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Build Your Platform and Leap

The chap in the photograph is called “Chambers”, despite the freezing cold water and the 15c temperature of the dock he enjoyed repeatedly diving and the adulation it bought him.

I think there are a lot of folks just like the Chambers dude.

We can say he did some things very well. He was getting attention, inflating his ego, and he worked his audience. While he was clearly enjoying the thrill, it was just as clear as he grandstanded for the onlookers that he wasn’t doing it just for the adrenalin rush.

The audience, for their part, were egging him on and gettting entertainment.

A couple of kids tried to emulate him, but out of fear they chose lower heights to leap from, with less impressive results. Chambers did not pay them any mind. Nor did he rise to the jeering from the critic gallery who were hoping and praying that he would crack his skull on one of the many hazards around the water.

He chose his course of action, built his platform, attracted attention, and executed his plan.

What Next?

Then, just like with a lot of blogs that you see, the moment passed and everyone started to drift away. This left Mr Chambers shivering in his wet clothes, and with a withering entourage.

The problem is, often what looks like decisive action is just one step towards a goal.

Activity is not necessarily productivity.

We didn’t witness what came next, we had places to be, but I like to imagine that he at least got a Fish and Chips supper for his troubles. Some kind of reward for his stupid spectacle.


So many people only focus on the reward part. Had this guy turned up and gone around the folks in the bay with the offer of “Stunts for Chips” he would likely have received either a brush off at best or maybe a bruise or two. Many people on the other hand go too far the other way, they build an audience but then do not take a next step, they don’t take that audience anywhere. You need a platform and a reward (even if that reward is getting a message out, enjoying the process, or simply making new friends).

  1. You need to build your platform first. Attract a core audience, then get some momentum, and it is far easier to then build that platform even further.
  2. Discover what your audience wants, investigate and drill down to find the challenges, goals, wants and needs of the people you are attracting.
  3. Serve that audience with valuable contributions and make offers that are relevant to their interests and needs.

Bottom line: Before all this, know your end goal. Otherwise after the thrill is over you might end up on the sidelines, cold and alone.

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  1. Love the analogy. Having completed Mojo Marketing myself I am in a place where I am about to launch after a few months of hectic case studies (which went really well)

    I had already decided that this was IT! I was launching this and going to focus on it hard until it succeeded.

    Sometimes I don’t give a project enough time to grow before giving up on it – to use your analogy – once the audience drifts away I don’t want to do it anymore πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the great post

    • I see so many people abandon great stuff just before they were about to reach that tipping point, or discover the one tweak that makes all the difference πŸ™‚

  2. This is pretty timely for me. Building the platform, the “what will I do with this” part is what I often miss.

    I think at this point I am still building the basement.

  3. Great post Chris – love the analogies and stories -your brillance is shining through brightly enough to get you to Canada!

  4. Chris -thanks for this – right up there with Seth’s ‘ship it’. I also believe that speaking with your target audience prior to building your platform allows you to ensure that what you’re building has a connection to the market you intend on finding. Best way I know to do that is that ask them.

    • Totally. Getting out there and speaking to people makes all the difference, and if we are passionate about our subject and audience it is fun too (even for a shy guy like me)

  5. Going into rebuild mode myself. Current platform is a little to “low,” and the bleachers a little too small.

    Watched a presentation last night from the man that built Your Garden Show. Classic market analysis w/ customer avatars, whole nine yards. Helped me see how to organize my customers (I have customers! How cool is that!?) from what appears to be a motley collection of random people (my customers are not motley, the collection is motley) into a various tiers associated by interest and spending ability. I’m stoked!

    Back to the salt mine.

  6. Chris – Good points. I would add that you can go about it two ways:

    #1: Build the platform…then develop products/services/etc.

    #2: Have the product/service then build the platform around an interest/passion that resonates with the target demographic.

    I love though the freedom of #1. πŸ™‚

    • I go with a mixture of both πŸ™‚

      Set an intention that you will work towards building a platform in a community I identify in order to help people with the products and services they really want πŸ™‚

  7. I love the metaphor. Thanks! It reminds me of Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s ideas about Flow. You have to tune the level of skills with the challenge. Our diver achieved Flow, but he couldn’t sustain it. He lost his audience when he lost his challenge. Then again, how engaged is your audience, really, when they are just looking for the next spectacle? You’re so right. Find out what they need, and address it directly. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. Great analogy! I’m currently at the stage where I’m building my platform and attracting my audience. As for the reward? Regular blog posts of course and the satisfaction of helping a reader.

    Even the latter is enough for me to continue writing.

  9. I would also add a bit about passion. The Chambers doode might not have the right platform or plan, but he clearly loves jumping in that water. I see a lot of folks with master plans and killer platforms, but without the desire to dig deeper and out hustle everyone else, you’ll only ever end up being another cold wet guy on the sidelines. I sound too much like @garyvee here, but at the end of the day it’s true…start doing what you love, and then as you say, when the folks show up you have to get to work! Thanks for sharing this…

  10. I’m building that platform. Been at it a while but want to make sure it’s just the right height and that the water’s warm before I take the plunge:) Hasta Las Vegas!

  11. Loving the analogy, it’s such a great way of getting across the point you’re trying to make. But is Chmabers a real person ?