When creating a new product early adopters and nerds need to go first. Some people are early when it comes to shoes, or mystery novels, or records, while others adopt early in politics, ideas or restaurants.
Most of the time many of us choose to be in the slot of the mass, but in most of startups or innovative projects you are going after and early adopter crowd that is incredibly distant from regular folks.
In the early days of a new product the key determinant of your future success is traction. You need to spend the majority of your time figuring out how to cultivate pockets of traction amongst your early adopters, and optimize around that traction. If you can not get traction within months you have a problem.
The essence of getting your first 10-25 customers is not SALES, but PRODUCT. You need to get into product-market fit and that’s only possible with the product team.
Once you have traction you are chasing growth. Early adopters are not your target anymore: you want segmented masses. Your challenge then is about building social, or statistical proof: ratings, client cases, etc. The masses wait to see the positive reviews, or they monitor the bestseller lists. They know they have plenty of time to get around to it then they get a chance, and mostly they are driven by their peers.