The StartUp Triple Jump

We have been gently introducing Geddup to different segments of our target market over the last 4 weeks. It’s been an interesting and occasionally intimidating process.

On the one hand our beta-explorers – friends, teammates and hand-picked others – have been welcoming without being effusive. We have not received a single standing ovation. Presenting Geddup in workshops and seminars has also been a mixed bag. A single concept can resonate strongly, but then get lost in the subsequent noise.

On the other hand, Geddup does exactly what we set out to achieve and does it well. It delivers on what people asked for in our market and prototype testing. And best of all, it has become part of my daily life and is proving to be incredibly liberating and simple to use. Our task is to enable our early users to replicate my experience.

Herein lies the challenge. There is a world of difference between a product in a test-tube and the same thing in the wild.

So for the benefit of posterity, following is an attempt to distil our recent learning into the three main hurdles that our target market has set before us:

THE HOP – “Why do I need this?”  

This and it’s burly cousin “What is in it for me?” have come up time and again in various guises. It is the first and easiest barrier that a user will put up and it must be overcome for them to take another step.

Having said that, it’s a pretty obvious requirement – and we thought we had it covered. But in our experience, it takes more than simply recapitulating the problems and showing how you solve them to convince an audience that they should use your product. The cost / benefit analysis is heavily skewed by the weight of inertia. 

In short, it takes a tangible need to motivate people to get off their couch and try a new solution. The more ‘necessary’ that Geddup is, the more likely that it will succeed.

For example, we can compare our experience with two basketball teams. The ‘Rep team’ is a pretty motivated crowd, the kids and parents thrive on competition. I structured the introduction to Geddup in a way that it was necessary to try it – parents could only view the game details via Geddup. Not surprisingly perhaps we had a 100% success rate in the take-up. This compares to the more relaxed ‘Club team’, where I made a less pressing ‘request for feedback’. The success rate was less than 50%.

THE SKIP – “Why should I trust you?”

Geddup may be the most useful app in the universe but users won’t adopt it unless they think its credible. Notably, the single most common measure of trust is “Who else is using it”. For good reason, evolution has delivered the school of fish, the wildebeest herd and the wisdom of crowds.

For example, we ran a workshop with people from the hairdressing industry – owners of salons, an event manager, product wholesaler and a representative from the industry body. They all spoke about the need for better ways of communicating with clients – emails are not opened, SMS is dysfunctional, Facebook is not appropriate. They all also agreed that any solution must have critical mass before offering it to their clients. 

We think we have an answer to this chicken and egg thing, but recognise that we need to build ‘credibility’ from a variety angles. Nurturing our brand is squarely in our focus at this early stage.

THE JUMP – “Why should I try this now?”

This really is a variant of ‘The Hop’ but with the added emphasis on ‘now’. We are all busy, distracted and guilty of ignoring what might be good for us simply because it’s often easier to keep doing what already works. Just because something is annoying, doesn’t mean that you will invest the time to learn another, better way of doing that same thing.

Ultimately this suggests that we will have the most success if we introduce Geddup when the need of the individual is at its most pressing. We win if our solution is simple and effective.

Demographics make a big difference here. The older the audience, the more likely they will resist change – perhaps because the perceived effort to learn something new is greater.

For example, I introduced Geddup to the guys that I play poker with. It’s a gathering of increasingly crusty, post-modern men. Notwithstanding that I know these guys, the success rate of getting them to test Geddup based on an introductory “I’d like your feedback” email was 20%. Compare this with the 20 year old sports coach, who had opened and responded to a message within 30 seconds of sending it – this is the demographic that has no use for email, it’s an instant message world for them.

Conclusion

It is not like we are the first people to struggle with these particular hurdles. I remember trying to describe this thing called Twitter over the dinner party table in 2008. The crew didn’t get it. I’m not so sure how many of these same people get it even now. But we are confident that they will get Geddup – it is something that they need –  there are just a few small steps to overcome first.

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