It seems to me that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications when we’re all hungry for a true human connection. I’ve been trying to figure out what that is and it is the topic of my newest book.

Where did you come up with the name? One of the things you say is the need for fans is not just for actors and athletes anymore.

I’m a massive fan of live music. I’ve been to 790 live shows. I saw David Byrne three times, which is incredibly geeky. I’ve seen the offshoots of the Grateful Dead 75 times. I was thinking to myself, “I’m such a massive fan of live music.” I’m also a massive fan of the Apollo Lunar program. I wrote a book on the Apollo program. I was a producer on the PBS American experience mini-series called Chasing the Moon. I have probably one of the world’s best private collections of artifacts from the Apollo Lunar program. When I dig into something, I dig deep.

It’s not just a double click on the mouse.

I dig freaking deep. I was saying to my daughter, Reiko, “It is crazy that I’m geeky about live music and 75 Grateful Dead concerts.” She said, “Daddy, me too. I am such a Harry Potter nerd.” Not only has she read all the Harry Potter books multiple times, but seen the movies multiple times, been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resorts in Florida. Also, she went to London to go to the Harry Potter Studios. She wrote a 90,000-word alternative ending to the Harry Potter story where Draco Malfoy is a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. She put it on our fanfiction site. It was downloaded thousands of times and had hundreds of comments. She’s like, “Daddy, I dig in deep, too.” We realized that there’s something there around fandom.

We’ve decided several years ago that we should collaborate on researching and potentially writing something about fandom. We didn’t have a title for a book and we didn’t even know it was a book yet. We dug in deep and she’s interesting. Not only is she a fan of different things, not only is she a different generation and different gender, but she’s mixed race and she graduated with a neuroscience degree from Columbia University. She is in her final year of medical school. She’s going to be an emergency room physician. We came at it from utterly different perspectives.

With different generations, too.

Focus on community, generosity, and fun! What makes a superfan? Click To Tweet

I’m a middle-aged white guy who loves the Grateful Dead and she’s the Millennial who’s digging into things like Harry Potter and Comic-Con. We wrote this thing together and we had to come up with a title. I’m a big fan of a lot of things, but I’m also a big fan of names that are memorable and names that you can own.

That is such valuable information because you want to get into people’s heads with something that takes up the rent. If you don’t have something memorable, compelling, easy to remember or combining phrases or words that people haven’t heard and put together, that’s what our brain craves something, “That’s clever. Democracy. Fanocracy. I get it.” For me, I came up with the pitch whisperer. People go, “I know what a horse whisper is. What’s a pitch whisperer?” It gets people intrigued enough to want to know more, which is the beginning of a conversation. It’s the whole premise of your book of this word of mouth.

It is. The other thing that’s important is that if you think of something in that way and come up with something new, the pitch whisperer and fanocracy, then you can also presumably own the URL and own the search results. A lot of people, when they’re creating a new company, a new idea, a new book or a new speech title, they think of things like trademarks. They think of things like, “Can we legally do this?” They forget that you need to think about, “What’s going to happen when people want to search on it.” When you introduced me, you said that my name is David Meerman Scott and some people think, “Why does he use his middle name? Is he pretentious?” I’m maybe a little pretentious, but the reason I use my middle name is that there’s a David Scott who walked on the moon. There’s a David Scott who’s a member of Congress from Georgia. There’s a David Scott who’s an IRONMAN triathlon champion.

I was never going to own the real estate for David Scott certified. If I went with my middle name, I’m unique on the web, David Meerman Scott. I pioneered something called newsjacking and I pushed that word out into the marketplace. This is an important aspect of this idea of creating something. I believe rather than trademark it, you should let it go and let other people use that. When I went out with newsjacking, I could have put a trademark against it and said, “This is my concept. You can’t use it,” but I didn’t. Instead, I put a Creative Commons license on it and let anyone use the term and my ideas who wanted to. It spread like crazy. I still own the search results because I own and I wrote the book.

