How trying to throw a party is just like launching a marketplace based SaaS business for the Commercial Real Estate sector.
Imagine that you have just arrived in a new town. You don’t know many people, but you think you’re a friendly and likable guy, and if there is one thing you know how to do, it’s how to throw a great party. With that in mind, you want to throw one for your new peers, but there’s a problem… you’re a nobody, with no friends, no crew, and no connections – with all of these limitations stacked against you, trying to throw such a party would be social suicide.
Yet as marketplace entrepreneurs this is what we are trying to achieve: to get all of the kids in class (including the Cool ones) to not only attend a party thrown by a person that no one has ever heard of, but also to love it! So how do we do it?
Step 1: Identify the Independents.
The Independents are your way in, as they have no pre-existing affiliations to any other social group and so have nothing to lose by speaking with you. Moreover, they tend to be that much more approachable and far more willing to give you the time of day. There is also a pretty high chance that they are going to be free on the night of the party, which means you can slowly begin to guarantee some attendees. The ball starts rolling.
In addition to being your first wave of moral support, the Independents also have a working knowledge of the complex social hierarchy of the school playground. This is helpful as, although they may not belong to any single Clique, many of the Cliques know of them, and they can give you your first round of introductions.
By getting in early with the Independents you achieve a few things:
- You start to get people to confirm that they will come to your party.
- You establish some social standing.
- You begin to learn about what kind of parties this school likes.
- You can begin to leverage the Independent’s connections.
- You have your first set of people, who because they are attending, will want other people to go, so will start evangelizing on your behalf.
Step 2: Collect the Cliques.
The Cliques would ordinarily be impenetrable – not because they’re not nice, but in the absence of an introduction, or having some idea of who you are and what you’re doing, there is not really a need for them to engage you. But now that you’ve got an in you’ve got a great opportunity. Cliques are Cliques for a reason – they move together, so whereas before you were working hard to convince Independents one by one to come to your party, the confirmed attendance of a single Clique gets you faster growth and greater social acceptance. It’s really important. It’s only by working the Cliques and creating a sense of excitement around the party that you can begin to get the numbers you need to overcome the final hurdle: the Cool kids.
By getting support from the Cliques you achieve a few more things:
- Further validation that people want to come to your party.
- The beginning of a network effect where people know about you, before you know about them.
- The creation of the possibility that you may hit a critical mass.
Step 3: Convince the Cool Kids.
The Cool kids are a difficult group to get on board because by definition their Coolness is in no way dependent on you. This is why you never approach the Cool kids first (not unless you’re family friends with a Cool kid who is willing to put his neck on the line for you, but even then you need, quickly, to be able to back up the party’s credentials, which you may not be able to do at the early stages). Moreover, the challenge with getting the Cool kids to come is that they know where the power balance is.They know full well that in this scenario they are bringing more to the table (by them coming others are more likely to come) and also have the most to lose (if they go to the party, and no one else turns up, they will lose credibility), so you’ve got a pretty tough sell ahead.
It’s also worth mentioning that by this stage, you have achieved a lot, as you’ve gone from virtual obscurity to galvanizing the majority of your year group to want to come to your party. But in the back of your mind you know that a party without the Cool kids is simply not a party, and either way, this shindig is going ahead. But it’s not just your reputation you risk losing, you are financially committed to this venture and if no one comes, well, you’ve lost a good chunk of your birthday savings. Moreover, you’ve failed your first week of classes at school as you’ve been spending all of your time networking – mum and dad aren’t happy. There is a lot riding on this being a success. So what do you do?
Well, there is no magic answer and the success of getting the Cool kids to come depends a lot on you as a person. How much do you believe in your party throwing skills that you can convince the Cool kids that you understand their concerns? Can you demonstrate that you have taken the necessary steps to avoid the obvious pitfalls and mitigate the chances of failure? Are you the kind of person they think is capable of pulling this off? Fundamentally what the Cool kids want to know is that they can trust you with their reputation, and as long as you honestly and truly believe in your party throwing abilities, then you’ve got a chance and getting their commitment.
If you get support from the Cool kids, you achieve one thing:
1.The opportunity to prove yourself.
I’m Throwing A Party, And It’s Gonna Be EPIC! Guest Post: Michael Marciano