Understanding Invisible Asymptotes: Insights from Amazon, Twitter, and Snapchat

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Jul 30, 2023

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Understanding Invisible Asymptotes: Insights from Amazon, Twitter, and Snapchat

Introduction:

In the world of business, growth is a top priority. However, there comes a point where growth starts to flatten, and companies hit what is known as the "invisible asymptote." These invisible asymptotes are the ceilings that growth curves bump against, signaling the need for a change in strategy. In this article, we will explore the concept of invisible asymptotes by examining the experiences of Amazon, Twitter, and Snapchat. We will also delve into actionable advice on how to identify and overcome these limitations.

Uncovering Amazon's Invisible Asymptote:

One of the most critical invisible asymptotes that Amazon identified early on was shipping fees. Understanding that customers despise paying for shipping allowed Amazon to unlock growth by introducing Amazon Prime and Super Saver Shipping. By offering free shipping for qualified orders, Amazon tapped into the irrational aversion people have towards paying shipping fees. This insight became a powerful tool in driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Twitter's Product-Market Fit and Invisible Asymptote:

Twitter's journey highlights the importance of understanding product-market fit and the limitations it can impose. While many social networks believe that getting more users to experience what early adopters enjoy will lead to active users, Twitter's case proves otherwise. Twitter's core experience has reached its target audience, primarily infovores who appreciate the concise nature of tweets. Attempting to expand beyond this niche by tweaking the product is unlikely to unlock further growth. Instead, customer segmentation and creating different products for different users may be the key to sustained growth.

Snapchat's Generational Divide and Asymptote:

Snapchat, on the other hand, faced an invisible asymptote related to a generational divide. As more users joined the platform, there was a perception among early adopters that the service was losing its sharpness and uniqueness. This divide created a need for Snapchat to balance the demands of different user groups while maintaining its core appeal. Understanding the expectations and preferences of different generations is crucial for overcoming invisible asymptotes.

Actionable Advice for Identifying and Overcoming Invisible Asymptotes:

  • 1. Seek Customer Feedback: Customers often excel at pinpointing what they don't want or like. By asking your customers about their pain points and dislikes, you can gain valuable insights into potential invisible asymptotes.
  • 2. Challenge the Status Quo: Ask yourself why every person in the world doesn't use your product or service. This exercise helps identify the limitations and borders of your target market, enabling you to redefine your target audience and uncover new growth opportunities.
  • 3. Embrace User Experience Differentiation: User experience is a multidimensional concept, encompassing various factors. Differentiating your product or service based on user experience can help you overcome invisible asymptotes. Tesla's success in the electric car market, despite high prices and charging challenges, demonstrates the power of delivering a unique user experience.

Conclusion:

Understanding and addressing invisible asymptotes are crucial for sustained growth and success in business. By studying the experiences of companies like Amazon, Twitter, and Snapchat, we gain valuable insights into the importance of customer-centricity, product-market fit, and adaptability. To overcome invisible asymptotes, businesses must actively seek feedback, challenge the status quo, and differentiate their user experience. By doing so, companies can navigate the complexities of growth and unlock new opportunities for innovation and expansion.

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