The Hobbyist Business Model
A business that grows out of a hobby or passion that did not start out with a commercial intent.
“The comic began in September 2005 when Munroe decided to scan doodles from his school notebooks and put them on his webpage. Eventually the comic
was changed into a stand-alone website, where Munroe started selling T-shirts based on the comic. He currently "works on the comic full time," making
xkcd a self-sufficient webcomic.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xkcd) xkcd is one of the most popular
web comics and is listed as one of the self-sufficient web comics.
HuskyStarcraft / HDStarcraft
These two starcraft casters (someone who records gameplay and commentates what's going on) have built a legion of fans across the globe.
HuskyStarcraft has 378,000 subscribers and HDStarcraft has 322,000. Their views are also some of the highest of any channel in the gaming category.
They are both behind IGN and EA but ahead of GameSpot and Ubisoft. They have hosted tournaments, get invited to events and presumably make a pretty
penny off YouTube partner program with their 100 million plus views each.
A hobbyist's MUD started in college that had 1 million users before becoming a business. Today, RuneScape one of the more popular MMORPGs with ~$60 million
in revenue during March 2008 - March 2009 and ~$28 million profit. (http://massively.joystiq.com/2010/04/15/runescape-sees-heavy-profits-for-2009/)
Why It Matters:
People are being given the tools to self-publish, self-broadcast, self-develop all sorts of content. Comics, games, music, videos, books, news and any
other medium where an individual is given the tools to create *anything* can make a huge impact. There are thousands of people out there sharing,
creating art, shipping their passion across all sorts of mediums. The web has given these artists the means to share their work with the world easily.
The web has also allowed people to learn almost anything they wish to learn about. They can download any piece of software for free (legally through
open source and illegally through pirating) giving themselves the tools to required to create their art.
Today, any passionate individual has the tools to be as powerful as any corporation with regards to connecting with an audience. Their passionate
projects and art compete for free because they don't see it as a job. They are simply creating or doing what they love. Most will never be recognized,
but a few will be superstars. The superstars are presented with all sorts of monetization options simply because of their success and popularity. Any
business that looks at a passionate hobby turned business and thinks their business model made the business successful is fooling themselves. This type
of success cannot be replicated in a business plan. It is a lot of talent and passion combined with good fortune.