In Idea #1 above, Scott Adams suggests that early enthusiasm is a key indicator of future success.
But are all enthusiasts created equal?
For LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, the answer is no.
On an episode
of his podcast Masters of Scale
, Hoffman says that it’s better to have 100 people who love your product than a million people who only sort of like it.
If you want to achieve massive growth and scale, you need more than just your customers’ attention.
You want such die-hard fans not only for their loyalty and use of your product, but also because they’re more likely to tell others about it.
If each of your early users tells two friends some version of “You’ve got to try this,” and then those two friends each tell two of their friends, and so on, then your users effectively do the marketing for you and your product may be on a path to viral growth.
As Hoffman points out, this pattern of word-of-mouth marketing is true for any globally successful product, from software startups like Airbnb and Dropbox to the Cronut.
So what does this mean for you as a creator or company founder?
Hoffman notes that many founders fall into the trap of the illusion of scale: “the 1 million users who show up to use a flash-in-the-pan product.”
It’s counterintuitive, but to reach truly sustainable growth and scale, you first have to give up your desire to scale, and instead commit to making your product indispensable for a small group of initial users.
“You should almost have a willful blindness to growth and a monomaniacal focus on making just a few people really happy.”