There have been thousands of other people who have talked about newsjacking and the Oxford English Dictionary included newsjacking in the dictionary and they put my name against it. How crazy is that to invent something that’s in the dictionary? When I was talking with my daughter about the title for our book about the idea of fandom and growing fans, the word fan, fans and fandom were all great words, but all had been used many times. We came up with fanocracy and I don’t say we just came up with fanocracy like it took a minute or two. It took a year because we were playing around with many different names and then we realized that fanocracy was the way to go.

Let’s double click on the nine steps to building your fanocracy. We’re going to touch on each one to get people intrigued enough to want to go buy the book, hopefully. This concept of focusing on intangibles, you talk about community, generosity and fun as opposed to what a lot of companies are focusing on, which is all this internal data about how long we’ve been in business. That’s the first step of how am I going to get closer than normal to someone?

The fundamental principle of fandom is that it’s about a true human connection. I’m a huge live music fan, but what’s an important aspect of that is that I experience live music with my best friends. I have become close on a strong emotional level with other people who love to go to live music with me. It’s the same thing with my daughter. She gets dressed up to go to Comic-Con every year and she’s doing that with her best friend.

When you say dressed up, I’m assuming in costume as opposed to fancy.

Yes. It’s called cosplay, getting dressed up in costumes like the characters that they’re fans of the books.

We used to do that back in the day with The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie.

TSP Meerman | Fanocracy

Fanocracy: If you’re trying to build a company and there’s transformative fandom going on, celebrate it.


It’s the same idea. The whole idea of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a fabulous example of a fanocracy. The people who are there love the movie, but they love being with like-minded people who are also throwing the toast and doing the other things that you do at The Rocky Horror Picture Show film when you’re there together. You can watch it on your DVD or on Netflix, but going to the theater and being with like-minded people is what’s important. That’s a critical idea and we dug in deep on this particular one and there’s a big aspect of neuroscience involved because it turns out that our brains as humans are hardwired. The closer we get to someone, the more powerful the shared emotions are.

This is something that’s hardwired for our survival because we need to know when we encounter another human. Is that human a friend, foe or a potential mate? We have zones when people enter them of what our brain is unconsciously doing to make sure that we are prepared for what’s happening further than twenty feet away. We’re conscious of people, but we don’t get too concerned quite yet. Within twenty feet, it’s called social space. That’s when you walk into a room and you subconsciously scan the room to see, “Do I know anyone? Is there any threat here? Is our friend here?”

From 4 feet to about 20 feet is called social space and when we begin to track people within 1.5 feet to 4 feet is personal space. In the personal space, if we get that close to someone and we’re comfortable with people, like in a cocktail party situation, it’s a strong and positive human connection. If we get that close to someone and it’s a crowded elevator, a train or sitting next to someone you don’t know on an airplane, it can be a potentially negative emotional response. To develop fans, the more you can bring people in close proximity with like-minded people and with your employees or bringing your employees together with your customers and your partners or customers together with other customers, the more powerful the fandom grows. That was the first idea that we hit on and it comes from neuroscience and it’s a fascinating concept.

I can take it even farther, John, because there’s another aspect of neuroscience, which is called the concept of mirror neurons. We spoke to a bunch of neuroscientists about this. Mirror neurons are the part of the brain that fires when you see or hear somebody do something and it fires as if you are doing that action yourself. For example, if I take a bite of a lemon. That lemon is tart and it makes my eyes scrunch up. My mouth begins to water. I can’t help it but my cheeks pucker up a little bit and it’s a strong reaction. I would guess you might have had a little bit of saliva release now as well, just by me mentioning that. What this means interestingly for building fans is that you can virtually show people together, for example a selfie. A simple selfie is a powerful reaffirming tool that you have great relationships with like-minded people. The people who view that selfie together with another person are seeing that as if they’re in the photo with you.

I haven’t heard that before. I’m fascinated by that. Seeing a selfie is I’m imagining myself in that photo with you and those people are feeling comfortable enough for you to be in that personal space, then I could feel safe enough as well.

You nailed it and the same thing is through a video. Video is popular and people think, “You have videos that are popular,” but what’s popular is a video that’s framed as if you’re in the personal space with the viewer. That means looking at the camera directly, a head and shoulders shot. It’s one of the reasons why we think we personally know movie stars or television presenters because of those close-ups. It also means that in a scary movie, we get scared and when somebody’s sad, we get sad and happy and so on. There’s a lot of interesting ramifications when it comes to video down to the concept of proximity and mirror neurons.

