Josh Kopelman writes:
As more and more entrepreneurs start building what Fred Wilson referred to as second derivative companies, I think they run a big risk of designing a product/service that is targeted at too small of an audience. Too many companies are targeting an audience of 53,651. Thats how many people subscribe to Michael Arringtons TechCrunch blog feed. Im a big fan of Techcrunch and read it every day. However, the Techcrunch audience is NOT a mainstream America audience.
A good review in Techcrunch can get a company their first 5-25K beta users very quickly. However, Id strongly caution entrepreneurs from taking their initial consumer adoption metrics and extrapolating them too far into the future. I believe startups will find it difficult to cross the Techcrunch chasm between the Web 2.0 geeks and Mainstreet USA.
Brad Feld adds:
many entrepreneurs (and many VCs) confused one time tryout users with real sustainable users. As an analytics freak (Ive invested in a number of web / Internet analytics related companies over the past 10 years, including NetGenesis, Service Metrics, and now FeedBurner), you only have to ask two more questions to know whether (a) the company really understands its traffic / user base and (b) whether theyve got the first 25,000 user problem.
Thanks Josh for the outstanding post and putting the gap between the Web 2.0 geeks and Mainstreet USA front and center. Remember – the first 25,000 users are the same dudes (such as me) that play with everything.