Friends, Fans and Followers

By JoCo April 20, 2009

Scott Kirsner is a writer who, inexplicably, interviewed me once. I was somewhere in the earlier parts of Thing a Week, and I was just seeing the hint of the glimmer of the possibility of some kind of semi-success. He was hoping to pitch me as a feature article to a certain important magazine about technology, but that feature never materialized, I think probably because Scott was ahead of the curve. He already knew what the world did not: that I was destined to become a big, fat, shining superstar.

So now he’s put me in his book, which is also very nice of him. I mention it not just because I’m in it, but because Scott is a very smart and well-spoken fellow who ran an excellent panel with me and some other folks at SXSWi, and this book looks kind of awesome. It’s about this new kwazy internet thing we’re all trying to figure out, where suddenly everyone has the tools to create and publish, and so reaching your audience is simultaneously very easy and very hard. He interviews a bunch of artists of various types about how they deal with this paradox, how they launched and built their creative enterprises. If you’re wondering how you might turn your creative thing into a money-pooping cow, it’s really helpful to read about how lots of other people did it. Like I always say: 1) find the good ideas and then 2) steal them.

It’s called Friends, Fans and Followers, and you can preview it here, and buy it here.


Scott Kirsner says

Jonathan - thanks for the link... and for all your time as I was working on this project. You were the first musician I interviewed for it, and as I spoke with others, several of them referenced 'Think a Week' and your Creative Commons licensing approach.

Nathan Haines says

It was great to read about your story in the book preview.

It's funny, I just gave a presentation at the Southern California Linux Expo in LA back in February called "Growing up Free" which was about the parallels between Free Software and open content licenses such as Creative Commons (and the opportunities that opens up for kids growing up with computers today).

I used you and the video and first verse of your song Flickr as an example of how someone could take others' works and create something that definitely wasn't there in the original standalone works. I think it was one of the most effective examples.

I loved your last Los Angeles concert and I can't wait for your next one at the Largo! Maybe I won't leave 3 minutes before you come out to say hi this time!

Gingerlink says

waaaaaaay ahead of you, I've got it right here :D (and I'm in the UK to boot).

Really great read all around, it was great to see the summaries of the common points of creating internet communities of fans and then seeing the different ways that everyone has gone about it. As someone who is interested in making a name for myself on the internet (although no doubt destined to fail and I haven't even got anything to give at the moment, no website link on my name either, see?) it's especially interesting for me. It puts everything into a lot of context as more and more technologies have emerged to help people connect to their fans.

So, if you're reading this Scott, thanks for compiling all of this into a great book!

Alex Scott says

The Thing a Week albums have given me some weird ideas for things to do with my writing that I'm desperate to try out ASAP. So thanks for mentioning the book; I went ahead and ordered a copy.

art 210 sjsu says

We think your music is just great

whall says

And here I thought the phrase "F cubed" meant something COMPLETELY different.

Dave says

This hacker is obviously a fan - watch for the JoCo payoff:

Kate says

PC Gamer is kind of an important technologicy magazine. Well it is if you BELIEVE.

Chris Hartzog says

This looks like another must-have addition for my library.

In attempting to build my own unique internet driven concoction inspired by your success I have found the tools, technology and ideas abundant. The biggest challenge for me has been to try to focus and define exactly who I am and who I think my audience is. So after much paring away I have narrowed it down to "Music for Caregivers" (i.e. Anyone caring for someone with physical/mental disabilities, especially autism and on the other end of the age spectrum, Alzheimer's disease.)