When Omnific Labs (my tech startup) launched OneCrier late last month, we got lots of interesting reactions. Most people wanted to know why we where launching in only one place: Federal University of Tech, Akure. Why werent we doing the “global roll out”?
I think too many Technopreneurs deceive themselves at startup launch. Today, we all wanna build the next Facebook; the numero uno web destination on the planet, used by all, loved by all. Permit me to take you on a trip back to the social network’s humble beginnings. Facebook started in a dorm room and Mark built it for Harvard Students to connect to each other.
Even though Mark wanted to change the world, he didnt start by building Facebook: The World-wide version. Rather he built something that appealed to a specific set of people and launched it to them so that by the time he opened up the service to other communities, he had a handful of users already, this is what made their expansion much easier. When he got to the next school, he had people on his site already that the new users could interact with, avoiding the chicken and egg problem that troubles most social networking websites.
From those humble beginnings, Facebook then gradually evolved into what we have now; feature by feature.
Most ideas never survive the first contact with real people intact, the idea is bound to get modified. There is even a high probability that whatever you are working on is going to suck at first try; by limiting such a product to a handful of users while you iterate in the background, you are bound to be better off in the long run than exposing your idea to everyone at first try.
The best way to grow your new startup is organically, you first strive to have just ten satisfied users, then you scale up to a hundred, a thousand, then you start to boom!
Besides, except you are well-funded (Omnific Labs doesnt have any funding of any type) you probably dont even have the resources for a global launch. In the case of OneCrier, a global launch would require that we recruit agents in every city, and either work out a revenue share commission or place them on salaries. This is quite a tedious task, although its doable and it is in the works, but by focusing exclusively on people around Federal University of Tech, Akure, all the nitty-gritty of our plan can be worked out and successfully replicated anywhere else.