The Three Pillars of Going Viral

The dot-com boom resulted in a lot of companies exploding with growth and profit. Since then there have continued to be success stories–and a lot of failures as well. Analyzing what was successful over the long term, and looking at companies in the same market segments that have not fared well, three key factors come to the fore.

Those who read this will undoubtedly say, “Well, that’s not true for X company. They didn’t do one or two of these key factors and they made a fortune!” To those detractors I will point out that being in the right place at the right time with a decent product and a decent business model WILL result in explosive growth due to riding the raging rapids of an exploding market or segment.

However if your crystal ball is only the garden variety and you aren’t able to pinpoint the exact right place and exact right time that explosive growth will occur in your market, you’re going to need a plan that’s more under your control.

Note that this applies specifically to the software world, however other industries follow the same trend to a greater or lesser degree.

The Three Pillars of Going Viral are:

  • Product
  • Marketing
  • Support

The politically incorrect version is:

  • Kick-ass Product
  • Effective Marketing
  • Stellar Support

I’ll cover each of these in greater detail in subsequent blogs.

Certainly there have been cases where companies have had viral growth with one or two of the pillars in place. In those cases, they’ve had exceptional Product or Marketing. I will say that if Support is lousy, that explosive growth will flat-line and eventually implode.

I’ll add my Law of Viral Growth: Products that meet a customer need, function the way users intuitively will use that product and are well marketed with great support, will succeed like crazy.

I could go on and on here—in fact I started to—but I’ll leave that for future blogs.


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