The cycle of events and users

Billie asked me how I plan to acquire customers.

(I don’t think she said “acquire customers”, but I have read too many marketing books in recent months and so my brain auto-translated her words into marketing speak)

A few people have asked me the same question in recent weeks.  The answer is with a hope and a prayer.

“You have a cold start problem,” my friend Steve told me about a year ago.  I had never heard it described that way before. “Until you have users, no one will want to upload events; and until you have events, you won’t have any users.”

I have thought about convincing Steve to leave Berlin to join the Viva team in Sydney since that conversation, but I will have to find the money and the dedication.  Until I can promise him a decent prospect of a positive future, I feel guilty asking the man to move across the world – but that is on my wish list.

It took a few months to solve that cold start problem Steve identified.  It seemed obvious in hindsight.

Unlike the chicken and egg puzzle (which isn’t really a puzzle, by the way, but that is a train of thought for another time), there is a clearly more logical starting point for the origination of the events-users growth cycle.  That starting point is events.  Our content team has been manually typing events into an Excel spreadsheet for more than nine months to create the starting pool of events that our initial users can explore and discover.  The plan, if hopes can be called a plan, is that the starting pool of events will be enough to attract the initial users, and we hope those users will create additional events, and which will bring additional users, and so on.

I didn’t end up giving Billie an explanation because we had too much work tonight.

We will need coffee tomorrow morning.

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