(and one last thing, if you want something entertaining, go watch me battle some trolls in realtime: http://t.co/FXmpMWxKnP ,,,,k g’night).
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) April 22, 2015
I’ve been following Amanda Palmer for a while now, she was one of the major music case studies in Think Like a Rock Star. Not because I’m a fan of her music (it’s honestly not my thing) but because of her marketing efforts and how she relentlessly connects with her fans. In fact as early as 2009 I was blogging about her using Twitter to generate $11,000 in 12 hours. Amanda constantly leveraged Twitter as a playpen for impromptu parties with fans, to giveaway tickets to secret shows, and the like. She was everyone’s DIY music marketing darling.
Then, that Kickstarter thing happened. Amanda created a Kickstarter project to fund her break from a major record label to go indie. The project was her attempt to raise $100,000 to fund the release of the new album and a tour to promote it. She raised $1.2 Million, making it the most successfully funded (at the time) Kickstarter project ever.
And then the criticism began.
Overnight, she went from being a scrappy indie artist that was hustling to make a few thousand here and there by connecting with her fans, to a millionaire that was taking advantage of others and manipulating/lying to her fans. The comments in the link above (in the tweet) just had me shaking my head. Everyone loved Amanda until the Kickstarter project’s success, then the trolls came out of the woodwork. And the punchline: She barely broke even on the Kickstarter project, spending most of the money she got on fulfilling rewards to backers.
Success, even the perception of success, creates jealousy and hate in some. As I was reading the comments left at the Stereo Gum article, I was reminded of how we see the same thing happening in ‘the social media space’. I’ve been active in this space for a decade. In that time I’ve seen some people go from complete obscurity to penning New York Times Bestsellers. I’ve seen bloggers go from no one reading their posts, to Fortune 100 brands courting them with sponsorships and giveaways. Success changes people. Sometimes it changes the people that success smiles upon, but more often, it changes the people that feel themselves being overshadowed by the success of others. Instead of being happy that peers are succeeding, some want to discredit the person, and their accomplishments. We all know a few ‘thought leaders’ in this space that are constantly attacked for being ‘too successful’. And we all know how the same few people are usually the ones doing the attacking.
The time I spend worrying about how someone else is running their business is time I could be spending on building my own business. The great irony is that the same people that will lecture companies about creating content that’s useful to their customers will write regular ‘gotcha’ posts about how this consultant isn’t following the rules, or how this agency is charging ‘too much’ for their services. Posts that their potential clients will never read or care about.
Stay in your lane and run your race. And if someone is faster than you, shake their hand at the finish line and start training for the next race.