Unveiling the Secrets of Successful Projects and Viral Products

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Hatched by Glasp

Sep 12, 2023

4 min read

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Unveiling the Secrets of Successful Projects and Viral Products

Introduction

In the world of business and innovation, there are two recurring challenges that companies face: the big project syndrome and achieving virality for their products. These challenges may seem unrelated, but upon closer inspection, we can find common threads and valuable insights that can help organizations navigate these obstacles more effectively.

The Big Project Syndrome

The big project syndrome refers to the phenomenon where companies become enamored with a grand idea and turn it into a massive undertaking. The leadership team becomes convinced that the success of the entire company hinges on this project's outcome. However, when the product finally launches, the results are often disappointing. Customers are uninterested, and key metrics remain unaffected.

Despite these setbacks, the leadership team rallies the troops for a massive rescue operation, firmly believing that they are just one feature or campaign away from a breakthrough. Unfortunately, the majority of these projects end up being a colossal waste of time and resources.

One of the contributing factors to the big project syndrome is an excessive focus on output rather than outcomes. In organizations where goals and incentives revolve around execution and production, the act of doing becomes more important than actually achieving meaningful results. This culture can foster a particular type of manager who uses big projects as a means to advance their own career, even if they don't add real value to the organization.

To avoid falling into the big project syndrome trap, companies should shift their focus from launching one big, unproven idea to setting goals for desired outcomes. Instead of fixating on a singular project, organizations should identify the benefits they want to deliver to customers and the business. This shift in mindset can prevent tremendous waste and encourage a more outcome-oriented approach.

The Role of Leadership

Traditional, hierarchical organizations assume that leaders possess the ability to forecast the future and select the right ideas. However, in modern organizations, knowledge and expertise often reside at the edges of the company. Smart and creative individuals grow tired of constantly chasing someone else's big ideas and may become distrustful of leadership, leading to a loss of passion or even attrition.

In this new landscape, the role of a leader is to define the goals and provide as much context as possible to help their team succeed. Rather than dictating solutions, leaders should foster collaboration and empower their reports to discover the right solutions themselves. This approach creates a more inclusive and innovative environment, where ideas can emerge from all levels of the organization.

Choosing the Right Virality Strategy

The quest for virality is a common goal for many companies, as it can significantly boost user adoption and growth. However, achieving virality is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. There are different types of virality, each with its own unique characteristics and strategies.

  • 1. Word-of-mouth virality: This type of virality occurs when a product is so exceptional that people can't help but share it with their friends. To facilitate this, companies should ensure that their product is easy to find and has a memorable and easily pronounceable name. Additionally, having a concise and compelling way to describe the product is crucial, as users will struggle to share it if they can't articulate its value.
  • 2. Demonstration virality: Some products naturally lend themselves to being shown off by users. By using these products, people are essentially demonstrating their value to others. Platforms like Instagram, Musical.ly, Pinterest, and Uber have successfully leveraged this type of virality. Companies aiming for demonstration virality should focus on creating content or experiences that are easy to showcase.
  • 3. Infectious virality: This strategy involves designing a product in a way that incentivizes users to bring others into the experience, making it better for both parties. Platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, Nextdoor, LinkedIn, and Facebook have harnessed infectious virality effectively. However, it's important to note that this approach is not suitable for all products. Only those that benefit from social interactions and user collaboration should pursue infectious virality.

Conclusion

To navigate the pitfalls of big projects and achieve viral success, organizations must prioritize outcomes over output and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation. Leaders should focus on defining goals and providing context, allowing their teams to discover the best solutions. Additionally, tailoring the virality strategy to the unique characteristics of the product can significantly enhance user adoption and growth.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Shift your focus from launching big, unproven ideas to setting goals for desired outcomes. This will help prevent wasteful projects and ensure a more outcome-oriented approach.
  • 2. Foster a collaborative and inclusive environment where knowledge and expertise can emerge from all levels of the organization. Empower your team to discover the right solutions instead of dictating them.
  • 3. Choose the right virality strategy for your product. Consider whether word-of-mouth, demonstration, or infectious virality aligns better with your product's nature and target audience.

By implementing these actionable advice and embracing a more strategic and collaborative approach, companies can increase their chances of success in both projects and achieving viral growth.

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