I was watching A Star Is Born. They did such a great job with the camera angles that I felt like I was on stage and what it must feel like to be a rock star having all of that adoration come at you. This concept of, “Is it safe?” I talk about that a lot, too, that the handshake came about to show we didn’t have a weapon in our hands. Most people go, “That’s what’s going on at that fight or flight response.” The other thing I want to talk about what you mentioned in this concept is the shared emotions. That’s what I love about storytelling and that’s what you do and I do as speakers. We tell these stories that give people a sense of shared emotions. They go on a journey with us. When you can do that as a speaker with your audience, in your messaging or you’re talking to somebody one-on-one, that shared emotion is what makes someone become your fan and that’s valuable.

We're all hungry for a true human connection. Click To Tweet

That’s only one of these great nine things. Let’s move onto the second one, which is letting go of your creation. Many people talk about, “I’ve created this proposal. It’s my masterpiece. I’m not going to touch it. I’m done.” I remember talking to Françoise Gilot who is Paloma Picasso’s mother and she said that in the ‘40s, there was a shortage of canvases and they had to paint over them. The concept of having to paint over your masterpiece is valuable for people. Tell us what that means to you as far as how can we let go of our creations that you touched on about not letting anyone else use your URL, but I’m guessing there’s something more to it.

That’s a good manifestation of it around how I recommend that anybody build fans, which is don’t try to control that thing which you just created. For example, I mentioned that my daughter, Reiko, loves Harry Potter and she transforms Harry Potter into something else by writing alternative books for Harry Potter. Other people get dressed up as Harry Potter characters and still, other people draw fan art about Harry Potter. JK Rowling, the author has embraced this concept of fan-created Harry Potter works. There’s a website called MuggleNet that celebrates this. She has a good relationship with the person who created MuggleNet. That’s the idea of celebrating people who create something new.

To give the readers a contrast, Disney with somebody who does not like people doing anything with Mickey Mouse. I think that’s valuable to give them the contrast that not everyone embraces this concept. Those that do are a little more modern and newer.

We also looked at it from the perspective of, “Can we define and articulate that?” What we did was we came up with what we call curative fandom and transformative fandom. Curative fandom is the idea of the official fandom, the statistics, the official website, and the official social media. Disney has the official places that you can go to. Transformative fandom is the idea of transforming that into something else. I mentioned the idea with Harry Potter, but there are certain fandoms that have both. The best organizations at developing fans are those that understand that neither is right or wrong and that you should be celebrating both.

A perfect example is Major League Baseball. There are a lot of people who are under the curative fandom aspects of Major League Baseball. That would be curating the statistics, how many RBI is, how many home runs, which team is up and which team is down and all of the data that goes in with Major League Baseball. Whereas transformative fandom would be the people who do fantasy baseball. They’re transforming baseball into something completely different and they’re both fans of baseball but in different ways and Major League Baseball celebrates both of them.

I love the example of Hamilton. You’ve got the book Hamilton, which is the facts. “Here was Alexander Hamilton’s life,” and that’s curative fandom. You’ve got a transformative fandom of Hamilton, which is the play. A race bent retelling of Hamilton’s life in rap. It’s completely transformative. Neither one is better than another. They’re both great but they’re different. Celebrating both as ways of looking at Hamilton is great. There were some professors of history that said, “No, you can’t do the play. That’s wrong.” That’s not how you build fans. You should celebrate both of them.

I’m going to speak at the Coca-Cola CMO Summit and the whole theme is storytelling. They’re having one of the co-authors of Hamilton speak to the audience before we all go see the musical. Talk about an experience of that. What you’re talking about that’s valuable that I love is the transformative fandom of turning Hamilton the story into a rap musical. It is an entryway that causes a lot of students who aren’t into history to then want to know and go back to the curative fandom part of, “Let me read the book now and learn more about these characters through the entry of the transformative fandom.”

