I have a lot of trouble finding answers to questions like these on the internet, may be it's because it's hard to explain. But let me give an example, Imagine I create a website better and more useful than Twitter, in every way, will it become any popular? considering the amount of popularity Twitter already has?
I understand people will not immediately flock over and just leave Twitter, but I don't want to beat Twitter but just make my site famous and successful in general. And again Twitter is just an example, I am trying the figure out the principles in web2.0 success, through this hypothetical question.
In theory yes, any website that offers a really good service that people want can become phenomenally popular. However, there are a number of things to consider:
- Twitter is a big company. It has been going for 7 years now, it employs hundreds of people and in Dec 2011 was valued at $8.4bn. Its initial venture capitalist funding was over $1m, and to fund its growth over the years it has raised over $50m. If you want to be bigger than Twitter, you have to be thinking of serious business, this is not something that you could do on your own.
- We've got Twitter, we've got Facebook, we've got umpteen other social media type sites out there. Even Google couldn't topple Facebook. Do you really and honestly think that you can come up with something that is better, and that there is a genuine mass-market for?
- Better doesn't automatically mean more successful. You need to have fantastic marketing and to catch the right vibe at the right time. History is littered with examples of companies who had better products but failed to capture the market with them.
I'm not trying to put you off your business plan, but you need to be realistic about what it is possible to achieve, and how much time and money you will need to get that kind of success.
I agree with what you said, and I know a lot of people are very unrealistic when they go about starting a website and expect to become millionaires in the next month. Having said that, let me know what you think about the following:
Assuming you come up with a better concept than Facebook and Twitter or other social networks and you create the website with good design, user interface and the functionality that is again better than the rest, can you immediately start getting some healthy amount of users, without having to invest anything on marketing, or having a lot of people in your office?
I don't mean millions of users but say a 1000 users join the site in the first few months. Then you can approach investors and expand your company by hiring people to manage the site and do marketing. Only then can you start growing your visitors and perhaps eventually get close to Facebook or Twitter if not beat them.
So my main question is: If you launch a better website, can you get those 1000 visitors in the first few months without marketing and having a lot of cash in your account?
Consider this: In order to get 1000 users you will probably need to make 10,000 aware of your [new]service. How do you intend to do that? "Build it and they will come" is only a phrase from a movie. In the world of Marketing it is the farthest from the truth.
How about I just rely on free marketing methods such as social media, forums, other sites and word of mouth. Then when I have few people that notice my site, they can tell their friends about it if they like it.
Take the example of Skype, it came out when there already were well established services that people were actively using like msn messenger, yahoo and even some sites. It became successful as hell and Microsoft bought it for 8bn even though they had their own msn messenger and I believe Skype did not advertise much but it was spread by word of mouth because I assume it was better than the rest and people liked it.
I just want to know how likely that is to happen to websites that are better than the established ones , what I believe happened with Skype. But don't get me wrong, I do think what you said is correct and is what happens most of the time.
If your idea is really something unique that ought to be able to have at least a chance of capturing a significant market share then the place to start would be with a proper business plan that you can use to show the venture capitalist people how you propose to run your project so that you can convince them to invest the necessary millions to get the project started.
Without a business plan and sufficient up front capital you are never going to be able to build anything with the slightest chance of competing with the sites you mention.
The most that you are likely to be able to do without financial backing is a small pilot scheme that provides a high level outline of what the overall project will include that will provide your staff with the overall structure into which all the pieces that they build will need to fit.
How about I create the first version of the site by myself. I am capable of creating dynamic sites like Facebook or Twitter from the bottom to top (with most of their functionality), with good enough designing and programming.
I can get the first version out, see if it gets any good response and then go to investors and tell them: Look, people are comiTng really fast already, the graph is going up and we need to some capital to further enhance the site and perhaps do some marketing as well.
All this time this is what I was thinking of how it is done. But can you please provide me with some links to where I can learn more about what you are talking about. Like making a business plan for a web2.0 website or how to go about what I am trying to do? Thanks.
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