Gehm’s Corollary: Sell Magic

Choosing the right market

  • The startup’s founders have complete control over what they make; and talking to prospective customers is messy, uncomfortable, and fraught with rejection. So they do what’s easier and more fun.
  • Checking market demand forces the founders to confront their confirmation bias, and find out they aren’t the unique and special snowflake their mother says they are, which is never fun.

We can rationalize anything

Startups aren’t about fun

Selling to magicians sucks

That’s some serious detail, circa 2003.
  1. We found someone who did think it was magic;
  2. We found a way to do something magical for the current target market.

Finding a market that thinks it’s magic

Every page and object in Brenda’s session, down to the very last detail, as it happens on the site.

Do something magical for the current market

Market maturity and the ability to distinguish

What’s obvious to one segment is mysterious to another.

Chase the magic

(One more thing…)

  • Shared need: Do those in the target market have the same problems and values?
  • Segmentable: Is the target market easily identified and distinguished from other segments?
  • Profitably reachable: Can you get the market’s attention in a way that won’t break the bank? Billionaires are a great target market that’s hard to reach.
  • Big or fast-growing: Is the demand large enough to fuel your ambitions for growth — or growing fast enough that you can grow with it?
  • Loyalty: If you’re looking for recurring revenue, loyalty matters a lot. If you’re doing one-time sales, it’s less important.
  • Social: Does your market share things? Will it amplify your message? A gregarious, vocal market is worth spending more to reach.

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Writer, speaker, accelerant. Intersection of tech & society. Strata, Startupfest, Bitnorth, FWD50. Lean Analytics, Tilt the Windmill, HBS, Just Evil Enough.

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Alistair Croll

Alistair Croll

Writer, speaker, accelerant. Intersection of tech & society. Strata, Startupfest, Bitnorth, FWD50. Lean Analytics, Tilt the Windmill, HBS, Just Evil Enough.

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