TechCrunch has a great 24 minute video on what a Web 2.0 company is, discussions about a possible bubble, business models, user-generated content and the early adopter crowd.
One of my favorite quotes is from David Sifry from Technorati stating that getting to a million users is the easy part. Of course, the term user is used loosely. This is just doubly true from a free user standpoint – it really is easy to get people to use your software if you’re building something free, useful and freed of the majority of usage friction.
We think that our new start-up is something that will be truly useful and beneficial to people’s lives, not just techies – and that gives us enormous confidence that we’ll get to the “easy” million user mark, then on to the mass market, if we just keep our heads down and plugging away.
There’s more acknowledgement of the general market in this piece, which I think is always a positive thing. Often times with smart Silicon Valley CEOs, there is a lock-in to that way of thinking – superior technology is not always the key to success, mass market adoption is. The simple comparison between Firefox and IE as the default browser to develop for (not make work for) is the most convenient example used in the video. A mass market CEO defaults with IE regardless of his personal preference. I use FireFox and IE only when forced as well, so I easily fall into the same trap.
I think David’s statement acknowledges the mass market as the difficult market – most of the CEOs featured here say the early adopter market is around the single millions. While to change the world, you have to have a unique proposition – something that is uncomfortable and follows the early adopter to early majority and so on, leaving crossing the chasm into the mass market the difficult part.
Reserving my specific opinion, there are some companies in this group that will cross and some that won’t. Some is random choice, but there are lots of conscious decisions made along the way that will truly be the deciding factor.