Don’t launch your startup at an event BUT use events to catalyze growth
One interesting finding that seems to be emerging from my research project on The Science of Growth at CMU is that break out companies while no more / less likely to “launch” with a big bang do seem to find events once they’ve gotten started to catalyze growth.
I mentioned this during my panel at the MIT Enterprise Forum this week and a lot of people asked me about it after, so thought I’d expand here.
A lot of the popular “launch” stories you here were not actually launches at all. For example, here is Evan Williams talking about what actually happened at SxSW in 2007 for Twitter on Quora
we didn’t actually launch Twitter at SXSW — SXSW just chose to blow it up. We launched it nine months before — to a whimper …
A lot of the “overnight successful launch stories” told today seem to have this characteristic. The product had actually been used by a core group of users for months before the “overnight success.”
That said, many of the companies we have been looking at do seem to have a well known catalyzing event later. Sometimes it’s a physical event like SxSW (Twitter) or the DNC Convention (AirBnB) and sometimes it’s just a news story the product / company can draft off. In one case, Moveable Type vs Wordpress the event was self inflicted by Moveable Type’s Licensing Fiasco which Wordpress jumped all over.
Early results are this will be one of the roughly half-dozen best practices we ultimately highlight.