You can tune your brain to curative fandom versus transformative fandom. You think of different ways that perhaps if you’re trying to pitch something and if you’re trying to build a company, if there’s transformative fandom going on, celebrate it. One of my favorite examples is Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner. If you take a look at YouTube and search for cats on Roomba or dogs on Roomba, there are all these wonderful videos of animals hitching rides on Roombas around the house. It’s unbelievable transformative fandom of what the Roomba is. It’s not a device for carrying your cat around the room, but that showcase fandom for a vacuum cleaner. Any time that there’s something like that going on, celebrate it. That is the coolest thing in the world to growing fans and smart investors, smart potential customers, partners and VC firms love that.

TSP Meerman | Fanocracy

Fanocracy: Putting out white papers or eBooks requiring an email address to download it set up an adversarial relationship with a potential fan before you’ve even met them.


In marketing, there’s something called paid impressions and earned impressions. The paid impressions are how many people watch this TV show, see this ad and listen to this commercial. The earned impressions are when the fans start sharing it. Of course, that has more impact because word of mouth has more credibility than a paid ad. You’re right on the market money with the need in the marketplace for people to figure out, “How do I create fans?” One of the things you talk about is giving more than you have to. The concept of don’t have strings attached to your content. In other words, you can watch the first two minutes of this video and then you got to watch commercials. That’s strings attached and you say, “Don’t do that.”

There’s another one that always makes me wonder why people do it. I know why now having done the research, but that is people who put out white papers or eBooks and require an email address in order to download it. The problem with that is it sets up an adversarial relationship with a potential fan before you’ve even met them. If you dangle something in front of them and say, “Here’s my wonderful white paper. Download it.” They go to download it and you say, “I need to have something from you before I give you my stuff.” That’s an adversarial relationship. Better to make it completely and utterly free. I learned this from the Grateful Dead because they were the first band to allow fans to record their concerts and nobody else was doing that. If you went to The Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd, there are no photos and no recording devices allowed. Nothing is allowed. The Grateful Dead said, “Sure, why not?”

Many people started to record the shows that it became disruptive to the fans who weren’t recording. They created a taper section that was right behind the soundboard. You could buy a taper seat. It was this specific seat, which wasn’t a great place to watch the show, but it was a fabulous spot to record the show. In the early days, it was the cassette tape and it became MP3s, but the band allowed you to give away the cassette tapes or trade them. The only thing they asked is, “Please don’t sell them.” As long as you trade them or give them the way, you can record the shows.

That goes back to your first concept of it’s the fear of missing out. They weren’t at the concert, but they see the video of the concert. That’s like the selfie. They feel like they’re at the concert, makes them want to go to the concert and buy the music even more.

Even more so for Grateful Dead because they made the majority of their revenue from touring, people would say, “This is a great cassette. I’m playing it in my car and playing in my dorm room. I want to go to a live show, too.” You have people like me who have been to 75 Grateful Dead concerts. I wrote a book called Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. The foreword was by Bill Walton who’s an NBA Basketball Hall of Famer. He’s been to 850 Grateful Dead shows. Imagine the revenue the band gets from people like us.

If someone can’t imagine going to something that often like, “I’m a fan, but I’m not a super fan.” Is it that you’re going with different people to these concerts? Would you go by yourself? What is it? They’re typically real professionals. You think, “That amazing,” and then you go the next time and they say exactly the same thing at the exact same time. Whether it’s a Broadway musical or a Grateful Dead concert, it’s precision. What is it about seeing something multiple times, the time when people’s attention span is short that makes you a super fan?

In the case of the Grateful Dead, it’s simply because they never repeated a show. The setlist was always different. At any one time, they had about 100 songs they could play at the drop of a hat and if they rehearsed a little bit, probably as many as 200 songs that they could play. The way they put the setlist together is that they try hard. If they do three shows in a night in the same city, they won’t repeat a song and they’ll try not to repeat a song from when they’re in the city last time.

That’s unusual. We have to say for people who are used to going to concerts. That is not the norm, correct?

