Traction Verticals

traction2.gifThe second major thing I've learned from interviewing people on getting traction is that initial traction can happen in a lot of different ways, often unpredictably. (The first thing was that entrepreneurs usually have movement ideas even though they often think they have powder keg or empire ideas.)

Given that the first inflection point is unpredictable, it makes sense to consider all traction "verticals" in the pursuit of product/market fit. Here's a list I hope to make exhaustive over time (by updating this post).

Note: this list is no particular order.

Here are other verticals I know about though don't have great examples for yet:

  • Off-line Ads. I've heard infomercials can work wonders for the right products. And of course there is TV, radio, billboards, magazines, newspapers, etc.

  • Buying Smaller Sites. I've heard axod bought a site to jump-start Mibbit. Can I interview you about it?

I'm sure there are more, and I'd appreciate you sharing your examples and stories. I hope to do at least one interview on each vertical for the book I'm doing on getting traction.

As you can see from the above, basically everyone I've interviewed has gotten traction from a different vertical. Yes, partially that was by my design (in the picking of interviewees). However, it is clear that usually they didn't start out thinking they would get traction from that particular vertical. So I think it makes sense to systematically examine each of them and brainstorm how they might work for your startup.


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I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get customer growth. More about me.