'Growth Farming': A D. Grant Smith Book Review

We’re currently living in a world where the need to be reaffirmed is nearly mandatory. We’re basing our self-assurance off of Facebook shares and Instagram likes and Twitter retweets. We follow people in hopes to get them to follow back and never speak to them. In the entertainment industry, some artists or musicians might send their new followers an automated message: “Thanks for following! Be sure to like my Facebook page, check out my music on Spotify and subscribe to me on YouTube!” Is the purpose of connecting with others to get another like or to serve you as an individual? If only there was some kind of handbook to help musicians learn to create beneficial relationships to both parties involved. 

The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook: How to Growth Hack You Fan Base and Build Stronger Networks Using Indie Radio Airplay sounds incredibly specific to one area of the music industry. D Grant Smith, host of The Appetizer Radio Show, may have written this book with the intention of helping independent artists find their way onto radio stations, but the concept of the book goes way beyond radio play. 

He initially started the concept of this book for two reasons: 1. He believed that the connection between musicians and music curators was in need of an upgrade. 2. He wanted music curators as well as the musicians to give and receive better content. “It comes down to making relationships and I didn’t have a playbook for how to do that when I was getting started so I wanted to create a playbook – a road map, a manual, a handbook – for musicians to be able to have answers on what this process actually looks like and what steps you should actually take,” he said.

However, the theme of the book can relate to more than indie radio. The formula and process behind indie radio play can be manipulated into a variety of other things because it’s essentially a handbook for human connection. Smith said that he wanted to create a modern day version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People but keep it specific to creative entrepreneurs. “One of the key things that Dale Carnegie says in his book that has changed my life is this – you can gain more friends in two months by showing interest in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. That by itself as a mantra for how we can grow everything that we do and building relationships with people [and] that’s a huge takeaway that I hope people get from reading my book.”

Let’s move into the concept of ‘growth farming’.

Smith has a lot of people in his life whose passion revolves around farming. Whether it’s his wife’s garden in their backyard or his friend who is a farmer in their home state of Texas, the concept of farming constantly shows up in his life. He spent two years trying to figure out how to apply the concept of farming into his own work environment. So he contacted Seth Godin.

Seth Godin is the author of 17 books, among other accomplishments, and is someone that really shaped Smith's outlook on life. They spoke about the idea that ‘the grass is always greener somewhere else is where we get in trouble’. The reality of the situation is that grass is green right in front of us. There are people in our lives and in our world and instead of constantly searching for the next greener patch, there’s a green enough patch within reach. “What you need is to farm it and not go hunting,” Godin said. The phrase led to the concept of growth farming. Smith is helping artists grow their audience and platform and helping them reach connections and that in its entirety is a farming process.

“It’s a matter of maintaining a dialogue and a correspondence and providing something that matters to them and providing something that matters to you. It’s about learning how to communicate better and… there’s a reciprocal connection there. That’s where growth farming comes from, that’s where the idea was originated from. My whole platform is built around this belief; it’s a philosophy and a principle. Inside every one of us is a garden; our hearts are a garden. What we plant in here is what we produce.”