You can't build your product in a vacuum. The customers drive engineering priorities. You also can't let your customers control your engineering team.
Best Video Ever On Building Momentum
How you treat your first few customers is often the difference between success and failure for new technology companies.
I show this video to every Marketing team I lead. Usually in the first week.
Going from the "first lone nut" using your product, to getting product adoption by a crowd of happy customers is an art and a science.
Books like "Crossing the Chasm", the "Tipping Point" and the "Diffusion of Innovations" are a must read for every marketer. They explain the theories and mechanics behind technology marketing to build a new category or a new customer following. "Raving Fans" is another great book.
This video, however, tells the other part of the story. In a few minutes.
It takes guts to be a category creator. It takes courage and perseverance to stick with a great idea and get better and stay excited until other people start to jump in.
See for yourself:
To recap, what's the "job to be done" for each of your customers?
- Customer #1: Be easy to follow. What they do has to be almost instructional. Help your first customer "show" others what they do.
- Customer #2: Show everyone else how to follow. The first following customer turns the first customer into a leader.
- Customer #3: From two lone nuts to a team of 3. Three is a crowd, and the crowd is news.
The next customers form the "tipping point". The customers that came before them have taken the biggest risk.
- Nurture your first followers as equals. Make everything about the movement, not about your product or service
- Be Public, be easy to follow
- First followers are just as important, if not more important, as the first leader.
- Again, make sure the public sees all three customers. They must see the "movement. These are your first public case studies, ideally in the form of video testimonials.