It was small. There wasn’t much. It was for nerds.
Now it’s mainstream. People go there because they want to meet others like them. It’s a cultural phenomenon.
This is the story of not quitting. Sticking to something that’s working.
The hard part is when the growth is small because the principal is small, not because the growth rate is small. This is where people give up and stop even when they are on to something. They don’t want to bet on a losing horse. The reality is if you held a conference and the first year 20 people show up. The second year, 26 people show up. It seems like it will never grow into anything. In reality, at that growth rate 276 people are showing up in year 10. In year 20, 3800 people. In year 30, 52000 people.
Here is the Comic-con attendance growth:
Something interesting to me, this curve doesn’t deviate far from a traditional exponential growth curve followed by the normal tapering your start to see as the total addressable market is nearing saturation even though the advent of the internet changed marketing in the middle of it. Without knowing better, I would have expected a bigger change with the advent of the internet, but this curve is typical representation of growth. It looks possible that from about 1993 to 2000 it was hitting the tapering portion, but then the internet came along and put it back on the growth path with a new tapering being hit around 2005, however without deeper analysis this deviation could be normal statistical variation. What is the interesting conclusion here?
Sticking with something, more than any means and methods is likely to produce the results you are looking for. Unfortunately for most, they don’t understand it and don’t have the patience. Fortunately for you, you can stick with something and be wildly successful just by putting time on your side.