- As you're thinking about your opportunity in your first product, the best ones are the ones that have a very rapid adoption rate when they're successful. So you're looking for something that, something that you're not going to have to drive a lot of demand for, but instead, just by people using your product they're going to say, "Wow, this is amazing," and they'll tell their friends. Or, it'll be a product that causes somebody to say, "Oh, I need to get somebody else using this "because I'll benefit even more if some of "the other people that I'm connect to use this." That, again, works across any kind of products.
But if you think about the best early marketing for a company that has no money to spend on marketing and advertising, word-of-mouth is the best. If you get people that are absolute, total raving fans, love your product, think it's the most amazing thing ever, it doesn't cost you anything to get them to tell other people about the product. I just bought something the other day that's a product that I'd never heard about from a company that makes a thing that allows you to change the temperature of your bed. And it's awesome for me because my wife likes it to be warm in the bedroom and I like it to be cold in the bedroom.
And for years we fight over the thermostat before we go to bed. I never heard about this product, I didn't know anything about it. It's a brand new product. A friend of mine who used it, basically the note that I got from him was, this changed my life. Like all of a sudden I had the best night's sleep I've had in a long time and I don't have to worry about the temperature in the room and the air conditioner and that sort of thing. I have had no contact with the company, I just went online and bought the product. So that sort of word-of-mouth, think about that when you have something where one of your customers or lots of your customers will say to other people, this product is amazing, is so powerful.
The other dynamic that's really important is try to figure out an adoption cycle that has, what in the tech world is called virality. One of the first products that were like this, if people go back to the late 90s is an online email product called Hotmail. Where, if any of you were Hotmail users, at the very bottom of Hotmail, it actually had a line on it that says, if you want your free email, click here for Hotmail. That was their viral moment where people would get this email and they were like, oh I could use a free email, click, and now they have a free, web-based email.
If you think about services like LinkedIn, that sort of notion of network virality is really a key part of it. If you're on LinkedIn, the more people that you're connected to on LinkedIn makes LinkedIn more valuable. And so this idea of how do you get adoption to work in a way that makes your product more valuable to your early customers, which will then cause it to get you other customers, is a key part of that opportunity that you're creating. Products that stand alone and sit separate from everything else, interesting but not that useful. Products that connect to lots of other people through the actual use of the product is very powerful.
- Define “shiny object syndrome.”
- Identify your customer’s pain.
- Determine the scalability of a product.
- Recall the best time to initiate customer acquisition.
- Review the differences between a passionate employee and an obsessed employee.
- Recognize the benefits of domain experience when building a founding team.