If it was just as easy as “if you build it, they will come.” It would be a simple life. But it’s not really like that for most of the disruptive products, apps, services, or companies in startup mode now. It used to be that if you had a restaurant with good food, they would come. But now, especially in trendy parts of town, nobody wants be seen as a restaurant where there’s not a scene.
You app might need two or three different user types to fly on it own, like a dating app. Your product might need thousands of merchants to use it for millions of consumers to use the other side, like the first credit card machine. Or maybe you need just one guy to use your product where nobody wants to be the first person to use it, like a fax.
This is traditionally called the chicken or the egg problem in marketing. In business schools they like to call it the multisided platform or two sided network adoption problem.
So how do you get two or more totally disconnected groups of people to simultaneously use your new product or app or service? This is how Amex, Myspace, Sparkah, and More Did It: Chicken or Egg Problem in Marketing AKA Multisided Platform / Two Sided Network
The Chicken or the Egg Problem Answer:
By the way, there is an answer to the chicken or the egg problem in real life. In genetics, the problem is easily solvable. To help solve this problem, we must first ask a better question. The question, essentially is, “how did the first chicken come to be.”
In biology, If you have that same genetic level change in a single cell environment, a zygote, it’s called mutation. And if that mutated organism can reproduce, bingo. You’ve got a chicken. If you have a genetic level change in a multicellular environment, like a living organism, it’s called carcinoma. Cancer.
So the first chicken came about as the first chicken egg at the zygote stage (if you believe in evolution). =p