This fun: watching the race to the top of the mountain of a fresh new market.
The latest blogging buzz is about "mobile phone social networking". Here's a good short story from the Wall Street Journal's Gary Fowler.
- There are a LOT OF THEM around the world. The English language buzz is about the American start-ups. But you can bet on dozens of similar ones already operating in countries around the globe.
- Fowler choose these start-ups to discuss:
- Color recently raised $41 million from top tier VCs. That's one reason for the WSJ story.
- GroupMe is in New York City, all the rest are in the San Francisco Bay area. They have raised $11.5 million
- Path raised $11.2 million
- Instagram raised $7.5 million
- Yobongo raised $1.35 million
- Gorilla's from other spaces have acquired mobile phone social networking start-ups. In 2007, Google purchased ZingKu.
- This space is not new. It dates back at least to the mid 2000s. But the new space is not yet dominated by one company. This 2008 article has names that are no longer around who attempted to get started early. That is how each embryonic market operates: the pioneers die and are followed by others who learn from their painful failures. Who will get it right this time?
- Note the timing of the launch of services mentioned by Fowler: late 2010 to early 2011. All in the same quantum of time. That's a lot of competition all at once. It will take time for consumers to figure them out, try a few and make usage decisions before spreading the word. Watch to see if any one can "go viral" within a year from now and how it happens.
THE PRIME OBJECTIVE: "BE FIRST TO GET IT RIGHT"
Watch this new space to see who will continue to modify on-the-fly their business until it begins to soar. End users then will be flocking to that business instead of the dozens of alternatives. That is difficult to do. But it is how it is done. Daily and weekly tweaks, quick feedback and instant decisions to change, alter, modify are done by the core team. That's where we get the metaphoric statement "Doing a start-up is like riding a bicycle while you are riding it." When all the pieces of the engine start working together, the business begins to soar and accelerate away from competitors.
MARKETING YOUR STORY
- Note how the reporter selected start-ups with money from blue chip investors and contrasted it with a start-up that has raised a fraction of the funds of its competitors.
- The story headlines were reached only after enough competitors had news worth writing about.
- Differences between the start-ups is central to reporters developing their stories. That's what "positioning" is all about, and why focus is so important to new enterprises.
- What makes the start-up compelling is key to the story telling. That's the "WOW!" factor I've been writing about. Boring does not get you into stories.
- Short and sweet. That's what the writers want to hear from you. And it's what VCs look for in your elevator pitch. Prospective employees want to leave with that in their brains.
BOTTOM LINE: Watch this new race to learn from the contenders. It's going to be exciting. Google in the space and you'll get over 5 million responses. It is going to be huge. The eventual gorilla is going to do amazing things. Learn and apply that to your start-up. It is a great way to learn how to build an unfair competitive advantage.
I wish you The Best with your Adventure!