July 20, 2023 • Business

Speed to Market: What the Threads vs. Twitter Battle Can Teach Us

Be fast, not first.

Speed to market is a competitive advantage. It’s why Meta rolled out an imperfect initial version of Threads—on the back of Twitter users unhappy with imposed reading limits, the growing buzz around Spill, and perhaps most wildly, talks of “a cage fight” between billionaires (Mark & Elon) with the help of the president of the UFC.

I wish I were making all of that up.

But while the pop culture events leading up to the launch of the Threads app kept us all entertained, or perhaps, confused—the developers at Meta were hard at work.

They sped to market with a new app—in direct competition with Twitter—that would take the world by storm in its first 24 hours.

Here was the real fight.

Depiction of a fight
Cottonbro Studio

These events highlight the concept of speed to market and how Meta perfectly timed the launch of its (intentionally) imperfect new app.

But the principle of speed to market isn’t just for billion dollar brands who have the UFC president on speed dial.

As a coach, creator, or small business, you can apply the same concept of speed in your business, too.

You don’t necessarily have to first, but you have to be fast. And it’s actually easier for you to start small and move fast without corporate bureaucracy.

Here’s what we can learn from the Twitter versus Threads battle and how we can apply the concept of speed to market to our small businesses, too.

What is Speed to Market? (Meaning)

Speed to market refers to the ability of a company or organization to quickly and efficiently bring a product, service, or innovation to market.

It emphasizes minimizing the time it takes to develop, produce, and launch a new offering to gain a competitive advantage over rivals. 😈

To achieve a faster speed to market, organizations need to:

  • Streamline internal processes.
  • Be agile.
  • Optimize supply chains (if product) or code (if digital).
  • Embrace tech to respond quickly to changing market demands.
  • Capitalize on current events and emerging opportunities.

By applying these principles to move as a lean, mean, and fast-moving machine, businesses can launch fast, capture market share, and stay ahead in today’s fast-paced and dynamic business landscape.

Advantages of Speed to Market

Speed to market fosters innovation, helps businesses gain a competitive advantage, and enables learning from rapid development cycles, which can also improve customer loyalty.

Everyone wants to be first.

And to be first and let people have a say—as their feedback guides future iterations of a product or service—will likely keep folks coming back for more and staying tuned for updates.

‘Will Zuck do that thing I asked?’ :: checks for version 2.0 :: 👀

Quick launches allow companies to gather valuable customer feedback early in the product lifecycle and identify potential pivots sooner rather than later.

Speed to Market for Small Business

Billion-dollar businesses have the resources and capital to move fast, but don’t let that deter you from moving fast on a smaller scale.

Fast is fast.

The internet creates immense opportunities for you to test, implement, and attract prospective customers quite literally overnight.

For example, one of my favorite marketers, Nik Sharma, has shared how some starter brands run paid ads that drive to concept websites to simply test the viability and interest of a product or service.

The product or service doesn’t even have to exist, but the principle of building an audience early and testing concepts fast is possible for anyone with a small budget (and an ads account).

Or what if you have an idea for a new app or service? I always tell my clients: you don’t need an app; you need an audience.

It’s how Threads was able to amass 100 million users in 5 days. They migrated their existing audience and violà. However, I realize the irony of Meta being in the business of apps.

Path of Least Resistance

On a smaller scale, I encourage my clients to leverage existing tools in the market. For instance, one client came to me with an idea for an app to promote their events.

So I encouraged them to leverage Eventbrite: an event management and ticketing website that allows users to browse, create, and promote local events.

Eventbrite can be embedded in a website you own, or simply link to Eventbrite. Both options take less than one day.

I’m not anti-app, just anti-spending time and energy on things that could impede your speed.

If you’ve got events (or any other information, service, or product) people need, find the path of least resistance to give your people (an iteration of) what they want.

Threads launched without a clear ‘following’ timeline, topic search, or hashtag system. But they launched.

There’s always room to grow and iterate when you start.

Strategies for Increasing Speed to Market

To develop an effective speed-to-market strategy for coaches, creators, or small businesses, here are a few key strategies:

1. Hire an Expert

One of the most important aspects of improving your speed to market is collaborating with or hiring experts.

Hiring experts might seem like a no-brainer, but being resourceful is a blessing and a curse for a coach, creator, or small business owner. We’re known to do a lot with little and often do (and learn) all the things ourselves.

But in the spirit of speed to market, now is not the time to DIY.

Hiring experts is the cheat code, and it’s the premise of one of my favorite business books that transformed my mindset around growth: Who Not How by Dan Sullivan.

Hiring experts means you hire a freelancer or take a more targeted approach and scout experienced business professionals on LinkedIn—as an example.

Whether your expert is hands-on, as I am with my Creative Genie Pass holders, or simply consults, they will also be able to identify potential roadblocks in your fast track toward success.

This can save you time when time is of the essence.

2. Plan Key Milestones

Know where you are speeding to. The first 100 users/customers? The next 1,000? Or the first 100 million a la Meta? No big deal.

To ensure a meaningful project or launch from start to finish, plan ahead for key milestones.

During the first few hours and days of Threads’ launch, Mark Zuckerberg was vocal in celebrating his company’s milestones, citing it’s “way ahead of what we expected” on multiple Thread posts as user growth climbed rapidly—and in real-time.

Those expectations were their milestones.

Milestones provide clear measures of success, and when things are going swell, they can add to the hype and excitement within your community, increasing your chance for word-of-mouth engagement and further growth.

It’s a win-win.

Establishing objectives and milestones can also help you better prepare for challenges, determine which tasks take priority, and pivot as needed.

3. Understand Your Business Needs

Don’t go fast for the sake of going fast.

Understanding your business needs and objectives before your speed-to-market endeavor is essential for a successful first iteration of your product.

In Summary: Speed to Market is Good for Growth

They say that “perfect is the enemy of good.” Simply put, insistence on perfection out of the gate stalls advancements. How will you know what ‘perfect’ or ‘good’ is without a baseline to start, test, and iterate?

Speed to market is good for growth. Just be mindful that entrepreneurship and business is a marathon, not a sprint. Consider speed-to-market principles with a long-term vision for your brand, product, or service.

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