The Social Tipping Point of an App

Stowe Boyd sees plenty of emerging social software start-ups every month and has a great sense of what does and does not work.  Many of these companies are rushing to get product/services out the door as a beta… to get customer reaction and feedback… and to quickly refine and respin under the motto of "release early and often".   

But how early is early?

In Stowe’s latest post, he provides a great lesson on when and when-not to release a beta.

"…you shouldn’t release apps that are social without the Social Tipping Point that will allow social growth to occur. If you leave out things like profiles, discovery of likeminded people, and so on, you aren’t really priming the pump, because people cannot connect. You may have alerted folks to the existence of the site/service/product, but you will be positioning it badly, since the user experience is socially poor

After you have defined and built the Social Tipping Point for your app, then release, and continue to release often. If however you release before the STP, all you have done is released is some other app, one that desperately needs a social redesign. In this case, you can lose the momentum associated with initial release, and are in effect dooming your site/service/product to a relaunch later on."

Hmmm…what is the "Social Tipping Point" of your Social Software App?

In an earlier post from Stowe,

"People are the center of the universe. Not stuff.

Applications that are oriented around a functional dimension — putting stuff first and foremost — will not catch on, no matter how well they work. Applications succeed or fail because of the social dimension. If people can’t easily discover community, and can’t quickly ‘belong’ to scene involving like-minded people, they will defect….

If you don’t get this core element of what edge-centered applications need to do, you are doomed to build ’90s apps"

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