There was a great article on Fast Company about the advice that Tumblr’s founder gave a new entrepreneur who was publicly launching his startup.
“What made Tumblr Tumblr was that in its first years, we just focused on our core small 1% set of users, who were creating most of our content and really loved our platform. We really wanted to just build features for them, and by getting them so addicted–really focusing on making them happy–it would allow our platform to grow and blossom. Now, we can focus on the other 99% of users but only because we had started with such a passionate group of users.” David Karp
On the surface having a small group of people really enthusiastic about your product can be somewhat underwhelming. We hope for the instant spikes and usage growth that dreams are made of. I have personally made that mistake as well. It is easy to overlook those couple of early adopters who are just wowed by what you have built, and while you are looking for scale the biggest opportunity is often sitting right at your doorstep.
Some of the tools that I like to find early adopters with are:
What you are looking to set up is constant feedback channels where you can give these users a voice to let you know what they are thinking and what needs you are currently overlooking. Rather than figuring out how you are going to scale your servers, early focus should be on providing channels to give your early adopters a voice.