This blog is dedicated to entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey: as individuals, in teams, and collectively. We all hope to create a better world for our customers, our employees, our stakeholders, and our children.
Our Focus: Finding Early Customers For Emerging Technologies
Our focus is helping startups find early customers for emerging technologies. This is very different from the traditional sales and marketing at established firms. Correctly identifying early customers who can be references to others is key to introducing emerging technologies.
Although emerging technologies change the rules and often enable far reaching growth most early adopters are focused on near term risks and benefits, and it is to those concerns entrepreneurial teams need to speak to get a foothold. The decision to act as a “beta” software site or early user of new software tools often resembles a hiring decision (does the prospective customer want to “hire the team”) more closely than a technology adoption decision.
Emerging technology marketing is a distinct domain from classical product marketing, most of the traditional market assessment techniques are not effective: focus groups, surveys, etc…
Emerging Markets Require Key Commitments
Emerging markets require a strong commitment by the founding team to
- appreciating the prospective customer and customer’s view,
- rapidly evolving the product specification in response to feedback and customer experience,
- ongoing refinement and delivery of customer focused solutions.
A Blog Is a Dial Tone For a Website
New applications often start out requiring operators, but eventually move towards dial-tone. For example, you can look at blogging as the “dial tone” equivalent of creating a web site. For ordinary folks (not most of my readers, but non-technical folks), creating a web site was something that required an operator. You went to a web design shop or an ISP and had them do it for you. The blogging revolution, the wiki revolution, the MySpace revolution, the CyWorld revolution, are really about providing a kind of self-service dial-tone for creating a web presence and community.
I think a blog also acts a dial tone for a website in that it signals a commitment for interaction and participation on the part of the authors. And that’s certainly the case here.
O’Reilly describes his Round 2 series as occasional postings around the theme that patterns and ideas recur. He closes the “Dial Tone” post with:
Once you frame the problem in this way, you understand that one of the challenges for IT departments and companies used to the IT mindset is to get the operators out of the way, and to build new processes that let users do the work for themselves. You also can ask yourself, where is dial tone going next?
I like that “Round 2” captures the sense of recurring business trends that can act as guides: you do not need to innovate in all aspects of your startup, making the technology work can be differentiation enough. I welcome your comments and a chance to learn more about your startup.