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I am wondering how to test an early-stage web business model. Esp., I am looking for innovators and early-adaptors from the publishing industry that would have the required domain knowledge for understanding the value proposition of the business.
So, my questions are:
- How would you find the domain experts that would be willing to give feedback on early-stage business models?
- Would you just contact bloggers, people in social networks, such as LinkedIn, and ask for help and feedback on your project?
- Do you have experiences in using Twitter to get in touch with important customer data?
Thanks and best regards,
1) By "domain experts" are you referring to subject-matter experts related to specific types of content or experts in specific vertical markets?
2) I would create an incentive for participation; something of value to those (potential) early adopters that would enlist their help/feedback. Look at how Alex O. (et al) got 470 people to help co-create the original BMC book. Genius strategy. Value for everyone involved.
3) You're probably more likely to find data mined by companies that monitor Twitter traffic that by direct use. You can, of course, use it to get the word out that you're looking for help/feedback and, again, giving people an incentive can't hurt.
That is very helpful feedback!
Actually, I was just realizing, that question (1) might actually be a sales-channel / customer-relationship problem. I have some vague idea who the end-customers could be, namely book readers and publishers (in a multi-sided platform setting), but I have a hard time to understand how a web service can reach these people. I know that writers of book reviews, esp. in newspapers, magazines and blogs, bridge the gap between book readers and publishers. Evt. I could test whether this assumption would hold, and if people working at newspapers or bloggers could provide data about my innovation idea. Your answer to (2) is very helpful to keep in mind for this strategy.
I would consider researching what the major sites are for book readers (etc.) and then consider the interests of those sites and how you might be able to align some business interest offering (value prop) with one or more of them.
In other words, try to leverage their existing traffic through some sort of "partnership" and build some solid channels.