Don't lower signup friction; raise it

Hi there -

Here is this week’s “1 principle, 2 strategies, and 3 actionable tactics” for running lean…

1 Universal Principle

At the earliest stages of a product, don’t lower signup friction; raise it.”
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2 Underlying Strategies at Play

I. Attract Early Adopters and Repel Everyone Else

The popular belief is to make your first product accessible to as many people as possible. This is not the best strategy. At the earliest stages of a product, your goal is to attract early adopters and repel everyone else.

Every successful product from Amazon to Zappos started with a much smaller early adopter segment. Early adopters help you iterate your first MVP into a business model that works. Until then, all other types of customers are a distraction.

II. Early Adopters Want to be the First

The good news is that early adopters, by definition, have above-average motivation for achieving their desired outcomes. And, they are willing to jump through a few hoops to get there. This is why raising signup friction is a great way to screen for them.

3 Actionable Tactics

I. Don’t Over-package Your MVP

For speed of learning, I released the first edition of Running Lean two chapters at a time as a PDF. Not everyone on my list bought it. I could have waited to finish the book or supported other formats sooner but deliberately chose against it — because enough early adopters had pre-ordered the PDF offer and were providing constant feedback. This helped me iterate on the book quickly, and once the book was ” finished,” everyone else came back and bought it.

II. Don’t Offer Discounted Pricing

Early adopters, unlike mainstream customers, aren’t price-sensitive. They’re happy to pay a “fair price” for your product, provided it’s commensurate with value.

III. Early Access Launch

Instead of a public launch open to anyone, gate your initial launch with a qualifying form to only let your ideal early adopters in. If you can’t deliver value to them, you have no chance with anyone else…


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