How to Tell if a Consumer Internet Startup Will Be Successful: Non-Tech Consumers Are Using it to Share.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Active Users
The key is to be used for sharing by people who aren't tech obsessed.
USV's Fred Wilson describes this: "I like to talk to my kids and their friends. Here is a typical college aged woman I know. She uses Twitter, Instagram, Cinemagram, Foursquare, iMessage, and Snapchat. And Facebook too. She uses each of them for what they are good for. Each of them is on her home screen -- one click and she is sharing something with someone."
That's the key to Tumblr and Pinterest, too.
One click and you're sharing something with someone.
Fred continues, "Each app offers a different graph - that she has curated specifically for that app - and each app offers a different type of engagement."
Didn't 'Crossing the Chasm' tell us that some time ago? Your early adopters might be a handful of techies, but you really need to hit the mainstream to be successful. Here's the wikipedia summary:
"In Crossing the Chasm, Moore begins with the diffusion of innovations theory from Everett Rogers, and argues there is a chasm between the early adopters of the product (the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority (the pragmatists). Moore believes visionaries and pragmatists have very different expectations, and he attempts to explore those differences and suggest techniques to successfully cross the "chasm," including choosing a target market, understanding the whole product concept, positioning the product, building a marketing strategy, choosing the most appropriate distribution channel and pricing.
Crossing the Chasm is closely related to the technology adoption lifecycle where five main segments are recognized: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. According to Moore, the marketer should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group. The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early majority). This is the chasm that he refers to. If a successful firm can create a bandwagon effect in which enough momentum builds, then the product becomes a de facto standard. However, Moore's theories are only applicable for disruptive or discontinuous innovations. Adoption of continuous innovations (that do not force a significant change of behavior by the customer) are still best described by the original technology adoption lifecycle. Confusion between continuous and discontinuous innovation is a leading cause of failure for high tech products."
I'm sure these startups were out to create something that non-tech consumers would value - that is where the mass adoption would come from - and these companies have business models based on large populations interacting. As I am typing here, I'm curious to understand what PandaWhale's user base segmented out looks like - and how they are using the service.
Most users just click around reading things. They find us through search engines or shares from others.
A very small number of users actually save things or write. I think you've seen many of them.