Allen Stern recently asked, "is Twitter F’ed?"
The question of business model timing seems to come up weekly with regards to some startup. As Twitter usage has grown, have they f’ed themselves out of a real, sustainable business model? And has Pownce done something right by launching with a business model? Personally I prefer that a startup come out of the gate with a business model — perhaps it’s the accountant in me.
Everyone is questioning business model timing and I say focus on the core feature set and your think of your customers as "fans" and forget about the business model–for now. User’s are just now starting to hear the word twitter. Twitter is not going away! We are way back in the early stages still, many rooks still on the table.
- Make sure the Pownce isn’t the verb people use. Make sure it’s a tweet. (I just feel like Pownce’ing someone is a bad thing to do, pro account or no pro)
- Innovate your freaking butt off until everyone is begging for sleep; everyone in the company must come up with one additional idea or way to use the service each and every day.
- Elaborate by explaining all of these other ways to get users is to explain exactly what it is and why it is your users want to use your service. Currently you have:
Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
What the heck does that mean??? Remember the critical mass needs to see that in action. They need to know how to get started I don’t mean to say what that says is bad, but I know it could be more informative, some users only hit the page once and then bounce off.
- Partner your butt off. Associate, talk to other people, this is the way Microsoft did so well. Dave Winer mentions some ideas here.
- Show it in action show the people why their lives are better because of twitter, show how it’s changing the world show them this and everyone wants to be a part of a success story, not an advertisement.
Forget about the bubble and think about ways to expand the problems in which your service could solve.
- Inflate: get more servers and admin in order to stabilize the service.
- Get someone else thinking about how to get the money coming in, but don’t implement yet because you don’t want to screw up your awesome service.
Jason Calacanis knows how to make money with a service, and he has his take here. He basically says you need:
1. In feed Advertising
2. SMS Adverting
Before you implement these service, try to think of a unique way to deliver advertisements that is kind on the vast majority of your users. I would hold off longer if I were you but I don’t see the inside picture. Make some arrangement with Google to use some of their infrastructure, partner with them, get your tweets working before your advertisements or you will loose users to the competition. Follow everyone’s take at Techmeme. It’s also a great place to see an advertising system that is set up which does not interfere with the core offering, which is to correctly follow the best stories, but shows related advertising in a non-obtrusive, Google way.