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It's a messaging app to keep in touch with former colleagues. Why messaging? Creates more casual conversations compared to cluttered, formal email. Also, comes with modern tools to help you better manage relationships with former colleagues. All your important professional relationships in one place.

  • NL

    Nick Lock

    over 3 years ago #

    By initial distribution do you mean signups/downloads of your app?

    Have you already fully defined your value proposition?
    Do you know who your key customer is, what they look like and where they browse online?

    If you can confidently answer yes to both of the above questions then the next step is reaching them.

    Considering the audience it sounds like LinkedIn might be a good channel to test paid advertising.
    I would create a guest post or press release and distribute it among the industry publications.
    It will be up to them to publish your content.

    I hope this is a good starting point.

  • AP

    Alex Pyatetsky

    over 3 years ago #

    #1. Realize you're entering a tough business. You're competing against group.me, Facebook groups, iMessage, LinkedIn, Slack in some sense, and many, many more.

    #2. When you say "initial," do you mean 1-1,000 or 1,000-100,000? If you don't have a strong lead on getting from 1 to 1,000, it's probably a safe bet that you shouldn't be building this company.

    That said, a product like this needs a strong initial base. Targeting disparate groups for that initial base isn't wise. You need groundswell amongst a group of users that's able to derive a lot of value from the product, not a ton of users who derive little value. (Think Facebook dominating Harvard before carefully expanding to other schools)

    As such, you should find a company that takes pride in its "Alumni network," such as Google, Deloitte, PwC that will agree to be your initial host (my gut tells me the more "corporate," the better, since younger, more tech-savvy users are probably sufficiently digitally connected with the people that they want to be connected with).

    Since you're probably going to have to pitch HR, a slightly higher-scale version of this is pitching bundled-benefits providers, who may agree to include your product in their benefits package. Realistically though, they probably won't care and almost certainly won't push your product. Their main incentive is to have a "bunch of stuff" to impress HR administrators who buy their packages, so you'll just be another bullet point for them. It'll still be on you to activate users in that company.

    3. Once you have some base of users who care, they should be able to message their peers WITHOUT the recipients being required to sign up to receive messages. You can end each message with "Sent from XYZ. The messenger for colleagues." This way, each sender can derive value from the product whether you've penetrated their entire network or not. Likewise, the recipient can be marketed to many times.

    That's only 1/2 the battle though. The mere fact that some amount of people will know that you've built another messenger will not get them to switch. I know of many email service providers, but I'm not switching from Gmail because they don't do anything that it doesn't that I know of/care about. Your messenger should visibly do something that others don't. This was once stickers, and payments, but these are well beaten functionalities. You'll have to have your own "hook" that'll turn awareness into interest.

    Keep in mind, your distinguishing feature should be backed by a plan to dominate an entire vertical/demographic/community. A feature isn't a business. If you have a sexy feature without dominant hold in your market, it's only a matter of time until the many incumbents in this space copy it and eat your lunch. Realistically, this is the kind of project that will require a lot of money behind it and you should probably be ready for a LinkedIn acquihire as your best case scenario.

    Returning to point #1, you're probably a few years too late here unless you have some kind of product-voodoo that you're not letting on here. Regardless, you should read everything Sangeet Paul Choudary has written about building platforms.

    Hope that helps.