The Curve

The Curve by Nicholas Lovell review part 1 Lessons from Alex Day

This will be the part 1 of a multi part blog post about The Curve  by Nicholas Lovell.  If you don’t have the time to read this excellent book, then go ahead and start with this presentation and check out super fans here also:

and watch this video:


Today we will be discussing from the book Alex Day.

Who is Alex Day?

Alex Day is an online YouTube star from the UK who reached 600,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. However of those 600,000 when he asked for support from his fans to promote his song “Stupid, Stupid” 2,500 fans replied via email.  He believes that those fans are his super fans because they ‘gave up their time for me’


What does this tell us?

  1. Fewer than 1% of his ‘fans’  (.4%) actually cared enough to contact Alex to promote his song when asked.  These are Alex’s Superfans.
  2. Rather than blasting all 600,000 fans alike, Alex now has another database of 2,500 who might spend a lot of money to see him perform live or buy his merchandise.  Cultivating that audience and growing it is critical to his brand building.
  3. 1% is a good Superfan target to strive towards. This means the 99% who are not should be cultivated as well to raise awareness and provide a platform for Alexs Superfans to share off there awesomeness.  For instance, someone in Group A (Superfan) might start sharing about the latest venue or concert they met Alex Day and was able to purchase a limited edition physical copy or autograph merch and swag.  Naturally, members in Group A will want to share with those in Group B (the 99% who tune in or just liked him for the heck of it). Group B is important because it builds meaning for Group A, and encourages them to spend even more. In addition it should be noted that some in Group B may become envious after time of Group A and then try to figure out how to join that exclusive group.

How can you benefit?

I’m a Superfan treat me differently

The first thing to realize is that not all your users are the same. Too often I receive push notifications on my email with statements like “Hey we’ve missed you” or ” check out this new promo” or “Special Event now going on”.  These are all nice external triggers (here using the meaning from Hooked by Nir Eyal which you can skim here). They tell me to do something to try to get me to keep coming back and then repeat repeat. The issue is that these apps and sites are treating me like Group B, and not like Group A.  Does Shopping Site know that I actually referred 4 friends to their site, and I made my first purchase last month? Most likely they do and gave me something. However, rarely will if ever will they make me special. I.E   Custom HTML email or push message could be:

Dear <SuperFan>, thanks for referring <name of referred friends> to Shopping Site.  We really love the love you are giving us and therefore we’re giving you lifetime free shipping no matter what you buy or when. It’s just our little way of thanking you personally and for thinking of us.”


My guess is that even without using templates, the Shopping site will have far fewer than the 2,500 Superfans of Alex Day and could even send out actual personal emails.

Give me more ways to spend

Well lets assume Shopping Site has actually recognized I’m in Group A after all.  There is still the small little issue of so, then what? Well in the case of Alex Day he could create more SWAG, Concerts etc. Basically anything to get his Superfans closer to what they value most, his personal time.  For something more impersonal like Shopping Site, they already have a bunch of stuff to sell and Superfan has bought a bunch of stuff. However, Superfan may not be buying everything. Superfan may only be buying Mint Color goods.  Every mint color good on Shopping Site, Superfan has bought because they are so chic and Shopping Site has the best value and customer service. Shopping Site tells Superfan go buy our brown color goods, they are great too. Superfan meanwhile waits for the next mint color good to go on sale and  shops at Shopping Sites top competitor. What about  if Shopping Site said, hey there is this crazy awesome mint color handbag we don’t have in stock, but if you want exclusively before we source for it, we can send you a limited edition one signed by the artist for < insert Large number>.

Superfan will either A) buy right away or B) tell 100 friends why Shopping site is so much better than top competitor.


1:1 with Superfans are good, but that shouldn’t mean you should ignore your 99%. instead quite the opposite you should engage that audience. Here we are not talking about spam which are general messages with really no data behind it other than  I got your email/number sucka, now read this!  Instead, you should further segment the 99%.  Ok, these guys here are like Group C, they aren’t really Superfans, but they keep responding in the ways we want. You should have a Group C champion at your company who then try’s to move them all the way up to Group A. The more segments the more special each fan will feel. The more special each fan feels, then the higher likelihood they will respond.  As we’ve seen with Alex Day its those users that engage you (not the ones you are engaging) that actually are giving up their time (plus hopefully money) and really is what you need to win.