1,000 Haters

Every creator should know Kevin Kelly’s idea about 1,000 True Fans:

“To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.

1,000 fans is a magic number for finances. 1,000 fans X $100/year is a living.

1,000 fans is also a magic number for an audience. 1,000 fans feels infinite. You could spend a whole night in a ballroom with 1,000 fans and not meet everyone who loves you.

But anyone with 1,000+ fans also has a few haters.

If there are 5 people booing in a 1,000 person audience of screaming fans, it’s easy to ignore the haters.

But it’s different online and it’s different when the numbers get bigger.

If you have 1,000,000+ fans, you probably have 1,000+ haters.

1,000 haters feels infinite. You could spend a whole night online scrolling through 1,000+ hater accounts and not see every nasty tweet.

And those 1,000+ haters don’t just hate once. They hate every day. 1,000 haters can easily write 1,000,000+ mean tweets.

If you want millions of fans, you have to be okay with thousands of haters.

Anyone who has been a “public figure” for any amount of time has 1,000+ haters.

This is part of the game. In order to get 1,000,000+ fans in the first place, you have to have an edge. This edge will make a lot of people very happy and a few people very angry.

Don’t focus on the hate.

Marriage researcher John Gottman has a famous idea called the “Magic Relationship Ratio,” where he explains that “for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions.”

The idea is that humans naturally remember and focus on negative interactions more than positive ones, so there needs to be a surplus of positive interactions to drown out the negative.

For celebrities, the magic number is probably 1000X. If you have 1,000,000 fans and 1,000 haters, it’s easy to focus more on the haters. They’re louder, they’re meaner, and they’re more persistent.

Neutralize haters with kindness and consistency.

Haters hate a lot of things. But the two things haters hate most are assholes and phonies.

Some celebrities get so angry at the haters that they start treating everyone like they’re a hater. They lash out at the media, they lash out at their staff, and they even lash out at their true fans.

This feeds into the hate cycle. Haters hate, celebrities hate back, then haters hate with righteous indignation.

Your job as an aspiring leader is to do the opposite of the celebrity heel turn.

Don’t ignore your haters. Embrace your haters.

Haters struggle to hate someone who consistently loves them.

If you keep returning love when people send you hate, you will short circuit these negative cycles.

Hate is a powerful but fleeting emotion. Try to stay angry at any issue for more than a day. It’s hard, even for the most righteous causes.

In the last season of The West Wing, they created a Republican that every Democrat could love. Arnold Vinick, played by Alan Alda, had a strategy called the “Til They Drop” press conference. It’s simple, just answer every single negative question until their are no more.

We need our leaders to have the confidence and humility to answer every question until all the haters drop.

I learned this lesson from the GOAT at dealing with haters, my dad Shri Thanedar. I remember him telling me the story about how he walked into a bank to get a loan for his small business in 1990 and they told him that they don’t serve “his type” here. The bank that eventually gave him a loan got bought by another bank that foreclosed his business in the 2008 recession even though it was valuable and employing 500+ people.

We ignored the haters and started a new lab, just the two of us, in 2010. That business became very successful and this time he sold it successfully, distributing $1.5M to Avomeen employees based on time of service, not seniority.

Then he ran for politics and got a lot of hate for running to the left of a star Democrat.

We’ve told him for years to stop reading the comments. But he insists on reading every single message, positive or negative. And he responds online to even the worst haters.

After 44+ years in America, 34+ years as a US citizen, 31+ years as an entrepreneur, and now 6+ years as a politician, Shri Thanedar is a US Congressman.

Nowadays, I see tweets from former Shri haters wishing he could run for President.

Even the worst haters can’t hate someone who loves them back.

Even the greatest haters eventually get proven wrong. Photo by William P. Straeter – AP.

This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, altruist, and author. He is the founder & GP of Utopic, a pre-seed biotech VC fund investing in the future of science. He is also the founder & chairman of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup, and Labdoor, a consumer watchdog with $7M+ in funding and 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor, State Representative, and US Congress in Michigan.