It’s not the norm. Usually, if you go to a Rolling Stone show, let’s say, for example, most of the show will be the same, although they’ll do a few songs that are different, but the Dead, you never know what you’re going to get. They have good nights and they have bad nights. The solos are different and the way they play the songs is different. You never know where it’s going to go. For super fans like me and others, it’s about every time is different and you start to dig in, you become a bit of an expert in what’s going on. It’s like, “They haven’t played this song in four years. We’re lucky to be here when they’re playing this.”

The more you bring people in close proximity with like-minded people, the more powerful your fandom grows. Click To Tweet

I’m hearing an element of surprise is what keeps you coming back. In addition to realizing that someone at their peak performances still has good days and bad days. You see this with athletes. Tiger Woods is great, but not every time. Baseball players, but not every time. As entrepreneurs and business people, and even as you and I are as keynote speakers, our goal is to nail it. We want that home run every time. Even the best performers aren’t nailing it. Their bad night to someone who’s never seen them before still might be great, but to a superfan, you’ve seen them better. Is there any life lessons takeaway that you can give your own self talk about when you aren’t at your best, but nobody else knows it?

It’s an astute observation that you delivered because the Grateful Dead concert is like a sporting event. Somebody can go to see the New York Yankees play twenty times in the season because they know that every game is going to be different. Grateful Dead is similar. At least in my own work, when I’m speaking from a stage, I always try to celebrate and use as much as I can the nuances of the room and the organization I’m speaking to. How can I draw them in somehow? Is it a company that’s hiring me? If so, what can I learn about the company that I can work into my talk? Is it an association? If so, what is the association? How can I work that into my talk?

I’m going to be speaking to a group of insurance company executives in the country of Colombia. I’m going to Cartagena, Colombia to give a talk and I’m excited to be able to have a couple of rifts and talk about the insurance business. Interestingly, there is a company called Hagerty Insurance that we uncovered. There is a story of it in our book Fanocracy and they have built a fanocracy. They have 650,000 fans and they’re an insurance company. It’s a product everybody hates. Nobody likes insurance. It’s crazy.

They think of it as a commodity. How in the world are they using some of the elements that we talked about?

They are, that’s why they ended up becoming a story in the book. They do classic car insurance. What they’ve done is they’ve dug in deep to provide as much information as possible for people who are fans of classic cars. They’ve become a part of their classic car fandoms. They go to the classic car events and they run seminars. I love this one. They’ll teach your kid how to drive a stick shift. Teaching your child how to drive a stick shift is stressful for both the parent and the kid.

A phone company could teach Millennials how to use a rotary phone because I’ve seen videos about that where they can’t figure out how it works.

They’ve got a YouTube channel and they have some valuation reports on their websites. They’ve done a fabulous job at building fans. The CEO is McKeel Hagerty. I interviewed him and he goes, “David, I’m in a commodity business and more than that, I’m in a business that everyone hates. Nobody likes insurance. Everyone hates writing a check to an insurance company. It’s terrible, but I’ve been able to develop fans. I have 650,000 people who are members of my driver’s club. I have tens of thousands of people who subscribed to my YouTube channel. I have fans in a product category that everybody hates.

Also, it seems to me that there’s a strategy life lesson for us to take away, which is if you’re in an industry that doesn’t necessarily seem like an obvious place for fans, figure out an adjacent fandom and be part of that. In their particular case, they said, “There’s a whole group of people that are fans of classic cars. We can piggyback on that passion with our fandom.” Is that what they did?

That’s exactly right. This is true throughout this idea of growing fans. Saying to someone, “I want you to be a fan of my company.” That is not going to work. Trying to make them a fan of your company is not going to work, but being a part of the fandom that already exists, that’s easier. That’s something that’s entirely possible and people see you as part of that fandom that already exists. For example, these classic car enthusiasts see Hagerty as an integral part of the fanocracy that they’re a part of, that rubs off. When they say, “I’ve got to insure my classic car. Who do I go with? The other guy or the people I know and the people who I interact with on a regular basis at car insurance?”

TSP Meerman | Fanocracy

Fanocracy: Understanding your customer’s story and relating to it is a much more likely way to build fans than just talking about your product and service.


It creates a little bit of loyalty so they aren’t always going for the cheapest price. You said something that I want to underline because I’m constantly talking about this in terms of storytelling. When you describe a case study through a story and people see themselves in that story of you’re the Sherpa helping somebody up the mountain, they want to work with you. What you’re saying is when someone sees themselves in your fandom or the adjacent fandom, you have that rub off effect.

