Startup Principle: Building a base of Superfans
“How can startups turn their products into startups that win?”
It’s a critical question, but startups can win and often do win, against larger competitors. While there’s clearly no single ‘ingredient’ to success, there is a common theme. (The legendary) Paul Graham alludes to this often in his notes, and pinpoints the one ingredient that can turn any startup into a winner:
The one thing that differentiates a winning startup from 'also-ran's is superfans. It matters infinitely more to have 50 users who love your product, than 500 users who only like your product i.e. know who your most engaged users/fans are, and work to make your products better for them. The “how” of this is two-fold:
Step 1: Identify your Superfans. Analytics should easily identify top users of any product/platform and their use cases.
Step 2: Once you know who your superfans are, the challenges are simpler:
- Open up a feedback loop for superfans - Keeping a solid support line open to users, and managing the user community.
- Finding more of them, customers with the same, specific use cases
- Improving the product for Superfans first - And then let those features scale to other users. This typically needs more development and design effort, but has a much higher return on investment.
Look no further than Apple and Google for proof of the superfan phenomenon.
All the best.