Crossing the chasm is hard work but is well worth it

[Disclaimer: this post is related to my work at]

I haven’t been writing on my blog the past few days. Makes me a little sad.

The cause for the lack of posts is my current workload. I promised to write about my experiences every once in a while. I figured now would be a good time to tell you what is happening with us. Some of you may have heard we have launched a new Glubble for Families in September, and as a result of this we are now working hard to reach out to our target user group, which lies mostly outside of Silicon Valley. I should rephrase that. The service is aimed at families with children under 12, and I’m sure that there are many families like that in Silicon Valley.

What I meant to say is that our challenge doesn’t lie in technology, it lies in our ability to make technology simple, and to be able to explain to our target user group what the value of the service is that we provide. This is one of the most difficult challenges any startup faces. How do you “cross the chasm” and communicate towards mainstream communities? How do you get out of the death trap Silicon Valley provides you and reach out to those that don’t really care about technology but do want a problem to be solved or value to be gained? How can you establish your brand and get people to recognize it, talk about it and use it?

It’s not about having large marketing budgets, doing expensive commercials in all kinds of media, buying advertisement. Instead of us trying to explain to the world what we are about we feel it is much better to reach out to those that use our service and provide them as much value as we can. Our user group and related communities are the basis for any success. The first use experience is crucial. If a user that installs Glubble for Families doesn’t understand it’s value then we are fighting a lost battle. We try to reduce the complexity of the technology and provide the user simple and convenient tools. This sounds easy but is incredibly difficult to get right.

As an example of our efforts, we have created a great video that explains what Glubble for Families is about.

We also build a simple 8 step click through explanation of our service to highlight some of its aspects. I just saw a very nice example of another company doing that better than we have done, so that leaves room for improvement. We build a user community, a much improved Glubble blog, and we are engaging daily with our users. Interestingly enough many of the conversations aren’t about technology, but they are about parental support for children discovering the web. And that is exactly what Glubble is about. That is why we are proud of partnering with Highlights magazine to encourage parental involvement and provide parents with useful tools and information to help them support their children. We are now running a joint survey on this very subject and it would be great if you could take a few minutes to fill it in.

A joint survey of Highlights Magazine and Glubble about kids safety on the web

A joint survey of Highlights Magazine and Glubble about kids safety on the web

Judging from the forum discussions and the support questions we get, we can still largely improve on our First Use experience. It is something we work on every day. To ensure that our users will have a reason to change their habits and incorporate our service into their daily lives.

Our strategy seems to be paying off. We have moved past the great blog posts on major tech blogs like CNET, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb and are now covered in blogs that specifically aim at families. Something I am particularly proud of is that our positioning and communication is picked up so well. It give me the feeling that we are moving in the right direction. That we are addressing a challenge every parent faces when their child is getting into contact with the web and social networking. A great example of such a post  just appeared on Parenting Squad. The post is entitled “Kid-Safe surfing should value Parental Involvement”.

Even main stream media are now picking up on this. Wailin Wong from the Chicago Tribune wrote an article about the need for parental involvement in kids discovering the web. Not only did she write a great article, she also lets one of our users explain why parental involvement is so important.

Does that mean we are crossing the chasm? I feel we are making the first steps into the right direction. Our user base and growth is high and growing every day. We see less uninstalls and more people using it more often. We see more families signing up and joining this experience. We are finding early adopters in our target group, instead of within Silicon Valley. And we will keep working on the First Use experience to make the service provide our users more value. There is nothing better than trying to provide value to those that use your service!

About vanelsas

See my about page, ;-)
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