Knowing your audience has long been touted as a key to success. Yet time after time, we find ourselves trying to speak with too broad of an audience, or making a product that tries to please everyone. In the end, it pleases no one.
There is no better example of knowing your audience than Fred Armisen.
Fred Armisen created Portlandia with Carrie Brownstein. This is a show rooted in making light of the quirky and free culture in Portland, Oregon.
Fred Armisen created Documentary Now with Bill Hader and Seth Meyers. This is a show that parodies the nuances of various documentary styles and tropes.
Fred Armisen recently released a Netflix comedy special, Standup for Drummers. This is a whole comedy special with inside jokes aimed at, you guessed it… drummers.
It’s not that Armisen finds a narrow audience that is desperate for attention. It’s that he finds HIS audience. The projects Armisen chooses to pursue are things that interest him; places he loves, skills he admires, and experiences he shares. Watching him interact with his narrow audience is the realest kind of real. And you can feel it.
Because his real audience is himself.
“There’s something that I can’t describe about the city [Portland] that I really love – just physically – how it feels to walk around there, and have coffee there. Also, the way that it’s a little overcast sometimes. Something about Portland just really resonated with me.” – Fred Armisen
You don’t have to be part of the inner circle. I encourage you to watch Standup for Drummers. Even though you may not get every joke (I didn’t), you get lured in by Armisen’s passion, his prose, his charisma talking about the funny-to-him aspects of something he appreciates.
But what I really want to challenge you with is this.
Don’t try to make the next extremely profitable thing. Don’t attempt to create the next disruptive to the industry thing. Don’t go make the thing you think everyone will want.
Make something that is important to you, on the deep down soul level. Make something about another thing you love. And then… share it with people just like you.
Your realness. Your soul. Your connection with the topic and the people who share the same connection. It will all shine.