This post contains 3 lessons, which have helped Leo Laporte become one of the Internet’s biggest success stories of recent years.
Who is Leo Laporte & what can we learn?
Leo is the massively popular guy behind a network of mainly tech-based programs, which can be watched online or downloaded. Leo started his online broadcasting network after his mainstream TV show was cancelled.
His network is known as TWiT (This Week in Tech.) Just 5 years later, Leo’s shows are listened to and watched by millions every month and his advertisers and sponsors include the likes of Visa and Ford.
He now employs a dedicated team of professionals and produces and amazing TWENTY PLUS shows a week. He’s aiming for a full 24-hours a day “CNN for geeks” service and I know he will do it. More info on Leo can be found here.
Learning from Leo Laporte?
I can see 3 BIG lessons from Leo Laporte’s growing success, which we can all learn from. Here they are:
1. Quality. Leo focuses on delivering a very high quality product. From the beginning, Leo insisted on investing in the best quality equipment possible, and then reinvesting, as the business grew. He has also worked hard to attract the most entertaining, knowledgeable guests he can. As the success of his network grew and he was able to start employing people, he brought in the best people he could. At every step, he has focused on quality, rather than speed or “cheap.”
In my experience, quality does not come cheap, but quality costs far less than when we take the cheap route. For instance, it can often seem like a wise move to go for the cheapest web host, but what about the cost of all that lost business, if our site is down too often or too slow for people to use? It might seem like a wise move to hire a cheap accountant or CPA, until you find out that by saving a few hundred a year, you have been overpaying thousands each year in taxes.
It’s about getting the best you can afford and then when you become more financially secure, reinvesting in even better quality.
2. Community. Leo Laporte understands the importance of building a community and engaging with that community. He takes messages from his listeners and viewers during most of his programs and asks them for suggestions / feedback. He sets up dedicated chat rooms, where the listeners and viewers can chat with each other and contribute to the show.
There’s a real community feel to Leo’s network, something that helps retain his audience and engage them. Some of his advertisers have been with him for years, because Leo’s community appreciate that the advertisers are who fund his shows and they are vastly more likely to use and recommend their products. The advertisers and the listeners are thus, part of the same community. It’s amazing to watch!
As I said yesterday, a community is far, far more commercially valuable than a following or an audience that you broadcast too.
3. Work. Leo has worked extremely hard to build the TWiT network. Having come from a mainstream media background, Leo was used to big studios and teams of professionals to get his shows on air. It must have been hard for him in the beginning, to go from that, to being the guy who made the coffee, wrote the scripts, fixed the equipment and booked the guests. Until relatively recently, Leo fronted all his shows himself; as well as working with his advertisers, booking guests, writing show plans, working the control desk AND doing a daily tech radio show for an FM station too!
The lesson here is as old as commerce itself. The best plan in the world will not work for us, if we don’t work for it.
Business leaders are often the first people into the office in the morning and the last ones home; at least during the earlier stages of their business. All too often, we see people who want to get the result, without putting in the work first. This is why scammers and con artists have always found an endless stream of people to fool out of their savings, with the promise of easy money.
Quality, community and work. Three simple words, which bring with them a lot of challenges – But also the promise of something amazing.