We aren’t going to have time to cover all nine but people need to get Fanocracy. The one I want to jump on is listening to rehumanize. I talk about the importance of listening before you start telling your story, that you have to realize that people have many unspoken thoughts going on there in their heads when you’re speaking. You have to come from a place of curiosity every time when you’re giving a keynote talk or whether you’re the Grateful Dead or whatever it is. Speak a little bit about how do we rehumanize people, so that we become better listeners?

I’m glad you picked up on this particular chapter. My daughter wrote this chapter. The way that we put the book together is that we thought about making it one voice and having it be a third party. We realized that we both have different viewpoints, voices and writing styles. We’ve swapped back and forth with chapters and Reiko, my daughter, wrote this particular chapter. She’s in her final year of medical school and she is a huge fan of something called narrative medicine. It was developed at Columbia University where she did her undergraduate degree. She took some courses in narrative medicine. It’s the basic idea that to be a truly good doctor, you have to understand the whole patient and not just the symptoms. It’s simple, but the idea of narrative comes in because when you interview a patient, you want to ask them about their life story. It’s exactly what you asked me at the top of the show. The first question you said, “Tell me your life journey,” and a good doctor does that.

My daughter got into this idea because she writes fiction. She wants to know, “Who is this person that I’m about to see?” They’re coming in because they have complaints where in one case, she tells the story. This made it into the book about a patient who has cancer. When trying to decide what treatment for this particular patient, it wasn’t just about the symptoms and the likely course the disease is going to take. What this particular patient said to her was, “I’m an artist and as long as I can do my art, I want to continue living. You need to figure out how you can help me to continue to do my art, not just how you can keep me alive.” That stuck with her because it was powerful. That’s an emotional hook on the story, but she recognizes that understanding that story is important. It became fascinating as we dug into this.

We’ve interviewed Siri Lindley. She was the number one world triathlon champion for several years and now she’s a coach. What she told us exactly on this theme around storytelling was when she coaches triathletes, it’s not about the power meter, the data, what the watch says and shaving a second off of the time. That’s what all the other coaches do. For her, it’s, “What is the story of the athlete. What is it that motivates this athlete? Why are they doing a triathlon?” She says when she’s able to enhance or in some cases, she has to rekindle love in triathlon among her elite athletes, they win. She has had a number of a champion triathletes that she’s coached, not because of the way everyone else coaches around data, but around their story.

This is why it’s such an important chapter in Fanocracy, we believe that understanding your customer’s story and relating it back, that is a more likely way to build fans than just talking about your product and service. We’re coming at something that you talk about a lot, but doing it in a way around the rubric of fandom. It’s a fascinating look at how you can become a better doctor, triathlon coach, entrepreneur and professional. You can live a better life, which is the ultimate aspect of this book that I found to be fun. It’s not just a prescription for a business to grow fans, it’s a prescription to live a more passionate and fulfilled life for every one of us.

Over the last few years, the pendulum has swung too far into superficial communications, but what really feels good is being around people. Click To Tweet

The book again is Fanocracy. If anybody wants to hire you as a keynote speaker, you’ve spoken to big brands like Microsoft and spoken many times at the Tony Robbins’ Mastery Events. There are two websites,, as well as David, is there any last thought, word or phrase you want to leave us with?

What I recognized over the years is that the pendulum has swung too far into superficial communications. The digital has got some great stuff around it, but we live in a polarizing worldwide now. What makes us feel good is being around people we love and being around people who enjoy the same things that we do. You can tap that and you can use that to grow a business, to grow a career and live a better life. It’s incredibly reaffirming and I’ve been having fun with this concept of fanocracy and engaging people around it. I appreciate you having me on, so I could talk about it a little bit with you.

I’m thrilled to support your messaging and this wonderful new book. I want everyone to be encouraged to start thinking of themselves and make sure that you’re your own fan and then figuring out who you want to be a fan of after that.

What a lovely way to end. Thank you, John.

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John Livesay, The Pitch Whisperer


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