Why the early adopter user is essential to your startup success.

This is the open story of Rapheal Costa from Hashtag Consulting. If you want your story to be highlighted, and given the views you need, contact us at [email protected] 🙂


I think that a solid “early adoption” base is as important to a startup as a solid team of developers.

Often, and that keeps on happening to me, we overlook everything else and we focus on three conceptual things: our idea on how to solve the problem, how to develop our innovation and how to go to market.

However, what I kept on forgetting was that in order to cross the chasm and hit our target market we have to meet the consumer where they are and then walk them through our so-called “new thing” so that they can mature to be the users we built our app for.

I have learned that there’s no prototyping routine/process that can substitute for the feedback of a group of engaged early adopter users.

With a poor early adopter user base you can end up investing your time and money on something that is irrelevant to the industry and to the future of your startup. I have done that several times!

I have failed several startups. Not 1, not 2 and not even 3 – several. When I sit back to reflect, I realise that the only thing they all had in common was our focus and processes.

Here’s how we approached the ideation process through to deployment.

1 – Market Research

2 – Prototyping

3 – Feedback

4 – Development

5 – Go to Market

6 – Funding

A huge gap was left between point 4 and 5. I assumed that the feedback over a prototype would shape my product and bullet proof it for the market. Silly me.

I’m no startup expert – you can see by the number of failures. I’m a developer by trade, I like to build things and I like to solve problems.

After building building several failed “apps” and some successful apps I realised that as far as startups go, it doesn’t really matter how well built your app/innovation is. If that doesn’t fit the “consumer’s way of doing things” within that specific niche you will be out. Humans are creatures of habit and often startups bring innovation by streamlining processes, yielding better and faster processes. I’m not saying that startups should not bring on drastic innovations. I advocate that often, you have to allow your consumer base to mature in order to engage with your innovation. A strong early adopter user base will guide the startup on what is important to cross the chasm and how to present an innovation. That’s key.

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The author

Roger has worked in user acquisition and marketing roles at startups that have raised 200m+ in funding. He self-taught himself machine learning and data science in Python, and has an active interest in all sorts of technical fields. He's currently working on boosting personal cybersecurity (youarecybersecure.com)