How would you start something like eBay? Would you first convince a bunch of sellers to come to a site that has no buyers? Or the other way around?
What about a social site? No readers, no writers (or sharers). No writers, no readers.
The answer is the “bowling pin strategy”, beautifully described by Chris Dixon on http://cdixon.org/2010/08/21/the-bowling-pin-strategy/ .
Funnily, yesterday I had to describe this same strategy in two separate occasions to people from completely different background. First was to a recruiter who probably had several roles in mind for me. Unfortunately (for him) I’m in the middle of my own startup and I’m now working with technologies that he didn’t expect. It’s part of the bowling pin strategy, I said to him :-)
The second occasion was when I had to explain to a RIM representative why the BlackBerry app we submitted to the BlackBerry Australian Developer Challenge is not yet targeted at Australian users. It’s the same bowling pin strategy. Australians are too much in love with iPhone so we initially target a market where BlackBerry is seen as the best. Simple!