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Sposo anch’io l’idea della convention (e non del raduno che c’è già stato, giusto?), sarebbe molto interessante condividere storie in forma pubblica, se ce ne sono anche in Italia, come immagino sia. Che dici?
La traduzione in italiano è la strategia del birillo del bowling ed è molto, molto azzeccata, vedi l’esempio di Facebook.
quoted from The bowling pin strategy
A huge challenge for user-generated websites is overcoming the chicken-and-egg problem: attracting users and contributors when you are starting with zero content. One way to approach this challenge is to use what Geoffrey Moore calls the bowling pin strategy: find a niche where the chicken-and-egg problem is more easily overcome and then find ways to hop from that niche to other niches and eventually to the broader market.
Facebook executed the bowling pin strategy brilliantly by starting at Harvard and then spreading out to other colleges and eventually the general public. If Facebook started out with, say, 1000 users spread randomly across the world, it wouldn’t have been very useful to anyone. But having the first 1000 users at Harvard made it extremely useful to Harvard students. Those students in turn had friends at other colleges, allowing Facebook to hop from one school to another.
Yelp also used a bowling pin strategy by focusing first on getting critical mass in one location – San Francisco – and then expanding out from there. They also focused on activities that (at the time) social networking users favored: dining out, clubbing and shopping. Contrast this to their direct competitors that were started around the same time, were equally well funded, yet have been far less successful.
How do you identify a good initial niche? First, it has to be a true community – people who have shared interests and frequently interact with one another. They should also have a particularly strong need for your product to be willing to put up with an initial lack of content. Stack Overflow chose programmers as their first niche, presumably because that’s a community where the Stack Overflow founders were influential and where the competing websites weren’t satisfying demand. Quora chose technology investors and entrepreneurs, presumably also because that’s where the founders were influential and well connected. Both of these niches tend to be very active online and are likely to have have many other interests, hence the spillover potential into other niches is high. (Stack Overflow’s cooking site is growing nicely – many of the initial users are programmers who crossed over).
Location based services like Foursquare started out focused primarily on dense cities like New York City where users are more likely to serendipitously bump into friends or use tips to discover new things. Facebook has such massive scale that it is able to roll out its LBS product (Places) to 500M users at once and not bother with a niche strategy. Presumably certain groups are more likely to use Facebook check-ins than others, but with Facebook’s scale they can let the users figure this out instead of having to plan it deliberately. That said, history suggests that big companies who rely on this “carpet bombing strategy” are often upended by focused startups who take over one niche at a time.
Focus is a really important for early stage startups, as it forces you to stay close to your customers while achieving product / market fit. It also allows you to concentrate any word-of-mouth effects you may have, helping you build your brand + critical mass. Great post by Chris (as usual).
Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes
Read to me stories of magical times
Read to me tales about castles and kings
Read to me stories of fabulous things
Read to me pirates and read to me knights
Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then
When you are finished- please read them again.
I never feel the need to drink more than a couple of pints. I don’t smoke cigarettes; I don’t smoke a pipe. I don’t take drugs; sometimes, but rarely I take an aspirin if my head doesn’t feel quite right. I like sex a lot, but I don’t need to think about it all day and all night. I’ve rarely gambled because I lost a tenner once and that wasn’t something I liked. But I pick up a novel, and until I reach the last page, that damn book takes over my life.
WSJ: They’re all going to MySpace.
Mr. Murdoch: I wish they were. They’re all going to Facebook at the moment.
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