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Unfortunately, the best example of that
phenomenon is Rovio and their Angry Birds.
They've created an extremely successful game, got
big and everything looked great. Unsurprisingly,
their players didn't stick, found new games and just
dropped off. Layoffs and profit loss followed and
the birds became rather sad really.
In 2009 Justin Bieber came out of
nowhere and instantly he became
“He is so sweet!
Not like other boys!”
Said teenage girls from the US
“I want this boy
as a boyfriend for my daughter”
Thought every mom few years ago
“Why is that guy so popular?!
What is happening?!”
Wondered the rest of the world
Photo: James Cridland
It turns out that his road from zero to
millions of fans was really a great startup
Step 1: Discover and Validate
Get out of the building, be where your customers are,
show them your project, make people understand it and get feedback.
In 2007 Justin was just a 13 year old kid, who
was singing a lot. His repertoire was only R&B
love covers - that was his thing, his unique style.
But he was not afraid and received instant
feedback from his listeners.
Before 2009 you could see Bieber in many
different situations: participating in competitions,
making scrapy videos on YouTube and even
singing on the streets of his home town.
People stopped by, listened and talked with him.
Step 2: The Connector and The Talker
If you are Don Quixote, you need your Sancho Panza. If you are Jesus, you
need your Peter. Every man with an idea needs his believer, who talks
about him. In many cases that’s more important that the product itself.
Photos: TCDisrupt / MarcoFromHouston.com
So Justin had some listeners, but there was still
not much action going on. Until Scooter Brown
found Justin on YouTube.
Scooter connected Justin with Usher - at that
time a famous musician. Usher had already his
dedicated fans who watched him closely. And
that brings us to...
Step 3: The Snowball
In many cases The Connector and the The Talker might be as important as the Founder
himself. They bring in business contacts and groups of hardcore followers that listen and
share the gospel.
Photo: Mattias Karlsson
Usher's songs were targeted to young females. Just
like Bieber's. Justin's first music video featured
Usher. This ignited interest around Justin.
Bieber's music was a blast.
In 3 months he had beaten Usher's popularity.
Many successful startup stories are a little bit
Bieber-like. Some people love it, others don't
But those who come out on top are those who
understand and love their community. And the
community loves them back.
If you are a crazy teenager, you probably know
Local Heroes, young fashion company from Poland.
They sent one of their t-shirts to
Justin Bieber. And he wore it.
Yeah, Justin Bieber became their
Talker. They sold that collection
So they kept sending clothes to celebrities. Their
loyal fan base grew and new possibilities followed.
Now they cooperate with Reebok and party with
But there is also the other side of the coin.
The influencer might bring you her/his followers,
but it is really hard to keep them. You don't want to
become "that thing that somebody endorsed and
everybody forgot about".
Remember Nebia? No? But you probably recall that
shower-thing Tim Cook invested in recently. That’s
them - maybe you even bought the item. But does
anyone associate it with strong emotions, with some
community involved? Probably not.
Twitch has its own recipe for that. Every
streamer became their Talker. Every
Twitch-celebrity is creating their own
community and spread the news like crazy.
People feel strong connection with the
famous streamers and fellow chat
members. They stay and they love it.
Your product may not be for everyone
People who will understand and love your vision from
the very beginning are Innovators. Early Adopters will
follow and preach the value of your product or
service to the rest of the world.
The majority needs strong proof to buy anything.
(and that’s why you can find testimonials on almost every startup site)
If you give yourself some time to learn,
you'll develop that engaged community
that loves you and your products.
Four steps to good growth:
1. Think of your community (appreciate)
2. Get to know them (find out)
3. Engage them (act)
4. See what they love (measure)