Peter Saddington would be quickly dismissed from marketing meetings at major corporations all over the world. Not because he’s the definition of the millennial entrepreneur: t-shirt clad, Lamborghini-driving, fast-talking and positively disinterested in corporate ladders of any kind. No, that’s the stuff that might get him invited in the first place. What’ll get him kicked out is his approach to content creation, which has nothing to do with the direct attribution, quick conversion and metric-obsession of which marketing careers are made.
Instead, he has this insane idea that, if you can just build a loyal audience, surely, just surely, there ought to be an opportunity on the other side of all that hard work.
I first found him this summer on his Decentralized TV Youtube channel, which, at the time, consisted of Peter (or Peet-uh!, as he’s fond of calling himself on camera) sitting in his garage, reading cryptocurrency news stories and reacting to his audience through a nearly undecipherable stream of inside jokes, acronyms, sound effects and wild animations. This wasn’t a host who appeared worried in the slightest of appealing to the uninitiated—it felt like Peter had been doing the show for the same people for years.
Peter Saddington broadcasts for Decentralized TV from his garage studio.
It was pretty shocking, then, when I discovered that the Decentralized TV I’d seen this summer wasn’t even a year old. In fact, at the beginning of 2017, Pete-uh, the on-camera personality who seemed like he was at the center of the crypto world, wasn’t even part of it.
In March of 2017, Peter quit his job as an agile consultant for Fortune 50 and 500 companies. He knew he wanted to develop products in the cryptocurrency world alongside his brother, John, another successful entrepreneur. Other than that, he didn’t have a plan. But he knew what he needed: a community.
“All these ICOs, they have a product and a promise, but they have no audience,” he said. “I wanted to build for the cryptocurrency community, [but] I wanted to do the hard work first. The hard work is having enough of a following to actually show a product to.”
So Peter started his first crypto Youtube channel, Bitesize Bitcoin.
“What I found is that my particular personality attracted individuals quite easily within the cryptocurrency space,” he said. “Probably because I was frank and candid and transparent. And so I started that and what happened is we grew community.”
A few months later, citing a need for a wider platform, Peter turned Bitesize Bitcoin into more of a personal page and launched Decentralized TV in the fall of 2017. By producing a prodigious amount of content—often several videos a day—he continued to grow and nurture the relationship with his audience.
“We know that the easy route is to build the product and hope that people show up,” Peter said. “The hard work is having enough of a following to actually show a product to.”
John Saddington, Peter's brother and business partner, is a successful entrepreneur in his own right.
Decentralized TV, then, is just one of a network of properties designed to grow and nurture that following. Unlike so many Youtubers who squander their loyal followings by limiting conversation to the site’s comments section, Peter and John built TheBitcoin.pub, a cryptocurrency message board that feels like the beating heart of their network.
It’s here where both brothers dive deep into conversation with their audience, posting at all hours of the day and night on topics as varied as cars and business advice to responding to criticism over a feature on one of their products.
Peter and John use that close connection to guide every decision they make.
“As I’m talking to you right now, I’m staring at my computer, I got Discord loaded up, I got the Bitcoin pub loaded up, I am so in touch with my community, with these supporters, it’s ridiculous,” Peter said. “To be able to have your fingers literally on the pulse of people who are making purchases, transacting in crypto, telling you their frustrations, telling you what’s good, what’s bad, I couldn’t ask for a better community.”
Peter credits this community with helping him develop and grow his rapidly expanding suite of cryptocurrency products. “I started listening to their needs and I found that I could build everything that they wanted,” he said.
There’s Coinpuffs, which tracks the markets in real-time. 10 Days of Bitcoin and B90X are educational programs designed to draw people deeper into the crypto world. And on Patreon, Peter and John offer a $100/month membership that essentially gives subscribers a front-row seat to the development of their business: everything from how they work investors to how they build their products.
For a developer who’s successfully launched all of that in barely more than a year, Peter sounds most proud when he talks about his community. He told me how one member, SpamOC, was able to buy his dad a new car after he’d totaled his old one, thanks to what he’d learned about cryptocurrency. Another, Jay_S, got laser eye surgery and wrote movingly of being able to see his daughter in 20/20 vision for the first time.
“These people, my family, my community in crypto, that have supported me and walked with me for the last couple years, the relationship I’ve grown with them, it’s not just a community, it’s family,” Peter said.
It’s heartwarming—but it also happens to be smart business. These days, the Saddington brothers are deep in development of what they call their biggest product yet, a decentralized social exchange called Yen.io. Peter likens it to “the Minecraft of crypto,” a sort of decentralized social sandbox where you can build, say and exchange anything you want.
To celebrate Yen.io’s alpha launch, more than 60 people flew to Atlanta from as far-flung places as Australia, Iceland and Canada.
“You tell me what community is willing to do that!” Peter said. “That’s why I know we’ll succeed with our product development, because I know we have the best community and the best family.”
Some of the most engaged members of the community gathered in Atlanta to celebrate Yen.io's alpha launch.
The Saddington brothers’ success will hinge upon their ability to grow that core audience while keeping the authenticity of the relationships intact.
As it stands, they have what so many huge companies can only dream of: a small, loyal, extremely committed and passionate audience that isn’t just willing to give their attention, but extremely valuable feedback, ideas and passion as well. It’s the playbook for a modern business, and the big boys would be wise to pay attention.
“We are creating a media empire,” Peter said. “We are the next Bloomberg in all truthfulness. That’s what we are invariably becoming. Imagine this. A green bean, a newbie in the cryptocurrency world will enter into cryptocurrency and they will never leave one of our network of sites.”
Peter and John aren’t in the media world because they’re media people. Peter made his first Youtube video barely more than a year ago, for crying out loud. These are smart business people who truly appreciate the value of a loyal audience, and are willing to make the serious investments of both time and opportunity cost to build that loyalty first.
Will it work? Let’s just say we’re watching—and you should, too.